Classic Western design aesthetics for giant robots tends to focus on blocky designs with recognizable mechanical elements. They're usually ponderous, to reflect their weight and mass, as well as inflexible - big walking weapon platforms, really, which fit the stories about them since they're usually more grounded in actual war-fighting.
Classic Eastern design aesthetics goes in the opposite directions. Designs are usually covered in artistic flourishes and built impossibly lithe and flexible. On the whole they tend to move faster and more gracefully, with a greater focus on melee, which fits well with stories about young and heroic upstart heroes who zip around battlefields cutting mooks up like they're made of paper.
Are there any interesting examples that go against the grain of these two stereotypes? Any Japanese mecha designed to look like an actual heavy, weighty machine or Western mechs made to zip around like their fantastical Eastern cousins?
>Any Japanese mecha designed to look weighty and heavy?
Japanese mecha design usually subscribes to both camps, with a preference toward standard humanoid designs.
This season's Argevollen is one such example. There are also a large number of games that use such ideas too, like Armored Core (which is a combination of both camps) and Chromehounds. There was also Steel Battalion, which is still the only mech sim to have a full mech sim experience, controller and all. I would also say that VOTOMs falls more into the "weighty realistic" category.
True, and you can really see it in the early designs - including the "Unseen" designs which were literally stolen and can't be shown in official products any more - but they've definitely drifted away from that over the years and toward their own design aesthetic. The various Mechwarrior games track this shift pretty clearly, it helps that Battlemech mechs tend to only have a fairly loose "model" so that whenever they're redrawn the artists only have to get the overall aesthetic for the particular mech correct. Skull head for the Atlas, big gun on the shoulder for the Hunchback, etc.
Western design is all about tracing over some Eastern design and then convincing fans to make sweeping generalizations about the latter.
>Dem ripoffs though.
The fact of the matter is, Japan has been doing both for the longest time. We Westerners just like to make "realistic" and "tacticool battle turrets" as our mecha. I guess that's because they can try to play it off as something that the West does, while the East is more known for its slanky and agile super robots.
>We Westerners just like to make "realistic" and "tacticool battle turrets" as our mecha.
You're saying that on a board full of crackers watching japanese shows.
And you're apparently serious.
This is a rather common misconception especially among battletech fans.
Japan has plenty of examples of what you'd call classically western and on top of that many of those classically western designs are just licensed Japanese designs.
The biggest difference really is the west only has the one type mostly in the form of tabletops while Japan has the whole spectrum of mecha types. Some giant sleek and fast, some blocky and mechanical, others impractical and full of artistic flourish.
You can in fact compare all those things and even draw conclusions. The high amount of fried food in the American diet has real health consequences, while in the East a rice-heavy diet lead to malnutrition in some areas whereas those areas where fishing is plentiful were historically healthier.
The growth of the anime industry in Japan and Disney being one of the founders of cartooning in the United States would also be an interesting comparison, since you could examine how each got their start in their respective countries and why they were successful.
but whatever, you guys will bashing this so you can be special snowflakes and contrarian
Yo, I'm just gonna point out that you completely missed out the three Transfomers movies, which did in fact not feature lumbering turret-robots.
That's the stuff "the west" likes.
>You missed Transformers, which the West totally likes.
Well if you want to go down that road why don't we also invoke Pacific Rim?
You understand what the phrase "exception, not the rule" means, correct?
The West PREFERS giant lumbering mecha with clearly practical application and exosuits. They WILL WATCH slanky, fast mechs.
>Well if you want to go down that road why don't we also invoke Pacific Rim?
Because it hasn't gotten an additional two movies in quick succession? Moviegoing folks and moviemaking folks clearly like agile mechs better.
That looks unfinished and they ran out of material for the armor. Like all the Bayformers.
You mean hilariously bad writing, erratic fast moving camera to make fights "look" exciting, robots that look the same in battle due to the fast moving camera and designs that look like naked robots with slight amounts of armor to cover their robo-nether regions?
Pacific Rim did everything better, and Burgerland went to watch Grown Ups 2 instead.
Ah, I remember Titanfall. It isn't relevant to the discussion as it isn't a gigant robot game though.
>East versus West
Haven't you heard the news? Nobody cares anymore.
