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REVIEW: Gasaraki DVD Complete Collection


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B-503_MIA



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:17 am Reply with quote
Theron Martin said
Quote:
but closer “Love Story,” also sung by Tomoko Tane, is another matter. Its haunting melody, filled with longing and passion and paired with elegant, symbolic animation, make it one of the all-time-great anime closers.


Knew I wasn't alone on this...

Hard to argue with this review, it hit on all the pluses & minuses there are to Gasaraki, me, I'm a fan... Don't know if it's double-dip-worthy as it sounds like the ADV original has more in terms of extras (I liked the glossaries, etc).
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TarsTarkas



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 2:04 am Reply with quote
I have the ADV Gasaraki DVD's. Haven't watched them in years. From what I remember though, I think the review is pretty well spot on. I liked the series, but it does have its problems as the reviewer has noted.
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dtm42



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 3:39 am Reply with quote
Ah, Gasaraki. The first series I completed collecting, mostly because it was my first boxset that I bought.

The mysticism side let down what was a very strong and interesting show. We get political scheming and manipulation, discourse regarding nationalism, a bout of economic warfare and the glorification of Real Robot Mecha; this is my cup of tea. But I had more issues than just the mysticism. The two leads were boring as heck and had almost no personality; Miharu suffered from Rei Ayanami syndrome, but what was Yushiro's excuse? Side characters weren't explored all that well except for a couple of old men. The pacing was also a bit "meh", with the show starting off well but then dragging in the middle and of course rushing at the end.

Back to the good. Loved the OP and ED equally, though for different reasons. The OP is catchy and really works well as the trailer for the show. The ED is softer but more imposing somehow, and gives Gasaraki an old-style 'epic' feel that the series never really lives up to. The attention to detail of the TAs in combat, and of how the TAs are operated, maintained and supported, definitely is the highlight of the series. I mean finally, a series where the bridge bunnies are actually competent and act like real military officers and personnel. I also liked the character designs which were grounded in reality, just like most of the rest of the series.

All in all a good solid show. I'd rate it as a B+ for taking a more considered and intelligent approach to what could have easily been another Gundam-style Super Robot slugfest (and anyone who says that Gundam is Real Robot needs to get their brain examined).
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vashfanatic



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 4:07 am Reply with quote
dtm42 wrote:
(and anyone who says that Gundam is Real Robot needs to get their brain examined).

Not wanting to pick a fight, just curious, but what would you consider Real Robot?
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Nagisa
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 4:53 am Reply with quote
First off, holy crap, Gasaraki was the last thing I expected to see crop up in a new review, much less get license-rescued. Maybe now I can finally finish it.

dtm42 wrote:
(and anyone who says that Gundam is Real Robot needs to get their brain examined).


Gundam was what kicked off the real robot trend in Japan. It's considered "real robot" because it was the series that introduced the concept into the medium. It may not be extremely technical and firmly planted in the realm of hard science fiction, but it was still responsible for the trend away from alien villains, clearly defined good guys & bad guys, unique mecha, a complete disregard for physics, and mecha armament consisting entirely of rocket punches, laser eyes, and the like. Gundam brought to an almost entirely stylistic fantasy genre (being mecha anime up to that point) the concepts of moral ambiguity, warring human political factions, mass produced mecha, mecha that used more conventional weaponry like mortars & machine guns, and a generally more grounded sense of watching a human war story that just happened to have robots in it.

The point could be made that later Gundam series have strayed away from a more realistic perspective (though really they all dot along a sliding scale from 08th MS & 0080 realism all the way over to SEED Destiny & G Gundam super robot antics on the far end), and the point could also be made that the original series is certainly far from realistic. And both points would be valid. But without Gundam, it's highly likely that much more "realistic" giant root anime would never exist, because the idea -- at least for anime -- started with Gundam and still borrows rather liberally from classic Gundam tropes.

And what the hell is it about ANN that always gets me talking about Gundam? I haven't watched a Gundam series in years! Oy vey...


