Here is a big one for you engineering fans to chew on.
First off, a little context:
The giant robot in question is called Mazinger Z, considered to be fiction's first pilotable mecha, launching the super robot genre.
Now while it's a bit of an engineering joke how implausible giant robots are, the creator of this work, Go Nagai, wanted to have some realism in presenting how a giant mecha would work, from difficulty of operation, multiple upgrades, it's lumbering movements, ect... see here for more
Even the power source was relatively realistic when first introduced. It was simply what happens when a special element undergoes nuclear fission: a large amount of photons and it gives off no pollution. See link here
Why do I call this relatively realistic? Look at this linked concept.
The thing about photonic rockets is that they require a ridiculous amount of energy to convert mass into photons, something that isn't an issue for Mazinger apparently.
Here is something a friend said when we were discussing this
in the first episode of the 70's anime Dr. Kabuto [the robot's creator] demonstrates the power of photons by firing some sort of electric bolt at a block of Japanium (the basis for photon power and Alloy-Z as well as its variants) This releases a huge mass of light, I'm assuming the supposed photons.
This light could be one of two things; one being a waste product like how the Cherenkov effect in nuclear reactors causes them to glow blue but doesn't aid in generating electricity. The other, less likely but still feasible, being that the photons released are harvested via the photovoltaic effect, meaning that Mazinger Z is technically solar powered in the same way that most nuclear reactors are technically steam generators.
The solar power solution definitely makes more sense, as it goes in line with the "100% clean" qualifier, but Dr. Kabuto would have had to invent technology far more advanced than our own in order to make solar cells than are that efficient. I don't think we even have solar cells today that work this well, and old man Kabuto is working with 70's technology.
This gave me more to think about...researching I came across Photon-intermediate direct energy conversion.
It sounds very similar to what my friend described...it is also interesting because as some research on the subject has stated
In addition to electric power, photolysis makes other product forms possible. These products include useful feedstock or combustion chemicals, such as hydrogen and carbon monoxide, and excited molecular and atomic states, used for laser amplifiers or oscillators.
This is really interesting as this reminds me of some of Mazinger's weapons, making me think that the robot is a walking weaponized reactor :)
But what do you think? Is any of this plausable? Is Japanium even remotely realistic? (I doubt it honestly, I mean no radiation?) Is PIDEC a plausable real world counterpart?