Mike Le's Guide To Giant Robot Statues

I love giant robots!  Unfortunately, outside of my imagination and childhood memories of ROBOTECH, VOLTRON, TRANSFORMERS, GO-BOTS, Robot Kong, and Mecha-Godzilla, there are no giant robots walking around.  So until the day we find ourselves driving our own GUNDAMS, we're going to have to settle for giant robot statues:

1.  This robot statue was made from over 50 recycled parts and erected in Wushan Square in Hangzhou China as part of an environmental awareness exhibit. 

Chinese robot

2.  This statues represents the robot from Hayao Miyazaki’s LAPUTA IN THE SKY and stands at the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Japan. 


3.  This statue is RoboVox, which originally stood outside of the gallery of Robotexotica in Vienna, Austria.   It is a traveling art installation and apparently speaks what people text him.


4.  Optimus Prime is a popular icon in Yunna, China where his image adorns everything from t-shirts to truck doors.   A 40 foot statue of Optimus Prime stands in Yunna, China sentry to a Toyota Dealership.


5.  Also in China, a 17 foot bronze Optimus Prime stands in an IT market in Beijing.


6.  California resident, Tim Rhoades, is such a fan of TRANSFORMERS that he built a life-size replica of Bumblebee in his backyard.  It took him and a friend over  a year to build the statue.  If this isn't a chic-magnet, I don't know what is.


7.  This iron statue is called Scopedog, and is the creation of Kogoro Kurata.  Scopedog is 4 meters tall and weighs 2 tons, and was inspired by a robot that appeared in the 80’s anime series called VOTOMS.


8.  This giant robot statue was designed by Glenn Kaino and is curated by the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, PA.


9.  This giant robot beetle in Ibaraki, Japan took 11 years to build and is 11 meters long and weighs 15 tons.  Built by a Japanese engineer, it has moving parts, is remote controlled, and has seating for passengers. 


10.  This giant robot spider was built by the French performance art group La Machine and was featured in a 5-month festival in Yokohama.


11.  This MANZINGER Z statue stands in Tarragona, Spain.  MANZINGER Z is a giant robot manga and anime series created by Go Nagai. 


11.  This 20 foot robot statue is located in the middle of Camden Market in London.


12.  These giant insect robot statues were displayed at the Fuji Rock Festival in Naeba, Japan.


13.  Our uncle Walt Disney loved robots, as you can tell in this photo: 


14.  Oddly enough, still to this day there isn't a proper giant robot statue at any of the Disney parks.  There is however this giant robot made of legos in Orlando just outside of Disneyworld. 

Lego robot

15.   Also, a giant robot hand known as the KUKA RoboSim 4d Simulator which is a ride currently installed for exhibition at the Innoventions Pavillion in Epcot as part of the Sums of All Thrills at Disney World, Florida.  The RoboSim 4D Simulator features a spherical carbon fiber cabin that seats two passengers, with their legs and arms hanging out.  Using six axes and six degrees of directional freedom, the ride tosses its riders around in a variety of ways, making for an area of movement that is unprecedented in theme park rides.  Inside the cabin, the riders are treated to a hybrid of high-definition video and audio experiences, along with computer-controlled wind movements, making for a one-of-a-kind simulation that actually involves realistic climate settings.


16.  This Tetsujin statue stands in the middle of Wakamatsu Park in Kobe, Japan.   It reaches 18 meters tall and weighs a whopping 50 tons.   Tetsujin is a popular manga character from the 50’s, and the statue was erected as a symbol of the city’s recovery from the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake where more than 6,000 people were killed.   The popular robot character was chose because its creator, the late Mitsuteru  Yokoyama, was a Kobe native.   The cost of the project (1.4 million) was funded mainly through private donations.


17.  This Gundam statue is located in Yasu, Japan and stands 4 meters tall and weighs 4 tons.   It stands in front of a stone sculpting shop (when was the last time you saw one of those?) and is made of granite. 


18.  This bronze Gundam statue stands in front of the Seibu Kamiigusa train station in Suginami, Japan.   It represents the Gundam RX-78-2 robot, which is the original mecha introduced in the 1979 TV anime series MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM. 


19.  This Gundam which was built in Shiokaze Park in Odaiba, Tokyo is the mother of all giant robot statues.   Erected during the 30th anniversary of the Gundam franchise, it stands 18 meters tall and is made with fiberglass over a steel frame.   It has 50 light emitting points and 14 mist-generating locations, and features a moving head and speakers for sound-effects.


20.  South Korea has unveiled plans to build a 364 foot tall Taekwon V, which not only dwarfs the statues in Japan, but is also three times taller than the Statue of Liberty!   The Taekwon V, based on the character in the South Korean animated film, will be erected in 2013 in the middle of Robot Land, a proposed theme park in Incheon that has everything and anything to do with robots.    The Japanese have always had a bitter rival with the South Koreans when it comes to giant robots, and have accused the Koreans of plagiarizing Manzinger Z with TaeKwon V.   The giant robot statue cold war has begun!


Mike Le is a writer/producer living in Los Angeles.   He is also the creator of the Hollywood webcomic DON'T FORGET TO VALIDATE YOUR PARKING.

You can follow Mike Le on Twitter:  @DFTVYP

More on Geekweek


Sign in to comment with your TypePad, Twitter, Facebook, Google, Yahoo or OpenID.