Last edited by Nagisa on Thu Mar 01, 2012 4:54 am; edited 1 time in total
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dtm42



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 4:53 am Reply with quote
vashfanatic wrote:
dtm42 wrote:
(and anyone who says that Gundam is Real Robot needs to get their brain examined).

Not wanting to pick a fight, just curious, but what would you consider Real Robot?


Basically, shows which treat their robots as being normal and utilitarian machines of war, even if they do have a twist or two (like the TAs from Gasaraki). So stuff like the aforementioned Gasaraki, Patlabor (though admittedly I have only seen the first two movies, not the television series), Macross, FLAG, everything I've seen thus far in the first quarter of Armored Troopers VOTOMS, and the first half of Blue Gender (before the show went off the rails). So, the works of Ryosuke Takahashi is a good place to start, plus a couple of other notable franchises.

Gundam does have a few Real Robot shows, I'll admit that. 08th MS Team is a decent example of one, but only if you ignore the first and last episodes. I think everyone ignores the last episode anyway; it's bizarre. The original Mobile Suit Gundam is also okay; it's the sequels that have strayed. Of course, it did have the Super Robot colours, the pilot falling into a machine built by his father, and the Gundam Hammer. This might sound weird, but I reckon Victory is a better example of a Real Robot show, although it suffers from poor writing (surprise surprise). 0080 is the best example; it has some moronic scenes and confronts the viewer with some big plot holes, but it is brutal and realistic in the ways that actually matter.

Pretty much everything else in the animated Gundam franchise is Super Robot to one degree or another. The NewType BS (and its AU derivatives) plagued many works including the 0079, Zeta, ZZ, Char's Counterattack, F91, X, SEED Destiny (Jesus Yamato and pixie dust, remember?), 00 Season 2, 00 Movie, Unicorn and AGE. I don't consider SEED's spatial awareness to be as broken and bizarre as say the X-Rounders from AGE. Then there's the Super-Sentai teams; G, Wing, X, SEED, SEED Destiny, 00 (both seasons and the movie). Then there are the shows with the gods and prophets; G, Turn A, Gundam 00 (everything) and arguably Unicorn too. As for 0083, it's so darn awful I like to pretend it doesn't even exist, so there's no point in me discussing how much of a Real Robot show it is or is not.

But let's go back to the show widely regarded by the fanboys as being the best and darkest Gundam; Zeta. That show has the titular MS harness spoiler[the souls of fallen comrades of its pilot] to power up into an immortal Super Saiyan (no seriously, there was spoiler[a yellow impenetrable aura surrounding the MS and everything]). This was supposedly achieved using a device installed in the machine; the spoiler[biosensor.] Said device was never mentioned in the show itself and therefore was a retcon, incidentally along with the Hyaku Shiki's beam-reflecting armour (it never deflected one beam the entire show, and I was carefully watching).

Don't even get me started on the ending to Char's Counterattack; it's even worse than the ending to Zeta.

Anyway, sorry for rambling on so long, but this is something I hold strong views on, so once I get going it is hard to stop myself.
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Ryvius213



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 6:29 am Reply with quote
Never expected Gasaraki to show up. Admittedly, Gasaraki wasn't by cup of tea. I loved the soundtrack and the mecha designs, but I feel like they got the plot really horribly jumbled up, trying to tie the mysticism with the politics and failing to really establish any connection between the two.(which is unfortunate, because both were enjoyable at their best)

There were also pacing problems as others have pointed out, and the two main characters generally felt way too flat. To me, Yushiro spoiler[seemed entirely emotionless except about his sister toward the end, and even that seemed to randomly come out of nowhere for the sake of plot convenience.]
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walw6pK4Alo



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:47 am Reply with quote
I just finished Blue Gender, and I'm watching Gasaraki now. FLAG and the 83 VOTOMS might end up being my favorite Takahashi works overall, as Panzer World Galient and Blue Comet SPT Layzner sort of lack a tight narrative and driving story that his other works possess. I haven't seen Fang of the Sun Dougram yet, but I hear it's pretty damn good.

