Masaaki Nagumo proves dreams come true with his giant Mobile Suit Gundam, engineered to perfection. It walks, it shoots sponge balls, and just like in the series, it needs a pilot. (Chris McGrath, Getty Images)
Growing up, Masaaki Nagumo always watched Mobile Suit Gundam, and much of his childhood was spent dreaming that he could one day suit up as a robot, just like in his favorite animated series.
Dreams do come true.Giant Mobile Suit Gundam Robot
Nagumo, now an engineer working at the farming machinery manufacturer Sakakibara Kikai, has turned his childhood pipe dream into a reality. A giant reality, at that. Meet LW-Mononofu, a massive Gundam-style robot standing 28 feet tall and weighing about 7.7 tons. It can move its limbs, walk forward, and fire sponge balls via its arm-mounted air cannon. Because of size and weight, the robot can only move at a snail's pace of 1 kilometer per hour — and it can barely move out of the garage it was built inside of. To take it out, it must first be dismantled because it's far taller than the entrance.
"As an anime-inspired robot that one can ride, I think this is the biggest in the world," he said.
So how does it work? Well, a robot of this size needs a pilot, and for LW-Mononofu to operate, Nagumo climbs inside the machine, which is exactly how it works on the science fiction animated series on which it's dreamed out of.
Though a product of nostalgia, Nagumo thinks it could be a means of profit.
"I think this can be turned into a business opportunity," he told Reuters, noting the popularity of the iconic Robot series that has birthed an entire pop culture tapestry, which includes movies, films, manga, video games, toys, and more.Nagumo's Other Robots
Suppose he does venture out into business with his brand-new creation, Nagumo already has the advantage of experience. Aside from LW-Mononofu, he has also developed other robots and amusement machines and rents them to parties and other entertainment events for an equivalent of $930 an hour. That's a steep price, but Nagumo's engineering work is spectacular. For instance, the LW-Mononofu was built with such precision that a pilot will be able to control finer points of the robot, such as its fingers.