ghostlightning on Macross’ justification of the existence of giant humanoid mecha

Original Post: Super Dimensional Fortress Macross (My boyfriend is a nimrod.)

  1. Here’s what I have for you:

    Macross, more than any other robot anime, actually presents the least ludicrous justification for giant humanoid robots as weapons.

    Let’s remove the sillier super robot shows out of this (sorry Mazinkaiser, sorryTTGL, etc).

    Then, let’s consider the most anal anime involving mechanized weapons: FLAG,AppleseedGhost in the Shell. You’ll notice that only AS has humanoid robots, but they are far closer to human sized. They are nowhere near the trope humongous mecha. The larger mechanized weapons in these shows when they occur, are NOT humanoid.

    Why is it important to distinguish this? It’s because humanoid robots allow the anime to entertain us with robot grappling, robot sword fighting, and basically giving everything a battle anime/action show can give only even more awesome (metal!).

    So having removed those shows out of the conversation, we are left with Gundam — the most prominent representative of the “Real” robot sub-genre.

    Gundam doesn’t even really try to justify the conceit of having giant mobile suits. There’s no particular reason why aircraft or spacecraft cannot perform better as fighting units over mobile suits. There’s no particular reason why tanks cannot outperform them on the ground.

    Mobile suits are not aerodynamic, are slow everywhere within the atmosphere; and in space they present a rather large target for the kind of ordnance they bring to bear (of course, the super prototypes of the AU Gundams will “justify” this, but they suck).

    They are conceits, because watching humanoids fight is great. It really is. Now make them giant humanoid suits of armor, then we’re talking about one of the great contributions to entertainment (you’re reading the opinion of a robot fanboy, don’t even act surprised). Gundam has no strong excuse as to why giant robots exist, and are the best ways to conduct warfare, except that they look awesome.

    I am okay with this.

    Macross does better. How? It matches the conceit of giant humanoid robots with giant humanoid enemies! The Zentraedi are effing giants, so the humans designed their Variable Fighter to be able to survive close quarters combat with these giant infantry.

    This is remarkably consistent with the logic of the anal robot shows I mentioned earlier. The Zentraedi, being giants already — do not need further use of proportionally gigantic robots for themselves. They use mobile coffins in space, I mean for all intents and purposes non-humanoid mechanized weapons (Regult, Glaug). The most humanoid forms are actual suits of armor (Quaedlunn Rau) powered to move in space and mounted with weapons.

    The logic is symmetrical, or at least consistent. There is no need for giant humanoid weapons, until there existed giant humanoids. The giant humanoids did not have proportionally giant humanoid robots because there was no one that much bigger than they are.

    Beyond the idea that the Variable Fighter is the finest military-use mecha in the robot sub-genre (which is another essay altogether), Macross shows (and it’s funny how these kinds of things elude most viewers) how well thought-out it is, despite obvious inability in parts to make things perfect.

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