I like the meticulous attention to detail in Gasaraki, it's as close to realistic as you could likely get in anime, even with the mystical Noh aspects tossed in. Makes me wonder where else the story could have gone if the script was re-written to something more like FLAG's. That brings up another point that Takahashi seems have to have a good feel on real geopolitical issues; watching the Belgistan conflict was obviously harkening back to the first Gulf War, but a few elements of the Iraq war also crept it, like the sanctioning and search for WMDs with inspectors. For FLAG, while it could just be "any Central Asian religious/military coup", the way the embedded reporters pull you in feels extremely personal, and this helps makes the conflict seem more real, more connected to reality and what you could actually turn on the news and see. Anime rarely does that, and instead takes ideas to religious conclusions with scales that are either too big or developments happen too quickly.

As for Gundam "inventing real robot" it was just another step in the right direction that Tomino himself had already laid down with Zambot, with themes like destruction and the heroes being despised because of the collateral damage and grief they cause. After Gundam, Tomino does much less for "real robot" than Takahashi, as he slips back to Space Runaway Ideon, Aura Battle Dunbine, Mecha Combat Xabungle, and Heavy Metal L-Gaim. Takahashi deserves more credit for doing things with mecha than he deserves, it always goes to Tomino first and Kawamori second.

Wow there's a mecha series that have yet to be and never will be licensed here.
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nightjuan



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:18 pm Reply with quote
I remember only ever watching bits and pieces of Gasaraki back in 2002 or so, thanks to poor (non-ADV) subtitles and other issues. Still, taking everything else into consideration, I do plan to properly check it out now that a new release has been made available.

As for the difference between "Real Robot" and "Super Robot" as well as its application to Mobile Suit Gundam or any of its multiple spin-offs...following Nagisa's line of thought, I would point out that there have always been varying interpretations of where the line should be drawn and this has little or nothing to do with "fanboy stupidity" or anything of the sort but, as a matter of fact, reflects the realities of how all these mecha anime have been produced and how they have been classified by their contemporary audiences.

The influence of the original Gundam series on what is commonly considered to be "Real Robot" does not simply extend to the more technical aspects of its depiction of mecha, but also includes their possible coexistence with several types of supernatural elements affecting both man and machine. If Newtypes and their consequences are now considered to be anathema and incompatible with "Real Robots" from a purist perspective, then that is a contradiction inherent to the genre's historical development. The Real Robot idol has, so to speak, feet of clay.

But even some of the early offenders that followed in the wake of MSG, such as Zeta Gundam, still took place in a setting that allowed for an overall portrayal of their machines that is still closer to Real Robot than Super Robot, comparatively speaking, regardless of its various imperfections. In other words, it could even be estimated that the mecha in said series were, say, 75% "Real" and 25% "Super" in their characteristics, and then you run into the question of whether it is or isn't reasonable to accept this. Later events would appear to suggest that was, in fact, the case as far as the Japanese are concerned.

Now, Ryousuke Takahashi himself does tend to have a better record than Yoshiyuki Tomino as far as relatively realistic mecha are concerned, long before Gasaraki or later works ever came into the picture, but even the setting and plot of Armored Trooper Votoms lapsed into questionable super-science, which might as well be criticized for being quasi-supernatural in practice, after certain mysteries were revealed. Something similar could also be said about Blue Comet SPT Layzner, in all honesty, when you consider that it relied on an alien invasion plot, crazy artificial intelligence programs and secret power-ups.

And yet that is still more like Votoms or Gundam than Mazinger Z or Getter Robo. There's quite a bit of room for variation and experimentation between both sides and, naturally, every one of us will have different expectations and tolerance levels for what is or isn't "Real" enough here.
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Otaking09



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 1:24 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
So, the works of Ryosuke Takahashi is a good place to start, plus a couple of other notable franchises.


