Miscellaneous mecha discussion thread

thedoctor2016

Mushi-shi
I do not know what I was tagged in or what it regards, if it Franxx I do still dislike it for its homophobia. Because Biology has never been used to oppress gays before.....
 

ayase

State Alchemist
I do not know what I was tagged in or what it regards, if it Franxx I do still dislike it for its homophobia. Because Biology has never been used to oppress gays before.....
Nice to see you doc, I certainly won’t deny that it has been (and still is) used as a homophobic argument, but I think my observations were more that the Franxx are a child allegory in the same way Evas were a mother allegory (made pretty explicit by the fact they’re based off the Klaxosaurs, which the Princess literally refers to as “her child”) and so what powers them is the combination of sex chromosomes required to produce a child. I think that for it to be classed as “homophobic” it would have to have made insinuations that homosexuality is somehow bad or negative, which I really don’t think it has. I don’t find pointing out that two people of the same biological sex can’t produce a child to be homophobic. While I can see it might potentially be an upsetting reminder to gay people (or some trans people, or even those who are simply infertile) who would like to be able to have children but can’t, that is still the harsh reality.
 
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thedoctor2016

Mushi-shi
yeah, I think it’s not that harmful and it’s why at this point I don’t really care about it.
Whenever manga/FUNi give it a complete set because it is a show I want to own even if I ain’t it’s biggest fan. There is worse stuff like it makes me shrug at this point.
 

Neil.T

Titan
Mods: I'm assuming we're allowed to talk about this now?

if it Franxx I do still dislike it for its homophobia.

it is a show I want to own
What an absolutely extraordinary leap of logic. 🤨
If it's so homophobic, wouldn't it be more appropriate to boycott it?


Biology has never been used to oppress gays before.....
And yet, previously:
It taking the biology angle of being homophobic doesn't make it not homophobic. As what do most people homophobia come out as its not natural.

Anyone reading can and will have their own views of the above, but for me it seems very hypocritical. It angers me that such a strong term continues to be bandied around so casually to describe someone's creation.
 

D1tchd1gger

Soul Reaper
It's another one of those things where you have to realise where it comes from. It's a piece of Japanese media aimed mostly at a Japanese audience who live in a country where the population is shrinking. Number 9 on this list, although by far the biggest country in the top 10 and biggest drop in numbers rather than percentage:

So I would say pro-baby making rather than anti anything, but also as usual we could all be reading far too much into things and who ever designed the control system was just a randy bloke!
 

thedoctor2016

Mushi-shi
I can take offense with something yet still support it, you learn what the important battles are and fighting about a pro fertile relationship series is a waste of time.
 

Rui

Karamatsu Boy
Administrator
I have to admit that when I watched the first episode of Franxx streaming, the theming around heterosexual breeding relationships, for lack of a better term on the spur of the moment, did genuinely come across as a bit alienating. And I am not as hot on such things as @thedoctor2016 so I want to stick up for that side of the discussion here. I can't remember exactly what was said in that first episode but there was something not-quite-right about the way it came across - and this is from someone well-used to Japanese content (and relatively unperturbed by the similar discussion going on around Fairy Ranmaru when it debuted, though that's not a mecha show and is consequently beyond the scope of this topic).

I later concluded that Franxx wasn't especially deep or insightful in its writing so it was pointless to be annoyed with it, and marathoned the whole series over the course of a few days. My feelings about the quality of writing were largely unchanged at the end, though I did like the music, art, melodrama, playful moments and the boob animation and was overall pleased to have watched it ;p

I think it's possible to like/support something and yet be critical of its limitations, without being a hypocrite. It's a show which is both entertaining and divisive at the same time, and the sexuality themes are only part of that. The other debates raging through the fanbase during its airing (mostly involving Ichigo) were all kinds of disturbing (though I have to admit, they were also part of the reason that I couldn't help but give it a second chance in order to rubberneck).

R
 

Neil.T

Titan
More FranXX reaction:

the theming around heterosexual breeding relationships, for lack of a better term on the spur of the moment, did genuinely come across as a bit alienating.
I'm really not sure what to make of the term "heterosexual breeding relationships", if I'm being honest, or how they relate to Darling in the FranXX generally. I'm confident that there are heterosexual relationships other than "breeding" ones, but I can't envisage a "breeding relationship" that isn't also a heterosexual one, so I'm not sure which part of the term is supporting the other.

