Macross Frontier as Mecha Anime—The 7th of 6 Posts on The Wings of Farewell

[Commie] Macross Frontier the Movie ~Sayonara no Tsubasa~ [BD 1080p AAC] [66AE8F11].mkv_snapshot_01.26.25_[2011.10.30_15.40.28]

I wrote a series of 6 posts on the final Macross Frontier film and realized too late that I had said nothing about it as robot anime.

Sure, the Macross franchise is built on love stories set against the backdrop of great battles. However, it is easy to forget that its creator is primarily a mechanical designer than he is a writer and director of anime. Arguably he is far better as a mechanical designer than he is an animator, writer, and director. Not many people get to make Macross at the onset of adulthood. At 22 many people are still just starting on their major subjects at university. I only had a year of lecturing at university under my belt at the time.

But let me present a macro view of the mecha anime aspects of the Macross franchise in terms of how it features in the narrative.

Warning: Incredibly huge image for this chart

The chart I made lists the broad contributions each installment makes into the robot anime tradition. By no means is the chart comprehensive, but I wanted to present something to organize my observations. Ultimately these are: transforming robots in grand scale, and with a lot of technical depth (and by this I don’t mean scientific plausibility; I just mean as a franchise it really gets into the transforming mecha); and the aircraft dogfight aesthetic of combat.

It distinguishes itself by what it doesn’t do:

  • Tell stories of “I want to be the best fighter ever.”
  • The “heroes” aren’t about I want to defeat the bad guys with my skill and power, and with my incredible super machine.
  • Tell stories of schooling the enemies about JUSTICE and PEACE.

Instead it has a lot of singing and love triangles. The love story is at the foreground, scored by the all the singing, which is interwoven with the battles that form the backdrop. Despite all this, the franchise is blessed with more interesting and superior mecha concepts and design from more dedicated real robot anime.

Macross Size Chart Lineart

Macross’ Regulds, Quadlunn-raus, Destroids, and Glaugs may fail to be as interesting or compelling as the Mobile Suits of the Gundam franchise, the Armored Troopers of the VOTOMS franchise, Evangelion units, Heavy Metals from L-Gaim, Mortar Headds from the Five Star Stories, and the like… BUT, Macross units have a justification for their sizes!

The Zentraedi are a giant alien race, who use powered armor and mecha that aren’t conspicuously sized relative to their own humanoid proportions. But them being a giant alien race prompted the humans to consider infantry scenarios wherein the human machine must contend with. Thus, giant humanoid robots!


And THEN, Macross has the Variable Fighters, easily the most interesting and most influential innovation on the mass-produced military real robot concept. It’s not just the imaginative leap of having two forms, but having three! Furthermore, the variability extends to the multiple modular configurations that can be affixed to the base unit (FAST, Strike, Super, etc.) – something Gundam would also adapt (for the Jegans, as an example – see Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn). The Variable Fighter concept is indeed the hands-down best thing to happen to military mass-produced mecha, even if only to consider the examples being followed by ground-based units like the mecha in Guilty Crown, the engagement suit in Sacred SeveN, and the various units in Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn. Macross has in this concept, out-Gundamed Gundam.

Macross Frontier builds on this tradition by covering many bases:

Hand-to-hand Battloid vs. Monster Battles

[Commie] Macross Frontier the Movie ~Sayonara no Tsubasa~ [BD 1080p AAC] [66AE8F11].mkv_snapshot_01.27.51_[2011.10.30_15.44.13]

This took more from Evangelion than anything else, especially with the use of the “Progressive” Knife as a standard Battloid weapon. The Gundams prefer the use of duelist weapons like the saber, or the Gundam Hammer (LOL, a spiked ball on a chain), primarily because mobile suits engage in one vs. one duels in the open, while the Battloid only has the dagger as an emergency CQB measure.


Otherwise, it has its smaller guns as more effective point-blank responses and in the very first close encounter with a large type Vajra soldier Ozma’s Armored VF-25 demonstrates this. Acknowledging the reach disadvantage he suffered vs. the giant insectoid, he transforms to Gerwalk and fires at the Vajra with top-mounted guns at point-blank range then executes a tackle powered by extra boosters to create distance, so he can rain missiles without giving up position on the ground. Badass use of the VF, especially considering this is happening at a much higher speed than mobile suit duels in Gundam.