Though I completely agree with you on how Takahashi's stuff is the best place to watch 100% "Real" Robot mecha, are you saying that it's bad to mix spiritual with "real"? I mean, anime can only solidify the logic of a gigantic robot so much to whether it's as bombastic as any bot from Zeta, or as cumbersome as something from Gasaraki to the point where it simply isn't cool enough (my opinion, though I'm sure many people prefer OTT explosive action with their mecha. Just like how most people expect fanservice in the harem genre; it just comes with the label).
That being said, I found Blue Gender's approach to its soulful side an up from Gasaraki's almost anal-retentive clinging to mystifying... everything. It was as if putting a spellbinding on the political side of leads' plight would be make everything more engaging. But... Takahashi's stuff is pretty synonymous with detached so, again, I thought Blue Gender's overall package was eclectically welcome at best, mildly off-putting at worst.

Quote:
Gundam does have a few Real Robot shows, I'll admit that. 08th MS Team is a decent example of one, but only if you ignore the first and last episodes. I think everyone ignores the last episode anyway; it's bizarre. The original Mobile Suit Gundam is also okay; it's the sequels that have strayed.

I'd call 8th MS Team better than 0080 since it had the best focus on camaraderie (which doesn't even happen in 0080 for a vast majority; you're still trying to get a handle on how things are for roughly half the series), which gave its first and last episodes an official humane aspect to all the warfare; nothing of which is remotely done cohesively or consistently in any other Gundam.

Of course, I completely agree with you about how godawful every subsequent Gundam series is... 1st Gundam was at least campy enough to make all the BS fun and reassure you that you are, at the end of the day, watching a cool cartoon.
Everything else... just took itself way too seriously... (one of the reasons I loathe 00 so much is that there's no humane common sense)
Now... I think SEED is a fine case of Gundam not trying to be uber-serious and having a rather successful case of applying hearty melodrama to everything. spoiler[Sure, it all comes across superficial if you have the senses to detect but it isn't nearly as painful as seeing BS (like terminology) being taken seriously...
SEED Destiny also didn't piss me off because the core theme was told campy enough to where I didn't care about how logical all the happenings took place, nor the unrealism of how the characters learned. The cast were all, essentially, "normal" teens so their responses were logically immature. I don't blame the Code Geass writers adapting most of the approaches behind their teen protags being very similar to SEED/Destiny's leads because, literally, anything goes when all you go by is undisciplined emotions.]
Anime hyper

Turn A basically did what Gasaraki did, spoiler[apply a mystic twist which circumvented every nuance and theme the show stood for and did.] So, again, I can't call it a complete case of non-"Real" robot mecha.

So, with all this said and done, (and with the knowledge that RahXephon is one of your favorite anime)spoiler[ am I to assume that you complement and welcome dense, overly layered plotting as long as it has a central theme that it worked towards (or otherwise hinted at) regardless of how little the characters supported it(my opinion)]?
I don't want to start anything too heady of a debate, but everytime you mention RahXephon being the pinnacle for how you approach your critical analysis (or it just simply being the hardiest catch you found yet), it makes me wonder what your ultimate criteria is for stuff being "good", let alone "great" or "inspiring".
Forget about Rah being a mecha since everything has conventions to follow but what breaks your cerebrum mold enough to where you're wowed?
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dtm42



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 9:17 pm Reply with quote
Otaking09 wrote:
Though I completely agree with you on how Takahashi's stuff is the best place to watch 100% "Real" Robot mecha, are you saying that it's bad to mix spiritual with "real"? I mean, anime can only solidify the logic of a gigantic robot so much to whether it's as bombastic as any bot from Zeta, or as cumbersome as something from Gasaraki to the point where it simply isn't cool enough (my opinion, though I'm sure many people prefer OTT explosive action with their mecha. Just like how most people expect fanservice in the harem genre; it just comes with the label).


It isn't necessarily or automatically bad to mix spiritual and/or magical with more realistic things. One show that does it well is Break Blade, a good example of a recent Real Robot show that I overlooked in my previous post. You've got magical abilities and giant robots but both are integrated almost seamlessly together. The first season of Code Geass was a Real Robot show (sadly the second season was not) that had characters with magical abilities. The two sides were not integrated but they did compliment one another.

