Turambar (Level 10)

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The nomination phase for the second annual Sai Mecha has started once again.  This is a time for bloody battle, vitriol filled hate, and the drinking of the tears of anyone who thinks Shin Getter Robo has a chance of being nominated.  Head over to the the main site for all the information on how the brackets will break down, but I'll leave the rules for submissions here. 
 

1. Choose up to 10 mecha, and email them to executiveotaku@gmail.com. One entry per person. Please put the series the mecha is from after each.

2. The 32 mecha with the most nominations will be put into a randomized bracket and split into the Earth Side and Colonies Side.

3. The following 4 mecha cannot be nominated as they are the final four of the previous year and are already seeded: Zaku II, Eva Unit 01, VF-1 Valkyrie, YF-19 Excalibur
 
Here are my own submissions in no particular order.  The VF-1 is my first love and YF-19 my true love, so it's a good thing I don't need wax emotionally about those two and have two more slots in my list.   I have a general lean towards reals over supers, so anyone wondering why Gurren Lagann is not on there, there you go.  (Also I'm trying to have as few renomination as possible and Gurren Lagann made the list last year.)
 
1.  YF-29 Durandal (Wings of Goodbye).  It's the latest variable fighter entry in the Macross franchise and oh god what a beauty this thing is.  While the YF-25's Tornado pack might let it roll like no tomorrow, the Durandal's slimmer frame and forward swept wings sweeps me off my feet. 

 
2.  GP-03 Dendrobium Orchis (Stardust Memories).  Probably my favorite design out of the Gundam franchise, it is a giant mobile armor weapons platform carried on the back of a Gundam.  It fits its flower derived name as it is one giant flower of death for entire fleets with its array of beam rifles, bazookas, chain mines, and cluster missile packs.  All this firepower takes up space, and it's nice to see one of the few mecha designs in general that does not streamline it all into the frame, and instead gives it a proper amount of bulk.  Also a fantastic enough of a design that Marvel ripped it off wholesale.   
 
3.  Genesic GaoGaiGar (GaoGaiGar Final).  It is a robot that runs on courage.  If you dislike it, you are a horrible person who does not deserve to see the light of day.  Unless that light is caused by GaoGaiGar swinging down the full might of the planet sized Goldion Crusher.   
  
4.  Big O (The Big O).  When the class of your super robot is called a Megadeus, you envision something that exudes gigantic strength.  Something that is thick, lumbering, seemingly indestructible.  That sums up the design philosophy behind the Big O.  When it punches with its arms, you can feel the raw power behind those strikes.  It also helps that it is piloted by the mother fucking batman as well as a far more awesome Robin, and serviced by an Alfred that knows how to use grenade launchers.   
 
5.  Knight of Gold (Five Star Stories).  As the titular mecha of Five Star Stores, it is not my favorite mortar head in that universe. (That vote goes to either the AUGE or the Blazing Empress).  However, it is the only one that was animated and is still one hell of a sight to behold.  It tugs at my heart strings for mecha of a very regal design along with a beautiful golden color scheme, just as the name suggests.   
  
6. Escaflowne (Vision of Escaflowne).  Speaking of mecha with regal ass designs, you really can't go wrong with this one.  The show (much like FFS) has it's armored beings serve not just as usual pieces of military hardware.  They are the swords and steeds of knights, and look and act as such.  As a sword, Escaflowne is clad in white armor.  It needs no fancy schmancy weapon platform system, satisfied with the sword in its hand that allows for duels.  As a steed, it turns into a mother fucking dragon.    
 
7. VF-25F Messiah (Macross Frontier).  Another variable fighter coming out of Macross Frontier, the Messiah is probably the first one of its kind with a battleroid mode that I'd consider pretty.  Also that pitch.  That yaw.  That mother fucking roll. (Can anyone tell that I'm a giant fan of Kawamori's designs yet?)   
  
8.  Delphine (Broken Blade).  The trope of putting an inexperienced pilot in a relatively overpowered suite is not a new one.  But the way Rygart's fights with the Delphine plays out most definitely is not the norm.  Swords, kunais, nunchucks, spiked bulldozers with a sword in it, and a giant ninja star yoyo of death.  It's final fight was one of my favorite moments of last year, and I still stand by that.    
  
