Extra: Mechs

Ahhh, robots. Few images are so closely related to the science fiction nerd. I myself boast multiple Gundam figurines littering one of my bookcases. But speaking of Gundam and other Japanese mecha, have you noticed a very common factor? They’re pretty much all humanoid.

While Japan is also known for more than a few transforming mechs (Thransformers, Voltron, etc), every cases ends up in the same form: human. A few shows have deviated from the idea slightly and included other designs, such as the tachikomas seen in Ghost in the Shell. But generally Japanese mechs keep to two feet, upright models. The question is: why? From a physics perspective, two legged machines are harder to build because of the balancing issue. Also, with less stability, it’s easier for the unit to topple or malfunction during combat. Not the most logical set up for a weapon. And yet they’re all over Japanese media. And they aren’t the only ones. European nations have long created tales involving robots built to look human-like. Why the obsession with the human form?

Perhaps the reasoning has to do with the human ego. We don’t like to think that something that looks too different from us might have similar intelligence or powerful abilities we didn’t have. So we fashion them after ourselves, seeing our own forms as the ultimate form. Or maybe it’s to simulate our past. We thus go from sword fighting human to human, to laser fighting mech to mech. It’s hard to nail down a single reason. It might be many reasons combined. It might even be simply that it’s easier to draw something human-like than to come up with a brand new design from the get go. You laugh now, but when you’re an artist with multiple deadlines breathing down your neck, you’ll sing a different tune.

Not that I know anything about deadlines. Nooope. Just how to shoot the weak links in the back in MechWarrior. Not that I’d do that to you, of course. You’re different.


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About inrosegalaxy

Raised on everything from Moby Dick to the Star Wars X-Wing books from a young age, it came as no surprise to anyone who knew me that I’d become a literature graduate and avid writer. But my love of a good story wasn’t restricted to the written word in my early years. Star Trek, Mystery Science Theater 3000, and badly dubbed Godzilla flicks helped shape my love of science fiction on screen as well. I wrote my first story while in the second grade. It was a horrifying tale about murdering a fairy-eating dog via a slice of pizza (in my defense, my only exposure to pizza was in the cafeteria and I swear you could legitimately kill someone with those things). I was a special snowflake. Today I write science fiction, fairy tales, Gothic epistolaries, fantasy and anything else that pops into my bizarre and twisted mind. I write new articles for my blog every Tuesday and Thursday. And if you happen to fancy Japanese animation, I also run an anime review blog, RRAR, which updates every Monday.

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