One vs. Many Battle Scenarios

The VFs ever since the first Space War had to contend with numerical disadvantages. It’s not much different dealing with the Vajra swarms, with various levels of shielding and imperviousness. The Vajra rely on structural shielding for defense instead of flying skill. As such they do not have an easy time evading the missile barrages of the VFs. Still, given the speeds at which the battles transpire the Vajra are quicker opponents that Zentraedi in Regulds, or mobile suits from the Gundam franchise for that matter. This makes the VF one of the most powerful and cost-effective units.

macross frontier 07 ozma targets 02

A different fire support unit is introduced in the form of a sniping specialized VF. It doesn’t seem to be a complete prototype given how Jessica Blanc was a known sniper VF pilot, but definitely a new variant in the way mecha combat is conducted in Macross. I personally find this refreshing as opposed to the semi-automatic rifles used in the VF-171 Nightmare Plus and the ubiquitus Gundam beam rifle. It is incredibly difficult to shoot accurately at fast moving targets while moving very quickly yourself. Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn episode 02 did very well to keep the Unicorn Gundam stationary while it attempted to rifle the fast-moving Sinanju. You will never find this kind of verisimilitude in most AU Gundam shows.

[Commie] Macross Frontier the Movie ~Sayonara no Tsubasa~ [BD 1080p AAC] [66AE8F11].mkv_snapshot_01.24.16_[2011.11.13_16.57.56][Commie] Macross Frontier the Movie ~Sayonara no Tsubasa~ [BD 1080p AAC] [66AE8F11].mkv_snapshot_01.24.19_[2011.11.13_16.58.27]

Semi-automatic beam weapons are useful as fire support or for targeting capital ships. I am very pleased at how Brera Sterne’s VF-27 Lucifer never used his large beam weapon against other VFs in dogfights. The show knows he wouldn’t hit, despite his cyborg enhancements that make him more than an equivalent to a Gundam Newtype in combat situations. He used his beam weapon when he attacked the Vajra Frontier, exactly what such a weapon is good for: capital ships.

[Commie] Macross Frontier the Movie ~Sayonara no Tsubasa~ [BD 1080p AAC] [66AE8F11].mkv_snapshot_01.44.41_[2011.11.13_16.59.26]

The Macross (by extension UN SPACY) on Offense

The SDF-1 primarily fought a defensive war. It took part in exactly TWO offensive operations (and the second was a BIG one), but still it was pretty reactionary. In Macross Frontier we see an offensive rescue operation, a planetary assault operation, and in both the TV series and the films — Macross vs. Macross operations. Macross Frontier is insane when it comes to this. As amazing Sayonara no Tsubasa’s final battle is (with its fleet of Macross Quarter ships), the TV series had a slugfest between two battle class Macross ships. Galaxy and Frontier truly fought point-blank and toe-to-toe. Unfuckingbelievable.

The Dogfights

Macross Frontier knows that the best fight will be between top-of-the-line machines. In the TV series it was very clear how Brera’s VF-27 Lucifer had all sorts of disadvantages over the VF-27 Messiah. All of Alto’s incredible human talent could not keep up with Brera’s cyborg implants that also allowed him to withstand the Gs the Lucifer put on him as it pulled improbable feats of maneuverability.

In The Wings of Farewell Alto got to pilot a prototype YF-29 against Brera and it was short, but good. YF-29 vs. VF-27 Lucifer with 3 AIF-9V Ghost Fighter slaves… it hardly seems fair, given how the YF-29s supposed enhancements are anti-Vajra in nature. The more powerful weaponry doesn’t make for a direct solution against the maneuverability of the Lucifer.

[Commie] Macross Frontier the Movie ~Sayonara no Tsubasa~ [BD 1080p AAC] [66AE8F11].mkv_snapshot_01.39.27_[2011.11.13_16.53.08][Commie] Macross Frontier the Movie ~Sayonara no Tsubasa~ [BD 1080p AAC] [66AE8F11].mkv_snapshot_01.39.33_[2011.11.13_16.53.27][Commie] Macross Frontier the Movie ~Sayonara no Tsubasa~ [BD 1080p AAC] [66AE8F11].mkv_snapshot_01.40.33_[2011.11.13_16.56.07]

One of the things I truly enjoyed about the Sinanju vs. Unicorn battle in Unicorn 02 is how Sinanju’s speed gave the Unicorn fits and depleted its beam cannon. That was one of the best mecha duels I’ve ever seen. One thing remarkable about the very short dogfight between Alto & Brera is how they easily fired more ordnance at each other while flying and dodging at higher speeds.

