Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Giant Robots – Let Them Fight!!!

Posted by Rampant Coyote on July 6, 2015

Okay, this is just a geeky fun (and a very cool marketing idea).

kuratas1This Japanese company named Suidobashi Industries has has created a giant pilotable robot line called Kuratas. Sadly, on wheels, not walking, though some day we’ll get there. Anyway, it’s a million-plus-dollar robot (if you have that kind of disposable income) with lots of high-tech gadgetry and non-lethal weaponry, nice targeting system, and all kinds of warnings about how you take your life and safety into your own hands if you drive the thing. But… dang it. It’s pretty awesome:



megabotNow this American company called MegaBots has been doing the same thing, but got beat to market by their Japanese counterparts. Their stuff is still very much anime & gaming inspired, although the U.S. version looks predictably more battle-worn to begin with. Yes, we fake battle-wear. But while the Japanese version was built for dream-fulfillment, the U.S. giant robot was built from the get-go for competition. Swapping out the high-tech system for a second crew member, it’s… well, it’s also pretty cool. On treads.

“Because we’re Americans,” the video says, “We added really… big… guns!”

And then promptly challenged their Japanese competitors to battle!


Their Japanese counterparts responded to to the challenge with confident amusement, noting the distinct lack of “cool” and saying, “Just building something huge and sticking guns on it? It’s Super-American.” but added one stipulation for their trigger-happy aggressors: The fight must include melee combat. “I want to punch them to scrap and knock them down to do it.”

Bold words when the U.S. vehicle has a 25% weight advantage.

I think Suidobashi recognizes this as a spectacular marketing opportunity regardless of who wins. And  they seem pretty confident they’ll win.  And… okay. Let’s be real, here. If you are creating a fantasy about a giant combat robot, who wouldn’t want to take it to the next level and actually FIGHT OTHER GIANT ROBOTS? I’ve no doubt the creators dreamed of this from the get-go.


While there is absolutely no way this giant mecha battle is going to be anywhere near as cool as we might fantasize, I nevertheless can’t wait until next summer to see this. This is gonna be cool. They should sell tickets – I’m sure that will help pay for the costs involved in putting on the event and customizing the bots (and taking care of the damage that will no doubt be done as part of the competition.) In fact, since this challenge was issued and has kinda gone viral, I expect a number of venues have been sending MegaBots proposals.

Anyway, I gotta say… this sounds pretty geeky-awesome.



And just for comparison with what we WANT it to look like: Japanese mecha fighting:

And the American variety:

And a nice little hybrid:

Filed Under: Geek Life - Comments: 6 Comments to Read

  • McTeddy said,

    Yes, I would pay to see this even though I’ve seen how dull real robot battles have actually been.

    Actually… maybe I wouldn’t pay but I still think its awesome!

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    We’ll see if they go the pro-wrestling route and go all out for entertainment value. We can hope.

  • Maklak said,

    Ugh, this is so wrong on so many levels, that I don’t know where to begin. Tanks are simply superior to these things because of simpler construction, lower profile, fewer weak points, everything. You want a giant fighting robot? Build something the size of German MAUS tank, strap more Dakka on it, add remote control and automatics and call it a day. It will be expensive, hard to transport and will still loose to missiles. Heck, they shut down MAUS because for they same price they could build multiple lighter tanks that were more effective as a unit. Ugh.
    1) Human-like form isn’t suited to fightning machines. Too many mooving parts, it will break down. Too many weak spots, it will die. Too high profile, it will die. Too slow compared to car or tank, it will die (although the wheels and threads are a nice touch).
    2) There is a limit to how big these things can be. Mass grows proportionally to size^3, while strength of motors / hydraulics and strength of materials is proportional to size^2. This also means that limbs in motion have too much momentum to stop on the spot without getting torn out. The last movie uses motions of something less than elephant-sized on something much bigger and it coulsn’t moove that fast. The surface needed to support it also grows with size^2 and it irritates me when movies or games have giant spider-like things with small feet.
    3) Human crew only uses up space and get in the way. Use remote control or automation.
    4) Short-range weapons on a high-profile target like this won’t do much good. cruise missiles will kill it. Naval cannons will kill it. Artillery will kill it. Mortart will kill it. Infantry will just use the same tactics, they do against tanks: fire machineguns to suppress it, then target weak spots with RPGs and LAWs.
    5) Melee weapons are completely ludicrous on something like this for obvious reasons.

