Posts tagged ‘mecha’


Mobile Suit Gundam Wing*: Science fiction, or science fact?

by wfgodbold

In the light of the recent news regarding the LDP’s plans to build an actual working Gundam**, I started thinking about our own mecha warfare capabilities.

Sadly, we’re heading down the mobile doll route instead.***

Of course, more level heads think this is just a blatant ploy by Japan’s Liberal Democrats to gin up support from the youth.

Which as such doesn’t actually bother me; it’s far more appealing a ploy than nonsense like “We are the change we seek.”

*For those of you who had better things to do than watch mecha anime on the Cartoon Network in the 90s/early 00s, or better things to spend your money on than the DVDs, a big part of Gundam W focused on using human-piloted mecha as opposed to autonomous robot mecha. Also, angst and teenagers and lots of impressively animated mecha fights (which is generally enough by itself to justify watching Gundam). As far as I’m concerned, pretty much anything can be made better by judiciously applying mecha (and you do get bonus points if those mecha transform).

**Which I saw last night, and instead of posting, I put it off, and now it’s olde news. This summer has really done a number on my already lackluster blogging skills.

***I say sadly, but that’s my romantic streak coming out, I think. Sure, it’s disturbing, by Treize Khushrenada makes some compelling points about the use of robots in battle. Practically, though, robots in battle are great. Less danger**** for our side is always a good thing.

****Assuming we come up with some way to stymie the inevitable robot revolution.

*****Odaiba Gundam image from Wired. Yes, it’s an actual, life-size Gundam. No, this one isn’t functional, but IIRC the arms and head could move, and it obviously lit up.

******I don’t actually have anything to say, I just wanted to add another string of asterisks. I’ve got a few weeks worth of links coming in a tab clearing post, and hopefully I’ll be able to return to a more normal update schedule. I’ve slacked off enough.


Rebuild of Evangelion #3: Q dated!

by wfgodbold

And the word is: Fall 2012. (Incidentally, the Q is for Quickening. No idea why.)

Misato narrates (in the style of the next episode previews from the TV series):

Shinji Ikari awakens! A mysterious boy stands nearby! And a new world awaits him! Next time, Evangenion Rebuild Q! I’ll be there for fan service this time, too!

Now I’m intrigued; Asuka never lost an eye in the original, and she looks pretty cool with an eyepatch. I don’t think Unit 02 went to space, either.

Gainax needs to get moving on this and on the fourth (and supposedly final) film, so I can sit down and mainline them. This periodic doling out of content is just cruel.

Update: I realized why it’s subtitled “Q”; it’s a play on the Japanese artistic concept of jo-ha-kyu; 1.11 was jo, and 2.22 was ha. It’s been a few years since I last read any Noh plays, and so I’d forgotten about the concept until I saw the subtitles for the first two.


GO! Aestivalis

by wfgodbold

Jovian lizards, attacking from (where else) Jupiter, have taken out the colony on Mars and now set their sights on Earth itself; the only hope humanity has for victory is the Nergal corporation’s brand-new space battleship Nadesico (an homage of sorts to Space Battleship Yamato (a Yamato nadeshiko is the ideal Japanese woman, and the crew of the Nadesico is mostly female)) and the Aestivalis mecha she carries.

So begins Martian Successor Nadesico, the tale of a young man who only wants to be a chef and watch Gekiganger 3, the super robot anime of his youth; instead, he’s forced to pilot the Aestivalis mecha against the attacking Jovians all over the solar system.

It’s a pretty good show (though the romance sub-plots are a bit contrived), and it does a good job of never quite going where you expect it to.


Bullet Striker

by wfgodbold

Namco Bandai is fortunate; when they make the various Super Robot Wars games (through their subsidiary, Banpresto), they don’t have to license most of the material. Sunrise (famed super robot anime studio (for certain definitions of famed, I guess)) is also one of their subsidiaries, and that drastically cuts down on what they have to license.

Super Robot Wars W was the first game in the franchise to be released on the Nintendo DS; it’s also the first game in the series in which all of the robots featured are from shows licensed (at least in part) in the US.

Bullet Striker is the main character’s theme; like all main characters in SRW games, he’s original and not from an existing property (enough games have been made for Banpresto to release so-called Original Generation games, which feature exclusively characters and super robots created for SRW games).


