Huge robot the size of a space rocket unveiled to the public in Japan

The 18-metre leviathan, modelled after a popular 1970s anime series Mobile Suit Gundam, showed off its abilities

The rocket-sized Gundam robot comes to 'life' in Yokohama, Japan. Screenshot 
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A robot the size of a space rocket was unveiled to Japan's public this week after six years in the making.

The Gundam, which stands at 18-metres tall and weighs 25 tonnes, moved its arms and took a knee after being switched on.

Inspired by the popular 1970s anime series Mobile Suit Gundam, the bionic behemoth was tested outside the Gundam Factory in Yokohama, south of Tokyo.

Previous models have been built but this is the first time it has been given full automation.

Footage of it coming ‘alive’ by moving its legs, torso and arms went viral on Japan's anime-mad social media.

It was built to be the centrepiece of the Gundam Factory on October 1, but the unveiling was postponed due to Covid-19.

“We expect to have our grand opening within the year. Details will be announced as available,” the factory operator said.

“This decision was made to ensure the health and safety of our fans and employees in response to the worldwide spread of Covid-19.

“We apologise to all of our fans who were looking forward to our grand opening and ask for your understanding. In the meantime, we will be making preparations so that all of our visitors can enjoy themselves in safety.”

The design and function of the robot is modelled after the ‘real robot’ that featured in the anime series and remains a pop-culture icon in Japan.

The robot has a large steel frame with a carbon fibre exterior. Movements are made possible by electric actuators that take signals from a computer and convert them into motion.

An 18-metre tall statue of popular TV animation hero, Gundam flashes its eyes at a press preview at a Tokyo park on July 10, 2009. The huge statue of life sized robot hero stands for the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the first broadcast of the animation "Mobile Suit Gundam". The statue will be opened to the public from July 11 through the end of August to attract summer vacationers and will also be used to promote Tokyo's bid for the 2016 Olympic Games. AFP PHOTO/YOSHIKAZU TSUNO (Photo by - / AFP)
A previous model of the Gundam flashes its eyes at a press preview at a Tokyo park in July 2009. AFP