Fire-breathing robot invades city hall

A three-story robot called Giant Torayan has taken over a corner of Osaka's city hall. It sings, dances, breathes fire and, best of all, looks like an aluminum baby.

Giant Torayan heated up Tokyo earlier this year. Video screenshot by Tim Hornyak/CNET

A giant, fire-breathing robot has taken over part of Osaka's city hall.

Its baby face makes it the perfect instrument for striking terror into the hearts of the 2.6 million residents of this Japanese metropolis.

The metal monster is called Giant Torayan and it stands over three stories tall. It can spew 20-foot-long jets of flame from its infant lips. See the video below.

Constructed of steel, aluminum and brass, the robot is the brainchild of Japanese artist Kenji Yanobe, who describes it thus: "This Giant Torayan doll is the ultimate child's weapon, as it sings, dances, breathes fire, and follows only those orders given by children."

Torayan's remote control unit also looks like a baby's head. It contains a computer that only recognizes voice commands issued by kids, according to Yanobe. It can flail its arms about, turn its head, and utter a high-pitched wail.

The robot has been exhibited at different venues in Japan in recent years, including Tokyo's popular Roppongi Hills complex in March, as seen above.

Torayan is a stock character in Yanobe's works and was originally inspired by a puppet that belonged to his father, a ventriloquist.

It's slated to stick around city hall until October 12 as part of the Aqua Metropolis Osaka 2009 festival, a celebration of the city's canals and rivers.

This seems to be the year for giant robot construction projects in Japan, with a 60-foot Gundam robot built in Tokyo, and a monument to Gigantor going up in Kobe.

Whatever are the Japanese planning?

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