Jump to content

From Chunky-Monkey to Wasp-Waist


Cyclone Trooper
 Share

Recommended Posts

The past couple of years has seen somewhat of a "Macross Revival" both in Japan and abroad. Yamato has single-handedly usurped Bandai as the go-to company for SDFM/DYRL-era mecha. Macross Frontier has introduced a whole new generation of viewers (and collectors) to the franchise. It's given a new singer nearly the same legendary status as Mari Iijima. And, with some exceptions, its just darned cool to watch...

The mecha designs (and thus, the toys based on said designs) in recent years have taken a turn that I really wished they hadn't. First, I'll cover Macross Frontier's insectoid-like mecha. Every single Valkyrie in MF looks like some form of bug when in Battroid mode. The VF-25's super-thin waists and arms, talon-like feet, and wings being mounted on the back like gossamer wings don't help to disprove my opinion either. The head units appear especially insect-like to me, with the overly-thin laser barrels and sensors appearing more like compound eye blisters than anything else. Now I understand that this may very well be the look that Kawamori was shooting for when he designed the VF-25...but still, it just makes the UN Spacy's mecha look too much like something the Vajra would use in its arsenal instead of the other way around. The VF-25 and VF-27 (and to a lesser degree, the VF-117) all have a decidedly organic feel to them when in Battroid mode, which just doesn't feel right to me. It just seems like the further into Macross's future we go, the Valkyries keep getting more and more anorexic and alien-looking. And enemies in Macross are becoming more and more organic and exotic as well. What's next? Space-borne sacks of cosmic goo bent on intergalactic genocide? And the viscous nature of their bodies absorb soundwaves? Eventually, it'll be difficult to distinguish who the good guys and bad guys are during combat sequences because the mecha designs will look too similar...but I digress. That's a discussion best left to the Movies/TV threads.

The other issue I have is over the whole "past technology looks WAY more futuristic than present-day technology" thing. This is the same phenomenon seen in the Star Wars prequels. This would apply specifically to Macross Zero. Again, we have a Valkyrie that looks like it'd be right at home in the 2040s or 2050s instead of 2007/2008. The VF-0 has the same "zig-zag" panel lines that the VF-11 has, and shares several other design characteristics with the VF-25 instead of the VF-1. It's understood that in both the Star Wars prequels and M-Zero, that visual effects technology had advanced by lightyears since the original releases of the Original Trilogy and SDFM, respectively. But there's also a little thing called continuity that has to be taken into consideration. Why would the UN Spacy suddenly scrap the super-advanced design of the VF-0 in favor of a design that simply looks like a retro-engineered F-14 with transformation capabilites? The argument here from most would be that SDFM was made in the early 80s, so the designs will of course look dated. True. I can't argue with that. But I just hate how all sorts of "prequel" subject matter tends to be given a much more modernized look than the original series or movies that its based on. If you stand a Yamato VF-0 next to a VF-1, which one honestly looks more advanced? It definitely won't be the VF-1...

The VF-0 also tends to suffer from the same anorexia and insectile anthropomorphism that the MF Valkyries have, though not nearly as exaggerated. I guess I'm just saying that I prefer my mecha to have a little junk in the trunk instead of being skinny beanpoles with bug eyes... :lol: The VF-1 isn't exactly a heavyweight mecha by any means, but I guess I like the fact that it still maintains the look of being a machine when in Battroid mode instead of resembling some techno-organic creature. ^_^

Does anyone else feel the same way or at least sort of understand where I'm coming from with this?

Edited by Cyclone Trooper
Link to comment
Share on other sites

No comment on the insect like aesthetic but I do want to point out a real life example of an older fighter looking more futuristic than its successors: the f-117.

Here's a plane that started life the in the 1970's and it looks so far out that some people think it isn't even possible without help from little grey men. It makes a stark break from the planes that immediately preceded it like the F-14 and F-16, yet the successors, the raptor and JSF are much more generic fighter plane looking and look like the logical follow ups to the F-15 and 16.

I accept the in-show reason for the anachronistic look of the vf-0. They were test beds and were loaded with goodies that maybe weren't ready for primetime or were deemed economically unfeasible to put into a mainstream fighter. Real world tech example: OLED verses LCD. OLED is vastly superior to LCD providing far superior pictures yet their use (so far) is mainly restricted to small portable devices.