Iron Man suits? Call it what it is!

by wfgodbold

Powered armor! Starship Troopers, Armor, Halo, Alien, here we come!

As cool as mecha are, I can see past my irrational love of all things super robot to know that they’re incredibly infeasible (if you’re going to build a giant mechanized one-person fighting machine, best make it a Bolo); one hit to the legs and you’ll knock the damn things right over. A giant tank would be far more effective.

And as far as infantry goes, powered armor is the holy grail!

Glenn Reynolds tends to reserve this phrase for medical and life extension technology, but I think I speak for all SF fans when I say, “Faster, please!”


A Gun in Each Hand (両手に銃)

by wfgodbold

Back before Gonzo’s decline, delisting, and restructuring (brought on by too much pandering and not enough quality, I think), one of their original properties was the show Burst Angel.

Set not too far in the future in Tokyo, the series follows the adventures of a gutless chef and the four-woman band of mercenaries he’s hired on with. In this future Japan, crime has increased to the point where the Japanese government had to relent and allow citizens to arm themselves; they also changed the ROE for the police. Instead of arresting criminals, they just shoot them.

Our band of mercs takes on various jobs, executing them in typical flashy anime style, with guns blazing, CG mecha battling, and explosions everywhere. While Gonzo (lately) is more notorious for their fan service, they didn’t go overboard with the pandering in Burst Angel (it’s still there, and it’s still obvious, but it’s not nearly as bad as their works from later years).


Komm, Süsser Tod

by wfgodbold

Come, Sweet Death. In the film End of Evangelion, this song plays during Instrumentality (IIRC, that’s when the infamous Tang scenes started. It’s been a few years, though, so I could be wrong.). Like one of the commenters on the video says, it’s the most cheerful song about losing the will to live you’ll probably ever hear.

End of Evangelion was the second of two movies Gainax animated to retell the Neon Genesis Evangelion TV series after its ambiguous ending; the first movie retold most of the series, and then EoE retold the last couple of episodes.

These movies are the reason I haven’t watched the new Rebuild of Evangelion films; maybe once all four have been released, I’ll look into it. Only two have come out so far, and Gainax hasn’t announced dates for the third or fourth film yet, so who knows when they’ll actually finish.


Hellraiser Returns

by wfgodbold

No, not that Hellraiser.

At first glance, Mobile Suit Gundam Wing looks like just another giant robot show.

Well, okay, I guess it is. Technically. But at the heart of the show, once you peel away the mecha, is a nuanced look at war and the morality of automated drone combat.

The mecha are just there to capture your attention!

Well. Okay, I suppose it is mostly about the mecha. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a grand story of space colonies vying for their independence from Earth by sending five Gundam pilots down to wreak havoc.


Big Boys

by wfgodbold

Damn you, Harmony Gold. Damn you and your monopolization of the Macross license in the US that has prevented almost every series since the original from being translated and released here.

Macross Frontier, released a couple years back to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Macross franchise, is no exception; there’s no American release in sight. All we want is transforming Valkyrie mecha SF action, but that’s too much to ask!

Most Americans, if they’re familiar with Macross at all, know of it because of the Robotech TV series from the ’80s; Harmony Gold brought it and a couple other (completely unrelated) series over, rewrote them, mashed them together, and aired them as if they were all one big series.

Macross Frontier is set in the future (obviously), after the events of Macross 7 (another Macross series that never came out here); while it might not have any characters in common, it does feature Macross ships, Valkyries, Zentraedi, love triangles, and the power of song (yes, really).

Yoko Kanno was obviously, um, inspired by the Pirates of the Caribbean movies when she “wrote” this track; at one point in the show, the crew has to disobey orders and break off from the main military to do their own thing. They think of themselves as pirates, and, well…


Kamikaze Guy (特攻野郎)

by wfgodbold

I know I’ve posted music from Full Metal Panic before, but I couldn’t resist posting this track.

Nowhere is the A-Team’s influence on Full Metal Panic made more blatant than in the following fanfare. Hell, the A-Team was broadcast in Japan under the title “Kamikaze Guy A-Team;” the track title makes the homage plain.

Translation note: While kamikaze is written 神風、the tokkou in the title literally means “special attack.” The pilots we refer to as kamikaze were all members of the tokubetsu kougekitai (特別攻撃隊、or literally the special attack squad), which was abbreviated totokkoutai. So while it might not literally say kamikaze in the title, that’s what it refers to.

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