SaiMecha: Before the End

Zaku II regarded the smoking remains of its fated opponent with its monoeye.

The VF-1S was in Gerwalk mode, its frame broken in multiple pieces. It had crashed from its last battle, felled not by the Zaku’s machine gun but by the fell hand of the Eva Unit-01. The nose and cockpit were lying on the scorched earth, a pair of charred corpses still glued to the single seat. One body, smaller and lightly-built, sat awkwardly across the legs of what seemed to be the pilot, but both were simultaneously cooked together as their machine failed them.

No, the VF-1 did not lose by its failings. It lost simply because its opponent was a complete monster.

The Zaku turned its head to the east, where a huge silhouette towered even among the gathering clouds. Despite its sheer size, the Eva Unit-01 looked anorexic, slouched over without any care for its appearance. It had surprised everyone at the start of the tournament when it took on the Gunbuster, many times its size, and won by eating its opponent’s twin Degeneracy reactors. Growing to Gunbuster’s size, it summarily crushed the rest of the competition.

Until the VF-1, that is. Armed to the teeth with the finest gear the U.N. Spacy had to offer, the VF-1 tried everything: guns, missiles, lasers, missiles, even more missiles, and devastating reaction weaponry to deal with the gigantic threat. But such attacks only tickled the Eva’s AT Field, as it stood perfectly still in the midst of its opponent’s barrage. Then, with an agility no humongous machine should be allowed to have, it swiped at the VF-1 with a sinewy arm.

The VF-1 barely avoided getting snatched up by the hungry Eva, but the velocity of the move grazed one of its wings. It crashed into the ground and met its ignoble end.

The Zaku mournfully took the broken cockpit of its fated adversary and walked across the desolate ground. Not many miles later, it reached the grave of its superior, the Sinanju. Sinanju had fought bravely in the Earth side, scoring victories over the King of Braves and the Pretender Comet. The VF-1 beat it in an overwhelming win, its micromissiles blotting out the sky as it all but vaporized the Zaku’s friend.

The grave was marked with the Sinanju’s oversized sleeves, which were the only parts that remained out of the elite red mech. The Zaku laid the VF-1 cockpit at its feet.

“I was denied the opportunity to avenge you, sir,” it said respectfully. The voice was that of a soldier, aged but still battle-ready. A clear liquid formed under the Zaku’s monoeye and trickled down its face. Was it disappointment? Indignation to be ridden a powerful vendetta? Even the venerable machine could not tell.

“Zaku! Zaku will win the tournament!” A curly-haired boy shouted, scampering towards its favorite contender. He was holding a miniature toy in the Zaku’s likeness.

A girl in a red-and-white dress followed, hiking her skirts up as she chased after the boy. She looked at the VF-1’s cockpit and gave it a solid kick. “That’s for my White Doll!” The Turn A Gundam was another of the Variable Fighter’s conquests, struck down by gunpod fire as it implored defenselessly for peace and harmony amongst mecha. Also a friend.

A man in a longcoat approached the Zaku. “Congratulations on your win over the YF-19, MS-06J Zaku II. You are now Champion of the Colonies Side.”

The Zaku paused to remember its last opponent. The YF-19 was by far the most capable adversary it had fought in this tournament. It was true that its specs were far beyond the Zaku’s own, and it had the luxury of flight and the blessing of speed. But the Zaku did not get to this point by sheer luck–each of its opponents learned of its cunning and resourcefulness the hard way.

It had not seen the booby-trapped Santa Claus balloon coming, nor its deadly payload of cracker grenades. The Zaku had a vast, inexhaustible supply of battlefield tactics from the combined experience of its innumerable brothers. The plane-robot was nothing but a wild bird, ferocious with its talons but nothing more than a newly-hatched chick, ignorant in the ways of real war.

A small object shimmered in ExecutiveOtaku’s hand, and it floated to the Zaku’s eye level.

“The Acguy Scopedog. It now belongs to you, Father of Real Robots.” The Zaku reached for the prize with a hand, and the Acguy Scopedog disappeared in a flash of drab green.

“I may be old and tired, but I can still fight one, final battle.” In the background, the towering Eva stood like a permanent fixture amidst the gray sky.

“You’d better,” ExecutiveOtaku said, shaking his head. “The Eva Unit-01 must be stopped, or the entire world will be doomed to Tang™.”