Lots of government expenditures are based around the idea of "good enough". Maybe the VF-0 cost way more to make than the VF-1 and since back then humans didn't have factory satellites and didn't know for certain that the aliens were coming some politician made the decision to go with the cheaper VF-1.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm going to disagree on the "insect like" design.

The "feet as talons" comes from the SV-51, as do the wings on the back (albeit these can't fold up). The VF-0 had anorexic upper arms and the YF-19 had relatively anorexic lower arms. Given the extent to which the battroid design of the 19 is evident in the 25...

My point is simply this: The 25 looks like a combination of all that came before it, rather than as something that was designed to look bug like.

I can see how you might think it spindly - but really, take any random part and you can trace it back to an earlier design.

Eventually, it'll be difficult to distinguish who the good guys and bad guys are during combat sequences

That's good - it's part of the point Macross as a show tries to make: that the dinstinction between the "heroes" and the "villains" is actually pretty thin.

I see where you're coming from, but I don't think it was intentional - that is.. I don't think they intentionally made the 25 like an organic bug, but rather that they combined elements from past designs.

Pete

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I too prefer my mechs to look a bit beefy... and to lack faces and boobs. Beyond all that, meh. If you want more derivative attempts for your future mecha look at the (relatively) new mecha look of the MacII mech designs. Those were essentially just 90s-ified VF-1s and they turned out alright. Personally, I'm glad the canon stories involved fresher mechs (although there's certainly plenty of inbreeding from a design standpoint). I think a lot of what makes the VF-0 seem too modern for its era also comes from what the animators could do and think of now that we've got a bit of 1980s future behind us.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think I can understand your position regarding the VF-0 to VF-1 comparison. Personally I didn't like the retcon myself.

However, I'm not sure if l agree with you on the argument that the recent VF-25/27 Valks are looking more like insects. Mainly because the VF-1 has long been described by Japanese fans as a "praying mantis"-like robot. The VF-1's antennae on the head, the arms, the thinning down from chest to crotch, and the way the legs are attached to the body has been argued that it looks somewhat like a praying mantis.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Variable Fighters of the Great Generation of Macross were inspired by real world fighters. Those stories took place in the near future. As the stories progress farther into the future we are likely to see more futuristic insect designs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The mecha designs (and thus, the toys based on said designs) in recent years have taken a turn that I really wished they hadn't. First, I'll cover Macross Frontier's insectoid-like mecha. Every single Valkyrie in MF looks like some form of bug when in Battroid mode. It just seems like the further into Macross's future we go, the Valkyries keep getting more and more anorexic and alien-looking.

The other issue I have is over the whole "past technology looks WAY more futuristic than present-day technology" thing. This would apply specifically to Macross Zero. Again, we have a Valkyrie that looks like it'd be right at home in the 2040s or 2050s instead of 2007/2008. But there's also a little thing called continuity that has to be taken into consideration. Why would the UN Spacy suddenly scrap the super-advanced design of the VF-0 in favor of a design that simply looks like a retro-engineered F-14 with transformation capabilites? The argument here from most would be that SDFM was made in the early 80s, so the designs will of course look dated. True. I can't argue with that. But I just hate how all sorts of "prequel" subject matter tends to be given a much more modernized look than the original series or movies that its based on. If you stand a Yamato VF-0 next to a VF-1, which one honestly looks more advanced? It definitely won't be the VF-1...

Does anyone else feel the same way or at least sort of understand where I'm coming from with this?

My sentiments exactly. I could not agree more.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Only one thing consistently strikes me as negative in recent Valk designs: Tiny little spider-monkey hands. I hate 'em. When you have to suspend so much disbelief in the show, why can't that include some mighty robot hands?

Tangentially, I utterly despise the term "Chunky Monkey". Regardless of the Takatoku's blocky design and the rhyming quality of the term, it reflects nothing appropriate to the toy. What's any more 'monkey-like' about the design than any other Valk?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Meh, in terms of old technology looking more futuristic than new, I always look at our own world for example. To me a lot of designs from the 30s through the 60's for cars, planes and sci fi look more 'futuristic' than modern stuff does. In regards to the Star Wars prequels, it's been stated many times that this is the exact reason why the ships and designs looked more 'advanced' than the OT ships and designs. They were going for that 'classic' sort of look.

