The weekly Robot Battle segment on NTV's Sunday "World Records" program has gotten a little wilder. This Sunday's competition was between Afro and a new robot named Ushiwakamaru.
Afro, named for his distinctive hair style, is 45 cm (17.7 inches) tall, and tips the scales at 2.6 kg (5.73 pounds).
Like most of the competitors, Afro is definitely a family project. The designer's mother knits Afro's sweaters - and possibly even his hair.
This time around Afro surprised everyone with a new (pink?) hair do and a letter sweater complete with little hearts.
One of Afro's unique defenses is his ability to blow bubbles out of the top of his head. I'm not exactly sure why they added this feature, but it may be intended to confuse the other robot's sensors in some fashion.
Afro's competitor was Ushiwakamaru, who takes his name from a famous 12th century Japanese hero that was proficient in martial arts.
Ushiwakamaru, in addition to the splendid costume, featured Japanese fans that erupt from his sleeves and can be used as offensive weapons - in the martial arts tradition of being able to use anything as an effective weapon.
From a pure specification/performance perspective, it looked like Ushiwakamaru was way in front of Afro. The two charts show the relative performance of each robot for a number of factors including power, speed, etc. From this analysis, Afro seems totally lopsided. This was evident in their pre-match routines when Afro seemed a little clumsy and unstable, while Ushiwakamaru moved with a lot of grace and speed.
Early in the match Afro tried blowing bubbles, but Ushiwakamaru was well prepared. He immediately extended his fans and blew the bubbles right back in Afro's face. Of course this resulted in a lot of laughter and cheers of approval from the audience.
Afro's strongest move seems to be a head butt. He maneuvers up close to his opponent, then throws himself forward crashing his massive hairdo into the opponent's chest. This works surprisingly well, and often results in the opponent falling over backwards.
Ushiwakamaru quickly got wise and countered using his extended arms and fans to keep Afro at bay. His balance was so good that he frequently stood on one foot while swinging his fans.
When he was able to land a solid fan punch, he could knock Afro off his feet.
There are 4 more matches left in this series - which means that the final broadcast should be right around the time of the Robo-One competition here in Tokyo. I wouldn't be surprised if NTV does some type of tie-in special program, though nothing has shown up on the television schedules yet.