Why do MS eyes glow?

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False Prophet
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Why do MS eyes glow?

Post by False Prophet » Wed May 31, 2017 8:18 am

Watching the scene in Thunderbolt 7, when the the eye of Daryl's Acguy moved between the radar and the normal eye visor, gives me this question: Why do MS eyes glow? I mean, if they are just cameras/sensors (and I know that they do not function normally using infrared beam), it makes little sense for they to glow. In fact, it can possibly gives away the MS's location to its enemies.

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Re: Why do MS eyes glow?

Post by Arsarcana » Wed May 31, 2017 1:00 pm

There's no good technical reason for them to glow and having them emit any kind of visible light would actually interfere with the cameras and other sensors housed in the 'eyes'. They' pretty much just glow because It Looks Cool and serves as a visual shorthand for 'mecha powering up' or for some sort of mode-change, like Barbatos' eyes changing to red.

The same thing applies to any time you see a character in a spacesuit and their face is being lit by an internal light source; in real life that would just make it harder for the person to see anything.

I wouldn't worry too much about glowing eyes possibly giving a mecha's location away through. When you're a 10+ meter tall nuclear-powered machine, you have bigger things to worry about being detected than a couple small points of light. Heat, for example.

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Re: Why do MS eyes glow?

Post by Seto Kaiba » Wed May 31, 2017 1:07 pm

False Prophet wrote:
Wed May 31, 2017 8:18 am
Watching the scene in Thunderbolt 7, when the the eye of Daryl's Acguy moved between the radar and the normal eye visor, gives me this question: Why do MS eyes glow? I mean, if they are just cameras/sensors (and I know that they do not function normally using infrared beam), it makes little sense for they to glow. In fact, it can possibly gives away the MS's location to its enemies.
Obviously, in production terms, it just looks cool/intimidating. Nothing says "sh*t is about to go down" like a mobile suit's eyes lighting up for a second or two.

The Gundam franchise isn't the subject of my interest as a translator nearly as often as Macross is, but I may actually have an answer for you from the few parts of Master Archive Mobile Suit I've poked at. There's one possible explanation in the brief description of the MS-06 Zaku II's monoeye sensor package on page 107 of the Master Archive Mobile Suit: MS-06 Zaku II book. The monoeye assembly is mentioned as including a smallish LIDAR system. It seems possible that the eye(s) of a mobile suit lighting up is the LIDAR system stepping up output power enough to cut through the polarized shield protecting the sensors.
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Re: Why do MS eyes glow?

Post by Kuruni » Wed May 31, 2017 3:14 pm

Denan Zon can use them as spotlights, although I think it's unusual case.
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Re: Why do MS eyes glow?

Post by Gelgoog Jager » Wed May 31, 2017 6:00 pm

IIRC, Seed and Destiny had several scenes showing ZAFT or Orb MS lined shoulder to shoulder on hangars, where they began to actuvate sequentially one after another by having their eyes glow. By the time the last MS had its eyes glow, the first unit began taking its first step out of the maintance bed. This would fit the aforementioned explanation of the eyes glowing as the sensors power up and the light gets past the sensor's protection.

This reminded me of a rather old conversation of how a significant difference between Zeon and EF MS was how organic-looking MS like the Zaku were compared to GMs and such. Particularly, the way their mono-eye move and retract (while zooming in and out), as well as their mouth exhaust port which sometimes gives the impression that the Zaku is "breathing".

The point of the conversation was how such features provoked fear on people, which was anong the reasons that the Titans adopted the Hizack over an EF MS, as their symbol for suppressing spacenoids in the colonies, using such organic impression as a psychological weapon.

That being said, with the background of the Hizack and Titans being retconned every now and then, I'm not certain if such explanation remains valid today.

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Re: Why do MS eyes glow?

Post by Seto Kaiba » Wed May 31, 2017 8:19 pm

Gelgoog Jager wrote:
Wed May 31, 2017 6:00 pm
IIRC, Seed and Destiny had several scenes showing ZAFT or Orb MS lined shoulder to shoulder on hangars, where they began to actuvate sequentially one after another by having their eyes glow. By the time the last MS had its eyes glow, the first unit began taking its first step out of the maintance bed. This would fit the aforementioned explanation of the eyes glowing as the sensors power up and the light gets past the sensor's protection.
I'm still checking the other Master Archive books for corroboration, but I wonder if I'll actually find it since, if I recall correctly, the actual main camera system on the Federation mobile suits is the one on the crown of the head... not the actual "eyes".
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Re: Why do MS eyes glow?

Post by Wingnut » Thu Jun 01, 2017 12:37 am

Kuruni wrote:
Wed May 31, 2017 3:14 pm
Denan Zon can use them as spotlights, although I think it's unusual case.
Leos were shown from time to time using them that way in Wing. Episode 4 in particular after Wufei sets off the bombs in the Victoria base and everyone is looking for him.
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Re: Why do MS eyes glow?