As for Macross, I do agree to a certain extent that the fighters in M0 look more futuristic than the later VF-1, but overall the timeline is so close that I find it a moot point.

I've never really noticed the insectoid appearance of the Frontier battroids until now, but I can't say it bugs me. I still and will always prefer mechs with simpler designs, even bulky and blocky and chunky designs that wouldn't work in the real world, but I my tastes are broad enough to allow me room to appreciate things like the Frontier designs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Personally I don't buy that argument of the VF-1 being an "economized" version of the VF-0. Because in real life, production aircraft almost always end up having more goodies and being more expensive (plus becoming heavier and bigger) than the testbeds and prototypes suggested.

I think the idea of the prototype being more advanced than the production version comes from Gundam. Which is totally wrong IMO. ^^;

Edited by Vifam7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tangentially, I utterly despise the term "Chunky Monkey". Regardless of the Takatoku's blocky design and the rhyming quality of the term, it reflects nothing appropriate to the toy. What's any more 'monkey-like' about the design than any other Valk?

It was the only thing I could think of that would fit in with the "wasp-waist" term...and its become such a common moniker of the original VF-1 that it just seemed natural. It was used to convey an idea, not as a slam against Bandai or its original line of Valkyries. No offense meant! ^_^

Edited by Cyclone Trooper
Link to comment
Share on other sites

VF-0 v.s. VF-1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:F-16Isufa001.jpg

Does it look way more advanced than regular F-16? It is probably a good long range bomber, but it is no match for any regular F-16 in a dogfight because it is heavier. BTW that fat F-16I with all those bulges is the inspiration of VF-0 according to Kawamori's interview. VF-0 is a fat VF-1 with bulges.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I remember when Mac Zero was 1st announced, the Hory Froating Head himself said he won't care too much about continuity, thus we have a more advanced looking VF-0 compared to VF-1.

But I agree that the valks seem to get more.... anorexic. Honestly, I've always thought that the VF-25's battroid mode have too many lines..... too noisy.

I also suspect that loads of people are thinking the same way.... i mean, after all, there MUST be a reason why the VF-1 remains the most popular/ representative valk so far, that manufacturers keep churning out rendition after rendition ( and in the process, a weight loss program is implemented as wellm lol~!)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Personally I don't buy that argument of the VF-1 being an "economized" version of the VF-0. Because in real life, production aircraft almost always end up having more goodies and being more expensive (plus becoming heavier and bigger) than the testbeds and prototypes suggested.

I think the idea of the prototype being more advanced than the production version comes from Gundam. Which is totally wrong IMO. ^^;

well, maybe in real life but in the show, the VF-0 is described as a test bed either packed or designed to accept goodies.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now that I think about it, the VF-0 is like a Hollywood-made "movie version" of the VF-1...same basic design, but with all kinds of stuff added in for no other reason but to modernize the design and make it more eye-catching for "the big screen."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was the only thing I could think of that would fit in with the "wasp-waist" term...and its become such a common moniker of the original VF-1 that it just seemed natural. It was used to convey an idea, not as a slam against Bandai or its original line of Valkyries. No offense meant! ^_^

Oh, none taken. You certainly aren't the first person in the toy culture here to use it! B))

Bandai didn't originate the line, though. Takatoku did. Matt Alt has also done an excellent translation at ToyboxDX on the details of the original Takatoku Valk's origin, as seen in the latest Figure Oh. Well worth reading:

http://toyboxdx.com/phorum/read.php?4,192680

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I remember when Mac Zero was 1st announced, the Hory Froating Head himself said he won't care too much about continuity, thus we have a more advanced looking VF-0 compared to VF-1.

But I agree that the valks seem to get more.... anorexic. Honestly, I've always thought that the VF-25's battroid mode have too many lines..... too noisy.

I also suspect that loads of people are thinking the same way.... i mean, after all, there MUST be a reason why the VF-1 remains the most popular/ representative valk so far, that manufacturers keep churning out rendition after rendition ( and in the process, a weight loss program is implemented as wellm lol~!)

Same reason George Lucas gave for his prequels having a much more modern look...for no other reason except because he can do it, continuity be damned.

