May 27, 2007
If you've gotten even remotely near an animated robot in the last 25 years, there's a good chance you've bumped up against a Shoji Kawamori design. He's been designing mecha for 25 years, mostly for animation (his two most recognizable designs are Super Dimension Fortress Macross's transforming Valkyries—aka Robotech's Veritechs—and the toy that would become Transformer's Optimus Prime). His latest client, however, is none other than automaker Nissan, who commissioned Kawamori to design a powered suit as part of the promotion for their Dualis SUV (the Dualis is known as the Qashqai outside of Japan). The ten-foot tall model will be on display at the Nissan Gallery in Tokyo's Ginza district until June 13.

This is a case of life imitating art, but it wasn't too long ago that Nissan bumped up against anime in a case of art imitating life. Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society prominently featured two Nissan concept cars, the Sport Concept and Infiniti Kuraza.

The official, Japanese-language Dualis page is here, featuring a little bit of animated CG mecha action. You can also catch a video clip of Kawamori introducing the Dualis mecha here, and a whole mess of photos here.

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When I first began enjoying the aesthetics of Japanese animation, one of the first names I memorized was Showji Kawamori. The flexibility and adaptability of his mecha designs show remarkable life... they always have and they always will. The YF-19 Advanced Variable Fighter is my personal favorite.

The only reason I watch some anime of lesser [personal] interest, such as Eureka Seven, is because of Kawamori's input.

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