From drawing robots to making cars: one step
Japanese car-makers get inspired by the Gundam anime series
It all started with my procrastination.
Having some free time and no energy to do anything, I referred to Youtube for consolation. And Youtube offered me some “Mobile Suit Gundam Seed” anime.
It took me a couple of days to watch all series in a row and become expert in big robots and the Universal Century. Then I discovered new Gundam anime series. Dozens of them. Then I asked myself: if the Japanese are so crazy about Gundams, this should have an impact on the real life, shouldn’t it?
And it actually has.
In 2015, Toyota presented its Zeonic Auris. A bloody-red car which resembles a Zaku robot piloted by Char Aznable (Casval Rem Deikun?) from the Federation of Zeon. Char was a super-fast and hyper-smart legendary badass who became known to the history as the “Red Comet”. To make Zeonic Auris truly outstanding, Toyota collaborated with the Gundam series’ designers, the Char’s creators. The result of this collaboration, apart from the brilliant paintjob, can be seen in the red wheels and a brand new front end with fins and extra intakes.
However, the Zeonic Auris only looks cool. It is propelled by 1.2-liter turbo, 1.8-liter and 1.5-liter engines. As for me, none of the three units makes up a good match to the Zaku’s thrusters. Because Char’s Zaku was ruthlessly fast and nimble. For proofs – check anime!
But Toyota is not the only one. Designers of the 2020 Nissan GT-R concept, for instance, decided to give their car a Gundam-like appearance: a squared off rear and round tail lamps. The global design chief Shiro Nakamura told Reuters that the car’s window-and-roof line is very distinctive: “It doesn’t flow smoothly from front to rear, it’s bent. We wanted to express the awkward but cool, powerful shape of the Japanese anime robot … We wanted to set us apart from Porsche, Ferrari and other supercars, which are designed to mimic the streamlined beauty of a hunting animal, like a jaguar.”
Now, mates, do you understand better why the GT-Rs look like nothing else? Because they’re almost robots!
And these are not only the GT-Rs! Look at the Juke! Look at the Gripz concept from 2016 (which looks like the one to replace Juke). Buy them and become pilots!
Going further with that, the Gundam designers themselves “hire” automotive companies to make cars. For instance, Kunio Okawara, the NAME in the anime world, launched cooperation with the Tokyo’s Four Link System. They produced the “Earth 1”, a small and super-mobile electric vehicle the cockpit of which looks like the one from anime. The car can also fold upwards and has wings!
The “Earth 1” was presented by the Four Link System in February 2018. In April 2018 the company made the concept more colourful and renamed it into the Ex Machina.
According to the company, the Ex Machina “should be able to do what a full-sized automobile can’t”. In particular, diminishing in size and parking in super tight spots. The car should also be as intuitively to drive as a smart-phone on wheels.
The Four Links System plans to get the Ex Machina approved for public roads within the nearest future. It should be available for sale within the next year or two. Kunio Okawara hopes that when the car finally goes to market, it will carry the Federation or Zeon logo on it.
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