9. Mazinger Z (Shin Mazinger Z).  The original Mazinger series was way beyond my time, so I am quite happy with this new take on the old show.  I've always liked the design of the Black Castle of Steel: simple with a great color scheme.  It's modernized version still boasts many of its iconic moves including the rocket punch and breast fire.  But it also has a few more tricks up it's sleeves.  Such as turning into a giant rocket punch, or summoning a legion of rocket punches that turn into one giant rocket punch.  For the super robot that originated that attack, it definitely makes the most of the incredible legacy.   
  
10.  Hyaku Shikki (Z Gundam).  Here are the reasons: 1. It is piloted by the most awesome version of Char (the one that wins because he's a good guy for once lol).  2. It looks pretty as all hell.  3. It's designed by Kawamori.  I really wish Gundam Unicorn's Delta Plus kept that gold paint job.  I'd nominate that instead if it did due to its transformation that looks better than almost every other new variable mobile suit Z Gundam vomited out on a per episode basis.   
  

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There is a whole lot of fanservice in the latest episode of Nisemonogatari, and no, I'm not talking about THAT.  This episode has been about depicting relationships between known characters, and then flipping them on their heads. 

Let's talk about what we knew from the previous series, Bakemonogatari.  Senjougahara is the alpha female of Araragi's little harem.  she was the most assertive in her feelings, and also the most honest with her feelings.  Compare that with Hanekawa character, not necessarily shy and demure like Sengoku, but certainly incapable of being upfront and sincere.  The oddity that spawned her was in fact due to penting up of her true feelings for Araragi.  So then how did we get to this point?  Her ability to dominate and lord over Senjougahara in the previous episode, and revealing that it was all simply due to her threat of "asking Araragi to be my boyfriend" which she revealed in this one is in incredible stark contrast to what we knew about her, and what we knew about Senjougahara. 
And then there is the matter with Shinobu.  Again, no, not THAT.  It is simply the fact that she finally decided to start speaking, and her character is far more in line with the overbearing and teasing Horo than the demure self that she was presented as in the first series.  There are bits and pieces that she reveals about her relationship with Araragi, and while it does not give us a complete picture, we certainly get the feeling that there is both a degree of mutual affection and also mutual antipathy for the events that brought about Bakemonogatari in the first place. 

Now it warrants reminding that Nisemonogatari means something along the lines of forgery, imposter, or any other term along that lines that gives a sense of deciet.  So who is being played by another power and who is showing their true colors?

Lastly, that elephant in the room, aka the second half of the episode.  Let me just put it this way.  I am not perturbed by characters in bathing suits or in hot springs who's physical appearance, by the nature of anime character designs, can be that of anyone from a 13 year old to a 30 year old.  When the physical feature of a character is very clearly that of a grade schooler though AND there is complete nudity involved, things take a step past my internal pedophilia line.  The fact that this treatment is more gratuitous in the Sekon no Qwasar sense than its treatment in previous episodes adds to it.  Compare that to the blatant act of Hanekawa getting into Body Pillow Cover Poses on Araragi's bed and you see what I mean.

That's my line, take it how you will.
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There are two central themes that surround most shows within the Gundam franchise.  First is a constant but ultimately futile layer of anti-war sentiment.  The second, and more iconic, is the Newtype.  Other Gundam shows have come up with different terms for it like SEED, Innovator, and most recently, X-rounder.  But their purpose as a form of biological evolution in humanity that heightens one's senses have remained the same.  The franchise even built some of it's most iconic weapons systems (Biosensors, Psychoframes, Funnles/Bits/DRAGOON/Fangs) around a Newtype's mental powers.  And last but not least, there's even a long running magazine named after this concept.  This worship of the idea of the Newtype both within the franchise and on a more meta level is what makes one particular event in episode 3 of Gundam Unicorn so profound.
  The OVA introduces new viewers to the concept of newtypes within the first episode.  It was an ideal espoused by the founder of the Zeon Principlaity, of an evolution of man that could learn to communicate perfectly without misunderstanding.  But the impatience of society as well as the realities of the geopolitical situation changed that term into ace pilots that altered the course of wars.  Moblie Suite development had come to revolve around them in various ways and biological research attempted to produce Cyber (artificial) Newtypes.  All of this to win wars.