It’s one thing to dodge a single shot beam firing at less than semi-automatic rates, but it’s another thing to dodge multiple weapons firing at the same time while evading guided missiles fired in groups of eight plus. This is the kind of fighting you get from a Macross anime. Sure the Gundam fight was drawn out and intense and was the centerpiece of a great episode, while this dogfight is basically fanservice as a backdrop to the culminating love story. But it’s faster, if not as intense; it requires higher levels of skill, without Newtype abilities. If you slow it down, if you break it down, Full Frontal will gouge his eyes out.

And how’s this for innovation: Alto detaches modular parts of his YF-29, which is par for the course in Macross as a counter-measure for the Itano circus; only that, the detached part is a missile pod itself that launches its own circus… a missile pod funnel if you will, in Gundam fashion only improvised in an awesome way.  This is how he takes out the third of the AIF-9Vs (making him easily thrice the pilot Guld Goa Bowman was, or that the YF-29 is thrice the VF the YF-21 was).

Of course, this being Macross, the fight isn’t quite resolved in a straightforward way: that is, by the prowess of the mecha or the pilot. Vajra “rescue” Alto from Brera who eventually breaks free from the mind-control of the Galaxy villains and destroys the same by attacking the command center of Battle Frontier. It remembers that no human, in any VF, can overcome the the ability and technological advantages enjoyed by Brera and the Lucifer.

[Commie] Macross Frontier the Movie ~Sayonara no Tsubasa~ [BD 1080p AAC] [66AE8F11].mkv_snapshot_01.43.48_[2011.10.30_18.30.54]

Alto on the other hand gets to save the day with piloting by doing his “kabuki dance” aerial show over and around the Battle Frontier/Vajra Queen combination. The combination of these two acts free the Queen who then listens to Sheryl and Ranka’s song, and bears witness to Alto’s dance, and accepts the feelings of the humans – choosing to leave their home planet for them (and taking Alto with her – fair trade? Ask Sheryl).

Certain things held that I’m happy with:

  • Fighting many vs. 1 is difficult, no matter how high-spec one’s machine is.
  • High specifications (VF-27 Lucifer) doesn’t translate to invincibility vs. conventional weapons.
  • Capital ships are vulnerable to attack craft (VF-27 vs. Battle Frontier).
  • There is a minimum of shouting over the tactical net while fighting. No actual conversations (let alone debates) transpired.

The bottom line is, that unlike really good Gundam mobile suit battles, Macross fights and especially here in Frontier are very quick and end quickly. The Gundam Unicorn way is drawn out and long… and I love it for being such. Here in Macross you get, most of the time, a very well-thought out fight that ends as quickly as it starts. It is ironically, much like the samurai duels (only messier with lots of ordnance) that Gundam more overtly goes for. The pressure is really intense for the pilots, though you won’t really feel it because of the excitement of the idol concert playing over the fight.

Still, Houkago Overflow playing while the Macross Quarter surfs into the atmosphere evading anti-air batteries and intercepting Vajra is one of the best things ever.

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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50 Responses to Macross Frontier as Mecha Anime—The 7th of 6 Posts on The Wings of Farewell

  1. Shinmarizu says:

    I’m not the expert when it comes to the mecha in Macross, or any mecha anime for that matter; I’m glad you’re there to break it down. I can at least say that Macross mecha fights are enjoyable for different reasons – mainly, the YF dogfights are all these conventional weapons (mostly) flying and exploding, much like a dogfight would pan out on real life, but with more explosions, acrobatics and glorious soundtrack. Compare that to Gundam fights which seem to be more like giant humanoids duking it out like two people in a John Woo fight scene, only with more explosions, ridiculous weaponry and glorified morality plays.
    We tend to ignore the minutiae and just enjoy… I can say why I enjoy either kind of mecha fight; I just wish Gundam fights had less talking…. bad memories of Seed and Seed Destiny.

    • I’m rather uncomfortable with the idea of expertise, only that I have seen a number of robot shows and think a lot about them comparatively.

      The minutiae to be enjoyed comes with experience and discussion. The first viewing of these action scenes are almost always unreflected on, so don’t worry so much. It’s the activity of the fanboy to obsess about the details and yes, that is very fun too.

      Gundam loves their speeches. Even Unicorn has a whole fuckton of them by episode 04. They kept it minimal in the first three, but oh god the dam broke in the latest installment.

