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Design of Yonezawa‘s Mr. Atomic

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David Kirk

I thought there was something special about Mr. Atomic when I saw it in the Sears Wish Book in 1962.  I really focused on it. I wonder if part of why it's so rare is that it was considerably overpriced in that catalog. Other big battery ops at the time were four or five bucks rather than $6.99. I was thrilled when I found mine at the local department store for $2.99. I wish I'd bought two or three!


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I think you have something there in your hypothesis. I never heard of that German Nuclear Dome.

Thank God it is preserved. 

In the 1950s, Tubes were still the normal devices in electronics, radios, amps, TVs..

But to condense things into an electronic Robot 'Brain'  I imagine the designer figured

why not put all the grids, elements of multiple tubes into ONE huge Vacuum dome.💡

Least that's my theory of 'Robbie's' design. 🤖

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Robby one step of circuit integration ahead of its time. Nice interpretation. Futuristic, not just the movie’s plot but down to detail.




Now the

Second Part: The overall appearance

My attempt to take a Japanese view at Mr. Atomic. No contradiction to part one. This view on details goes well with the Garching Atomic Egg idea.


Although today we see Mr. Atomic as one of the first or the first ever droid type robot, that we usually know to be rather short, I always look at him as if he were man size. Take a low position and you almost find yourself confronted with a big Sumo wrestler. The colossal, steady shape. The feet, these crazy feet get their meaning if he is a Sumo. You can't think of a Sumo without his footwork. The head with no neck. Absolutely convincing for me is the arm’s position, hands open. Ready to take a firm hold of his opponent.



Mr. Atomic    vs    Grand Champion Akebono from Hawaii


The loincloth and big belt. The impressive zig-zag patterns hanging from a grand champion's waist rope during the fight‘s entry ceremony are represented by the flash shaped writing, the ‚Mr. Atomic‘ font on the robot.



The Shide, a zigzag-shaped paper streamer, often attached to shimenawa (rope) and used in Shinto rituals.




And a bit of colourful Samurai style armour decoration as well (compensating for the sumo’s bare skin).


A wrestler, a fighter. It takes two for the arena.





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