“But how will you beat it, Zaku?” the boy with the Zaku toy asked. The girl merely stared, hugging a plush Kapool doll tightly to her chest.

The Zaku’s monoeye zeroed in on the humans. “I’ll need supplies.”

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13 Responses to SaiMecha: Before the End

  1. Scamp says:

    Beautiful~!

    (Although it probably had the opposite effect to what you were hoping. This reminded me why I vote for the EVA. It’s precisely because it’s such a frightening monstrous machine)

    • schneider says:

      Yes. All that [manufactured] hate aside, I’m really surprised with the Eva’s appeal. It’s not at all pretty and goes against every mecha design value I hold dear, but the sheer terror it inspires is unsurpassed. Now I understand more why a lot of people have voted for it a little.

      • JoeQ says:

        Aye. There are plenty of mecha that hold within them the capacity for both good and evil (Mazinger, the Getters, Gurren Lagann, Giant Robo, RahXephon and many others), but none are so terrifying as Unit-01. It is the spitting image of a raging demon, only barely controlled and forced to do man’s bidding. It might not follow the traditional mecha design tenets of conveying the impression of size and power, but it’s a triumph nonetheless.

        That said…. /salute
        Fight on, Captain, till the very end!

  2. ottocycle says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuntewY_1I4 T_T

    I’m not letting them Eva fans have hamburgers for dinner on the day of the final results. D:

  3. I like both finalists, truthfully, but I like neither as Sai Mecha champions. I really don’t know what to do.

  4. Kuro says:

    Beautiful write-up!

    But still, the monster known as EVA-01 will not be stopped.

  5. DoctorBaronvonEvilSatan says:

    I like Eva-01 for the what it symbolises. That of the Human Race being scared, desperate, and lonely yet still defiant.
    It’s easy to be defiant when you’re hotblooded and/or psychotic or when you have an ideology or comrades to fight at your side. Being able to put your foot down and say “no” while you are terrified and desperately lonely speaks a lot more to me.
    While it may not have the imposing build of other mecha, The Beast that shouted “I” at the heart of the world is every bit as awe inspiring and even more terrifying by virtue of what it represents.

    So despite mono-eye and my love for grunt units, I’m siding with Eva-01.

    Also, I want to see people going “CONGRATULATIONS”

  6. WhatSht says:

    The Zaku should take down the EVA next round for denying the Zaku’s chance to avenge the Sinanju, I’m satisfied that the VF-1 went down in honor, I’m wondering who was the pilot and the passenger on the VF-1.

    “The plane-robot was nothing but a wild bird, ferocious with its talons but nothing more than a newly-hatched chick, ignorant in the ways of real war”
    I had to agree with that, the YF-19 is only a prototype, only fought small battles compared to those that the Zaku fought.

  7. Reid says:

    I could not have said this better myself if I had tried, Exec.

    Like I said back at the SaiMecha site, the Zaku represents all that’s real and good about being real. The EVA is author-manufactured hax, invincibility, whatever you want to call it. It’s Superman. Boring. Only the pilot can screw up. The machine (?) itself is cheap in the sense that the majority of popular characters in Marvel vs Capcom 3 are cheap or the Noob Combo in Halo 2 was cheap. This is SaiMecha, people! Not SaiCreator! Anno was literally thumbing his nose at us, mecha anime fans, when he made Neon Genesis Evangelion. He hates you. He doesn’t want you to like the show. He wants you to hate it and never get past it. He wants you to look at yourself and hate what you see because you like robots. He wants it to control and define your anime-watching life in a negative way. That EVA is not your friend.

    The Zaku, however, IS your friend. It’s a reliable, battle-proven, versatile machine that perfectly suits it’s time and place and the world in which it operates. It’s a real robot because it depends on your skills. This is no walking plot device, boy, no plot device. This is the Zaku. And say what you will about the Principality of Zeon and their methods or the rationality of their war, because it has nothing to do with this tournament. The Zaku II is just a machine, an instrument of YOUR will, something YOU, as a person can project your hopes and dreams onto and make them a reality. It’s an extension of you, not another entity you have to do battle with. Its victory is YOUR victory, not fates or destiny’s or the result of pure blind chance like it is with the Evangelion.