  2. WhatSht says:

    I believe there is an error.
    “…very clear how Brera’s VF-27 Lucifer had all sorts of disadvantages over the VF-27 Messiah”
    and I can’t see the chart

    Well, at least Macross had a reason for transforming robots, unlike Gundam. The “multiple modular configurations that can be affixed to the base unit” idea is quite influential, many gundams had them(Strike had quite a lot of striker packs, I like the IWSP pack. Impulse had 7)

    A cross over project involving Macross and Gundam would be awesome, I want to see who has the better sniping skills, Michel or Lockon.
    I think many Gundams can be easily overwhelmed by Ghosts, try shooting the guns of the Ghosts, Jesus Yamato.

    and Vajra VS ELS

    • WhatSht says:

      Alto ejecting the missile pod to destroy the last ghost is probably a reference to Macross Plus where Guld Goa Bowman ejects the legs of the YF-21(which were actually limiters) to destroy the X9

    • Oh my, that was supposed to be the VF-25 Messiah. Click the broken image icon (since the image failed to load for you) to see the chart.

      Z Gundam in 1985 came shortly after DYRL? and the influences are obvious… so many hideous transforming mobile suits. Well you really don’t need a reason to transform into something else than a robot, the harder thing to justify is the humanoid robot form.

      Mobile suit combat is really slow compared to Macross battles. The VFs just have way too much thrust in space, while the MS have to stay stationary to target and fire at fast-moving target. Even Amuro pretty much stayed in one place while shooting down all those funnels from the Elmeth back in Solomon. In the atmosphere, the MS’s are practically sitting ducks. No contest.

      AU shows have too much h4xx0rz. I’d just put Basara in it and they’ll all just stop fighting (that’s what they want anyway) to LISTEN TO HIS SONG.

  3. ces06 says:

    Good stuff. I always get a sense of what you’re talking about watching the show, but now I get it.

    At first, I used to think that although the modes were cool, the VF came across as sort of gimmicky for me. Transforming robots are something that’s already been around even before Macross, IIRC. I even used to think that gerwalk was ridiculous, (LOL) but all of that is me not putting any more thought into it.

    It’s been there since day 1, but how they exhibit the mechs and the battles in Frontier (and Zero as well) justifies the existence of the VF, and tells you exactly why the VF is needed. It’s the scenes like the one you pictured above, with Ozma going to gerwalk to avoid the Vajra’s gunfire, that demonstrates the versatility of the VF, and how much of a leap forward in thought the VF is. Can a mobile suit pull off a trick like that? Definitely not.

    Now I consider gerwalk mode as a million-dollar idea, especially after reading somewhere that the basic idea of gerwalk mode is to enable VTOL. The design is a simple: add an in-between mode between the classic robot mode -> vehicle mode trope and yet it eliminates one of the most basic flaws of the jet fighter. IT ALL MAKES SENSE NOW. Shoji Kawamori, you are a god.

    On VFs v.s. mobile suits, I think it comes back to what the respective shows.are all about VFs need to be fast, agile, and the battles need to be fast-paced to make it synch with the songs. The result is a more realistic approach that gives you the feeling of being in the cockpit. Then, the songs matter as much to you as it is to the protagonist. (When Sheryl and Ranka sings end of triangle at the climax of sayonara no tsubasa, I’m sure pretty much every fanboy felt like they were singing to them as much as they were singing to Alto.)

    Mobile suits are more slow compared to the VF (though not necessarily sluggish), as to accommodate the speeches and all the talking. You get a more soft sort of movement with mobile suits, as if the mobile suit flows along with the dialogue. The result is a more cinematic approach where the mobile suits and dialogue become one: the mobile suits become the culmination of the ideas the characters express themselves.

    I can’t really pick which sort I favor most, since they both achieve the same result: great visuals. Both Unicorn and Frontier are the best in what they do at this kind of stuff.

    • Yes Yuusha Reideen transformed, Tossho Daimos transformed… the difference is mass-produced military style mecha vs. super hero mecha.

      Mobile suits don’t have those kinds of tricks, but instead have super powers like funnels and the like.

      Yes the Gerwalk mode is incredible. Technically the Battloid mode does that but the Gerwalk mode allows for almost-on-the-surface high-speed travel… like a ridiculously fast hovercraft therefore an incredibly powerful tank.

      Your reasons for the slowness of MS notwithstanding, they don’t account for all of it. If you want to see how really sluggish MS are relative to VFs, put the MS in the atmosphere, they’re sitting ducks.

      Of course I like watching both, but undoubtedly I prefer VF-style combat.

      • WhatSht says:

        MS are more suitable for space combat, VFs are just the perfect combat machine. I would say that Ghosts are better than many remote weapons in Gundam, Ghosts fire missiles, are capable of combat on their own(Judah System? The screen in Luca’s RVF-25 wrote Judas System) unlike Funnels/Fins/Fin Funnel/DRAGOONs/Fangs which requires the pilot to control them.

