Humanoid robot can take a knee, no mean feat when you are 18 metres tall

It is just over 18 meters high and weights 25 tons. And a life-size Japanese Gundam robot, after years of meticulous effort, has just proved to its millions of fans that it really can fly.

Modelled on one of the robots from the highly successful Mobile Suit Gundam anime series of the 1970s, the giant computer was put through its paces this week at its new home in Yokohama, the port city.

The humanoid was supposed to become the flagship of the Yokohama Gundam Plant, south of Tokyo, on 1 October, but according to the site’s director, the virus pandemic means it will not be officially unveiled until later in the year.

“In reaction to the worldwide spread of Covid-19, this decision was taken to ensure the health and safety of our fans and employees,” it said in a statement.

We apologize to all of our supporters who looked forward to our grand opening and are asking for your understanding. In the meantime, we are going to arrange for the safety of all our guests.

This week, fans of the multibillion-dollar Gundam franchise, which has grown to include movies, manga, plastic models and video games, were given a sneak peek when a speed-up video showed the towering development, watched by staff on a nearby observation deck, taking a knee and moving its right arm and fingers.

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