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Red Ronin is a gigantic mecha in the Marvel Comics universe. Originally created by writer Doug Moench and artist Herb Trimpe as a foil for Godzilla, the robot went on to be a menace to other Marvel characters such as the Avengers and Wolverine.
Red Ronin's design was influenced by those of the super robots that were the staple of anime during the 1970s. Super robots first came into the notice of American pop culture in the form of the Gigantor (Tetsujin 28) anime series that was imported into the United States from Japan during the 1960s. Mattel's line of imported Shogun Warriors toys became popular in the United States during the late 1970s, the same time period that Red Ronin first appeared in Marvel Comics (Marvel also ran a Shogun Warriors comic that lasted 20 issues). Indeed, then Marvel Editor-In-Chief Archie Goodwin admitted that Red Ronin's basic design was inspired by the super robots of anime.
Red Ronin was developed with the assistance of Stark International by engineers and scientists Tamara Hashioka and Yuriko Takiguchi. It was intended to be used by S.H.I.E.L.D. against the monster Godzilla. Before it could be utilized for this purpose, the robot was stolen by Takiguchi's twelve year old grandson Rob. Originally referred to as SJ3RX, the robot was named Red Ronin by the youngster.
After an initial attempt to control the robot failed, Rob succeeded in piloting Red Ronin into battle with Godzilla, in an attempt to drive the beast off. Rob wished to prevent the radioactive creature from being harmed and his attempts to ward the monster off were designed to actually preserve his life. He succeeded in doing so and it was discovered that Ronin had been imprinted with Rob's brain patterns, making the robot useless without him to pilot it.
Rob used Ronin a few more times, aiding Godzilla in battles against creatures such as Yetrigar, Krollar, Rhiahn, and Triax. During one such battle, Rhian decapitated Ronin, leaving the robot inactive.
S.H.I.E.L.D. eventually rebuilt the robot with the aid of Stark technicians. One such technician, Earl Cowan, altered the robot so it would only respond to his brain patterns, similarly to how it had previously been linked to Rob Takaguchi. Cowan intended to use Ronin to orchestrate a series of events that would set off World War III. Fortunately, Cowan was completely ignorant of the shortest aerial route to the USSR and went eastward instead of going north and passed over New York City. This allowed the Avengers to intercept and defeat Red Ronin, and the robot's remains were carried off by S.H.I.E.L.D.
Stane International eventually gained possession of the remains. A scientist named Karaguchi Inoyawa rebuilt the robot, hoping to use it as a force for good. The robot was displayed by Stane at a trade show at the Pontiac Silverdome. While there it was commandeered by vengeful ex-Stane employee Joe Kilman who caused it to go on a rampage. This time Inoyawa guided the Wasp in deactivating Ronin.
Ronin eventually wound up in the hands of Fujikawa Electronics. It was altered to look even more like a samurai in appearance. Numerous military and criminal organizations such as the Hand attempted to gain possession of the mechanoid, but were foiled by Wolverine and Sunfire.
When Red Ronin next appeared, it was used by Henry Peter Gyrich to lure the Avengers into a battle with the Thunderbolts. At some point before this time, the robot's appearance had been restored to its original form.
Red Ronin appeared in the Mega Morphs mini-series, when Doctor Doom had Doctor Octopus reprogram it, so Doom could control it remotely. After easily taking down the Mega Morphs of Captain America, Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Ghost Rider, it is defeated by the Incredible Hulk, whom Doom took over to assist in the prison break of Doc Ock, previously.
Red Ronin has since "joined" the Thunderbolts during the Civil War series. Tony Stark mentioned in the "Civil War Files" one-shot working on that version and that the Fixer is likely all over it.
Some time prior to this, it also clashed with the Inhumans and the Sentry as revealed in a flashback in New Avengers 24.
Red Ronin is over 100 ft. tall and weighs in excess of 23 tons.
Red Ronin possesses immense strength and is highly durable. The robot can fly at subsonic speed and is armed with a solar powered sword and pulsating shield that doubles as a laser gatling gun. The gatling gun is capable of firing blasts that generated concussive force equivalent to 100 tons of TNT. Additionally, the shield is capable of firing missiles, which Red Ronin used during its battle against Yetrigar in the Grand Canyon. The shield can also be used as a detachable weapon and contains a homing device that enables it to return to the robot. Red Ronin's left hand has the ability to convert to an energy cannon. The massive robot could also release "Magneclamp cables" from its boot units, which were strong enough to hold and support a being as massive as Godzilla. In the cover art to Godzilla#8, Red Ronin appears to be charging his left fist with some sort of energy while utilizing the laser gun in his arm shield against Godzilla at point-blank range.
Ronin later gained the ability to detach its hands from its body and still retain control of them while detached.
Alternate VersionsA version of Red Ronin appeared on an Earth visited by the time-hopping heroes known as the Exiles. On this Earth it was the chief weapon of a group of monster hunters known as the Science Squad and was invented by one of the Squad's members, Bolivar Trask. This version of Ronin was destroyed by this reality's version of Fin Fang Foom. Interestingly enough, the Science Patrol, featured in Ultraman, had Ultraman, who Red Ronin bears a striking resemblance to.
- Red Ronin is occasionally mentioned in another '70's Marvel limited comic series about Japanese properties/characters: The Shogun Warriors comic book series; who are giant robots much like Red Ronin himself.