“Come for me, G’mork!”
My goodness, look at this thing. This is an angry, hairy robo-wolf.
According to The Japan News, this mechanized shitbeast was introduced on a trial basis in Kisarazu in southwest Chiba Prefecture, and is on loan to agricultural cooperative association JA Kisarazu-shi. It's called "Super Monster Wolf" because of course it is.
It's about a foot and a half tall and two feet long, which is pretty close to the size of a real wolf. A real wolf, however, doesn't have quite the same "spawned from the bowels of hell" look.
The robowolf detects intruders with an infrared ray sensor, flashes its red LED eyes, and cycles through 18 different intimidating sounds, including a growl, a human voice, and a gunshot.
In video footage taken by Kyota Tsutsumi of Japanese news outlet The Asahi Shimbun, the mecawolf swings its matted head around to bare its teeth at onlookers. A long, sad howl echoes over a green field, for dramatic impact. It looks every inch like the G'mork from The NeverEnding Story.
Apparently, the effect is working: Kisarazu city government officials told The Japan News that there have been no signs of wild animals or birds nearby since Super Monster Wolf was installed on July 11.
There's some irony to employing a robotic wolf to protect crops. At the end of the 18th century, when one encountered a wolf in Japan, it was customary to greet it: "Oh lord wolf, what do you say? How about chasing the wild boar from our fields?" By the 1870s, however—as Western ideas about predators started to pervade Japan—that encounter shifted drastically. The person would kill the wolf, cut off its ears or legs, and take them as proof to the local municipal office to collect a bounty.
By the late 1800s, the Hokkaido wolf—named for Japan's northernmost prefecture, where the Super Monster Wolf manufacturer is based—became extinct on the island after a campaign to eradicate it using strychnine-laced bait. Now that parts of Japan are overrun with deer and wild boar, there's a modern debate over whether to reintroduce wolves to help cull damaging species and improve diversity, similar to how it was done at Yellowstone National Park.
Super Monster Wolf will hit the public market in late September for ¥200,000, or $1,810 USD. That's an extremely affordable price for something that is most definitely possessed by the souls of thousands of eradicated wolves.