Here, this is your new argument. You'll be spending a lot of time discussing it in the future, of this I can assure you.
>Implying that the agility of the mechs in Transformers has any relation whatsoever to its popularity.
I'm not even convinced that the Transfomers in Transformers are the reason why people saw Transformers. Transformers is a typical Summer action blockbuster under a director that's known for big movies like these.
Keep in mind, Fast and the Furious has, what? Five movies now? Six?
I'm not trying to say that the mechs have no bearing whatsoever on the popularity of the movies. My point is, Transformers is a tried and true Hollywood formula with robots added. They've been making these movies for a long time.
Man, look at dis Western robot. So realistic and designed for ranged combat.
You are an idiot and you don't know your arse from your elbow.
> Transformers is a typical Summer action blockbuster under a director that's known for big movies like these.
Yeah, Pacific Rim is an arthouse christmas movie like Die Hard.
Look, it's pretty clearly the robots people want to see, because Michael Bay sure as hell didn't deliver Pearl Harbour 2-4.
>It's pretty clearly the robots people wanted to see.
>We know this because there wasn't a Pearl Harbor 2-4!
That's because Pearl Harbor isn't an action flick and is considered to be a flop by critics.
Since you use "harbour" and aren't American, I can understand why you don't understand what I'm telling you.
Summer action flicks are a thing in America. Transformers, Die Hard, and Fast and the Furious are prime examples of your typical action-packed Summer hit. These are movies that run on a very similar premise and are geared toward generating the biggest box office revenue possible. They involve a lot of commercials, trailers, and hype. They promise a lot of action-packed scenes, comedy, and one-liners. They deliver.
It's the same for Marvel movies. The Avengers, Iron Man, etc., all work on this same idea. Pacific Rim was more of a love affair with mecha than it was a Summer blockbluster, and it lacked the hype drive that those super-huge action blockbusters typically get. PacRim actually did well, but it just didn't meet expectations.
Also it did really well in China, so there's at least that.
Really, your frame of reference is just far too small. Both have a lot of variation within their respective medium.
Would you honestly say the Battletech 'mech stereotype you put there is anywhere close to an even more iconic western mech design?
Hell, let's not forget an iconic eastern mech that's far more in line with the former stereotype than the latter one.
I don't know, giant robot dragons are pretty eastern no matter how no-frills you try to make their armor. Huge sheets of uninterrupted metal are pretty Japanese as well since western design seems to want to turn everything into smaller and more modular panels with less crazy layered angles.
Bulky, blocky, ponderously massive, with more weapons than some first-world nations. Not much about it is lithe, and the melee focus is far less than other Godzilla foes. No heroic upstart is piloting it, zipping around the battlefield blowing up mooks. 'course that's because it's fighting the God of the nuclear incarnate, the King of the Monsters rather than armies, but point stands.
This was in specific reference to the stereotypes listed in the OP.
When will you fucktards get it right. FASA bought the designs in good faith. They just bought them from someone who did not have the rights to them. Battletech did not steal anything as when it finally went to court they were found not at fault, they just had to stop using the designs because they did not own them. Had they continued to use them, then they would have been stealing them.
>Western mechs made to zip around like their fantastical Eastern cousins?
fucking optimus prime in bayformers move fast enough even the camera not able to recognize him
and SUPERIOR 3DCGI like aldnoah, Sidonia or argevollen, they really look heavy and clumsy weighty machine
I don't think you got the concept right.
The "western" mech has its roots in a love and glorification of war. Murrica fuck yeah, all that. It looks like a walking tank because that's what it is, by design and by inspiration. And as such the design will tend towards the "military", drab colors, tank-esque aesthetics.
The "eastern" mech is however more of a romanticism of the concept. The more spiritual side. A lot of attention is usually drawn to the "godhood" of the mech, portraying it as a protector spirit, a god of steel, or a scary demon, rather than a simple war machine. Mazinger is god and devil. Which is why they tend more towards humanoids clad in brightly colored armors and brandishing swords.
There are a lot of exceptions, of course, like Transformers (though aren't the Transformer designs made in Japan, anyway?)
Yeah, the original Transformers came from Japan and they haven't strayed far from that. Even Bayformers goes for that sort of feel.
