THE HISTORY OF ROBOTS
I thought the best way to begin this post was to clarify the definition of robot. I thought, whoever was reading this post, they would find it much easier to understand what I was getting at if I were to pull them into the same line of understanding or thought on how I would define the modern, fictionalized robot.
Many of my ideas and research are from the web, or from my experiences and imagination, so I forewarn those of you who find my post a little(?) biased. I will try my best to reference all of my material so those of you who want to dig further into the material may do so with probable ease.
During my childhood, what I loved the most were robots. I liked cars and vehicular toys, but nothing fascinated me more than the humanoid robots. Personally I like all sorts of humanoid robots. It really didn't matter if they were the clunky type,
or the more streamlined type.
As long as I knew that they were animated automatons, they grabbed my attention.
The first robot that I remembered from my memory was a toy robot that transformed into a car. It wasn't a "Transformer"(An entertainment franchise created by Hasbro and Takara Tomy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transformers), but its concept was pretty similar to a transformer. (during that period in time, 1986, Transformers were hugely popular, so there were a tonne of rip off toys. Mine was probably a pirated toy as well) Like a Transformer, the robot was disguised as car. For its humanoid form, It would stand, as a semi balanced excuse for a robot. It's back was hunched over like an old granny, probably due to the fact that it would help the robot keep its balance. You could gently push the robot on its back, with the intent of pushing it into the ground. when you let go the car would zip forward, because there was a mechanism in the car that would wind up when the robot was shoved into the ground. As the car moved forward the device inside the toy would unwind itself, and the card would literally transform by itself into a robot. At that time in my life I thought this toy was unbelievably cool. I always thought there must be some kind of tiny person inside the toy, making the car transform. The toy was one of the first robots that I loved and remembered, and It was a real joy to play with. I couldn't find any pictures from the internet so I decided to draw the thing myself. It isn't the most accurate depiction of the toy, but I think I communicates the basic design.
I was a 90's child so many of the robots that I have been exposed to from the media were robots from the 90's. During that time period Toys were very prevalent, compared to videogames and electronic entertainment today, and toy companies made profit from selling these toys. These toy companies would advertise these toys through the use of children's cartoons. The cartoons would act as the models and the children who watched these cartoons would go out and buy these toys. Most of the cartoons were really terrible in terms of production quality, but if the cartoons were being serialized, that meant the toys could be sold in the bunches.
During that period in time, in my opinion, a robot was cool when it had symmetrical features, it had killer weapons and attacks and most importantly, it could transform. Ever since "Transformers" no robot is really cool unless it transforms. Heck even the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" had a series of transforming figures.
This is a video of a transformable Splinter. (you can click on the link below)
While I was on the hunt for this image I found a cool image of a transforming Yoda figure. This was a real bonus for me.
Okay, so I'm kind of diverting from the main topic here. I have a tendency of diverting. Must keep in focus!
So transforming was a real key factor in robots. The japanese anime robot industry were somewhat of the inventors of combination robots, which is in the spirit of transformations. Combination robots, also known as "Gattai" robots are also a key staple in the robot industry. One of the earliest "Gattai" robots that I saw were from, again, "Transformers" but my most favorite "Gattai" robot of all time is the "Getter Robo", created by Go Nagai. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Getter_robo) Go Nagai is also famous for creating "Mazinger Z", which pretty much paved way for most of the robot Anime's (Japanese Cartoons) until today. "Mazinger Z" was also the forefather of the rocket punch, where the robots arm would detach from the body and propel itself forward on its enemies. This rocket punch is parodied and referenced by the media up to this day.
Before we go any further, and also before I start to lose focus, because I'm already starting to lose control on my writing, let me end the introduction here. On the next post I am going to define the terminology used to distinguish the types of robots in the media. Thanks for reading!