Check out this incredible mushi (bug) mecha that was profiled on the Japanese TV show "Nanikore Chin Hakkei" last night. Stills from the segment here (the control box in particular is great) or click here for a link to a blog featuring photos of it being assembled for the shoot (which took several trucks, a crane, and seven hours.)
Designed and built by an Ibaraki man in his garage over the course of eleven years, the "Kabutom RX-03" looks like a prop from a Power Rangers spin-off but is an actual working vehicle. Why build it? Because owning an eleven meter long, fifteen ton robot beetle makes you a mack daddy -- in Japan or anywhere else.
Shaped like a kabuto-mushi (rhinocerous beetle, a favorite design of Japanese toymakers and, uh, candymakers), it can be remote controlled or piloted from the cockpit (visible on the left side), and is capable of carrying passengers inside its shell. Alas it more "shuffles" than walks -- the legs pull it along the ground, while the weight is supported by wheels. But hey -- not bad for something created for the love of it in a garage. Passion like this represents the best part of Japanese otaku culture.
Update! Link to the original video segment here.