New Film Asks: “What If We Just Tried to Build Anime For Real?”

The makers of giant robot anime rarely, if ever, set out to make something believable — hell, that tends to be the exact opposite of their goal. From Gunbuster compressing the planet Jupiter into a bomb to the galaxy-flinging final battle of Gurren-Lagann, the Rule of Cool typically takes precedence. 

But what if a construction company decided to try and reproduce the setting of one of these shows? In 2004, civil engineering company Maeda Corporation published a paper aiming to do just that for one of anime’s most iconic (and most illogical) settings: Mazinger Z’s underwater hangar.

First aired in 1972, Mazinger Z is one of the most influential giant robot anime ever made, for more reasons than I have time to list here. The titular massive mecha resides in a hangar underneath a swimming pool. When Z is called into action, the pool splits in half as the robot is lifted through the resulting cascades of water on an elevator. The design isn’t exactly efficient, but it didn’t stop the Maeda Corporation Fantasy Marketing Department for writing up a brief on how exactly it could be built.

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Now, their research is being turned into a “what if” film, in which the Fantasy Marketing Department actually builds its off-the-wall project. So you’ll be able to see their theories realized as the team’s fictional counterparts scout for the perfect location and figure out how to bring this improbable structure to life. Mazinger Z creator Go Nagai even has a cameo in, though what exactly that entails, we’ll have to wait and see.

The Fantasy Marketing Department didn’t stop at Z’s hangar, though. They’ve been writing up pitches for real-world recreations of anime and game locales for the last decade and a half. Later projects include plans for some of Gran Turismo’s fictional tracks, a fully operational Space Battleship Yamato, and an organizational plan for Dr. Hell’s evil minions (once again from Mazinger Z). Sadly, none of these pamphlets has received an official, or even easily accessible, English translation as of yet.

As crazy as their job may seem (and did seem to the aforementioned Go Nagai), the Fantasy Marketing Department is an important part of the Maeda Corporation. Their anime dreams represent the company’s ability to think outside the box in the fast-paced world of 21st century technology. And hell, if they can deliver an anime spaceship on time and under budget, imagine what they could do for an office block.

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