My Sai Mecha 2012 nominations, in which I commit all sorts of heresy

April 21, 2012

I was completely oblivious to Sai Mecha last year, but this year I'm on Twitter and so I'm getting a lot more exposure to the whole anime blogosphere thing. So here are my nominations for Sai Mecha 2012, made partly so I can be amused by ghostlightning's scorn and be burned at the stake as a heretic.

My big heresy is that I'm not particularly a mecha fan. Very few mecha persuade me to actually believe in them; usually I am somewhere between passively accepting them as a necessary background element and rolling my eyes. In general I'm not a fan of giant humanoid mecha and especially not a fan of giant humanoid mecha that are presented as 'realistic' (because they aren't, not even with aggressive hand waving, and don't get me started about the control schemes that people use for those realistic mecha).

So my list:

  • The GD-42 Battlemover, Vision's crab (or spider) mecha from Bubblegum Crisis #7 ('Double Vision'). This is the first mecha that made me believe in it and think that it was cool, and it will always hold a place in my heart for that reason. Besides, how can you not like something that completely owned the Knight Sabers when they fought?

    (I expect this nomination to meet either blank looks or laughter.)

  • EVA-01 (Neon Genesis Evangelion): this is the giant robot that created whatever acceptance of giant humanoid mecha that I currently have. EVA-01 was humanoid but not at all human, simultaneously cool and disturbing even from its first appearance.

    Yes, I know, it rests in GARhalla to make a reappearance in the final rounds. I'm still putting it on my list because it's a touchstone of my giant robot experience.

  • Tachikoma (GitS: SAC). The Major rides around in them so this totally makes them count as mecha, right?

    (The great thing about Tachikoma as a nomination is how hard it is to separate their appeal as mecha from their appeal as characters. I look forward to the rage if they get into the voting.)

  • Tauburn (Star Driver), because you cannot get crazier than this if you try hard. Tauburn is the endpoint of crazy, nonsensical, yet totally beautiful and stylish mecha.

  • Aquarion (Aquarion EVOL): The EVOL Aquarion is better than the original one because it has far more craziness, crazy combos, and weird powers. Also there are apparently at least two of them, maybe more, and if that doesn't scare you it should.

  • Giant Robo (Giant Robo: The Day the Earth Stood Still). Giant Robo (the show) is in large part an extended love letter to all of the old classical giant robot shows of past eras. How can I not nominate its titular mecha?

  • Godannar (Godannar). I'm still not sure if Godannar is supposed to be serious or a straight-faced, over the top parody of the genre. Either way, I choose to view it as a love letter to the more Go Nagai-esque 'disturbingly excessively human' giant robot shows of yesteryear, and so I nominate its titular giant robot for the same reason as Giant Robo.

    (Besides, I've actually seen both Giant Robo and Godannar, unlike any of those giant robot shows of yesteryear.)

To round out my list to ten, I will also nominate the following:

  • Gurren Lagann (Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann)
  • Gunbuster (Aim for the Top! Gunbuster)
  • Takemikazuchi (Sora no Woto), because I can't think of a tenth nominee that I like better once I was reminded that this is eligible.

Bonus 11th nominee to make up for EVA-01 not counting:

  • Uranus (Giant Robo). In several ways this is a cooler robot than Giant Robo itself, with more style and wackiness. Uranus is the comedian to Giant Robo's straight man.

(It seems that Big O is everyone's tenth nominee but I don't really like it that strongly; it'd be kind of an unenthused default 'can't think of anything better' choice for me.)

As kind of mentioned above, all mecha from shows that present their humanoid mecha as in-show realistic or even plausible are automatically excluded because I cannot take them seriously. So, despite the fact that I can admire the aesthetics and all of mecha like Gundams and Macross variable fighters, none of them are getting a nomination from me.

(If I was forced to nominate a mecha from Gundam or Macross it would be the Zaku II, which is in many ways the ubiquitous Gundam mecha that everyone can recognize even if it's brutally ugly and rather silly. But even apart from other issues, it rests in GARhalla so there's no point.)

PS: I am aware that there are some mobile weapons from Gundam that are not giant humanoids. I kind of like them, but they're contaminated by being in Gundam and the shows never treated them seriously as a viable option; they were obviously just there to be monsters to be defeated, never as feasible design ideas to be embraced. If the show isn't going to respect them, I'm not going to either.

Written on 21 April 2012.
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Last modified: Sat Apr 21 20:12:34 2012
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