And you actually touched on another reason I'm cooled off toward the VF-25's design. The "noise" factor. Excessive panel lines coupled with a comparatively elaborate paint job make for a Valkyrie that's difficult to take in all at once from a visual standpoint...at least in CGI form. At least with the Bandai toys, you can sit and examine them at your leisure...or at least until your eyes go crossed... :wacko:

Case in point: I didn't even know Ozma's VF-25S had a gigantic Skull Squadron logo painted on the aircraft's "back" until I saw the actual 1/60 toy. The paint scheme was just too "busy" in the series to catch it right away. All I gathered from it in the series was it had the same yellow/black color scheme as Roy's VF-1S, therefore Ozma is MF's "Roy" character. Beyond that, I couldn't tell what the actual layout of the paint scheme was to save my life.

Edited by Cyclone Trooper
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm pretty much a fan of the original TV version only, but consider myself to have good taste in collectables and design.

So from my limited perspective I can say that I have like almost NOTHING since the original show and DYRL.

The frontier VF designs are borderline terrible except for fighter mode. A knife? For real? And what is this other Quarter giant mech? Sorry - the only way the original SDF 'attacker mode' is acceptable to me what that is changed into that shape more by accident.

The reason we're still coming to this website is the amazing timeless original designs - and they have not been bested.

Having said this - thank the good Lord! With all the Yamato original TV version toys and Mospeada stuff coming out I couldn't afford anything else even if I loved it . . .

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I suppose the newer designs are no less outlandish than past incarnations since the VF-1. Macross Plus was the era of the Valkyries-with-boobs. Macross 7 continued the techno-boob movement but added Transformers-style head units featuring mouths and noses. Even the VF-17, as kickass as it is, has tri-barrel "boob cannons". On a side note, Macross 7 could be marketed here in the US by someone like HG as "Guitar Hero Galactic Power Team" and no one would notice it was originally a Macross series at all. :lol:

The only quasi-realistic designs that came out of that era were the Macross Plus Valks, in spite of the small arms and uni-boob of the YF-19 and the fact that the YF-21 simply looks like a transformable Q-Rau. The VF-11 Thunderbolt was simply an updated version of the VF-1A with transitional elements leading to the YF-19. Had we seen more Zentran/Meltran-influenced variable mecha as time went on, I could fully understand that, since its their manufacturing technology that has been the driving force behind reclaiming Earth and producing everything from clones and toothbrushes to hippocows and colony ships ever since the end of SWI. But instead, we get the current crop of bug-like mecha... *sigh*

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Although I agree with you on the macross front, I disagree with the star wars prequels.

The thing with the prequels is that you saw several advanced affluent civilizations become streamlined into an empire and a universe of have-nots. When the empire took over, they streamlined everything. Consolidated. They even got rid of colour. Everything was white and grey. It was a new regime.

The other part of that design choice is that the prequels took place in the centre of the galaxy, Coruscant, naboo, etc... But the Original trilogy took place in the barren wastelands. There were no affluent societies. Only a small band of rebels living on ice planets and such. Heck, I imagine that even the war machines that the rebels used were quite antiquated.

If you compared the looks of new york and Nigeria, they would be VERY different.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I will only make these observations as a fresh perspective to many readers here that are probably very used to seeing these later designs. I've only recently seen them so you might be surprised to hear what a Macross fan thinks of the other series 'chunky to wasp-like' designs.

This is a cool site and I've learned much here about non-original series Macross designs . . .

But what in the world is this mech? Am I to believe the feet are the tail fins?? Why did this not go straight to the cutting room floor?

http://www.new-un-spacy.com/macrossplus/va-3.htm

Other than the TV or DYRL original VFs, I've only really liked this design:

http://www.new-un-spacy.com/macross2/vf-2ss.htm

But I have not seen any of the animation for the VF-2SS so I can only go by the still shots.

And this? THIS is supposed to be a destroid? From an outside casual opinion, if Tomahawks and Monsters get 10s this gets a 1.23 design / coolness rating . . .

http://www.new-un-spacy.com/macrosszero/cheyenne.htm

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The VA-3 was just an idea Kawamori came up with around the time that Macross Plus was in production, but it was never actually used. The Cheyenne is a "proto-Destroid" that eventually evolved into the Tomahawk. You might consider the Cheyenne to be the "Mk I" version of the Tomahawk, though there's no official information to support this claim. Ironically, the design was resurrected in Macross Frontier as the Cheyenne Mk II. Neither of these Destroids seem very inspired in terms of appearance, but they are functional nonetheless...