I'm trying to tie the above term into the show, but I can't get it to mesh with what I watched. I only remember pairs of male and female, or later, intersex, pilots controlling giant robots to fight monsters, only to find that the authorities have misled everyone and that the monsters are just as much victims of their machinations, revealing the authorities to be the series' ultimate antagonists.

It's interesting, though, because I've been trying to think of a piece of media that made me feel alienated while consuming it, but I can't think of anything. Trying to link it back to the sentiment in the above quote, though, I've seen countless TV series, anime and films that feature couples with children, yet I can't say I've ever felt alienated by the experience, in spite of the fact I have absolutely no intention whatsoever to ever become a parent myself.

Going back to FranXX, it's also worth noting that, ironically enough, the concept of romantic relationships, heterosexual or otherwise, is actually alien to the pilots themselves.


And I wasn't sure either how to approach this:
I can't remember exactly what was said in that first episode but there was something not-quite-right about the way it came across
Is there anything more specific you can remember at all, Rui? It would be good if there was a bit more of a concrete criticism that I could grapple with.
 

Dai

Magical Girl
comes in expecting people to be talking about robots
Anyway, like a lot of people I enjoyed Franxx up until that twist, and felt it fell apart after that. The show ultimately felt like the writers hadn't understood the narrative promises they were making, or where their most compelling conflict lay. Maybe they wrote themselves into a corner in that regard, since a version of the climax that focuses mainly around the kids turning against their real enemy, the adults wouldn't have left as much room for giant robot action. Then again, if Trigger were just going to forget about the klaxosaurs and pull aliens out of their ass, surely they could have had the adults switch on some doomsday automated defence drones to prevent the kids rebelling instead.

It's one of the most frustrating shows of recent years, since it goes from good to great, and then drops the ball so badly towards the end.
 

João Gomes

Magical Girl
Sexuality in the Franxx

Yeah, I mean, I can't tell people what they should or shouldn't find offensive nor do I want to, but calling it homophobic is exaggerating, as I see it. I don't think it's semantics to point out that homophobia isn't a lack of representation, it's actively being against gay people and their sexuality. How is that the case here?

The show isn't anti-gay/LGBT because the mechas can only be piloted by boy+girl, at most you could say that there isn't gay representation, I could understand that.

I'm not gonna go around the moon to find arguments to contradict something I can't see. I respect others who disagree, however.

lmao dai, god-tier gif usage. Gotta finish the series btw
 

ActionFaust

Za Warudo
comes in expecting people to be talking about robots
Anyway, like a lot of people I enjoyed Franxx up until that twist, and felt it fell apart after that. The show ultimately felt like the writers hadn't understood the narrative promises they were making, or where their most compelling conflict lay. Maybe they wrote themselves into a corner in that regard, since a version of the climax that focuses mainly around the kids turning against their real enemy, the adults wouldn't have left as much room for giant robot action. Then again, if Trigger were just going to forget about the klaxosaurs and pull aliens out of their ass, surely they could have had the adults switch on some doomsday automated defence drones to prevent the kids rebelling instead.

It's one of the most frustrating shows of recent years, since it goes from good to great, and then drops the ball so badly towards the end.
I think it's important to note that director and writer Atsushi Nishigori works freelance so I think it's unfair to blame Trigger or A-1 Pictures for any of the writing decisions.

What's weirder for me is that Atsushi Nishigori previously wrote and directed The Idolm@ster which is definitely up there as one of my favourite shows, so to know a disaster like FranXX came from the same director sure was disappointing.
 

ayase

State Alchemist
In all honesty, ayase, you're probably going to dislike everything that comes after this point.
Well then it's time for me to do some expectation subversion myself, because I actually thought these episodes, despite coming in the wake of that horrendous plot-twist, were incredibly enjoyable. Tighter scripted, more emotional, more focused and everything I wanted from the show but didn't get over the course of the last few episodes. Perhaps this goes to show conflict isn't always better off being mysterious, sometimes there's something to be said for setting out clear goals and motivations.