But what if the military supremacy of a Newtype could be cast down?  A Newtype's greatest weapon as previously stated was their heightened awareness of their surroundings and thus gained the ability to utilize remotely controlled turrets that fly about separate from the mobile suit and fire on the enemy from multiple directions.  The system carried aboard the Unicorn Gundam was the NTD, Newtype Destory System.  It uses the pilot as an organic processing device that converts enemy Newtype mental waves into hostility, and automatically activates upon detecting such hostility,  not only giving the suite a dramatic increase in speed and mobility, but also the ability to essentially hijack an enemy's remote weapons.  

All your funnels are...well, you know the rest.
All your funnels are...well, you know the rest.

The emergence of a technological countermeasure to a biological evolution marks the end of the latter.  Current, the NTD system is difficult to reproduce, but as with all things, mass production is only a matter of time.  What can a Newtype do when the battlefield tech reduces them to simply pilots with faster than usual reaction times yet again? 

Now, I am well aware of the true end of the Universal Century time line, which Gundam Unicorn is merely a part of.  The likes of Gundam F91, Crossbone Gundam, and Victory Gundam gives us a glimpse at events a century down the line where the above predictions do not actually unfold and the Newtype is still a battlefield center piece (especially in Victory).  But the above gives us a glimpse of what is possible, and a potential willingness in the chronology of the franchise, not the Universal Century, to dethrone this long lasting being.

(I should note first this is only half of the thesis as it only addresses the military dominance of the Newtype.  Analyzing the other side of the coin, the hero worship of this being across the franchise as the future of humanity requires a proper exploration of Gundam X, something someone else or me really should do eventually.)
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Broken Blade aims to do one thing extremely well: detailed, gritty, low tech mecha combat.  The golems it depicted punched, kicked, shot physical projectiles, and looked magnificent doing so without resorting to flashes of light.  The final movie of the OVA celebrated this form of combat even more so than all previous episodes, giving us a massive invasion of the capitol, urban (or as urban as it can get) combat, an ingenious use of enemy corpses and terror, and finally a 30 minute long grudge match between the Delphine and Borcuse's Hykelion.
 
What is this, Combattler V?
What is this, Combattler V?
This duel was long and drawn out, pushing each pilot and mecha to their limits, reveling in a crude carnage only seen in the likes of Mazinkaiser SKL out of anything contemporary.  Broken Blade has made a name for itself in detailing battle damage, letting each and every bolt cause a crack on the frame, and this fight was no exception.  Armor was slowly sheared off, shields shattered, swords and axes slowly chipped, cracked and broke.  And at the end, the fight remembers love for super robot shows of old, ditching the more contemporary weapons like blades and guns for a giant indestructible ninja star attached to an equally indestructible rubber band with which Rygart uses for both attack, defense, and mobility.  Is it the best weapon displayed in a mecha show in a long time?  Yeah, probably.

Ultimately, Broken Blade reminds us that mecha is a fantastic action feast for the eyes, and that we all should aspire to death via giant ninja star.
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The more observant of you might notice that this entry is about a month late.  Between working retail during the holiday season and grad school, lets just say I haven't had to much time.  But lets see if we can at least get this project finished, shall we?

There are two major intertwined components of the eleventh episode of Fate/Zero.  The banquet of kings revealed the tragedy of Saber, filled with a propensity for self martrydom that mirrors the personality flaw of a certain silver haired, red robed heroic spirit.  But that is not the part I want to talk about.  Tonight, we celebrate Iskandar for being awesome.  Someone declaring one's ideology is common.  Someone producing undeniable support for one's ideology is not.    

 Gunbuster Pose is the Guile's Theme of Poses
 Gunbuster Pose is the Guile's Theme of Poses
Iskandar believes a king must be one that lives a life that compels worship.  He must be grander than all others, laugh louder, rage harder.  Saber declares them the thoughts of a greedy tyrant.  But tyrant is a word we associate with a king that rules over a populace that despises him.  And what of Iskandar?  His greatest treasure is his bond with his subjects, a bond so strong they continue to pledge their loyalty to him after death.  It is not without irony that the ED theme shows him returning from battle worshipped by the populace while Saber strikes down her own people in a civil war. 

To Iskandar I raise a ladle of wine.  Keep being awesome.
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