The Evangelion Unit-01 Test Type Should Win Sai Mecha (The Zaku II is Doomed)

Evangelion vs Zakus live in Manila

The Test Type has had a dominant run. It beat the robots it’s supposed to, the only danger was when it went up against the Tachikoma, which ‘swing’ voters elevated over units with actual fanbases. Even so, the casual fans who’d vote for the Tachikoma having seen little to no traditional mecha anime are the same people who’d vote for Evangelion anyway. This way the Test Type was assured of dominance.

But fanbase/casualfags aside, the Test Type should win this tournament over the Zaku II. In the end, the reasons to not vote for it amount to sour-graping, pretentious hate for the Evangelion franchise/its studio/creators, and Gundam partisanship. None of it actually addresses the notion that the Evangelion Unit-01 is a better concept, a better robot, and all-around more awesome thing than the Zaku II.

First, I give the Zaku II its rightful respect.

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The “lowly” Zaku II was given its due respect in the MS Igloo OVAs. It was presented for what it also was: a game-changing technology; a giant robot soldier that wreaked havoc upon the supposed defenders of the Earth. The Zaku II itself was the successful space invader. The Igloo OVAs portrayed it as a menacing giant, monsters who had to be figured out in order to beat, or at least until one can field monsters of one’s own.

This however, doesn’t change the fact that it’s fodder for the Gundams.

The Evangelion Unit-01 Test Type is what Gundam units secretly want to become. Gundams are a departure from super robots, fine. But you can take the totality of Gundam shows, remove even the obvious super robot expressions like G Gundam, and find a longing for that more powerful past. You see it in the ‘modern’ shows: 00, SEED, and Wing with their overpowered magical Gundams. But you can also see it in the Universal Century: arguably in Z, but definitely in the form of the RX-0 Gundam Unicorn. You can see it clearly in the form of the Turn A Gundam.

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But see, Evangelion did all of these things better. The Unit 01 Test Type did everything better. The Turn A Gundam’s Moonlight Butterfly is a weaker, sillier version of what the Test Type ultimately did in the Third Impact/Instrumentality. The Gundam Unicorn’s ‘berserk’ mode (complete with limited energy to sustain it) is a very Evangelion way of going about things. And remember that these are the units that eat Zakus for breakfast.  The Evangelion did ‘real robot’ in many ways superior to most real robot shows. Real robot fans can’t wholly get behind it because it’s far more than just a real robot show, far more than just a super robot show. It is its own thing, it and its robot transcends everything that came before it and isn’t surpassed by anything that came after – in terms of concept and execution.

Is it my ‘kind’ of mecha? No. I prefer variable fighters. However, its contribution not only to mecha design, but to anime itself cannot be denied. For every oldfag who plays the ‘contributions to tradition’ card when endorsing the Zaku II, the Evangelion Test Type has done just that, just as well if not better, and just as much if not more.

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After all, all this peace that is brought about by perfect understanding due to the awakening of Newtype powers in humans… Evangelion did that kind of thing too, but actually went through with it and accomplished it. If you’re a Gundam fan, I’ll never begrudge you for voting the Zaku II. Do what you need to do. But if you’re a partisan of neither contestant, vote for the Evangelion Test Type. It beats the Zaku on all counts that should count.

About ghostlightning

I entered the anime blogging sphere as a lurker around Spring 2008. We Remember Love is my first anime blog. Click here if this is your first time to visit WRL.
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84 Responses to The Evangelion Unit-01 Test Type Should Win Sai Mecha (The Zaku II is Doomed)

  1. Reid says:

    I have a lot of respect for you, sir. You’re a really smart guy, and the things you’re saying about these contestants are not untrue. There’s no point to argue any longer and there’s even less of a reason for me to try to rationalize anything to myself any more about this tournament or why I support the Zaku II over the Eva. You would shoot my reasoning down with a superior argument anyway, even if I tried. You’d be right again and I’d once again look like a clown who can’t properly articulate his own beliefs about a subject he is very passionate about. However, I am a dyed-in-the-wool Gundam fan and I will never love Evangelion. I can only now even remotely stand to have anything to do with it and that is thanks to the new movie series, which, by being more “accessable” and not as “downer” as the original TV is almost an insult to what the show was about: stary, unremitting bleakness. Maybe he saw that in himself, I don’t know and I truly don’t care.

