Wednesday, April 4

What I want from mecha anime?

I prefer story which show both sides people who has to fight each other due to circumstances beyond their control. The murkier the morality is, the better. No good guy, no bad guy, no clear cut "us vs them" splitting. The age of main character preferably veterans like 21 and above. And no need for betrayal plot, just simple military style of chess game story is good enough.

Prefer realistic mecha operations, the best one is Gasaraki. The more functional mech design is, the better something like Patlabor series. Tactics wise, a mix of Gasaraki and Gundam 08th MS Team is prefered, like the fact humaniod combat asset used for peacekeeping mission which shown brillantly in Gasaraki. Mechas also do not stand still and shoot, they actually use their best tactical advantage, the ability to sidestep while firing on the move in split second ability. Urban combat and forest also ideal combat terrain for mechs whereas there is no fucking way a mech can fight face to face and win against conventional tracked armoured assets on plain or desert. Missiles were used more sparingly, not those dramatic Macross style but actually use proper LOS ( Line Of Sight) and top attack pattern. In other words, I imagine mechs as armoured and rotorless version of gunships. Greatest enemy of mechas in my abstract will be opposition rotatry wing assets and tracked armoured fighting vehicles, not forgetting mines. Exotic weapons like EM guns or Metalstorm should be used sparingly, I am more for conventional caseless auto cannons that ranges from 12.7mm to 45 mm whereas anything above recoiless rifle is much more sensible. For example primary AT weapon for Gasaraki Gowa TA is 75mm recoiless AT rifle and all rounder is 35 mm auto cannon or chain gun. Maximum weapons per armoured bipedal asset will be 3+1, with F 15 E Strike Eagle style FAST straps. Height is primary concern, any ground based mechs must not exceed 6 -7 meters due to tactical reasons.

In zero gravity combat, mechs has to be in ideal in combined arms operations, battleships will try to support the mechs using long range weapons in extreme range like for say 4-6 million kilometers. Weapons like tactical nuclear missle is ideal for long range bombardment which has robust radius destruction capability. Mechs are designed to destroy ships in short range capabilty and other opposing forces mecha assets is deployed to counter the "hunter-killer" mecha teams. Ships has limited weapon coverage ability and mechas can exploit this to maximum use. In most cases if mechs manage to "land" on the ships, the ships will be doomed as this mechs can set explosives to the hull of the spaceships and effect a hull breach which will be fatal for the ship. Ship vs ship will be guessing shooting game, shooting in dark while guessing your enemy is one I think of now.

And has to be a political thriller something like those Tom Clancy's novels, where interests of nation state or powerfull entity is treated like chess game between opposing minds like Japan and USA "chicken" game in last parts of Gasaraki.

Oh well, just some of my wishlist for an ideal mecha story can be.


Shura said...

You're not the only one that wants to see mecha anime like that again. Old-school series in the 1980's like VOTOMS addressed the idea of mecha as simply "walking tanks" instead of a customized collector's item for fandom to spam over.
Interestingly enough, quite a bit of guidebooks regarding Gundam's One Year War comment on the real-world tactical and strategic usage of combined arms. For instance, very few if any mecha series address the concept of formations in battle. Especially for mecha squadrons that are deployed on terrain or in space. For instance, Zeon forces would usually deploy in 3-unit formation, usually to act as an enveloping flank and strong spearhead. The Federation, in response, utilized a 4-unit formation that sought to maximize close-cooperation between the pilots in dealing with rushes and blind spots.
Capital ships in mecha series don't usually get justice. Logically, the animation staff should address the usage of concentrated firepower and support from the ships in concert with their mecha and fighter craft to be sent in advance. Like utilizing a concentrated box formation, to protect long-range bombers, heavy artillery, etc. Main fighter wing trails the warship fleet. Basic fleet composition is a number of concentrated heavy gun warships modified to carry large amount of point defense guns. A combat core that is armed with the most advanced battleships with heavy armor, massive anti-mecha firepower (scatter missile pods, disposable beam weapons), and high speed. However the core would only have a small amount to supplies and a tiny crew to maximize combat ability. A batch of fighters would be carried as well. But does ever get addressed? Not really.
Only mecha carriers seems to get some level of respect. But then again, can't have the main characters' convoy and supply base going down now, can they?
As for behind-the-scenes intrigue, the only people that are able to bring that sort of political and social manipulation on screen is either the crew that worked on the Ghost in the Shell series, or the Full Metal Panic crew.
Nobody likes to think in terms of shadowy interest groups, government think tanks, or realpolitik nowadays. Everything has to cater to fandom that only understands the sugar-coated world of bishounen and bishoujo pilots against nefarious 2-dimensional cutouts. Sadly, this is the state of real-type mecha anime currently.

Hangmen said...

Gasaraki is really a great, and perhaps, the only one I regard as being the most 'recent' example of a mecha anime done right.

Gasaraki's universe assumes that mechas (or Tactical Armor) are a radically new concept to warfare. Hence, being prototypes, they're prone to breakdowns in untested environments (the deserts of Belgistan) and needs plenty of maintainance as they drain a lot of power (maximum operation is only 60 minutes according to the model kit manual).

Most importantly, why can't we have more likeable protagonist who isn't an angsty "CRAWLING IN MY SKIN" teenager (cough cough Shinji)? Yushiro Gowa of Gasaraki is kinda cool. I was first put off by his slightly androgynous look but slowly gained respect for him as his character and real identity are slowly revealed. It seems that history has all but forgotten the names of mecha pilot badasses like Chirico Cuvie.

BTW, I have already added you to my blog. Wanna link exchange?


Stormy001 said...


Sugar coated indeed. I don't get why some people liked mechas but not associated grittiness with it. I mean, this things are designed for war.

I already added you to my links. Thanks!

Shura said...

Probably because fanboys and fangirls can't stomach the idea of an actual war with their "collector's items" and idol pilots. Mecha that are treated like expensive toys are undermining the purpose of what differentiates real-types from super robots. Hot-blooded has been replaced by whiny teens with beam spamming.