Series Recommendation: Project Dreams – How To Build Mazinger Z Hangar

The impossible dream may be realizable after all…

Mecha is more often than not “hard sci-fi”, – which means the technology and robots in the series are nigh impossible to build in real life. And even if it is “buildable”, it will just be a poor imitation of what is seen in the anime. But as technology progresses, maybe some parts of them will be manufactured after all. Japan has demonstrated incredible feats in robotics and engineering with their movable Gundam statue. Today, we’re looking at one of the grandaddies of the mecha genre itself – Mazinger Z. We’re not building him in this movie, but rather his hangar. A fully functioning original Mazinger Z hangar with all the bells and whistles in the original anime. This movie contains all the marvels of technology, as well as the roller-coaster of emotions and determination of the people involved. Now, let’s make this dream come true!

The movie set an absolutely ridiculous premise – a construction company has received an order to come up with a technical plan to build Mazinger Z’s hangar – from the anime world by Professor Yumi himself. Yeah, it sounds like a fever dream, and our protagonist, Wataru Doi, also believes in it. He thinks this project is downright ridiculous and impossible, but his supervisor is adamant about making it a reality, and he got everyone on the team riled up as well. Little by little, they tackle the challenges of building the hangar – arguably harder than building Mazinger Z himself. Doi finally gives his all to the project as the team sheds blood, sweat and tears to deliver Kouji the hangar for his Super Robot.

+ Plot: This movie’s insane concept is one of Japan’s best cinematic directives. They are the only ones who can go full-on about such a topic with unbelievable seriousness. It’s like Ready Player One on extreme steroids. The charm of seeing normal white-collared worker trying their best, some even malded, to build a fictional construction in real life is unique and intense. The movie is purely for hobbyists and dreamers – people who can disregard the “realistic” obstacles to keep pursuing their dreams. Fans of Mazinger will also enjoy this movie with a smile as they recount several moments in the original anime itself. Heck, even construction worker, architects and engineers might enjoy this when they see real life technology being applied in such a unique way.

+ Screenplay: The series is totally J-drama. But I especially love the scenes where they show off the technology and the concept of the hangar’s gimmicks. It really put into perspective the gigantic effort it will take just to build a hangar for an 18-meter robot. And in mecha, we have so many that are 30, even 50-meter and taller. The actors and actresses also express themselves quite well – especially their gungho-ness about the project once they “locked in”. The parts where they communicate with the people in the Mazinger anime were especially entertaining.

+ Mechanical Design: Well…we don’t have an actual “mecha” in the movie. But there is plenty of “mechanical” stuff happening. The movie was made in 2020 – so it is relatively new and features a lot of interesting tech. It definitely not the best humanity has to offer, but for a “construction company”, the machinery and techniques they introduce are very intriguing and fun to watch. Of course, the actual hangar’s design and gimmicks are a sight to behold. And one has to wonder if Uncle Go thought of all this when he first drew the manga. He provided a lot of input for the movie, so a lot of it is retrospective. Still, it’s super cool to see them finding inconsistencies in the original series and making sure they accommodate them all.

+ Conclusion: Project Dreams: How to Build Mazinger Z’s Hangar is, quite literally, a dream movie. Mecha fans – while fully acknowledging the futility of realism – always yearn to realize their favourite series in reality. This movie is both a cool what-if scenario but also an encouragement for people to chase their dreams. With how advanced robotics and technology have gotten, maybe building a mecha and its hangar isn’t so impossible after all. Japan is full of inspiring movies like this, and it being a live-action with applied technology also makes it feel really real. Despite the unconventional concept, it’s a must-watch for mecha fans, as maybe one day your dream mechas and their hangars might be built in real life.

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