First of all, when I saw a full-scale model for the first time in 2009, to be honest, what surprised me most was not how big it was, but how wonderful the "toy-like" colors were.
And it is natural, but being huge, like a Big Buddha can have a great impact, like a pop star has. In that sense, the existence itself has a significance. Setting the real scale in motion would be a milestone in all senses for the future.
35 years ago, everything was OK in the Gundam franchise, as it was total fiction. We could create it as we liked and try anything, I believe that it is why Gundam can be everyone's dream.
I started my career working on the production of "Astro Boy." Astro Boy is a more high-performing robot than Gundam. As I have been telling stories with such robots, and considering that many engineers look up to robots in cartoons as a sort of goal, we need to show such dreams to future generations.
In 40 to 50 years, they might come true. I hope that Gundam will produce a new style.
Science and technology to date have been oriented toward industry. So they were based on efficiency and a logical perception about things. But when the robot deals with people, as I mentioned before, what is more important is sensibility or psychological issues. How does a robot perform not what people can't do but what people can easily do? I would say that new technology in that direction is emerging. Robot technology based on comfort instead of efficiency has been developed and implanted in a service robot.
As the director indicated, however, haven't we missed something important? We at last noticed it during the 3.11 (earthquake) disaster. From the viewpoint of robustness or more fundamental physics aspects, we need to reconsider the robot. Originally the robot had to be provided with all these aspects. If we regard it as a model, through a new Gundam robot, we want to consider these directions. This is the goal we want to achieve in five years. In spite of all the trouble in the world, we'd like to gather ideas from all over the world into a new Gundam robot and show it in Japan.
Creating a real Gundam isn't a dream any more and definitely has a solution. It might not be just one solution. There might be multiple ways to achieve it. I want to see all the ideas in the world brought together through this open innovation. By doing so, a dream will come true and reality will create a new dream. Creating this good cycle is the goal of our Gundam Global Challenge Project.
Universities, especially technical ones all over the world are teaching students how to realize dreams. The reality is closer and closer to the dreams. But I'm afraid the gap between the dream and reality is too small. The wider the gap is, the more we are motivated. Universities of the world have to teach how to have the next dream in the next 100 years. Or we professors have to consider it together.
This Gundam Global Challenge could be a model case: After we accomplish it, we can have a huge dream. I'm very excited that this project will be an introductory event.
When I came up with this project, I cared if the robot can really move and what the robot should do. As I often use the word of entertainment, if the robot's movement touches someone or encourages them to think, that's enough.
The object of moving the Gundam robot is just to seek a way of touching people.
To tell the truth, before the 30th anniversary, I was thinking what kind of event we were going to hold. Suddenly an idea came to me: If an 18-meter Gundam were erected, it would be interesting.
Honestly, I never consider the impact of it on society at all. I persuaded the company to erect the robot, just thinking it interesting. I never imaged the robot moving at all, as my staff didn't tell me that the head could move a little. When I saw the head look up for the first time, I was so impressed. Then I thought that just the movement of the head changed the whole. So I have wanted to move the robot someday, as an 18-meter robot was built.
In the year prior to the Olympic Games, many people will visit Japan and pay attention to Japan. I would like to tell them that we made this with the people of the world. More importantly, I will focus on the fact that the Japanese made it with the world.