    So, despite the fact that my preferred choice for this final confronation (barring the VF-1, which I have come to appreciate even more, for which I have you to thank), the Sinanju, was beaten I cannot do otherwise but vote with my heart and choose the lowly Zaku. There’s just no getting around it, the Evangelion was going to win this whole thing from the start because, as you said, it “transcends everything that came before it and isn’t surpassed by anything that came after – in terms of concept and execution.” You’re completely right. I’m wrong for choosing the Zaku instead of the Eva but I’m ok with that. In a post I made near the beginning of the tournament I said I am a lover of lost causes, and there is no more a fitting emblem of lost causes than the Zaku. It almost makes me happy that the Zaku will likely lose, because, in fairness, it doesn’t deserve to win against the Eva-01. It’s probably even a fluke that it made it this far in the first place, which is a victory in itself, really.

    I’m going to shut up now and watch the Zaku burn up heroically in the atmosphere. I’ll leave off with these words:
    “This history has made us all refugees. What does our future reflect on this tragic history?”

    Glory to the Principality of Zeon.

    • Reid says:

      Somehow my post got messed up. That last line in the first paragraph said something like “Hideaki Anno made Evangelion so that people like me would grow up and stop liking robot anime.”

    • I do think the Eva should win over the Zaku because of what I said, but let me make it clear: it is not why it will win the tournament.

      It’s because the anime blog community, including its readers and commenters are NOT traditional mecha fans. The majority are general anime fans who may or may not be sympathetic to robot anime at some level. As such, most of them have seen Evangelion, and probably liked it. Gundam and Macross, as popular as they are, do not have anything close to the transcendence of Evangelion as an anime franchise.

      If you brought every possible anime fan who has an interest in mecha and could vote, the Strike Freedom will win because there are many, many, many Indonesians. And I tell you they sure like their Kira x Lacun. If you want to find them, go check frickin facebook.

      • Reid says:

        erm…no, I don’t want to find them. But thanks for the tip anyway!

      • Turambar says:

        That may be the general population make up of the anime blog community, but I think we can both agree that is not the population make of people voting in Saimecha. The fact that something like the scopedog was even nominated, let alone actually won a round means the voters are for the most part rather seasoned and serious mecha fans.

  2. WhatSht says:

    Voted for the Zaku II because I’m a Gundam Fan and the EVA-01 looks(and sounds) too much like a bio-mechanical robot.

  3. There is something in me that just despises god weapons like evas/gundams/super robots. Hell that’s half the appeal VFs have for me, the other half being their transformation obviously. Would vote a regult over an eva, voted zaku over the eva for the same reason.
    I have to wonder though why the SDF Macross itself wasn’t nominated though.

  4. Anonomyous says:

    Bah the Zaku II will win purely on its looks and it looks bad ass and distinctive with its sensor eye

  5. You have more pictures of Eva characters in this post than you have pictures of Unit 01. That’s telling.

    • It’s because I’ve used up my stash (which is basically from the Die Sterne artbook), and I really am fond of the A/T field parasol so I chose that over my last badass Test Type image which I may use for the victory post if necessary.

  6. megaroad1 says:

    Let me say up front that I prefer NGE to any Gundam series out there. I’ve rewatched Evangelion many times which is something which I’ve only done with Zeta out of the whole Gundam franchise. The Eva’s themselves are awesome looking, their long slender limbs an amazing departure from previous designs in anime.

    Having said that, my vote is going to go to the Zaku. My reason is that I do not consider Eva’s to be mecha or robots at all. They are beyond that, even beyond super robots a la Mazinger. Despite all their hardware they remain more organic than mecha, and the power they possess when in trouble, places them more in the demi-god category than mecha.

    The Zaku is the AK-47 of the mecha world. Rugged, tough, easy to use and maintain and to be found in abundance. They’ll never look as awe inspiring or menacing as an Eva unit, but they are much closer to what I personally find to be the mecha ideal.

    I wish that more people would have voted more in the terms of the qualities of the mecha involved, instead of voting only for the mecha of their favourite shows.

  7. Matt Wells says:

    Your argument is sound and watertight. I must note, its interesting that Gundam is usually at its best when it goes full on super robot: Zeta, Unicorn, G and Turn A. That can also leave us with ZZ, Wing and 00 though, so its a mixed view. There’s a theme here: Gundam should either go Super Robot, or Realest of the Real (08th MS Team). Anything else is usually interminable and bland.