Post by Areku » Thu Jun 01, 2017 10:41 am

Another "~plausible~" explanation is that MS incorporate scintillation detectors in the eyes/sensor clusters and that these occasionally cause the eyes to glow when there's a sudden change in the local radiation levels and/or the sensor recalibrates to its environment, perhaps using a fast-acting electromagnetic mechanism to redirect excess light away from the sensor and a slower mechanical shutter to regulate the scintillating material's exposure and restrict the amount of light produced, with the time difference accounting for the pulses of light seen in the eyes. Something-something "material that radiates in the presence of Minovsky/N-Jammer/[ficional] particles" and you've just explained 90% of the glowing eyes.

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Re: Why do MS eyes glow?

Post by SonicSP » Thu Jun 01, 2017 11:25 am

I always imagined in a meeting somewhere someone went "We spent all this time and money building a complex terrifying humanoid machine of war and destruction".

"So hell yes we're gonna make the eyes glow".

Kinda like the Apple logo on older MacBooks, the glow serves no direct function but to look cool. It doesn't really detract from anything, those bright paint colors and thrusters are gonna give light away anyways.

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Re: Why do MS eyes glow?

Post by Seto Kaiba » Fri Jun 02, 2017 9:50 am

Well, I've struck out. The Zaku book is the only one to mention a LIDAR system inside the eye.
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Re: Why do MS eyes glow?

Post by MythSearcher » Sat Jun 03, 2017 4:09 am

Seto Kaiba wrote:
Wed May 31, 2017 8:19 pm
I'm still checking the other Master Archive books for corroboration, but I wonder if I'll actually find it since, if I recall correctly, the actual main camera system on the Federation mobile suits is the one on the crown of the head... not the actual "eyes".
You are correct, the main sensor is the crown part and the "eyes" are just secondary/supporting sensors(called "dual camera").
All you need to check is the MG manual of RX-78-2 (MG01), if you do not have a copy, dalong.net has one.

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Re: Why do MS eyes glow?

Post by False Prophet » Fri Jun 09, 2017 8:21 am

MythSearcher wrote:
Sat Jun 03, 2017 4:09 am
You are correct, the main sensor is the crown part and the "eyes" are just secondary/supporting sensors(called "dual camera").
All you need to check is the MG manual of RX-78-2 (MG01), if you do not have a copy, dalong.net has one.
You mean the little square that is on top of the Gundam and the GM's heads?

And I always wonder why did the many Gundam have a gem/painted piece on the middle of the V horns.

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Re: Why do MS eyes glow?

Post by MythSearcher » Fri Jun 09, 2017 10:44 am

False Prophet wrote:
Fri Jun 09, 2017 8:21 am


You mean the little square that is on top of the Gundam and the GM's heads?

And I always wonder why did the many Gundam have a gem/painted piece on the middle of the V horns.
Yes, I mean that part.
BTW, the main sensor to the back is the relative square in the back of the crown.

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Re: Why do MS eyes glow?

Post by Seto Kaiba » Fri Jun 09, 2017 2:45 pm

MythSearcher wrote:
Sat Jun 03, 2017 4:09 am
You are correct, the main sensor is the crown part and the "eyes" are just secondary/supporting sensors(called "dual camera").
All you need to check is the MG manual of RX-78-2 (MG01), if you do not have a copy, dalong.net has one.
I've been looking into the technical manuals, mostly... after all, they're supposed to be obsessing over these little details (and in the Zaku's case, it paid off).




False Prophet wrote:
Fri Jun 09, 2017 8:21 am
And I always wonder why did the many Gundam have a gem/painted piece on the middle of the V horns.
I've seen a few different takes on that... so the answer may be a "depends on the author" sort of thing.
It seems to be a purely cosmetic affectation in many of the Gundam AU titles... but in the UC timeline there are a couple cutaways and explosion-view diagrams that show a radar system under there.
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Re: Why do MS eyes glow?

Post by BrentD15 » Fri Jun 09, 2017 7:28 pm

Gelgoog Jager wrote:
Wed May 31, 2017 6:00 pm
This reminded me of a rather old conversation of how a significant difference between Zeon and EF MS was how organic-looking MS like the Zaku were compared to GMs and such. Particularly, the way their mono-eye move and retract (while zooming in and out), as well as their mouth exhaust port which sometimes gives the impression that the Zaku is "breathing".
This in particular is why I find myself having a preference for the Zeon-like designs; they were more lifelike and expressive compared to the cold, blank stares of the Federation's mobile suits. :mrgreen:
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Re: Why do MS eyes glow?

