Real Robots: Four Giant Mechs That Actually Exist
The first ever mech battle, between Japan's Kuratas and United States's Mark III, will finally happen in August.
Posted on 2017-07-03 by CiaoCiao

In 2012, the Japanese company Suidobashi Heavy Industries took the tech world by storm when they revealed the Kuratas, "the world's first giant robot." Fully operational and with a slick design, the Kuratas looked exactly like a mech from anime brought to the real world.

But the excitement didn’t stop there. When in 2015, the United States startup MegaBots Inc. revealed their own super fighting robot: the MegaBot Mark II. As any good, arrogant American would have done, MegaBots challenged Suidobashi to a battle of the mechs: our Mark II versus their Kuratas. Never being ones to forgo the opportunity to destroy the pride of some uppity gaijins, Japan eagerly accepted the offer. Thus, the first ever giant robot duel was announced. Mech fans around the world went crazy at the news, anxiously awaiting more info about the fight, but both sides fell abruptly silent. Nearly a whole year went by without either side talking about the battle. Many assumed the fight was quietly cancelled.

That is until now, when after keeping everyone in the dark for so long, MegaBot finally announced that United States and Japan’s long-fabled robot duel will finally become a reality come next month in August. Other than the date, no information was given, but this was enough to satisfy fans on both sides. You can follow MegaBot's official youtube channel to keep up to date on news regarding the battle.

The Kuratas and MegaBot fight is just one way in which G Gundam is slowly becoming a reality. Since the reveal of the Kuratas, many other mechs have been popping up all over the globe, each with their own unique features and national identity, but each of them equally as awesome. Let's take a look at four of these mechs that actually exist:

KURATAS

Company: Suidobashi Heavy Industries
Creator(s): Kogoro Kurata & Wataru Yoshizaki
Nationality: Japan

Height: 13 ft.
Weight: 8,000 lb.

Japan’s anime-influenced Kuratas was designed by the two-man team of artist and blacksmith Kogoro Kurata (who the robot is named after) and roboticist Wataru Yoshizaki. Like every other Japanese boy, Kurata grew up watching tons of mecha anime. He thought there was going to be giant robots when he grew up, but no matter how long he waited, giant robots remained fiction. He thought, "I can't wait anymore" and set out to make one himself.

Kurata, an artist, may have been able to design the appearance of the robot, but needed someone with the technical know-how. Scouring the internet for a roboticist, he happened upon the V-Sido OS, an operating system designed for humanoid robots to provide them with advanced, human-like movements and functions. Impressed by the technology, Kurata hired the V-Sido's creator Wataru Yoshizaki on board as the robot's main system architect.

Standing on four wheels and moving up to six miles per hour, the Kuratas is the most agile of the robots listed here. It has been built with 30 hydraulic joints allowing for fluid movements with the V-Sido system helping with navigating uneven terrain.

The Kuratas can be controlled by a pilot or remotely using a touch screen phone. In the torso of the humanoid robot is the pilot's cockpit, where the on-board, Kinect-based user interface is located. Surrounding the cockpit is an arsenal of whacky weapons, all of which can be activated through Kinect-based inputs. The main weapon is a BB gatling gun that can fire 6,000 rounds a minute. To activate the gun, all the pilot needs to do is smile; this feature has been dubbed the "Smile Shot." Less psychotic weapons include a water bottle cannon and a staple of many mecha anime, a pile bunker. You can watch the Kuratas in action below.

Suidobashi plans on mass-producing the robot and selling it for the low, low price of $1.35 million.

MEGABOT MARK III

Company: MegaBots Inc.
Creator(s): Gui Cavalcanti & Matt Oehrlein
Nationality: United States

Height: 15 ft.
Weight: 15,000 lb.

Keeping true to their national identity, the American company MegaBots based the Mark III on western media such as BattleTech. Also keeping true to its American roots, the Mark III is the biggest, bulkiest, and heaviest robot featured on this list. So much so that Kurata had this to say about the Mark III: “Just building something huge and sticking guns on it. It’s super American... If we’re going to win this, I want to punch them to scrap and knock them down to do it.” Ah, and so the international bants begins.

The previous model, the Mark II, was equipped with an arm cannon which could fire cannonball-sized paintballs at speeds up to 120 mph. MegaBots seems to be shifting their focus with the Mark III away from ranged combat to improving the robot's melee capabilities. The current model, the Mark III, dropped the cannon in favor for a pair of modular, general-purpose arms called Heavy Lift Arms. These high-capacity arms, co-designed by Florida's Institute of Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC), can attach any tool or weapon the Mark III needs. Though the Mark III has a large arsenal at its disposal, its main weapon appears to be an over-sized chainsaw capable of cutting right through steel.

Additionally, MegaBots has been focused on changing the appearance of the Mark III. The yellow paint job has been replaced with a red, white, and blue color scheme with a star and stripe pattern.

MegaBots currently has a webseries which follows their progress as they upgrade the Mark III robot to take on the Kuratas. In a recent episode, they have demonstrated that the Mark III is strong enough to pick up and smash a car. Click here to watch the entire series online.

!!! NEW CHALLENGER APPROACHING !!!

MONKEY KING

Company: GREATMETAL
Creator(s): Shiqian Sun
Nationality: China

China wasn’t going to stand back and let Japan and United States have all the fun. They announced their own entry into the tournament, GREATMETAL’s Monkey King.

As one can probably guess from the name and nationality, the Monkey King is based off of Sun Wukong. There’s even a staff that rests on the back of the mech, but it is intended to be more than just decoration.

Unique to the Monkey King is the ability to transform between a humanoid bipedal mode to a lion-like quadrupedal mode as needed. This changing posture can end up being a very handy skill in combat, offering more ways to dodge attacks and trick opponents.

It is unknown if the Monkey King will participate in the August fight. Due to the lack of details regarding this mech, it will likely compete against United States and Japan at a later date when it will be more ready.

METHOD-1

Company: Korea Future Technology
Creator(s): Vitaly Bulgarov
Nationality: South Korea

Completely unrelated to the MegaBots tournament, but worth mentioning nonetheless: South Korea has been developing their own mech, the METHOD robot by Hankook Mirae Technology (which translates to Korea Future Technology).

The METHOD seems to be in a league of its own, being built with the intended purpose of testing the suitability of mechs in various realistic and utilitarian scenarios, opposed to robot duels as the three above. Specifically, the METHOD was designed to help clean up Japan's Fukushima disaster site. There has been talk on whether or not South Korea will test the METHOD-1 in actual war, with some speculating possible deployment in the Demilitarized Zone, the border between North and South Korea.

Early on in METHOD’s development, Korea Future Technology hired concept artist Vitaly Bulgarov to design the aesthetics of the robot. Bulgarov is known for his work on numerous video games and movies, including StarCraft II, 2014’s RoboCop, and Transformers: Age of Extinction. Due to hiring one of Hollywood’s highest valued visual artist and the lack of online presence of Korea Future Technology, many have assumed that the METHOD-1 is a hoax.

KFT has stated that the robot will be ready for sale by the end of 2017 for a price of about $8 million dollars. I really doubt it will be ready by then as all the videos have shown the robot to be quite wobbly and still required to be tethered to a cable to function properly.

Well, if the METHOD ends up getting made by the end of 2017, hopefully some millionaire madman ends up buying one and using it to fight the other three robots in next year's tournament.