Archive for June, 2010

June 29, 2010

Cuchlann on Tachikoma Complexity

Original Post: Artificial Intelligence Remembers Love, Gains Sense of Self, and Perhaps, a Ghost in the Shell

cuchlann

June 29, 2010 at 5:21 am

The Tachikoma might have been the thing that interested me most by the end of SAC. I found myself empathizing with them as well, and feeling for them — I suspect, in the way Batou does.

One of the delicious things SF does, and SAC certainly does, is invite us to consider ideas we normally wouldn’t — usually for emotional reasons. I think we must at least consider the possibility that the Major is actually correct in her concerns, and that we, like Batou, are falling prey to the cute design and voice of the tachikoma units — what would it mean for them to read about human emotions? It’s possible they aren’t doing anything that’s outside their programmed parameters.

The existential quandary of a created lifeform is as old as Frankenstein, of course — and older still, since it’s the primary concern of religion in the face of a creator deity — and SF uses robots, cyborgs, androids, and all sorts of things to play with the idea. It is possible that the tachikoma are practicing self-preservation, something they are programmed to do unless specifically “ordered” (verbally or through cockpit controls) to do otherwise. How much of their behavior, the show invites us to wonder, is actually a growth from an agglomeration of experience and data, and how much is simply geometric growth of AI responsiveness in the face of experiential data and problem-solving skills?

Now, I’m not actually claiming that’s correct, only that it’s an uncollapsed possibility in the text, lying alongside their growth and emotional development.

And as all things in the show do, this development reflects back on Kusanagi. If she is entirely mechanical, what is human in her besides the agglomeration of experience, emotional and physical? If most of our emotions are due to chemicals in our bodies, and she doesn’t have these things, what’s left for her? Is she afraid of the tachikoma because they remind her of herself? Intelligent, growing, learning, but unfeeling save for certain consciousness-patterned behaviors? Is she simply an AI based on the personality of a child that’s experienced years beyond placement in a mechanical body?

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June 20, 2010

Vendredi on the Underdogs of Gundam’s One Year War

Original Post: The Dogs of Conflict: Who’s the Over/Under? or, Giant Killing is Best Done Between Giants

vendredi

Posted June 19, 2010 at 8:18 pm

[…]“underdog” is sometimes more a matter of presentation than actual ability. Consider the classic Terran-Spacenoid opposition in the Gundam franchise; to take the U.C. alone, people can sympathize with both factions as the “underdog”, depending on how you paint the picture. For die-hard Zekes, it’s the underdog tale of an oppressed minority rising up to challenge a far mightier power. For Feddies, it’s the underdog holding the line against a brutal and unwarranted blitzkrieg and to stay in the fight though bloody and bruised. I think you’re very much correct in noting that the status of underdog is more often conferred by perception.

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June 15, 2010

Schneider on Char’s Counterattack on Amuro

Original Post: Char, I am Disappoint: Revelations of a 3rd Viewing of Char’s Counterattack

schneider

June 15, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Ah, CCA Char. When I first forayed into UC Gundam, CCA was one of my first stops. I was fascinated with the character of Char, and I wanted to consume it in the shortest, most succinct way possible.

Imagine my disappointment. The movie showed a great deal of Char’s greatness alright–his personal magnetism, piloting skills, and what seemed to me as untarnished ideals of how humanity should move forth, extreme measures and all.

However, it seemed that Tomino himself was holding Char back. No, he actually degenerated Char. The title of the movie is Char’s Counterattack. Char was to launch a counterattack… aimed at whom? Or what?

It wasn’t the Federation or the Earth that Tomino wanted Char to fight. It was Amuro–the movie is structured so that Char can have his final go at Amuro, in the backdrop of a war he started. The tragic thing is that Tomino could have easily written CCA in such a way that Char’s main purpose was to drop Axis on Earth, Amuro being just another unwanted thorn in his side. But no, he had to encase Char in myopia and have him make concessions just to allow Amuro to engage him on equal footing.