    Eva-01 is a game changing super robot, but I can’t vote for it with all my heart when I haven’t even seen the series it comes from. Shameful of me I know, but I am taking steps to rememdy this. In the end I went with the Zaku II, because I’ve acutually finished watching the handful of One Year War OVAs featuring them, and because I pay my respects to the grandaddys of the genre: the Zaku is the first Real Robot ever seen in anime. Right back to the original series, after the peppy opening, the first Gundam mecha we see is the Zaku, floating eerily through space. That sort of intro leaves an impression on people.

    • Reid says:

      I’m with “realest of the real,” Matt. Shrink them MSes down to about 4-5 meters, give them conventional aircraft and armored vehicle armaments, ditch *some* of the tacky color-scheming bits. Basically, make it Front Mission with Zakus. Don’t make it Votoms, though…I don’t know if I could tolerate a Gundam that goes down in one shot.

      • Matt Wells says:

        The one thing preventing Scopedogs from being the realest mecha of all time is HOW EASILY THEY EXPLODE (well, that lol-lerskates). You have to wonder about the battlefield and cost advantages of mass produced humanoid tanks when they explode like gas barrels in a first person shooter. A hail of rounds from a giant machine gun, and BOOM, they’re down. Different, but not much more realistic than the average Gundam shows.

        A truly realistic robot series would strike a balance; overpowering foot soldiers, outmanouvering tank brigades, but vulnerable to heavy weaponry and jet fighters. Produce unit variants and different models specificaly to deal with these situations, Tank Buster Zakus with heavy ordnance firearms, and Anti-Aircraft expansion packs. Stuff like Sniper Zakus would be pushing it though. And speaking of realest of the real, wouldn’t it be cool to have a SRW game crossing over 08th MS Team and Kummen Jungle Wars Votoms? Vietnam with Mecha twice over!

  8. JoeQ says:

    Meh, I’m pretty indifferent. I voted Zaku mostly because I thought that a Gundam grunt winning would be amusing, but I’m perfectly okay with Unit-01 too. Both are fine examples of mecha, but neither of them would’ve been among my picks for the final two. Oh well, still a lot better than some of the crap units we’ve seen in this tournament…

    BUT WHAT ABOUT SHERYL VS RANKA???

  9. schneider says:

    You’re forgetting one thing: The Test Type is hideously ugly: in shape, build and color.
    And it has poor posture too!

    • Reid says:

      Yes! The posture thing always killed me. Why, if you have the perfectly organic/mechanical giant human thing going on, wouldn’t you program those stupid things to move more like special forces operators (and also mixed martial artists and traceurs [parkour practitioners]) and less like degenerate slobs that…well, sit at home watching tv all day? It’s funny, because, at times, the Evas perform like Olympic-level track athletes and other times they’re hunchbacks. I don’t get it.

    • You mean awesomely monstrous in shape, build, color, and silhouette?

      WHY YES!

  10. Pingback: THE ONLY SAIMECHA 2011 FINALS VOTING GUIDE YOU’LL EVER NEED | Continuing World

  11. Stormshrug says:

    Why does something being fodder matter, honestly? Saimecha isn’t about choosing the “strongest” mech – after all, all of the universe-tossing supers all got knocked out before the final four. Nor is it about win ratios – Eva Unit 1 is far less successful in combat than most “protagonist mechs,” losing a number of encounters to the logic-bending Angels.

    So why are you so hung up on the Zaku II being “fodder?” Isn’t it, to some degree, the point of Real Robot series that the machines be destructible, be expendable? I’m just curious, at this point.

    • Reid says:

      If there was a ‘like’ button, I’d love your comment.

    • Xard says:

      Wait…Eva-01 loses? Like when? First round against Ramiel and then later against Angel in ep 9 is only instance I can think of.

      • Matt Wells says:

        It has a tendency to suck in actual fights, but it often gets the job done. Most of that is purely down to its untrained, unprofessional pilot. When in Bersrk mode or using a Dummy Plug system, its a bonafide rape machine. Moral of the story: don’t design a robot that requires emotionally unstable teenagers to pilot it as a main design requirement. Build something a Jet Pilot can use, and you are set to go.