  4. megaroad1 says:

    “There is a minimum of shouting over the tactical net while fighting. No actual conversations (let alone debates) transpired”

    And I think we can agree that we should thank the Kawamori for that! The only kind of stuff I want to hear in combat is assorted swear words, things like “there’s too many of them or fireeee”, tactical orders and the like. Philosophical debate about the nature of man and warfare should be left for before or after the battle. I’ll make a quiet exception for messieurs Ray and Aznable because they are exceedingly cool and can chew bubblegum and kick a*s at the same

    • Well yes, though I forgive much in Gundam… it’s still something to forgive.

      The whole debating while fighting thing has its roots in cinematic sword duels where the duelists exchange words, repartee, etc. in between passes, and especially whenever the swords are locked and the faces of the fighters are up close to each other. Unicorn 04 has a LOT of this, though the crossed swords thing is metaphorical/analogous.

  5. In live-action movies and books (including those written by Stephen Coonts, Mark Berent, and others) depicting aerial warfare, often the pilots are more focused on combat than distracting platitudes; they have to have that three-dimensional picture stitched in their heads as they visualize their surroundings, taking all accounts of their battle space, while simultaneously keeping an eye on the gauges and the targets they’re pursuing, and the feel of their bird to keep it from stalling in mid-flight. They also radio when needed, calling out enemy kills, position and bearing, and sometimes spot a fallen wingman as that plane takes a hit and bursts into flame. If they have personal thoughts, they keep them very brief and within their heads, wondering what’s going on with the enemy they’re engaged at.

    As megaroad said, all the philosophical thinking is best left first at the briefing room before the flight or picked up after debriefing; no fighter jock is going to do some deep thinking lest he wants to be tagged by a heat-seeking missile or a 20mm round, and only then he could try to be Sartre and toying with existentialism and life after death (if the doomed jock happens to be a Communist) while riding and dying two miles down with the crippled fighter in flames.

    Going back to topic, from the VF-0 onwards Kawamori’s complete redesign of the venerable F-14 Tomcat (and many other real-world warplanes; even the VF-29 reminded me of the lines of the unique Russian Su-43/47 Berkut) into an all-around, no-bullshit three-mode war machine (a power suit, a gunship, and a dogfighter), the inclusion of plausible/possible future warplane technologies (even the immersive COFFIN flight control system depicted in Ace Combat 3), as well as the near-realistic depiction of its employment in combat, uniquely sets it apart from the others.

    • “My name is Inigo Montoya, you have killed my father, prepare to die!”

      “I am your father”


      “There is still good in you!”

      Classic cinematic dialogue that transpired in the context of a sword duel. This is the tradition that Gundam is following, though the execution goes well beyond whenever beam sabers are locked.

  6. Matt Wells says:

    Haven’t seen Frontier yet (WORKING ON IT WORKING ON IT!), but I’d just like to interject on the point about Close Quarters Combat. Are sheathed knifes really that realistic in a VF combat situation? I get that it’s influenc by Evangelion, and I get that it’s an emergency measure to buy the pilot time so he can get out of close quarters range to Missile Massacre his opponent. But Knifes? Really?

    I haven’t watched the franchise past Plus, but didn’t pinpoint barrier punches become the de-facto method of close up Valkyrie combat? The speed and impact those strikes had in the OVA would seem to be far better suited to Valkyrie style combat and it ties into the tradition established by the SDF-1, and later the Frontier (which I know about thanks to SRW animations). Daedalus Attack converted down to VF Fighter levels. Very Protoculture!

    Was this method abandoned in universe for reasons of cost? Because by comparison, unsheathing a knife and getting in close enough to use it seems counter-intuitive for Macross Real Robots. One Pinpoint Barrier reinforced strike, and if your opponent isn’t wrecked, it’s at least far away enough for a pilot to missile spam it. Even then, there’s a far more logical alternative. In the quick opening battle of Plus, Isamu uses an inbuilt bayonet on his rifle to tear a Zentradi fighter in half. It’s quick, efficient, and all too realitic. It’s a feature so simple it makes the original VF-1’s clubbing Regults with their empty rifles look positively Gundam-esque. So why sacrifice range and speed for something as primitive as a knife, when you could either punch it to death EFFICIENTLY, or just attach it to the barrel of your gun?

