Back in the 1980's we had the opportunity to host quite a few Japanese visiting Southern California on business. We happened to notice that a few of the men seemed totally fascinated by the XXX-rated movie theaters, which would be considered totally tame by today's standards. When we asked them how the movies differed, they answered very frankly that in Japan the actors were only pretending, but in the US, it was real.
Fast forward 25 years... The Japanese are world leaders, and undisputed trend setters in manga, anime, advanced gaming, cosplay, and humanoid robots. And, once again, they are 'only pretending'. But, the Americans are taking them totally seriously, and intend to get down and dirty at "fight-to-the-death" robot Mech Warfare.
Billed as "Mech Wars - Bringing Mech Combat to Reality" intends to stage real Mech competitions, starting at RoboGames 2009 next summer, complete with realistic weapons and eventually even micro-rockets. Check out some of their initial prototype Mechs. We're not sure that we want to put our robot in the arena to be destroyed, but you can be sure we'll be there to watch, and cheer on our favorites.