In Gasaraki the two sides were woven together, but all they did was interfere with one another. Well, I would say the spoiler[reincarnation business and the spirtual Noh dances with the silly feet stamping] got in the way of one of the most faithful Real Robot shows to ever come out. The first half of the first episode featured a very realistic training simulation, then the second half we got a bizarre and off-putting ritual which seemed way out of place.

Some shows can mix wildly different elements together and have them work. But with Gasaraki I believe that it should have been two shows; one a period piece featuring monsters in the employ of powerful feudal lords, and the other a modern piece where major powers fight with economic and political warfare, as well as completely mechanical TAs. If not two shows, then perhaps the route that Otogi Zoshi would later take and make the first cour a period piece and set the second cour in modern times, but with the same themes of star-crossed lovers fighting one another and their respective destinies. That at least would have made sense, and stopped the wild swings between mysticism and lengthy musings regarding the nature of the Japanese people.

Otaking09 wrote:
Turn A basically did what Gasaraki did, spoiler[apply a mystic twist which circumvented every nuance and theme the show stood for and did.] So, again, I can't call it a complete case of non-"Real" robot mecha.


Turn A (the MS) is indeed a Super Robot, along with its brother the Turn X. Yes, there's talk of nanomachines and whatnot, but looking at the overall picture they are both way overpowered, even ignoring the moonlight Butterfly system. The Turn A has a beam rifle as powerful as a colony beam cannon, it can teleport, it is capable of interstellar travel, it can create an unlimited supply of missiles and bullets from within itself, it can repair itself, it can produce an anti-nuke field, it is protected from beams with its 360 degree I-Field, it uses I-Fields to move the limbs therefore allowing them to be mostly hollow (and by extension cutting weight), and so on and so forth. The list of abilities can be found somewhere on the Mechatalk forums and it's pretty ridiculous.

Otaking09 wrote:
Forget about Rah being a mecha since everything has conventions to follow but what breaks your cerebrum mold enough to where you're wowed?


That's a whole 'nother kettle of fish that really ought to be answered in another thread. Needless to say, you can look at myAnime list here at ANN. It is pretty out of date but should you give you an idea of what sort of movies and shows I enjoy.


Last edited by dtm42 on Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:47 pm; edited 1 time in total
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belvadeer



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:31 pm Reply with quote
dtm42 wrote:
Some shows can mix wildly different elements together and have them work. But with Gasaraki I believe that it should have been two shows; one a period piece featuring monsters in the employ of powerful feudal lords, and the other a modern piece where major powers fight with economic and political warfare, as well as completely mechanical TAs.

Turn A (the MS) is indeed a Super Robot, along with its brother the Turn X. Yes, there's talk of nanomachines and whatnot, but looking at the overall picture they are both way overpowered, even ignoring the moonlight Butterfly system. The Turn A has a beam rifle as powerful as a colony beam cannon, it can teleport, it is capable of interstellar travel, it can create an unlimited supply of missiles and bullets from within itself, it can repair itself, it can produce an anti-nuke field, it is protected from beams with its 360 degree I-Field, it uses I-Fields to move the limbs therefore allowing them to be mostly hollow (and by extension cutting weight), and so on and so forth. The list of abilities can be found somewhere on the Mechatalk forums and it's pretty ridiculous.


A. I like your idea about monsters in the employ of feudal lords.

B. Dang, what a seriously Gary Stu Gundam. Oh wait, they forgot to put in a power that absorbs galaxies, right? Rolling Eyes It sounds like a Gundam designed by some fanfiction artist who doesn't know where to stop with the godmodding.
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Otaking09



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:12 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
The first season of Code Geass was a Real Robot show (sadly the second saeason was not) that had characters with magical abilities. The two sides were not integrated but they did compliment one another.

You're funny. Smile

Quote:
In Gasaraki the two sides were woven together, but all they did was interfere with one another. Well, I would say the spoiler[reincarnation business and the spirtual Noh dances with the silly feet stamping] got in the way of one of the most faithful Real Robot shows to ever come out. The first half of the first episode featured a very realistic training simulation, then the second half we got a bizarre and off-putting ritual which seemed way out of place.