    Beam Sabres are justified in Gundam due to Mobile Suit engagements being usually limited and ammo scarce, and VOTOMS piston punches are fair game since the mechs’ joints are reinforced, Scopedogs aren’t great at dealing with blunt trauma (or any other kind of attack), and their hands rarely have anything more complicated to do than pull a trigger. Punching is cheap, swift, and effective against crappy armour, which reflects every aspect of VOTOMS’ design ethos. Knifing stuff to death doesn’t seem particuarly realistic by comparison, or true to Macross’ design heritage.

    Like I said, I haven’t seen the show, so I’m not exactly informed. I’d just be grateful if you could clear this up for me. Great post, and further reinforcement for me to choose a Valkyrie for Sai-Mecha 2012. As we speak, I begin my canvassing campaign for Shin Getter…

    • squaresphere says:

      I’d say the transition from Barrier punches to Knifes is probably

      1) Cost, 1 Knife cost less then arming two barrier punches (fists). The VF171 still has the punch via Machida of the diamond force in the FM series.

      2) Efficiency of repair. The hand manipulators of VF’s probably have some of the smallest and many moving parts other than the transformation joints. To properly fix a malfunction barrier fist you’re probably going to have to take the machine offline and then take it apart. To fix a broken barrier knife, well just give it another knife. A very fast swap.

      3) Penetration power/damage increase. This is pure speculations but the shape of the barrier on a knife would lend to piercing armor, also while it’s not specifically shown, you can use both arms to support the thrust. Since the knife is taking the load a much stronger physical force can be applied. Also, if the knife is able to penetrate it can cause more internal damage through continuing into a slice.

      • Matt Wells says:

        So they use the same barrier technology to penetrate enemies? Okay, that’s much better. I thought they were just giant metal knifes (in my defence I’ve been playing a lot of SRW: OG recently). Barrier coated knifes make a lot more sense against fleshy monsters like the Vajra, internal damage takes precedence in harming organic monsters. Though I still think they could at least turn them into bayonets.

        • Reid says:

          I fully support the idea of the barrier bayonet! Actually, more Gundam junk should use this tact as well (strangely, the only one so far was the Zephyranthese, which, *coincidentally*, was designed by Kawamori).

          However, one of the things I most appreciated about “Frontier” was the inclusion of the knives as a backup weapon. One of the things that irks me to no end about any given mecha series is the hands – and more specifically – what it is they are used to hold, if anything. Take Battletech/Mechwarrior for example: many of the old ‘mech designs (even the ones that weren’t cribbed straight from Macross, Dougram, etc.) have little hands but don’t actually hold anything with them. Of course, later on, none of the ‘mechs have hands, their arms being little more than helicopter-like pylons to mount weapons on, which makes sense given the “walking-tank” style the series mostly adheres to. However, in the case of the Variable Fighters, especially the first three generations of them (VF-0 through VF-11), and Combat Armors (from Dougram), they don’t actually use their hands for holding anything other than a gun pod, which, to me, don’t necessarily need to be held by humanoid hands. Maybe a claw or somethng would do just as well, but still, the point remains valid, I think. In Gundam (and other shows like Dragonar, L. Gaim, etc.) the use of swords, axes and other stuff like that makes a better case for more dexterous manipulators capable of a great range of fine motor skills.

          However, while I’m here, I might as well chime in on the barrier punch thing. Do the YF-19 and YF-21 have smaller-than-normal pinpoint barrier generators? By that I mean, can they generate the barrier all over the body of the plane/mech or it is just in the fists? When it comes to fighting like a human would, it would be pretty cool to see a varible fighter execute some kicks, headbutts, knee strikes, elbows, etc. – all backed up by the power of the pin-point barrier system.

          • Matt Wells says:

            Hell yes, more Beam Juttes please! And yes, the humanoid hands are a really sore point in early Real Robot design. Building something approximating the human hand would be enormously expensive in terms of design and maintennance, so why go to so much trouble when you only need a death machine that can pull a trigger? Hell, why make mecha sized firing systems to begin with? A trigger is only an efficient mechanism for human fingers, and without humanoid melee weapons like swords and axes, any logical need for them goes out the window.

            I’m not sure of the technology behind it, but in Plus the barrier systems were focussed mainly in the forearms, and even then only used in Batteroid mode. Unlike the SDF-1, they can’t have a team of Bridge Bunnies playing Marble Madness inside the Valkyrie to operate a pin point barrier. My guess is that the system is computer guided, limited only to defensive and attack stances in the Battroid configuration.

            It saves on processor power for dealing with incoming barrages, limits energy consumption and simplifies the strain of using such a complex tool for the pilot. He just pushes a button and holds up his arms to intercept incoming fire.

