You know things are getting a little 'weird' or 'over the top' with robot mania in Japan when an imaginary green frog character - Keroro Gunso (Sargent Frog), not Kermit - starts appearing in the drivers seat of what appears to be a large green humanoid robot.
Sound bizarre? In the US perhaps, but not where we live, just an hour to the east of Tokyo. We've become used to discovering more and more robot mania appearing all over the place. Last night we were killing a little time at the local bookstore, flipping through several of the latest toy and hobby magazines, and found some great examples.
The current issue of Quanto, a popular toy trend magazine, was chock full of robot related toys, with several featured on the front cover including Gundam, R2D2, and i-SOBOT (not shown in this photo).
Keroro driving the new Keroro-Robo.
Keroro, for those that don't follow Japanese manga and anime, originated in 1999 as a manga by Yoshigiki Mine but has become almost legendary here. It's uncommon to see full grown men and women dressed in Keroro costumes on the trains or a popular cosplay hangouts like Shibuya or Harajuku.
According to the story line, Keroro was Captain of the Space Invasion Forces Special Advance Team of the 58 Planet of the Gamma Storm Cloud System and was sent to earth (Pokopen) to gather intelligence. Of course things went awry, as the usually do in Japanese comic manga, Now there's a raft of Keroro figures, anime, collector items, and apparently a new humanoid, or froganiod , robot.
As we mentioned above, the new i-SOBOT from TOMY was also featured in this issue of Quanto. According to the latest information, the robot will be released simultaneously in both Japan and the US with the Japanese version being white (above photo) and the US version a more aggressive and "robo-dude"-ish black.
For some reason that we haven't been able to figure out, almost all the hobby/toy magazines here - and there are at least a half a dozen of them - have devoted quite a few pages to coverage to ScopeDog (Armored Troopers Votoms).