Although he is known by many different names around the world, when people hear "ROBO-ONE" they immediately think of the incredibly strong, flexible, and fast white robot with the big red Japanese flag symbol on his chest. He is instantly recognizable, and a big favorite with the crowds, children, adults, and even seniors. So, when he makes the attempt to set a new personal record, the audience is immediately hushed and respectful. It's almost like they are holding their breath while silently rooting him on to success.
The ROBO-ONE robot champion we're talking about is, of course, Dr. GIY's creation: "Yokozuna Great Shiranui." The title "Yokozuna" comes from the well known Japanese sport of sumo wrestling.
"Shiranui", however, is very difficult to translate literally. The best we can do is to describe it as a mysterious, unconquerable force of nature. Only Dr. GIY knows the true origin of his robots name, but based on the many times we've been able to enjoy its performances in and outside of the ROBO-ONE ring, we think Yokozuna Great Shiranui really is a mysterious and unconquerable robotic force of nature.
Around the internet, on posters, in books and magazines, he is sometimes referred to as "Y. G. Shiranui", or "Yokozuna Great", and was even christened "Yokozuna Bot" by David Caulkins, the ROBOlympics/RoboGames organizer. His image appears everywhere, in newspapers, books, television programs, and magazines including on the cover of the popular Robot Magazine in the U.S. He even has his own trading cards that Dr. GIY sometimes hands out to young fans at major robot events.
In many ways, he's the robot equivalent of a rock star, at least as far as recognition and popularity are concerned. Thankfully, he and his creator don't have any of the bad habits or traits that usually are attributed to famous rock stars. Dr. GIY is a very humble and unassuming person, almost bashful. Although he obviously enjoys some of the attention from Yokozuna Great's fans, he doesn't put on any airs. He usually dresses very simply, and often wears the same type of blue work jacket that is common in most traditional Japanese factories. In the true sense of the word, he's more than a 'gentleman', he is a 'gentle man.'
At the same time, he is one of the toughest competitors in the ROBO-ONE world here in Japan. He's even been known to manufacture his own servo motors to get as much power as possible. As a result of his ability, skill, and dedication, Yokozuna Great has a list of metals and awards that's literally as long as my arm, and still growing.
One of Yokozuna Great's trademark demonstrations is to karate chop a stack of roof tiles just like Bruce Lee. It's very dramatic, and a sure crowd pleaser. To scale the challenge down appropriately, some really hard Japanese osembei (rice crackers) are used in place of real tiles. That doesn't mean that the challenge is easy - the osembei used are as tough as any roofing tile and would literally chip your teeth if you tried to bite down on one without being careful.
The robot's standing record as of the KHR-1 Second Anniversary celebration event in early June was 5 in one blow.We're pretty sure that without additional pressure Dr. GIY would have been very happy to have his robot make the attempt to break just 5 once again.
But there was a large group of other ROBO-ONE players with their robots there, and, as boys sometimes will, some of them challenged Yokozuna Great to try to set a new record. Why not 6? How about 7? Sure, you can do 8! Go for it - try breaking 9! We can't be absolutely sure, but there were probably a few side bets being taken also.
Before anyone knew what was happening or had a moment to reconsider, there were 10, yes TEN, tiles stacked up to challenge the robot. Here's how it all played out:
Pretty amazing, even if he didn't quite manage to break them all with the first blow. He'll have another chance, many, many more. And we'll definitely be there in the audience, watching respectfully, and definitely rooting for him with all of our heart.