So Hiro still has the inexplicable power to tame the hearts of wild women (are we sure he wasn’t the real villain all along?). A bit unfortunate we didn’t get to see the Princess amount to much, but I guess she doesn’t have Leeron’s patented Power of Love magic like our main couple.

Team APE might have blasted off but at least we still get some small measure of conflict between free will and subservience as the Nines continue to wait for a sign from their Papa, who unbeknownst to them is gone with the Instrumentality. What will they make of this new world in which they can’t rely on certainty and have to think for themselves? This is better. Desperate times create more compelling characters and interactions, prove me wrong.

Poor Wernher. Not only has he been rejected by his Princess but now he has to listen to the squad make Zero Two promise not to die and make sure she comes back with Hiro... the guy is right there helping you guys, you're not going to at least wish him well too? Perhaps they suspected he was about to get pulverised and didn't want to get his hopes up. Him and Zero Two got some really nice interaction here though. I suppose she is, for all intents and purposes, also the woman he fell in love with... and he is also essentially her father. Let's not think about that too much.

Star Entity Strelitzia Apus looked cooler when it was black. PLOT TWIST. AGAIN.
Except not. Although it's not possible to simply sweep the events of episode 20 entirely under the carpet, they certainly have a good go. There go the Klaxosaurs, off to fight the space monsters. What are we gonna do now? Which again is a really weird choice all right, but I'm glad these final episodes aren't just Franxx does Gundam. It was a nice twist (possibly once again on a Lagann theme) to have them reclaim the Earth but then be totally screwed because they can't grow food and don't know how any of the technology works.

Even though their problems were largely solved by Nana & Hachi ex machina, I still thought seeing them struggle was far more interesting and character building than watching them p*ss about back in their dome home. While I was a little disappointed they didn't have the balls to kill her off, I wasn't even all that bothered when Zero Two was reduced to a vegetative state (is it terrible to say I might even prefer her that way to being, as @Geriatric hedgehog so succinctly put it, "Hiro Two"?) because the rest of the cast managed to be compelling enough on their own here, an impressive feat considering how their characters have been jerked around at this point.

My feelings about the quality of writing were largely unchanged at the end, though I did like the music, art, melodrama, playful moments and the boob animation and was overall pleased to have watched it
I've been so busy scratching my head trying to understand the characters and anticipate where the story is going that I haven't even noticed any bounciness in Franxx. I clearly got my priorities wrong.
 

João Gomes

Magical Girl
You finish this thing yet @ayase ?!

I was in the process of moving during last week so I'm still stuck with 4 or 5 eps left. Don't even know when I'll have the time to hook my TV up, I've got a ton left to do 😰
 

ayase

State Alchemist
Let me be Franxx

Sorry for the wait everybody. I could probably still have doubled the length of this, but it feels like a show it's easier to look back on as a whole now than it was while I was watching episode by episode. Be warned, it's not a particularly flattering analysis.

How are we doing @João Gomes @Girls with Guns , any thoughts from you guys yet?
This is Franxx does Gundam, but I can't hate it. I still hate the fact we're fighting Instrumentality Space Monster Anti-Spirals instead of overthrowing the Space Pope (though he totally was the SPACE Pope, I at least unwittingly called that, about the only thing I have managed to call correctly) but it's so good. This is fantastic 2D mech action. The characters feel genuine again. Alpha and the Nines finally got some (albeit rather rushed) development in this episode and the previous one. I actually believe Mitsuru when he says he cares about Kokoro now. How hard was that? Why is it more believable now, after you've lost your memories? Even bloody Hiro is doing his damnedest to make me root for him here in some rare displays of emotion that actually seem somewhat heartfelt.

