The serialized kits magazine publisher DeAgostini has just started the run for its latest series – Robi. As in the case of all similar kits, the first installment is priced cheaper, at 790 yen. You get a handful of parts for the top of Robi’s head, but there’s really nothing that can be assembled until kit 2 comes out in 2 weeks (at roughly 1,900 yen) and you get some of the other head parts that actually all fit together. There’s also a short mook (magazine book) with pictures of Robi with a roomba, an interview with the inventor of the kit, and a look at Astro Boy. I can’t find any indication of exactly how many volumes there will be, but a mention of a prize giveaway of a chair-shaped battery recharger implies that there’ll be at least 35. If they stay at their 2-week schedule, it’s going to take at least a year and a half to complete. Plus, if the average price is 1,500 yen, the total for 35 volumes is a minimum of 52,500 yen ($650 USD). Very pricey for something that only stands 33 cm (13″) tall.

The Robi webpage advertises that there’s no programming necessary to control it, and that Robi can sing, dance and even control your (Japanese) TV through its IR transmitter. It looks like a miniaturized version of the Asimo, which means that it is still pretty amazing. I’m tempted to subscribe to this kit, but I can’t justify the cost. And if you can’t program it, there’s a limit to what it will ultimately be able to do.  I’m tempted to try to find a copy of the Sega Ema for 28,000 yen, instead.

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