          • Man, without fingers Max Jenius wouldn’t have been able to put on a Zentraedi uniform on his Battloid.

            Hikaru wouldn’t have been able to catch Minmay falling through the sky.

            Hands are love. The EX-Gear stuff in Frontier reinforces this. Sheryl trains by trying to work with eggs using the mechanized controls without cracking the shell (fail), while Alto’s dexterity is demonstrated by his ability to fold paper airplanes using the EX-Gear, and by extension, a Battloid.

            Michel’s battloid used exquisitely expressive (asshole) human gestures while talking to Macro Klan in space, which got his blue mono-eye robot slapped.

            Hands are love.

      • Aircraft carrier > knife in terms of penetrating power. Also, the aircraft carrier has tons of destroid defender type mecha inside that rubs Itano Circi in the wounds.

    • The VF-171 Nightmare still uses the Pin Point Barrier punch, and to great effect in the TV series.

      The VF-25 series also has it… as long as the VF has a PPB, it can punch. But they also had the knife, and they use that one instead.


      It won’t damage the trigger finger in case of barrier failure or really hard targets; also the range is improved. The knife is sheathed in a small shield. In the context of the TV series, at some point Vajra developed immunity to many standard and reaction weapons… leaving the VFs powerless except for melee.

      Also, a sword is just way too big, and will interfere with variable transformation. You don’t see Goufs transforming while carrying those giant scimitars do you? No beam sabers in Macross.

      • Matt Wells says:

        Okay thanks. So long as the technology’s still there. Outside of Vajra suddenly becoming immune to anything but melee strikes, I would still prefer my real robot animu to limit pointy stabbing things to gunbarrels. If I want to see a show where knives are suddenly better at killing things that firearms, I’d watch EVA.

        • Reid says:

          Why the heck didn’t the Evas just automatically use their A.T. fields to blow up everything? Asuka showed that this can happen when she beat down all those U.N. forces and the whole mass-pro Eva series with little more than her robot’s (mom’s…gah) bare hands.

          • Matt Wells says:


          • Nope, just you. He hates only you.

          • Reid says:

            How kind of you to remember my complaints about Eva from SaiMecha! Ah, those were the days…so much hate. But hate keeps a man alive.

          • It’s because the pilots did not know how to do those things yet… attacks, can be learned. Also, why would they want to blow up everything in the first place? They’re not beyond all reason haters like you!

          • Reid says:

            lol, easy there, Mr. Lightning, sir. I meant “blow up everything (that is a target)” not “blow up (literally) everything (on the earth).” Sorry for the mix-up. Evas are soft. VFs would easily kill them, as you yourself pointed out: blast the cord, wait for the batteries to die, gun it down. Hurray!

      • Reid says:

        uh…Ghost…MS-07s don’t transform. They have to RIDE ON THE BACKS OF GOOFY PLANES. Because…Gundam sucks? lol I dunno. Sorry to be a dick.

  7. Reid says:

    Matt, check out what this guys did to overcome the “hands problem.” Sure, he’s just a guy on Deviantart (who’s done work for Udon of Street Fighter fame, no less!), but his solution to a problem I thought only I had is quite refreshing. In a perfect world, these are the kinds of hands my (battroid-less) Variable Fighter would have!

    • B..but how will the battloid use its touch-screen pocket computer?

      How would a battloid perform salutes?

      Salutes are important!

      • Reid says:

        Then isn’t Kamille a douchebag as well? Hands are unnecessary in our perfect real-real robot world, so you can get out if you’re going to continue with that nonsense. Well, I mean, I guess I should get out…since…this is…your blog. lol I lose.

        • Kamille IS a douchebag, you know this by ep 01 of Zeta, there was no pretense of him being a good kid. He was a punk that had to get beat up to become fit for the AEUG. Don’t mess with Kamille. Kira is Jesus, but look, a douche!

          • Reid says:

            There is no doubt of this. I laughed and laughed when I saw that image and read your commentary. I almost bought that game but I heard it was pretty terrible.

      • Trakand says:

        Salutes aside, they could always have thick wire projections that can use the touch-screen pocket computer. AND they could try to fix any damages to the machine! A silly thought perhaps.

    • Matt Wells says:

      Thanks man! Gonna call it now. Robots without hands are the new funnels.

      • Reid says:

        By that you mean everyone will soon have robots without hands? Also, funnels are on a whole ‘nother level of HAXORZ, whereas handless robots are kinda…more “real.”