    So these two fighting? They can both equip weapons heavy enough to turn each other to slag in a moment (or at the very least messilly kill the pilot) and can’t get heavy enough armour to stop it. Heck the US one only gas grating protecting the pilot, so it would fail to a pistol, much less a proper weapon. So the outcome is whoever fires first, wins in one shot and if they both fire, they both die.

    I could never really get the “awesomeness” of giant mecha. They couldn’t possibly work and there are so many more cost-effective ways to make fighting machines, from little tanks to fighter / bomber drones. Show me a robots that’s cheap, small, agile, stealthy, perceptive and able to kill at least an APC and preferably an aircraft carrier in one shot and I’m a fan. Like these flying balls of death from Oblivion if thgey operated in units and had missile support.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    Oh, they are impractical as hell, nobody (at least I think nobody) is arguing that. They are purely there for the rule of cool (unless you make up a rule that the neural interface ‘convinces’ the mind that the giant robot is actually the human body allowing faster & easier movements… but that’s a stretch even if said technology existed.)

    I heard the explanation once that it is pretty much the fantasy of being a giant. In piloting the machine, it becomes “you” (an armored, rocket-powered, missile-launching version of you), towering over everything, nearly impervious to harm from mortal weaponry. But you get the body language, and mastery over your own body magically (but not always seemlessly) transfers to this super-self.

    And of course, as a viewer of this stuff, our brains are hard-wired to understand what a humanoid figure is doing better than trying to figure out what the tank commander is trying to do. A lot of the real-world machines of war (deliberately, in some cases) conceal intent… which is effective in war, but doesn’t make for dramatic action on-screen. When the F/A-18 drops the smart bomb and is halfway back to the carrier before it hits, it makes for poor visual storytelling. 🙂

  • Maklak said,

    Yeah, they’re supposed to be this: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AwesomeButImpractical

    My argument about slow movement isn’t even about pilot’s reaction speed. You make crane simulators, so you probably know all kinds of things about why really big machines can’t be fast because of physics. Giants don’t really work either, due to the same physical limits on size, mass, strength, blood pressure, etc. Unless we’re talking 2.5m tall tops. But OK, I think I get it.

    I do find the District 9 Battle Suit pretty nice, I just don’t like it when you make those things titanic.

    > When the F/A-18 drops the smart bomb and is halfway back to the carrier before it hits,
    > it makes for poor visual storytelling.
    I agree, but it would be hilarious to troll the viewers by having exactly that happen to enemy’s mecha, then the military guy in charge make a snarky comment. Maybe I just grew jaded of how these stories usually roll and anticlimatic but realistic twists are so unexpected that they make me laugh.

    After I grew somewhat accustomed to WH40k, which has short-ranged ranged weapons, making melee weapons viable and spaceships shaped like giant cathedrals that shoot cannons at each other rather than launch a bunch of drones that can gain enough speed to do kilotons of damage, I also grew more tolerant of giant mecha and other things that defy logic, common sense and physics.

    Anyway, end rant, have fun 🙂

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    Yeah, space combat is in the same category. Like almost everyone else, I love big space battles as if they were Age of Sail battles with the addition of fighters. Big lumbering ships traveling at only a couple dozen knots relative, with nimble little fighters that move and shoot like overpowered World War I biplanes.

    Anything like that would be highly unlikely, of course. I mean, that style of naval combat was already becoming obsolete in World War II, and isn’t coming back as far as I can see. And real space combat? Right now it takes a really delicate touch and careful maneuvering not to pass at “blink and you’ll miss it” speeds.

    But hey, I’ll reign in my disbelief if it looks cool enough.

    I’ve mentioned ’em before, but Jack Campbell’s “The Lost Fleet” series is way awesome with making a somewhat more realistic form of space combat really dramatic and interesting. Especially when sensor information is limited to light speed… so you never know what the enemy is doing now, only what he was doing some time ago. Entire attack plans have to get set in the computers, and one “pass” of the battle is completed in the blink of an eye. You find out who’s still alive and who is not as you spend the next several hours changing direction and getting ready for another pass (or making a run for it)