Post by MythSearcher » Sat Jun 10, 2017 5:27 am

BrentD15 wrote:
Fri Jun 09, 2017 7:28 pm
This in particular is why I find myself having a preference for the Zeon-like designs; they were more lifelike and expressive compared to the cold, blank stares of the Federation's mobile suits. :mrgreen:
Oppositely, that is why I like the GMs better, the cold and blank stares look that much more efficent and cooler.
The Gundam still has too much of a human face which makes me find it not cool enough.

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Re: Why do MS eyes glow?

Post by Henyo » Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:17 am

Here's a question that's somewhat related:
how often have there been instances of the eyes glowing for longer than a few seconds?
like with the Metal heroes, especially the early ones, where their eyes glow after they activate their laser blade and last until the monster has been killed(actually up until they strike a pose.)

on a side note, i'm recalling something from Gundam 00. one of graham's custom Flag displayed a weird case of eye glow. weird in that the flag has no "physical" eyes. just a blank face, or going by tokusatsu designs again, visor only designs from Sentai/ Power rangers. a single red eye, along with a red line running through it vertically, appeared when Graham got serious.

anyone got something on that?
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Re: Why do MS eyes glow?

Post by Seto Kaiba » Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:56 am

Henyo wrote:
Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:17 am
Here's a question that's somewhat related:
how often have there been instances of the eyes glowing for longer than a few seconds?
Well, the big one would have to be the three Mobile Suit Gundam: MS IGLOO OVAs.

All three MS IGLOO OVAs depict the monoeye systems of the Principality's mobile suits and mobile armors as lit all the time, and the classic glow from the traditional animation is depicted as a dramatic increase in intensity. This is particularly visible in Gravity Front when the Zaku II ground types are seen operating in desert dust, and that low-level glow pierces the dust with the same halo effect as a streetlamp in fog. The Gundam doesn't appear except in grainy monochrome flight recorder footage so it's hard to say if the same applies to it. It's pretty much impossible to tell if the visors of the GM ground types are glowing in Gravity Front, but the entire visor of the GMs used in space the final episode of The Hidden One Year War do appear to be constantly emitting a faint green glow which is diffused through the entire visor surface.

There's a Zaku startup sequence from one of the UC OVAs (I forget if it's 08th MS Team or 0083) where the crew is testing the monoeye rail of a Zaku II and the eye is lit all the time.

Gundam 00 had the eyes constantly lit in Trans-Am mode, and once the facial armor was knocked off the Exia the actual camera system was depicted as being constantly illuminated in a menacing red.

The Barbatos in Iron-Blooded Orphans also had its eyes lit constantly once the limiters were off.
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Re: Why do MS eyes glow?

Post by Deathzealot » Wed Jul 05, 2017 2:26 am

Henyo wrote:
Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:17 am

on a side note, i'm recalling something from Gundam 00. one of graham's custom Flag displayed a weird case of eye glow. weird in that the flag has no "physical" eyes. just a blank face, or going by tokusatsu designs again, visor only designs from Sentai/ Power rangers. a single red eye, along with a red line running through it vertically, appeared when Graham got serious.

anyone got something on that?
The Flags have an AI System that control the visor's "eyes" which can change depending on the pilot's command to the AI, or something like that.

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Re: Why do MS eyes glow?

Post by MythSearcher » Wed Jul 05, 2017 9:53 am

Seto Kaiba wrote:
Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:56 am
Henyo wrote:
Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:17 am
Here's a question that's somewhat related:
how often have there been instances of the eyes glowing for longer than a few seconds?
Well, the big one would have to be the three Mobile Suit Gundam: MS IGLOO OVAs.

All three MS IGLOO OVAs depict the monoeye systems of the Principality's mobile suits and mobile armors as lit all the time, and the classic glow from the traditional animation is depicted as a dramatic increase in intensity. This is particularly visible in Gravity Front when the Zaku II ground types are seen operating in desert dust, and that low-level glow pierces the dust with the same halo effect as a streetlamp in fog. The Gundam doesn't appear except in grainy monochrome flight recorder footage so it's hard to say if the same applies to it. It's pretty much impossible to tell if the visors of the GM ground types are glowing in Gravity Front, but the entire visor of the GMs used in space the final episode of The Hidden One Year War do appear to be constantly emitting a faint green glow which is diffused through the entire visor surface.

There's a Zaku startup sequence from one of the UC OVAs (I forget if it's 08th MS Team or 0083) where the crew is testing the monoeye rail of a Zaku II and the eye is lit all the time.

Gundam 00 had the eyes constantly lit in Trans-Am mode, and once the facial armor was knocked off the Exia the actual camera system was depicted as being constantly illuminated in a menacing red.

The Barbatos in Iron-Blooded Orphans also had its eyes lit constantly once the limiters were off.
A fun thing in Igloo is the use of that light as a binary code communication in the first episode. The bandwidth of that would be so poor that he can likely just say "I'm Char Azanable" but the switch to show the protagonist instead of the lighting phrase it as quick as normal pace sentence.

Which means the pilot has some level of control to the light of the eyes, BTW.

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