The next round of the regular NTV Robot Battle feature on Sunday's "World Records" program is about to kick off, and to generate more interest and enthusiasm they broadcast a 90 minute special yesterday afternoon. The program outlined the competitors for the next round, and gave a lot of background on the robots and their designers. This time the competition is highlighting the connection between today's robots and well known robots featured in anime and manga.
The basic designs will be similar - bipedal, numerous servos, typically with RC controls.
The first match will pit a robot developed by a major Japanese university that's based on Tetsujin 28 (Gigantor in the US) against one of the earlier competitors rebuilt as Gundam. Just like Tetsujin in the animated cartoon, this new Tetsujin will respond to voice commands. And, to make things even more interesting, it appears that the leader of the Gundam team is planning a vocal counter attack.
Most of the robots are operated via standard RC controllers that have been modified to a small extent. However, one of the teams developed a 'Waldo' approach - a harness that straps on the operator's upper body and sends the movements to the robot.
Just like last time around, we can expect to see lots of costumes and role play as the operators, the hosts, and even the audience get caught up in the Robot Battle spirit.
Fans show up rooting, complete with signs and banners. One competitor in the last round had a family rooting section including his mother. She was really into the competition, and even got text messages on her cell phone from friends that watched the program on television.
Some of the previous competitors, like "Afro" will be back reborn as a new character with a new personality.
One of the robots will be based on "Cutie Honey" - who wasn't really a robot, but in the manga/anime world comes close enough to qualify. The top left screen shot features the original Cutie Honey, while the one at the top right comes from last year's movie. The lower right photo shows the Cutie Honey robot that will be competing - but is supposed to be highly confidential.
A professional wrestler turned TV talent will be operating a robot using the body harness design. It will be quite interesting to see how this works out.