Y'know, actually, you are correct in how that ended up happening. However, Carl's recent review of X'amd helped me realize that it ultimately did make it unpredictable (always a plus in the anime medium; greatest weakness of the medium of the whole IMHO), and at least it gave us a heads up as to how the whole series would pan out. It may not have churned smoothly, but the mixture was at least intriguing.

As for your Otogi Zoshi example, I think that directly "splitting" the approach would make it end up being just another Code Geass disaster. (or Gundam SEED. whichever suits you)

As for your answer on Turn A (and not X since that was really just a romp), I don't think you're getting why I brought all those other Gundam's up: my point was that Gasaraki successfully utilized its very bizarre approach up to the very end without copping out on its own directive.
I used other Gundams to illustrate that if you start one way and end up another, its a fail; common sense.
But, if you do decide to make a switch and that "switch" (examples being Rah, NGE, and SEED, 00 etc) doesn't complement the original intent then its another fail. But this fail depends on how crappy it used it.
And here's where my ultimate point comes in: Gasaraki stuck to its guns ALL THE WAY, where other, more popular and mainstream series (like... Rah or NGE) make decisions that are very polarizing to audiences despite how interesting or complex they justified the "switch".

Which is why I explained SEED to you: its desire to fuel the practically non-explained "SEED factor" and other colorful additions that were clearly making it a Super Robot genre didn't piss me off like countless others was because it stayed honest to its intent of letting immature but faithful and loyal earnestness take manifest in a logical world.
The only real thing that pissed me off was that it was under a Gundam title which automatically dictates that it really be logically based (even though 9/10, they aren't Anime hyper).

Since Rah doesn't have the Gundam label, what constitutes it being an exception?
I'll take a look at your list later, but my inquiry stems from your persistent and uber-critical analysis that has constantly bothered me.
To top it off, your icon is Madoka (which, to me, is one of the most overrated titles in anime history) so... better now than never, right? Smile
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penguintruth



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:23 pm Reply with quote
Anyone who labels Gundam "super robot" because of Newtypes is missing the fact that "super robot" denotes special powers for the robots. Newtypes are PEOPLE with special powers, and only sometimes their machines are mediums for those abilities. The robots themselves are not super powered, the people in them are. Therefore it is still "real robot".
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dtm42



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:45 pm Reply with quote
belvadeer wrote:
B. Dang, what a seriously Gary Stu Gundam. Oh wait, they forgot to put in a power that absorbs galaxies, right? Rolling Eyes It sounds like a Gundam designed by some fanfiction artist who doesn't know where to stop with the godmodding.


http://www.mechatalk.net/​viewtopic.​php?​t=​9393
http://mechatalk.net/​viewtopic.​php?​f=​17&​t=​10544 (this is the better thread of the two)

Yeah, I forgot about the bit where it is invulnerable to conventional attacks (admittedly most Gundams have this ability) and can teleport beam attacks inside the cockpits of opposing Mobile Suits.

penguintruth wrote:
Anyone who labels Gundam "super robot" because of Newtypes is missing the fact that "super robot" denotes special powers for the robots. Newtypes are PEOPLE with special powers, and only sometimes their machines are mediums for those abilities. The robots themselves are not super powered, the people in them are. Therefore it is still "real robot".


The robot went Super Saiyan using the power of ghosts. spoiler[Kamille didn't supercharge the Zeta, it amplified his power using its own magical device, A.K.A. the biosensor. That is not what I'd call a Real Robot.]

Robots with magical abilities are not Real Robots.

Otaking09 wrote:
You're funny. Smile


Thank you, I do like to be complimented. But I was being serious.

Otaking09 wrote:
Since Rah doesn't have the Gundam label, what constitutes it being an exception?
I'll take a look at your list later, but my inquiry stems from your persistent and uber-critical analysis that has constantly bothered me.
To top it off, your icon is Madoka (which, to me, is one of the most overrated titles in anime history) so... better now than never, right? Smile


You asked me to forget RahXephon and instead explain "what breaks your cerebrum mold enough to where you're wowed?" I thought that didn't have a place in this thread.
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