Reborn StreliZero Two (I really thought at first her and Hiro had fused, Kusanagi/Puppet Master style, into a new entity in another childbirth allegory; me and my expectations again, you'd think I'd have learned by now) seems to me like a more organic and believable evolution of her character (in terms of attitude, I mean, rather than her turning into an MSN-02 Zeong MS Girl, that's... a thing, I guess) than her previous switch-flip “I’m happy and content now”. This feels more like she has channelled her frustration and rage into determination and focus. So they take the bridal path to the stars and we're Gunbuster again now.
I'd be making a liar of myself if I said this wasn't still an emotional finale. Perhaps it relied a little too much on totally new concepts which had never been mentioned before in order to achieve said emotional response: I guess souls and reincarnation are a thing in this universe, and can be physically released from instrumentality by blowing up a planet, wut? And also Hiro getting horny doesn’t change him or Zero Two into monsters after all, which... Like wasn’t that previously a big plot point? Power of Love™ again, I guess.

And so our young lovers set us up the bomb, take the Kittan option (like, almost shot-for-shot, come on guys) and go out in a planet shattering bang, apparently the only banging they ever got to do in their surprisingly and disappointingly chaste relationship. At least until they reincarnate a few hundred years down the line, obviously taking a more scenic route back to Earth than Noriko and without the welcome (and if souls reincarnate as exactly the same people, this raises all kinds of questions, but holding out hope for answers to those at this point would be a bit delusional of me).

The real heart here though comes from the characters back on Earth as they cheer on their faraway friends and rebuild a better, kinder society. Unexpectedly it was Nana and Hachi watching over everybody that hit me the hardest, particularly Hachi’s words to Nana about her feeing for him because he lacks emotion. Everyone seems to have achieved some measure of happiness, but I will remain a little disappointed that Zorome and Miku never really got as much focus on their characters as I would have liked, particularly given the development Zorome received earlier on. They were a little shafted with an ending that seemed like a bit of an afterthought as well.
This was a 24 episode show, but when I look back on it, it almost feels like it was (or could have been) half that length. What were they doing for half of the show’s runtime? Beats me, and I just watched the damn thing.

In terms of its themes, Franxx seems to have mainly been about hope in the children and the next generation to create a better future, a common enough mecha theme which I guess is always probably going to play well to a younger audience. And I can’t really fault it too much there given my tolerance for that same theme being repeated ad-infinitum in Gundam (though Gundam Unicorn remains a high bar for those particular themes that I think it’s going to be hard for anything to top). But I do wish it had dared to be more different than it was, and those sex and relationship themes that it teased were never really delved into particularly deeply at all.

The show's biggest mistake was obviously setting up the show's main conflict for 19 full episodes as a kind of Brave New World one of dehumanising unnatural conformism versus raw, unstable nature only to throw it out the window in favour of an Eva/Lagann mashup in the last five episodes, and I think that goes deeper than just the initial unexpected shock. Because I think that same conflict also seemed to be embodied by Zero Two as a character.

I say seemed, purposely using the past tense, because Zero Two is introduced into the show as a disruptive influence, one who shakes up the other characters’ world and introduces them to new concepts. In this way she inspires Hiro, giving him a reason to continue living and fighting, is it because she's different and exciting and has brought some colour to his world? Is the message here that it’s good to be an individual and go your own way regardless of what anyone else thinks of you? Is she the Julia to his Winston Smith, a beautiful and dangerous corrupting influence in a world devoid of love and passion? "Listen. The more men you've had, the more I love you. Do you understand that?"

Well no, apparently not. Because after she completes her quest, suddenly calms down and starts living a normal life, Hiro seems perfectly fine with this. She’s happy now, right? Being normal? So what exactly was it about her that did it for you Hiro? Now the girl who caught your attention catching fish in her teeth naked, licking people’s faces and defying social norms with abandon has settled down, no-one seems bothered by this. Not Hiro, not Zero Two herself and not any of their friends. Even if she did make their lives less conformist, ultimately they still seem happy she has worn down her sharp edges and become another cog that can fit neatly into their machine. It's like she's levelled them up slightly but in doing so levelled herself down massively. These are some really mixed messages.

And in terms of the show's attitude to relationships, is there true love, is there a “one”? Most of the relationships in the story would seem to suggest not, with a full half of the characters experiencing unrequited love or rejection among even people they have known for years. So Zero Two's desperate, irrational, all-consuming pursuit of someone she only met once as a child would surely end in tears? It was all a mad, futile fantasy, right?