It’s common sense. If you really wanted to achieve something, you don’t give your enemy legroom in order to trounce you.

I found it hard to like Char when his ego was ridiculously bloated like this. He started the ball rolling, but stopped caring midway, playing around with Quess instead of, you know, commanding an army. And for all his coolness in the first half of the movie, he is utterly trounced by Amuro in what is the greatest mobile suit bar brawl in all of Gundam. WHOSE RESPONSIBLE THIS??

And Lalah… that is the worst cheap shot ever.

I can understand all this, but seeing how Char had been screwed up in Zeta, I’d think he would be smarter, more resolute (in the sense of ensuring that you succeed with what you want). But I can’t accept this self-destructive behavior of his. There’s a reason why in Super Robot Wars, we usually have Quattro to play with, not CCA Char.

However, that takes nothing away from my fascination with the original masked man. He was truly at his worst in CCA, but it was still a grand film that concluded a great rivalry in a satisfying way. I could turn a blind eye to his failures, and look at the man with admiration, his fatal flaws and all.

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June 15, 2010

DonKangolJones on Unmasking the Three Faces of Char Aznable

Original Post: Char, I am Disappoint: Revelations of a 3rd Viewing of Char’s Counterattack

DonKangolJones

June 15, 2010 at 9:43 am

[…]I never really “drank the Kool-Aid” when it came to Char’s legacy. I can break down Char three ways. In the One Year War, he was dark and brilliant and driven by an almost singular purpose. In the Gryps conflict he was unsure, humble and full of untapped promise. And finally in Char’s Counterattack he was very much just as you say.

The fact that the Char in Zeta Gundam is my favorite version of him is just another one of my many unpopular choices. I saw the good and the hope in Char in that series. He came across as more human in that series than in the others.

For me, seeing Char as he was in CCA was an intensely sad thing. Anyone who saw the events of Gryps or even some of the atrocities of ZZ Gundam should be able to see how badly and directly it tainted his character. Before there was anger, in CCA it was pure hate and contempt. Maybe that’s why I sympathized with him. In a way, I believed he was right. Look at the later UC series and you see the same horrors repeat. Bright and Amuro didn’t solve anything, they just delayed the events. Char can’t be called a hero for attempting to slaughter so many innocents, but the maintenance of the status quo only led to the eventual rise of more conflict. The Federation is one of the worst fictional governments I have ever seen. Part of me wonders how Amuro could live with that.

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June 15, 2010

Kadian on Kanji on Our Backs That Let Us Lead

Original post: On Our Backs, In Our Hearts

kadian1364

June 14, 2010 at 9:47 pm

In the Rurouni Kenshin manga, there’s a short chapter that I will always remember as one of my favorites, about Sanosuke and the kanji on the back of the shirt he always wears. In that chapter was a poetic line (or so I remember) about how children grow up watching the backs of those that they follow. Simply put, people grow up by following what those ahead of them do, and it spoke to me of leadership, responsibility, and legacy, that there’s always someone watching your back and following your lead. Uncommon wisdom from a truly special manga.

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June 10, 2010

Suiman on Reality in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

Original post: Neon Genesis Evangelion (TV) Revisited: Better Than I Remember

Suiman

June 10, 2010 at 7:54 am

[…]Much like how I appreciated Evangelion, TTGL provided a far from ideal world very similar to reality. One cannot always go beyond the impossible and kick reason to the curb. Much like my revelations as I grew older, there was an acceptance and compromise within Simon, choosing to abide by the rules, restraining one’s ideals and surrendering to the laws of nature and morality-very different from the Kamina ideal[…]

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June 10, 2010

Suiman on Reality in Neon Genesis Evangelion

Original post: Neon Genesis Evangelion (TV) Revisited: Better Than I Remember

Suiman

June 10, 2010 at 7:56 am

[…]Eva made it a point that feelings such as selfishness, jealousy, deceit and such were accepted as part of the world, expected from human nature, in contrast with other shows that purge such “negativity” from their idealized world. There was no redemption leading to a happy ever after[…]

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