Saturday, October 21, 2017

We Dig Giant Robots (Or We Didn't?)

A quick fan art I made for this post, from the screencaps of the actual video here, uploaded by MegaBots Inc.'s YouTube channel. All images featured here are screencaps from the same YT channel.
It's been a very long time I haven't had my post again here while I still actively post on my fandom blog. Prior to the last post, I've written my take on both Teen Choice Awards and Primetime Emmy Awards, two awfully different coins of award shows, as well as some SpoilerTV competitions. I was thinking about posting something related to SEGA's newly-announced game Sega World Drivers Championship which had its test event in June. The game is basically the arcade racer with a simcade feeling and Super GT license, featuring three GT500 race cars we know from Nissan, Honda, and Lexus, plus three different GT300 cars: two JAF-GT racers, namely the apr Prius GT300 and the Subaru BRZ GT300, and one Mother Chassis car the VivaC GT86. Unfortunately, as time passed and I focused on my final paper's proposal, I didn't have time, especially with the fact that my original intention was to showcase my new WIP TMUF skins of various GT500 cars available on the Carpark.

But finally I've found my light on the edge of the tunnel as I finished my proposal and having it accepted by both supervisors so that I could "green light" my topic by inputting all those stuffs in a computer system to have my supervision permit for my final paper (?) printed by Friday (in September) at the latest, allowing me to officially begin the endless sessions of revisions by the supervisors as soon as possible. This was just one step done, the next step would be harder as I only have six months to graduate from my college now. Right now, revisions are currently underway...

To "celebrate" it, I'm giving myself a go for a blog post here, with some kick of most recent offerings: giant robots. More particularly, a duel between giant robots. In case you missed it, a duel between USA's MegaBots and Japan's Suidobashi Heavy Industries took place days ago. It was quite a hype when MegaBots challenged Suidobashi's own Kuratas two years ago which took internet by storm, and now with all preparations were done, the wait is finally over.

Fighters at the ready!
The fight took place in a Japanese steel mill, with three different robots deployed by the two parties: Suidobashi's sole warrior Kuratas was actually around for a longer time than MegaBots, dating back to 2012 when it was unveiled in conjunction with its website's launch, with the robot itself demonstrated at Wonder Festival. Billed as the "the world's first giant boarding robot," Kuratas is designed by artist Kogoro Kurata (the robot's namesake), and roboticist Wataru Yoshizaki, taking inspirations from mecha anime he watched in Kurata's childhood, and bears a light yet nimble design with a speed up to 18 mph (29 kmh), with a packed fist to match. On the other side, MegaBots Inc. challenges Suidobashi with not one but two robots: the Mk II a.k.a. Iron Glory, packed with a cannon and missile launcher, built in 2015 with an upgrade to its melee capabilities using MegaBots' Kickstarter campaign, and the Mk III a.k.a. Eagle Prime, Iron Glory's heavier and meaner evolution form with even better cannon, better armature, a new software compared to the Mk II, and most importantly, the eagle that can be seen on its right side of the cockpit. Both Iron Glory and Eagle Prime are piloted by MegaBots Inc. CEOs Gui Cavalcanti and Matt Oehrlein.

The fight was streamed on Twitch and is available on YouTube for the public to see, as it was already filmed prior to the streaming date which was October 17th at 7 pm PT. The battle was a three-round affair with the winner is pretty much decided by eliminating the opponent by either of these three ways: knock the robot out, disable the robot, or make the pilot surrender. The recap follows below while I get to put my thoughts on this Giant Robot Duel gala below this recap. In case you don't want to be spoiled of the result here, I suggest you to check out the link above to watch the fight in action before reading further!


October 17, 2017. The day where giant robots can meet with each other to fight and that we dig giant robots more after two years of waiting where at that time MegaBots Inc. challenged Suidobashi for the occasion we all know. Suidobashi accepted the challenge with the condition that they could fight in a hand-to-hand combat and later going against both robots, which pretty much explained why there were three different robots for this fight, with two belonged to MegaBots.

The first round was between Iron Glory (the Mk II) and Kuratas. The Iron Glory may have the cannon and the missile launcher, but Kuratas has the edge in terms of speed and weight, weighing half a ton more than the Iron Glory. As such, the on-paper odds were in Kuratas' favor, and boy didn't it reflect perfectly: the fight started with Iron Glory attempting to shoot its weapon, but Kuratas stormed towards Iron Glory and literally took out an easy win with just a Saitama punch, making the 6-ton robot fall from where it stood. MegaBots' pilots had to brace themselves for a not-so-pleasant fall of defeat in progress.

