Ramblings On The Mecha Aspect Of Gasaraki

In Gasaraki, the mechs are somewhat different from the standard real robot. They are piloted alright, but the pilot never really does anything but order the mech’s advanced AI around. There are no levers, pedals, anything that requires the use of one’s limbs. Everything is voice-activated. This becomes sort of cumbersome when featured on camera.

The pilots give commands in a handful of words, like “Go”, “Up”, or “Path A”. (In the case of the last one, the pilot chooses one path out of many that have been plotted out already, and the AI calibrates the TA’s actions for optimal speed. It’s nothing short of impressive.) Cockpit scenes are rarely shown, so the rest of the piloting is left to our imagination.

I don’t imagine it being any easy, though. Being a TA pilot is tough. You are babysit by an operator whose job virtually consists of monitoring your vitals. If your blood pressure goes up too high, she’ll inject chemicals into your bloodstream, etc. Somehow, the idea of my body being regulated via needle disturbs me greatly.

Actually, operators are king in this show. They can shut you down by remote if you don’t follow orders. This prevents people from pulling off a Katz or Hathaway. Thankfully, everyone’s a professional, at least when karmic partners aren’t involved.

Melee combat is clumsy and awkward. A TA punching another results in broken fingers. Instead, there are knee bunkers, which work very well, though don’t really look like actual weapons. At any rate, they have as many tools as they have weapons–foot stakes, grappling hooks, hacking devices. When you look at it, mechs don’t have that sort of equipment anymore. I mean, even Nu Gundam had dummy balloon bombs.

The show does a fairly believable way of explaining the existence of bipedal mechs, without overly fetishizing them. TAs are war machines and not fancy toys. They can be knocked down (a tank shell to the leg does it), or taken out by various exploding things. However, TAs function closer to powered armor with surprisingly quick maneuvers (which could be facilitated by AI), and function better in urban warfare than plain tanks. They can scale buildings in an interesting yet destructive manner of reverse-rappelling. Due to their intimidating nature, they can put down a riot by just stepping around.

Now if there had been more of them…

Related reading:

  • IKnight puts out a far more coherent entry, and with pics!
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