        • Xard says:

          God Mode Eva-01 is pretty unstoppable though – and by God Mode I mean when the mommy takes over the control from Shinji. Pilot really is more hinderance to Eva’s true power than anything :P

          Eva action is from the most part out of tokkusatsu show anyway, lol

          • Xard says:

            God Mode Eva-01 is pretty unstoppable though – and by God Mode I mean when the mommy takes over the control from Shinji. Pilot really is more hinderance to Eva’s true power than anything :P

            Eva action is for the most part out of tokkusatsu show anyway, lol. Stab stab stabbity stabbing angel cores doesn’t give all that much chace to show show cool moves, but when Shit Gets Real Eva-01 is remarkably destructive and capable (Bardiel fight, Zeruel fight, Sahaquiel fight etc.)

            I don’t know what’s the point of this reply, meh. Nvm

    • Hung up? Nope. The VF-01 would be fodder for some other units. But in this case, it matters. The Zaku II never dominates any robot battle it participates in. Never. It dominated when it was up against un-escorted ships, un-mechanized infrantry, and against tanks. Never did it dominate against other mecha.

      You’d have to find cases like in 0080 or Ecole du Ciel where a pilot ‘surprisingly’ gets the Zaku II to perform above expectations. That, and some cases where ‘aces’ are featured perhaps.

      So, it’s one thing to not account for relative performance. But it’s another thing to ignore suckage.

      • Anonomyous says:

        Well the Zaku did a mutal destruction with the newest gundam at that time peroid in War in the Pocket. I believe the pilot was not an ace

        • Nick Bennett says:

          So the best a grunt pilot can hope to achieve in a Zaku is an almost pyrrhic victory? I’m glad you’re not the salesperson for Zeonic. ;-)

          Saying that, I still voted for the Zaku because I hopelessly adore the design. It is a toughie though as I love Eva too, original TV ending and all.

          • Anonomyous says:

            To be fair, the Zaku pilot was working with a damaged Zaku and had nothing but a heat hawk while the prototype was a functioning Gundam Alex http://www.mahq.net/mecha/gundam/0080/rx-78nt-1.htm

            The result was both pilots were dying but the Alex pilot had arriving help from the gundam base while the Zaku was alone and had no support so the Alex pilot survived. Not a bad performance, to say the least And from a grunt pilot of all things

      • Stormshrug says:

        But you haven’t really dealt with my question: why does it matter so much that the Zaku II “sucks” (relative to the Gundam series mobile suits – after all, it pretty consistently outperforms the GM, the true Zerg Rush fodder of Mobile Suits, on all counts)? It’s the oldest MS running around in the OYW, excluding Zaku Is maintained by the old guard aces, and in most Gundam series, it’s put up against Super Prototypes that reflect an entirely different engineering philosophy (tons of resources into one machine vs lots of machines) piloted by plot armored Newtype protagonists. So, yes, naturally, a lot of Zakus get blown up. A lot of impressive things are done in Zakus, too. This is somewhat beside the point, however.

        To get back to my point: what does it matter that the Zaku II “sucks” compared to newer tech? Why should this push one towards Eva Unit 01? I guess I’m a bit confused by your use of the word “sucks” here.

    • Turambar says:

      Because its called campaigning. Saimecha is about choosing the mecha you feel is superior. The argument here can be summed up as the “Zaku being a piece of shit grunt is something that makes the EVA superior, so vote for it”.

      Your second paragraph can be summed as “vote for the Zaku because it being a piece of shit is the appeal!” which is why I consider any voters of it by that logic as a space nazi monoeyephile, not deserving of life.

  12. animekritik says:

    It’s 2011 and I still don’t quite get what this word pretentious is supposed to mean..
    Eva fans are accused of being pretentious, and now you are saying Eva haters are pretentious.
    Pretending to do/be what??

  13. IAmZim says:

    You’ve made it very clear Ghostlighting that the gruntish, infantrymen style mecha aren’t really your thing. But for the people whom that style appeals to, the Zaku II is a god. I vote for it not because of my allegiance to the Gundam franchise, but because for me it stands out as one of the most iconic and coolest Grunt mecha in existence, and one of the few Mobile Suits I’ve known non-Gundam fans to appreciate. 30 years after the fact it still holds up as an imposing, militaristic robot.

    • To make an infantry style mech is stupid. It’s TALL, and slow. It’s a huge target with its size and silhouette. If you’re going to be the size of Mazinger, you better be an invincible castle of steel. If not, you better be able to fly, and fast enough to be better than aircraft.