Kuratas stormed towards Iron Glory and literally took out an easy win with just one punch, just like Saitama in One-Punch Man.
But, things change as MegaBots brought its Eagle Prime (the Mk III) to the mix in the second round. With the Mk III having bigger weight and better weapons meant Kuratas had more challenge to overcome with. To put it in context, Mk III is almost twice heavier than Kuratas, with an immense power at 430 HP although its maximum speed is below Kuratas' chart at 10 mph (), in addition to its improved armature and a double-barreled canon. During the second round, Eagle Prime shot its weapon as it tried to expose Kuratas hiding behind the barrels, but the Japanese robot let out its drone to make the American robot busy, and Kuratas finally stormed towards Eagle Prime as the drone fell to its cockpit, but even the fallen drone wasn't a distraction as Eagle Prime went forward as well and  began inflicting quite a damage to Kuratas in a close counter, firing powerful shots at Kuratas' midsection and later lower parts of the opposing robot. With the fight being stopped, MegaBots gets its first win, but it was revealed that the fight had to be re-done, and that not without Eagle Prime bringing its new armament to the redo: the chainsaw.

The last-minute chainsaw was brought in to enable Eagle Prime fight Kuratas at a close counter, just as what Suidobashi wanted like in the first round, only tougher. As the second (a redo and the final) round commenced, Eagle Prime went forward slowly, but Kuratas began to shoot its rifle towards the opponent as it tried to move away from the menace. Going closer, Eagle Prime took a girder nearby with its arm to spin it in a movement comparable to a front propeller in classic airplanes, something that's done to deflect Kuratas' bullets. The Japanese robot would then shove its way towards the Eagle Prime, but its weight was able to withstand the red robot's attack, and with the robot getting stuck, the Prime activated its chainsaw to cut through the opponent's rifle, push back Kuratas, and destroy the set as the commentators went "holy moly" and ran away, before the Prime went further trying to cut through Kuratas' right arm only to have the fight stopped for MegaBots' second win.

Chainsawed to death – a bitter end Kuratas had to face in the third fight.
With a disappointed face, Kuratas pilot Kogoro Kurata had to wipe his tears upon defeat, but gave Gui and Matt a handshake after getting off, with the crew of both parties follow suit after a delightful giant robot fight. Kurata-san however couldn't contain his excitement after the fight, saying that the fight was "awesome," and in the meantime MegaBots hoped that there could be a league of giant fighting robots with a set of rules, some unique weight classes, just like any fighting sport in general, and most importantly, "bring the show on the road."

With the conclusion of this so-called first ever giant robot duel, we can say that this event is a success. The only question is did it fulfill my expectations? One can wonder...


Here's the thing: I will say I enjoyed this whole show from start to finish, but somehow the end product felt flat, almost like the giant robot fight doesn't seem to have enough kick to outperform a top-tier TV series episode you could watch, let alone a mid-tier one. Maybe it's the high expectations after two years of waiting, perhaps? In case you wonder, here's why:

First, let's begin with the unfortunate fact that the fight doesn't seem to be taped live with audiences. I thought it's going to be in somekind of an arena with people watching a la Robot Wars or BattleBots, but instead this was pre-recorded and the only audiences you can see are literally just both members of MegaBots and Suidobashi, apart from the camera crew that is. I know I can see safety concerns due to the robots' weapons which meant that there should be a catchfence for the audience if we were to bring some Robot Wars-styled arena to play, but that would bring us to the second concern: budgeting, because I felt like making a big arena with catchfence and all that stuff doesn't come cheap, although having an audience meant that there could be an admission fee which would have a chance to return the budget used for the arena building, but you never know. Again, I had too much expectations so maybe some people here who watched this fight might find it more okay than I do...

Eagle Prime ending Kuratas at point-blank range.
Meanwhile the fight themselves: from the entire 20 seconds of the first round I began stanning Kuratas right away because it's a fast and nimble robot with a good pack of punch. Things really looked promising for Kuratas, not so much for MegaBots. The first round itself is a pure LOL-worthy moment, but at the same time shows Kuratas' superiority in terms of speed and power. Come second round, however, things get dry fast with the heavier and meaner Eagle Prime deployed, as if the MegaBots creation is too imbalanced for Kuratas. Not much fight coming out of Kuratas, but it went more offensive in the third round, but even all the weapons didn't bring down the Prime and that MegaBots easily made a double win with a more powerful robot. In other words: it's "gg ez noobs" for MegaBots, and that's not a good thing. A couple of the comments in the YouTube video said that the last two rounds were somehow scripted, others said MegaBots cheated by bringing two robots instead of one (but then again Suidobashi wanted to fight both robots too), but many can point their fingers at MegaBots for what they've done.

Really unfortunate because Kuratas really had the chance to win this, but Eagle Prime seemed to be kinda like a video game final boss. Not really a fan of MegaBots after the last two rounds, but I can't say Eagle Prime isn't a formidable opponent either. The title for the best robot though should go to Kuratas, as the Japanese robot has better mobility and speed to at least avoid the American robot that gave them hell. Such a shame that the rifle and the fist weren't that effective against the Prime.

All in all, I would see something like this again, but with better setting. This is just a start of what should come in the future, so maybe I find it okay that this didn't fulfill half of my expectations here. Other than that, it was an enjoyable fight! Who knows we could get something better next time, maybe a new opponent, maybe an evolved Kuratas, or exactly something MegaBots envisioned?

Yes, we all still dig giant robots, not so much for the duel unfortunately, for the last two parts at least.


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