US and Japan to Settle Their Differences with Giant Battling Robots

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These robots are getting ready to rumble—a high-tech spectacle that will pit the East and the West’s meanest machines against each other in a futuristic showdown unlike any other.

No, you’re not reading the synopsis of a sci-fi flick. This robot face-off is slated to occur next year, courtesy of American engineering company MegaBots, which challenged Japanese counterpart Suidobashi Heavy Industry to what will surely be a steel shattering, circuitry twisting, gear grinding duel.

MegaBots recently threw down the gauntlet in a YouTube video that showcased its hulking 12 thousand pound Mark II robot, which is piloted by a team of two and boasts guns that can fire three-pound paintballs at speeds of over 100 miles per hour. They dared Suidobashi to trot out its own mammoth KURATAS robot, which weighs in at 9000 pounds.

Suidobashi founder and CEO Kogoro Kurata responded earlier this week in a video of his own, where he unflinchingly accepted MegaBots’s challenge, before raising the stakes, and demanding instead that the American robotics experts instead throw down in a no-guns, no-holds-barred melee match.

“Just building something huge and sticking guns on it. It’s… super American,” he said, adding: “I want to knock them down and punch them to scrap.”

Kurata’s tough stance may come as a surprise, when one considers just how much the odds are stacked against him: according to The Telegraph, the KURATAS robot is only four meters high, compared to the five-meter-tall Mark II. It’s also lighter and only has one pilot, rather than the two crew members that man the MegaBot. The article also noted that MegaBots wrote on a YouTube comment underneath its video: “Suidobashi accepted the challenge! And demands hand-to-hand combat!” while warning that the American engineers had not yet explicitly agreed to Kurata’s conditions.

CNN’s coverage of the upcoming robotic rock ‘em sock ‘em notes that no venue has been set, and that the mechanized mayhem might come at a steep cost for the engineers of both firms, given the type of investment needed to purchase such a gigantic chunk of futuristic metal: the KURATAS has a ¥120,000,000 ($978,000) price tag on Amazon. That article also detailed Japan’s previous—albeit fictional—feats in robotics, in wildly popular anime and manga titled like “Gundam” “Evangelion” and “Voltron.” Those cartoony iterations will of course pale in comparison to the real sparks that fly next year, when the KURATAS swings its scrappy scrap metal fists at the Mark II in a sci-fi style slugfest that is sure to be stranger than fiction.

[We should probably also mention that Japan does have a secret weapon that might come into play here… —Ed.]

—Kyle Mullin

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