      The Zaku II fails at these things.

      In space, it sucks. On land, it’s terrible. In the air, it can’t fly. It sure sounds like something built for dominance! /sarcasm

      • IAmZim says:

        I’m not voting based on power-levels, real-world viability or how its used in the story. I’m voting based on the aesthetics of the mecha, the design of the mecha itself. The Zaku’s design ticks every box on the rule of cool.

        No matter what mechs are an unfeasible, unrealistic prospect. But the Zaku II with its militaristic, brutish and workable look is a clear of why mecha are so cool and appealing.

        • Well, on looks alone it’s just as monstrous as it is militaristic: mono-eye, spikes… it’s a freaking cyclops (as is Eva Unit 00). It’s militaristic almost entirely due to its color, its weapons, and its numbers.

          If there was only red Zakus… not so militaristic now… more like a biker gang member.

          As a comparison between monstrous designs, Eva wins… again.

      • Turambar says:

        Doesn’t Gundam lore state that the Zaku was created to combat conventional forces, hence its poor performance against GMs, or am I misremembering everything.

  14. SquareSphere says:

    For me it comes back to “construction” of the unit. To make a EVA work you must sacrifice someone’s loved one, and by doing so, knowing traumatize the potential pilot who may or may NOT be suited to pilot a machine with god like powers if unleashed improperly.

    That is case study in what you DON’T want in a weapons system.

    The Zaku on the the other hand is a simple design, rugged and easily used by trained pilots. There are no conditions to make it work other than pilot and an energy source. Thus making a much more controllable platform. Additionally, it can be deployed anywhere were as the EVA’s range is limited.

    Also think of friendly fire. EVA goes berserk, your forces are going to get pulped. Zakku goes bad, limited damage which can be rectified relatively easy.

    • DoctorBaronvonEvilSatan says:

      Context is important.
      NERV wasn’t exactly designing the most efficient weapon to fight the Angels. They knew that to beat an AT field they needed another AT field. The only thing they had that could generate an AT field were the Evangelions.
      Desperate times.

    • What DoctorBaronEvilSatan said.

      You wouldn’t send Zakus against the angels would you?

    • Turambar says:

      If that’s the logic we’re going by, why the hell would you want to make the spine of your armed forces a bipedal mech when treads are a far superior form of ground movement over various terrain? Military logic suggests you DON’T want what the zaku is in a weapons system serving that role. At least the EVA justifies its design by the role it is meant to serve.

  15. Rockway says:

    Purple is my least favorite color, so that’s why I’m voting for Zaku II.

  16. This… I think, might be the answer to Super Robot Wars, a showdown between fandoms.

    Coming from me, you know where I stand.

  17. drmchsr0 says:

    How could you not use any of the wonderful action shots from CAPTAIN ZAKU.

    (Not saying MS IGLOO is bad or anything, but I quite prefer Hideki Ohwada’s anthromorphization of the Zaku II more than anything, complete with retardedly-big heat hawk and QUADBARREL BAZOOKAS).

  18. No love for the unit 00, is it because it dies too much?

  19. bonehimer says:

    Sweet jesus. After several months, I come back to check my favorite mecha related blog and the first thing I see is mecha fans having(another) bitchfest. Have any of this “Sai” tournaments ever turn out good? But yeah, I would definitely vote for the eva unit(if I cared enough). After reading that mech designer book “Hige Fix 2″ I certainly learn to appreciate the eva units and their impact in mech designs.

    Anyway, not sure how you feel about the AMV Hell series but check my Mecha Hell vid. Its a pretty nice mecha e-dick measuring test as the more mecha you know the more enjoyment you will get out of it.

    • Mattt Wells says:

      Sai-Mecha is pretty much open season for all mecha fans concerned to change the rather genteel and sophisticated blogsphere into /m/. Bitching and character assasination is encouraged, and it must be said, a bit of bitching here and there does you good. Its almost over though, so I wouldn’t worry about it. Ghostlightning is practically contractually obligated to go back to being civil and diplomatic about all things mecha when this tournament ends.

      With that out of the way, HOLY SHIT BONEHIMER!!!! I love your youtube vids! Gurren Lagann and Gunbuster set to Ennio Morricone, Getter Robo Armageddon to 99 Red Balloons, Jeeg set to Mr. Roboto…you are one of the greatest AMV makers no one on youtube has ever heard of. Great to see you on here. I saw Mecha Hell three days ago and my jaw is still on the floor. Keep up the great work! Though where exactly did you get footage of Shin Tetsujin 28? I’ve been looking out for that since I finished the 2004 series.