But I like your point about different cultural perspectives on the machines themselves. The idea of robot suits as transforming regular people into gods and demons does explain why there's such a focus on impossible blasts of energy or physics-defying maneuvers - it's basically Dragon Ball Z, except their powers come from the robots and not from screaming for hours.
The mainstream western audience sees a war machine and walking tank, which is why there's so much more arguing about making designs which make military sense and trying to explain how a two-legged walker would be more useful than a tracked vehicle which is more stable and has a lower profile.
Simple: Nothing with that many joints is going to be built to tank hits. The only reason you'd have so many parts is to adjust your balance.
You might think zippy fast machines are stupid, feminine and weird but not being struck by the round in the first place is always the best defence, whether its done through you seeing your opponent first or you being able to evade the round.
Focusing on the war machine aspects kinda misses the point. Western audience sees the robots as an engineering and technological success, proof that nature ain't got shit on human intellect.
Eastern audiences see the robot as an extension of the pilotls will and treated as a relatable character in its own right rather than just a prop.
That is why the bayformers get so little dialogue, motivations, or history. And not character growth at all. They are tools, props to be used like planes in a stunt show.
>That is why the bayformers get so little dialogue, motivations, or history. And not character growth at all. They are tools, props to be used like planes in a stunt show.
But the human characters in bayformers are like that as well
One on the left doesn't know if he wants to be a Labor, a Cyclop or a visorfag when he grows up so he turns into a weird mix of guncannon+Briareos.
Fix the head and the color scheme and it's gold.
>The "western" mech has its roots in a love and glorification of war.
Actually they both do now that I think about it. The matter is which period exactly. The US tend to focus on the 20th century and WW2 in particular, because most of their earlier battle history was civil wars and other infighting but in World War 2 they were practically the heroes who saved the day. Thus things will have a "modern war" look to them, unless they go full sci-fi and then it will look like Star Wars instead.
Meanwhile, Japan focuses on the Warring States, the honoraburu samurai, the infantry and cavalry duking it out in open man to man combat (which amusingly was also mostly civil wars and in-fighting... except Japan didn't exactly do well in the world wars so they focus on that instead). So the super robots will also feature these aesthetics a lot.
And then Japan still does tacticool utilitarian designs better than the West.
I'd agree with you that this difference in viewpoint is what makes the biggest difference between Western/Eastern mecha.
I wouldn't agree however in that the Western approach is worse (if that is what you're saying). The philosophy may be more of the mech-as-machine than mech-as-hero, but that just leads to different kinds of stories. You could have a story about a mech as much as you could have a story about a tank, or a plane.
I love the mech as a machine; I have a particuar soft spot for chicken walkers.
>treated as a relatable character in its own right rather than just a prop.
I don't get why people keep saying this.
To me, for a machine to have a "personality" it has to have idiosyncrasies and an emotional connection from it's operator(s). A unique and flashy design doesn't really play into it at all.
Keep in mind that I see spaceships, and not battletech and its ilk, as the western analogue of mecha.
It's weird to me that the AT-ST and AT-AT seem like such perfectly sensible military vehicles. Show me your usual humanoid robot suit with a jetpack and a laser sword and I'll scoff, but somehow these boxes on skinny legs look like something people might actually use.
I think it's because they don't look that complicated or fancy (for a mech), and they aren't trying to be the King of the Battlefield. They serve an existing role in combat as infantry support; they're less like walking tanks, and more like walking helicopters or IFVs.
The thing is, though, battlemechs do fall under that definition. It's fairly common to see mechs passed down from generation to generation, getting beat down and built back up, customized to fit a particular pilot's style, or jury-rigged with whatever's on hand. Until each mech is as unique and full of character as it's pilot.
Only the AT-ST really could claim some semblance of sensibility, due to its usage in forest environments where bulky craft can't move around very well.
The AT-AT's legs are nothing but a hinderance comparatively, Empire Strikes Back is blatant about this fact. The AT-AT is, if anything, worse than the humanoids due to the extremely large profile the legs have. And this isn't even bringing up its function as a troop transport. Say what you will about the prequel material but their walking troop transports managed to at least have a lower profile.
I guess the AT-ATs high profile is less for practical reasons and more for that "Kneel before it, pesky rioters" intimidation effect.