      • Iron Mask had the right ideas with tentacles in Gundam F91

        • Matt Wells says:

          Are you ever going to blog about F91 anyway? You mentioned you watched it but I can’t find any posts about it. Is is really that bad? I must confess what little I know of it comes from straight from Crossbone Gundam, and everyone agrees Crossbone beats F91 hands down.

          • Reid says:

            Crossbone is amazazing. The designs are so wacky it might as well be the “Alternate Universe” of the “Universal Century”. I mean seriously – Pirate Mobile Suits that look like 18th century pirates? How can it get any better than that? Also, the Crossbone X-2 is pure pimp with it’s all black and purple/gold color scheme. Check it out, Matt, and you won’t be disappointed. There are lots of good scanlations available.

          • Matt Wells says:

            Sorry I wasn’t clear in my above post. I HAVE read Crossbone, but I haven’t seen F91, while Ghost has done the opposite. I’d be interested in his thoughts on the film. And I adored Crossbone, probably my favourite Tomino Gundam after the original movie trilogy. Loved the Beam Lance on the X-2, just a shame it barely got any screentime in the manga. Zabine is pretty crap as Char clones go; cool robot, lame pilot.

            Best mobile suit in Crossbone? Easily Umon Samon’s Custom Ball, aka B Gundam! The guy took down six Doms at the Battle of Solomon, AND he tricked Anavel Gato into avoiding Amuro, forever changing the course of the war. And he did it all in a Ball with a Gundam faceplate welded onto the front. 🙂

            Where’s our Crossbone OVA series Sunrise?

          • Ugh… I have watched that film once or twice. It’s… painful, though Cecily is kind of fine. Bleargh.

          • Reid says:

            Whoops! I should have picked up on that. You didn’t come right out and say it but I should have nevertheless inferred that you HAD read Crossbone but NOT seen F91. My bad, breh.

            AND SO VERY MUCH YES – The Ball Gundam is the baddest thing probably ever in the UC timeline. Now there is a unit I’d love to see get the video game treatment in the upcoming PS3 port of Gundam Versus Gundam Extreme! Goddang. That Udon is a bad M-F-er. That whole scene encapsulates everything that Crossbone Gundam did right, to my mind: enjoy the crapsack world you’re in while still being true to the source material. I read the original Crossbone Gundam but I was unable to find scanlations of Skull Heart or The Steel 7. I’m fascinated by the “Record Breaker” MS that served as the prototype for the Victory Gundam’s Wings of Light/ Minovsky Drive system. Anything fast enough to make it from Earth to Jupiter in less than a week sounds like an awesome machine!

            And yeah, Zabine sucks as a Char Clone (though none can deny how incredibly hardcore the X2 is), but he kinda reflects the “half-hearted” nature of the F91 storyline in general. I really do feel like the latter UC properties (F91 – too short/no money, Victory – too grim?/too loopy?, G Savior – LAWL) just don’t have the classic appeal of shows from Char’s Counterattack on back. This is borne out by the fact that Unicorn Gundam episode 4 looks to be comprised of 90 percent MS porno what with all the ZZ, Zeta, and first Gundam mobile suit designs that just pop up for no apparent reason.

            And sorry to everyone for this not having anything to do with Macross Frontier. I was going to post some big reply in the thread about how I love the YF-29 but I’m afraid it would have soon degenerated into my several issues (however unfounded and subjective they might be) with Macross’ portrayal of mecha as a whole and nobody wants to hear me re-tread that same ground again. I’m still mad my Sinanju was beaten by an F-15/F-14 with chicken legs in SaiMecha 😦 lol I’m such a hater.

          • Matt Wells says:

            Links to Skull Heart and the first volume of Steel 7 here:

            Volume 2 and 3 of Steel 7 are untranslated, but there are downloads for the RAW versions somewhere out there. Skull Heart has some fun stuff, like a Judau cameo and NEWTYPE MONKEYS. Created at the request of Garma Zabi. Yes, really. And the weird thing is that Tomino didn’t even write those chapters! Can it be Lol-Tomino moment if Tomino didn’t write it? Steel 7 gave the series a pretty conclusive ending, but a new serial is starting up in Gundam Ace, titled “Crossbone Gundam: Ghost”.

            I don’t think Ghost minds if we get too off topic, it’s still mecha when all’s said and done. But these comments would be a lot better placed if he had bothered to blog about F91 in the first place, or better yet actually read Crossbone. Yes, I MAD. 🙂 And save up that hate for Sai Mecha 2012! Only four months till trolling season opens!

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