      • bonehimer says:

        Well I guess the blogsphere wouldn’t be anywhere without its fair share of DRAMA. Glad you liked Mecha Hell.

        As for Shin T28, you can find a torrent up on Tokyo Toshokan. Its named “Tetsujin 28-gou (1980) (鉄人28号)” but its very poorly seeded, took me roughly a day or two to get a single episode.

        • Matt Wells says:

          Thanks for the tip! I was in Italy two years ago, and among the various classic Go Nagai shows that were on sale, they had all 52 episodes of the 80’s Tetsujin on two hefty boxsets, dubbed and subbed. Since it cost 200 euros and was impossible to understand if you didn’t know Japnese or Italian, I had to miss out on it. Got a few cheap episodes of the Italian dub of Steel Jeeg though.

      • Reid says:

        I agree with Matt. Your Mecha Hell thing was amazing. For one, I am a huge fan of Iron Savior and I always thought that “Tyranny of Steel” was REALLY about GaoGaiGar. Looks like I was right. Thanks for your contribution!

    • Man your mecha hell video… I liked Kamille’s going batshit over his name… but my favorite part is Takuto using HBK’s entrance music. That shit is bad ass.

      As for Sai Mecha, the whole exercise is an excuse to behave like a bag of cocks towards each other. This is quite welcome, truly. I spend all my time practically playing nanny to the lot of these losers as if they’re such fragile special snowflakes whose tastes should be hugged and praised unless they crumble like so much brittle bread.

      This incredibly silly given the manliness quotient inherent in robot anime, so in terms of campaigning for one’s favorites it just doesn’t make sense not to go all out. So yeah, I’ve been flaming this whole nursery of retards and this pretty much set the tone for conduct during the tournament. It doesn’t mean much outside the context of the related posts, and I’m kind of both sad and glad that it’s over.

      Just one last victory post for me to gloat like a tower of cocks.

  20. GyroNinja says:

    A little lat on this post, but fuck it. Zaku II here. Man, I’d hoped with the Valkyries gone we could finally agree on a match, but I guess we are destined to be rivals.

    But I do love the Eva-01 and have basically voted for it in every previous round as well. (Yes, even over the variable fighters – Sorry, but transformable real robots are a pet peeve of mine. Sure, even “real” robot shows are hardly 100% realistic, but I find it hard to believe that a military force would waste money developing a robot that can turn into a plane when they could probably just make a separate plane and robot for much cheaper. A transforming mecha sounds like something a bunch of Nazi scientists would spend years unsuccessfully trying to develop, and, well, there’s a reason why Germany lost WWII to hordes of cheap, mass produced Sherman and T-34 tanks. That said, this sordid tale between me and Macross does have a happy ending; Super Robot Wars Alpha Gaiden has taught me that I accidently saw Macross Plus years ago and liked it, because I totally remember the dogfight between Isamu and Guld. Maybe later I’ll track that down and rewatch it…)

    Anyway, the Zaku is totally more influential than the Eva-01. The Zaku pretty much ushered in a new paradigm for robot design. It’s pretty much, with only slight exaggeration (which is the best kind of exaggeration), the first “real robot”. The Gundam was just a fancy pants super prototype with PEW PEW lasers and everything, and Zakus were being mass produced before it was a twinkle in Tem Ray’s eye.

    Evangelion unit-01 is, by comparison, “just another super robot”. Man invents a fighting machine for his offspring to fight off mysterious invaders? That’s hardly a new concept, that’s just fucking Mazinger. Granted, I don’t remember the Mazinger Z going berserk and eating its opponents while a terrified Kouji Kobato watches helplessly, but hey, details.

    Now, the Evangelion is an innovative mech, and Evangelion is an innovative show, but they’re also both very derivative. This is very much by design, of course. Using familiar super robot tropes only make it more disturbing to delve into the neurosis of the characters involved. It’s like a storytelling version of the uncanny valley. Hell, the design of the EVA is kind of uncanny valley itself. Classical robots are usually just human enough to be attractrive in the way a teddy bear is, but the EVA almost looks… too human.