Might have something to do with their landing pads being kind of adjusted to that height, too. At least I remember the one shown on Endor being fairly huge. Might be some odd standardization deal.
True. However, the materials around the AT-AT (thinking of the DK books about the things) state that they were designed as terror weapons as much as troop transports/gun platforms. And whilst against a similarly equipped army they'd be less than effective, against an irregular, less well-provisioned force like the Rebels they're a good demoralization tool. And they're used in tandem with other vehicles like the AT-STs.
Just rewatched the battle of Hoth. They're pretty much immune to blaster or turbolaser fire in the sequence, and pretty maneuverable for what they are.
It's the most closed up Prime they made for these movies yet. They actually overdid it so much that its impossible to make into a toy without having most of the outer shell of the truck hanging from the back.
/k/ had a great series of posts about the practicality of the Star Wars designs.
tl;dr the AT-AT is great for walking over ditches and mines and any obstacles that goes your way. And you can drop mortars and artillery around them and it won't damage the cockpit. And they are terrifying.
I know all EU canon is fanon now, but according to some document Wookipedia says the AT AT can reach speeds up to 60kmh on stable, flat terrain. Jesus.
>be some rebel scum
>yfw a brigade of AT-ATs bearing down on you at 40mph shrugging off heavy blaster fire like fucking nothing
Tangentially related but how abut the current power "armor" trend in hollywood.
Armored Core and Front Mission to an extent represent Japan attempting some western styles.
It's not until AC2 that we start to see some actual lithe/sleek designs, and FM always had it's share of blocky mechs and curved ones.
As to whether they're really ponderous or not depends on whether you consider limited jumping and ground boosting as limited (AC4/A aside), given that some mechs in MW did also have jumpjets and/or MASC/Triple Myomer options for speed.
It's mostly just copies of current tech in exoskeletons, with greebles and weaponry glued on.
>Tangentially related but how abut the current power "armor" trend in hollywood.
It's more connected to the hollywood misuse of the term "power armor" in place of "mechanized exoskeleton".
Hollywood doesn't feel the need to separate EoT/Elysium from Ironman/District 9
>Armor capable of withstanding light arms fire.
>Machinegun, heavier ordnance in limited supply.
>Small single-person carrier.
>Highly mobile with lots of versatility with features like those webshot things that can be used a hundred different ways.
>Artificial Intelligence capable of vast functions.
>Also cloaks just like everything else their agency has.
For the military it's shit, sure. For SWAT/special response units though, I can see that being a desired vehicle. Honestly, I feel like GitS really portrays their usefulness without any of us needing to give it a proper explanation.
The HAW-206 was a great thing too. I'm not sure it would make an effective combatant against a tank, but as an IFV it looks very effective. Dual heavy machineguns and a sizable cannon with a full range of motion, and lots of electronic warfare functions. Would be very useful.
That's Fang of the Sun Dougram, aka that other show where Battletech based/borrowed many of its first mecha designs from (and which the franchise now has legal permission to use again but hasn't, just to be on the safe side).
Western mecha has gotten more sophisticated. I'm starting to prefer what Western designers are doing more than needlessly busy Japanese designs (although Front Mission is probably the best middle-ground between the two). Here's a design by a great artist named Trevor Claxton.
I feel like the west has always been good at people scale designs, like power suits and androids (the former of which Japan doesn't like to do nearly as much as we do), and we're just now catching up to where we're just starting to get good at mechs and stuff. Most of our stuff previous was either really simple or copying designs from Macross and VOTOMs.
Please. Japan does power armour better too.
That much is a matter of taste, and I didn't address it, but I did say that Japan doesn't do nearly as much (proportionally, of course) with power suits than the US does. Americans have fantasized about having their own personal Iron Man suit for quite some time, and they still do.
But that is not to say that American power armor artists do not take a lot of inspiration for what has managed to come over to the west.
The problem is, there's no real media where all the good mechs can show up. Mecha stuff is still really niche, so the vast majority of good western mecha designs are just one-off drawings on the internet.
>Implying Shimmy doesn't take heavy inspiration from Appleseed 'n' shit like that
I like it when they do a hybrid of the humanoid design with the slow movement of a giant robot. Best example I can give is something like Armored Core 2 where even if you make the fastest possible mech it would still be slower than most stuff you see in other mech things.