In contrast, check out the Destroids from Macross II in terms of sheer hulkishness. MacII took the existing Destroid designs and pumped them up with steroids.

Edited by Cyclone Trooper
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Cheyenne seems more representative of Kawamori's ARMORED CORE work than Macross. I found it to be very out of place in Frontier, but it fit in perfectly with Zero and the proto-Destroids featured in the pre-SW1 section of the 1983 MACROSS HOBBY HANDBOOK 1 - MACROSS MODEL WORLD.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cyclone Trooper... great write up. I totally understand.

I, too, like the beefy look. That's what always attracted me to Japanese big-ass robots/mechs to begin with... their chunky-bad-assiness!

I don't buy any valk post-SDFM/DYRL for the insect-looking reasons alone. They're the most perfect mech designs EVER.

It's only a matter of time before upcoming fighters in Macross look like this:

Whirl.jpg

Edited by fifbeat
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Meh I don't know. While the original designs are always great I have come to really like the newer models. It is just general evolution of things is all. Sure when I first saw the VF-25 i didn't like it at all but then it really grew on me. I have loved the YF-19 designs since the first time I saw it. Things change and while we may want bulkier mechs it just doesn't seem to make sense with a mech that is designed to be fast and sleek.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The other issue I have is over the whole "past technology looks WAY more futuristic than present-day technology" thing. This is the same phenomenon seen in the Star Wars prequels.

Lest you for get Enterprise.

Although in that case they also flushed the script and continuity down memory lane after season 1

But remember its all Macross :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lest you for get Enterprise.

Although in that case they also flushed the script and continuity down memory lane after season 1

But remember its all Macross :)

okay...well enterprise was a WHOLE other story.

But a pretty sweet looking ship....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Case in point: I didn't even know Ozma's VF-25S had a gigantic Skull Squadron logo painted on the aircraft's "back" until I saw the actual 1/60 toy. The paint scheme was just too "busy" in the series to catch it right away. All I gathered from it in the series was it had the same yellow/black color scheme as Roy's VF-1S, therefore Ozma is MF's "Roy" character. Beyond that, I couldn't tell what the actual layout of the paint scheme was to save my life.

maybe you just need to pay more attention :huh: ?

I love the fact that designs have gotten more detailed with each successive Macross production; the detail is what makes them really come to life. I love the VF-1, when it's in the form of a Hasegawa model or a Yamato toy. in the actual show and movie the VF-1 looks clown like.

Why did this not go straight to the cutting room floor?

http://www.new-un-spacy.com/macrossplus/va-3.htm

because the VA-3 is the most AWESOME SH!T EVER!!!! and you will learn to respect it! :lol:

Other than the TV or DYRL original VFs, I've only really liked this design:

http://www.new-un-spacy.com/macross2/vf-2ss.htm

But I have not seen any of the animation for the VF-2SS so I can only go by the still shots.

In contrast, check out the Destroids from Macross II in terms of sheer hulkishness. MacII took the existing Destroid designs and pumped them up with steroids.

sorry, the bulk isn't from steroids, it's just swelling form a vicious ugly stick beating.

I hate every mech in MacII TBH. They look like they took DYRL?, screened it to a guy who REALLY sucks at designing mecha, and told him to draw the mechs he just saw from memory.

as much as I dislike the designs of macross 7 I have to say that even if you include the fire-clown valk and the MAXL's meca-boobs; 7 still had orders of magnitude better valks and mecha that MacII.

Edited by anime52k8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The mecha designs (and thus, the toys based on said designs) in recent years have taken a turn that I really wished they hadn't. First, I'll cover Macross Frontier's insectoid-like mecha. Every single Valkyrie in MF looks like some form of bug when in Battroid mode. The VF-25's super-thin waists and arms, talon-like feet, and wings being mounted on the back like gossamer wings don't help to disprove my opinion either. The head units appear especially insect-like to me, with the overly-thin laser barrels and sensors appearing more like compound eye blisters than anything else...

Does anyone else feel the same way or at least sort of understand where I'm coming from with this?

Valkyrie?

vf-25g-battroid.jpg

Valkyrie.

cosvalk5xr.jpg

'Nuff said.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...