    Also, let’s not forget that this is really SaiPilot, after all. When you think of Zaku pilots, two names come to mind; Char Anzable and Bernard Wiseman. Now what is there to say about Char; he’s pretty much the Gundam series’ professional badass. Always complex, always playing both sides and always keeping his motivations close to himself, all while looking cool doing it. And then there’s Bernie. A kid who joined the military hoping it’d make him a big man, lying to himself and others before he finally realizes what’s important to him, risking almost certain death… for a fight that turns out to be completely meaningless. War is hell sometimes. I can’t think of a single Gundam character who’s more pitiable… or more heroic than good ol’ Bernie.

    The Eva on the other hand, is piloted by Shinji. Now, let’s be reasonable here, I think Shinji gets a bad rap. He’s a 14 year old kid with some serious abandonment issues; when the closest thing you have to a responsible adult role model in your life is Misato, you know something went wrong in your life. His mom is dead and when he sees his father for the first time in years he’s guilted into piloting a war machine against enemies he can’t possibly understand. I think he handled the whole thing about as well as he could be expected to, and probably better than I would have. On the other hand, come on, Char!

    Now, the point about Gundam yearning to return to its Super Robot roots is certainly true, but I consider that a bug, not a feature! Aside from lovably goofball absurdities like G Gundam, anyway. Give me your 8th MS Teams and your 0080s over your Wings and SEEDs anyday. I can’t speak for Turn-A Gundam because I’m still only about a third of the way through it (i watch shows slowly ok), but I do like how it sort of makes a super robot show out of traditional Gundam designs. Build a Zaku II in a Zeon factory and it’s the quintessential real robot, but did it out of the ground and call it a Borjarnon and suddenly it almost feels like a Super Robot. See, the Zaku can play both sides of the fence too, just like the Eva can! The little guy is more versatile than you give him credit for.

    Overall, this has been a fun little contest, but I want to apologize for some of my earlier behaivor. I believe I implied that “Full Frontal” was the dumbest name of any Gundam character. However, if the Gundam Wiki and MAHQ are to be trusted, there was apparently a Rick Dom pilot named “Butttsham”. I apologize for the mistake and any confusion it might have caused anyone.

    • I find it hard to believe that a military force would waste money developing a robot that can turn into a plane when they could probably just make a separate plane and robot for much cheaper. A transforming mecha sounds like something a bunch of Nazi scientists would spend years unsuccessfully trying to develop, and, well, there’s a reason why Germany lost WWII to hordes of cheap, mass produced Sherman and T-34 tanks.

      ugh. I’m glad I archived this comment.

      Evangelion unit-01 is, by comparison, “just another super robot”

      This sentence has way too much fail. I stopped reading.

    • Matt Wells says:

      Turn A Gundam IS a real robot, as long as we’re we’re counting super prototypes like the first Gundam. It was just built thousands of years into the future, with tech designed to fight wars on an interplanetary scale. Its a real from a time where technology was indistinguishable from magic (Nanobots BITCH!).

      All of what I just said was bullshit trolling to justify a pure Super Robot Gundam. I’ll miss you Sai-Mecha, but not as much as I miss GL calling me a Weeaboo faggot who loves tranny fake-Egyptian robots.

      • Reid says:

        The only “pure Super Robot Gundam(s)” are those in G Gundam. Turn A is still pretty “real,” it’s just that it DOES come from a super-advanced future (or past for the people of the Correct Century) where the stuff it can do is grounded in extremely fantastic scientific blah blah blah….

        It was reverse-engineered from the Turn X anyway. I think the humans who left the Earth Sphere behind millenia after all the other Gundam series developed Turn X in kind of the same way that the Dezalg developed superior technology to the people of the titular Megazone 23 in that anime series.

        • Matt Wells says:

          It IS worth noting that Turn X resembles the Devil Gundam Junior from a semi-canonical G Gundam manga. If Turn A is set in a unified Gundam universe, could the Turn X and its brother be descendants of the original Devil Gundam? Their nanotech properties might indicate that, as would Turn X’s Shining Finger.

  21. Pingback: A Time to Gloat — Despite the Absence of the Variable Fighters, All is (not) Right in the World: The End of Sai Mecha

  22. MrUnimport says:

    Maybe it’s right that the Zaku lost. Its undeniable charm is the same as that of Luigi. The plucky underdog, never complaining, rarely coming out on top, but soldiering on nonetheless. They’re even both green!

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