Dom Tetreault (keiichido@hotmail.com)
Sat, 2 Sep 2000 23:49:05 -0400


----- Original Message -----
From: "Alfred Urrutia" <ledzep@d2.com>
To: <gundam@aeug.org>
Sent: Friday, September 01, 2000 10:56 PM
Subject: Re: [gundam] What's the point of humanoid mecha anyway?

> Sedusa66@aol.com wrote:
>
> > Humans _are_ the ultimate weapon.... to put it as my friend would, we
ARE
> > the bear that spits poison...... haha, long story.... :)
> >
>
> We are the *operators* of many ultimate weapons, but you put us in a cage
with
> a tiger, a wolf, a rattlesnake and a bear and see who dies first.

Easy, the human just yells for someone to toss him the keys and unlocks the
door while the animals are deciding if the rest of them are a threat or not.
=)

For military mecha, if you're building on this huge scale, a humanoid is the
perfect shape for one reason: psychology.

Humans always want to be bigger and stronger. You can't get much better than
tens of tons of heavy metal powered by a nuclear reactor, with heavy-calibre
weaponry that - and here's the clincher - *looks like you*, if only vaguely.
It moves just like you do, which makes you look like an incredible he-man to
your enemies, causing them great consternation and fear. The pilot is
personified by his mecha. This comes into play when he's confronting other
humanoid mecha, and the primaeval 'bigger stick' (or possibly gun) mentality
rears its ugly head. You can't be beaten or your image as a manly fighter
takes a serious blow. =) Plus, human mecha seem more dangerous. There's an
intimidation factor. I'd be more terrified if a Kampher was barrelling
towards me than if I was being swarmed by Valkyries. (Though, admittedly,
some of the older Gundam designs seem to evoke more of a giggle than a
gasp.) BattleTech's Atlas comes to mind - I remember the Tech Readout 3025
entry for it, where it said the designers spent something like a year just
designing the head exterior to look as ugly and intimidating as possible. =)

But the point is, humans are inspired and fearstruck by giant death-dealing
machines that have two arms, two legs and a head. It just isn't the same
with tanks or planes or bizarre contraptions bristling with mega particle
cannons. (Besides, there's always the constant human urge to literally step
on enemies smaller than you.)

Physics probably can't justify the humanoid mecha but maybe human mentality
can. =)

Did I ramble? Or make sense? Nearly midnight, coffee's gone, my eyes are
drooping. Goodnight, cruel world...

- dom

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