Daily Thought: The Robot Is A Tool

I was listening to the latest Giant Beastcast today at work and Vinny Caravella was talking about Gundam, and how Gundam views its robots like tanks or guns, with a production line, rather than as superhero stand-ins. It is a description that really resonated with me, as I am obsessed with tanks and guns and production lines, and really bored to death by superheroes. I don’t know how I didn’t have that revelation before, myself. It seems, on the face of it, really easy to walk into.

I was never really into mech shows before. I envisioned them all being whacky super robot style shenanigans that I just didn’t care for. Code Geass was my first “real robot” (ostensibly) show, and it caught my eye. (Evangelion doesn’t count.) I got into the game hella late on this. I watched OG, 1979 Gundam last year, and then watched the MS IGLOO stuff on a friend’s recommendation. I started watching Zeta, and I really liked it, but it was such an undertaking and my free time fairly limited and I set it aside to watch some non-robot shows. This year I wanna finish Zeta and maybe some of the in-between stuff like 8th MS Team, because I loved the Gundam I watched. It hit all the military aesthetic stuff I like, but in space with robots.

And the thing is, that description really hits on what excites me about Gundam. Mobile suits are tools, of which many are made, and they are revised, new models are introduced, and the arms race reaches epic heights. I never really dug Super Robot shows, they just don’t excite me, I don’t really care about the one or two robots with the big flashy powers. I watched Gurenn Lagann, and it was ok to me, but it’s the difference between “watch show, have some fun, then forget everything that happened in it a few months later” and “become a walking wikia page for the show.” Universal Century Gundam is the latter, for me, for this reason. More shows need to treat their robots as a production line, rather than superpowers. I don’t really care about the hypercool special fx powers and super badass dudes who scream in the cockpit. I like grounded conflicts with a wide array of weapons and tactics carried by otherwise vulnerable humans.

Anyway, that was a daily thought. These’ll be short posts I do from time to time to get something out of my head. While I’m talking a lot about anime lately on this blog, I’ll warn that I won’t talk exclusively about anime and this isn’t an anime blog. It’s just a blog about shit I like. Next post might be some weird masturbatory thing about Soviet history. You never know.


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Madiha is a creative writer and a lover of books, anime, manga, video games. You can contact her via email at wyattsalazar[at]gmail[dot]com.

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