    So I say again:
    Paint that Zaku’s shoulder red! Give him golden sleeves and a commander’s horn! Emblazon his shield with the Jolly Roger! Empower him with the souls of fallen comrades!Give him two burning hands that scream for victory! Give him the power to undo the dark history of this SaiMecha Tournament! Evangelion, you can keep your anger, your pain and all your sorrow, because we have love in our hearts! TODAY, WE ARE ALL ZAKUS!

    Now let’s make this thing happen.

    • What a crock of bullshit.

      The EVA is author-manufactured hax, invincibility, whatever you want to call it. It’s Superman. Boring. Only the pilot can screw up. The machine (?) itself is cheap in the sense that the majority of popular characters in Marvel vs Capcom 3 are cheap or the Noob Combo in Halo 2 was cheap.

      This applies to super robots of all kinds. The Mazinger Z is the INVINCIBLE fortress of steel, both God and Devil, etc etc. TTGL? Check. Gao Gai Gar? Check. Ideon? Check.

      So if you hate this thing about Eva, I don’t want to hear any pro-super robot nonsense of this kind from you. EVER.

      • Reid says:

        I don’t see the connection. Mazinger Z is incredibly powerful, yes. Ideon can reset the whole galaxy, true. TTGL is several lightyears “tall”, without a doubt. But there’s a difference here, one that makes me not see my rejection of Eva as an idictment of super robots, many of which I have a lot of praise for. What I see as different about them is that, well, they all lost at one point or another. Mazinger Z was defeated and then *poof* here’s Great Mazinger! The Eva never loses and it doesn’t even get killed while winning a symbolic victory like Ideon. TTGL and GaoGaiGar were powered by courage, so if you are a weak-willed sap, you won’t be winning many battles against the kinds of foes the DaiGurren Dan or the Gutsy Geoid Guard faced down on a regular basis. Shinji Ikari was exactly that kind of weak-willed pilot until the very end (?) when he rejects instrumentality. No problem though, because as soon as things get bad, *poof* Yuki comes online and Berserker Mode engages *poof* dead Angel.

        That’s my problem with Eva from the TV series, though, because the new movies are doing a lot for me in terms of actually enjoying the good aspects of the storyline again.

        • The Evas are powered by “Burning Pathos” in the exact same way that TTGL and GGG are powered by courage. I don’t get what you’re saying here.

        • Reid says:

          What I’m saying is that “burning pathos” sucks. For one thing, the “pathos” in quesiton here really isn’t pathos in the usual sense at all, in the sense that it’s an appeal to the audience for an emotional reaction because of whatever narrative technique. If that were the case, I’d agree pathos is unavoidable because, clearly, I have a (negative) emotional reaction to Shinji, the EVA, the whole show, the creator of the show, and other aspects of the fictional work. However, this “burning pathos” you’re talking about seems to me to be more like “intentional suffering for suffering’s sake,” which I reject completely. Hideaki Anno did not like “us” and did not want “us” to enjoy his television show. He made a thought-provoking program, definitely, but is it one meant to be enjoyed? I doubt it. Pathos to me is seeing Minmay go through her struggles accepting that Hikaru doesn’t love her despite her feelings for him. Pathos is Kazumi and Coach never being able to really share their love because the Gunbuster has to go whoop up on the space beasts and save Earth, not to return until thousands of years later. Pathos is not, for me anyway, represented by EVA-01 and I don’t think it’s “powered by ‘Burning Pathos’ in the same way that TTGL and GGG are powered by courage.” I think EVA-01 represents the shallowest, most spineless, most pathetic outlook a person can have. Shinji breaks down, EVA-01 saves him and never loses. If Guy Shishio or Simon break down, GaoGaiGar or Gurren Lagann are going to kick them out of the cockpit and find a real man who won’t give up.

          I’m sorry if this post came across as me being agitated, because I’m not agitated with any of you guys. I think you guys are the best and the fact is I’m just not as good as you all when it comes to articulating how I feel about the given subject because I’ve only recently gotten into actively analyzing my interest in mecha in a critical way, which again, is thanks to you guys and your terrific blogs. I really am trying to get a legitimate point across, but I’m sure I leave a lot to be desired. The real issue is, I’m going through some pretty serious family stuff, so that explains the apparent agitation, and, well, I just really want my choice of the Zaku II to be based on something more than “I’m a Gundam fan.”

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