Again, no. It somehow pays off, because blank-slate Hiro is exactly the kind of man she hoped he would be and returns her feelings, even when, for a full half of the show, we are led to believe she viewed him as just another disposable on her quest to find her perfect man. How is Hiro supposed to feel about that? Oh wait, he doesn't. And have some sympathy for poor Wernher, who like Zero Two also spent years trying to get back to the one he met once, years ago, and believes to be his true love... but his story ends just a little bit differently than Zero Two's. What's the moral there? Should people have these crazy, idealised romantic fantasies and chase them, or not?

So what did it do right? It certainly looked very good, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't want models of all the mechs (seriously? You can only get Streliza and Delphinum? ONE JOB) and when it did make me feel for the characters it really did - You weren't wrong though Neil, when you said Episode 9 was a high-point, one never really to be repeated. And when I look back, the first full half of the show was honestly pretty decent. It just totally fell apart and lost focus in the second half, and it can't all be blamed on THAT twist, because after the flashback reveal it no longer seemed to know what to do with the characters either, some of whom had their interesting development ignored (Zorome) or thrown out to suit the plot (Ichigo) all of which added up to a disappointingly frustrating experience. I know one thing, which is that if there were ever a show ripe for fanfiction it is this one, because never before has a show teased so many interesting concepts without any of them really paying off.
 

Geriatric hedgehog

Vampire Ninja
never before has a show teased so many interesting concepts without any of them really paying off.
This was the main downside of this show for me (apart from Hiro's blandness). Still I was happy to have really enjoyed the parts that I did like, enough to overlook the shortcomings and have an overall very positive opinion of the show myself.
 

ayase

State Alchemist
This was the main downside of this show for me (apart from Hiro's blandness). Still I was happy to have really enjoyed the parts that I did like, enough to overlook the shortcomings and have an overall very positive opinion of the show myself.
That’s really why “disappointing” and “frustrating” are the best words I can use. I certainly didn’t dislike it entirely, but my opinion of the show was swinging back and forth like a pendulum with each episode in the later stages. It flirted with some very interesting subjects only to keep pulling back from the brink each time, and when taken as a whole I just don’t think it managed to live up to its potential to explore the issues it very much felt like it did want to. And I guess I’ll never really know why.
 

Geriatric hedgehog

Vampire Ninja
I guess for me, as usual, I went in with low to no expectations from having read the controversy around it and so was pleasantly surprised that it certainly had more that I liked than disliked. I will forgive them for being too ambitious, not that it would be impossible to fix the issues (but then neither is it an insignificant challenge to create a masterpiece) and so can certainly understand people being frustrated and unfulfilled with the concepts teased.
 

Neil.T

Titan
My contribution to the FranXX post-series analysis will begin with dropping in a link to the old weekly streaming thread that covered episode 24. There are a few of my posts mixed in there too.

⚠️ As a word of advice to @ayase, you might want to avoid the second paragraph of the third post on page 2 (by D1tchd1gger) because of minor Kill la Kill spoilers. The post that immediately follows it (by Captaaainuniverse) contains bigger spoilers in its second paragraph (the part that quotes D1tchd1gger), so I'd recommend giving that the swerve, too, if you're planning to read any of that thread.

Here's the link:

My first contribution to that thread came 10 days after I wrote the following in the Your viewing journal thread:
It's no secret that FranXX has borrowed very heavily from Evangelion, and Rebuild in particular. I know that, and I've never had an issue with it, because... well... I've always felt that the nature of FranXX is that it takes bits and pieces from elsewhere and actually improves on them. It's just my personal opinion but, with Rebuild of Eva not yet finished, FranXX looked elsewhere for inspiration for its conclusion. That place was Gurren Lagann, and that's going to be a losing battle. Timeskips are a very difficult thing to do in storytelling, and I don't think the final episode managed to pull it off.

For me, an underwhelming end to a great series. I still really like it, though.
I don't agree with my own initial opinion anymore.

Oh, and one more thing. I promised earlier in this thread a graphic I found online that explains how each of the Parasites got their names from their respective code numbers. Here it is:
8cc80e915a470120b149a4fbe847e4aa.jpg
 
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