Why don't we see as many combining mecha like we used to?

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WildeHopps_Shipper
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Why don't we see as many combining mecha like we used to?

Post by WildeHopps_Shipper » Fri Jan 26, 2018 6:59 am

And how do teams of mecha compensate for their inability to combine with each other?

My guess is that mecha teams instead specialize in combat roles normally expected in an otherwise infantry unit. Some of them specialize in light armor for flight or maneuverability, others specialize in heavy armor for tanking hits. Some are better at wielding melee weapons, others are better with guns like sniper rifles.

But that's my guess.

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Re: Why don't we see as many combining mecha like we used to?

Post by Seto Kaiba » Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:08 pm

WildeHopps_Shipper wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 6:59 am
Why don't we see as many combining mecha like we used to?
Probably because that's always been more of a Super Robot thing. On the occasions it does show up in the Real(istic) Robot genre of mecha anime and manga, it often ends up being deconstructed by the authors as a terrible and terribly unrealistic idea. Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ was one of the earlier shows to start taking shots at how impractical the whole idea of a combining mecha would be in real combat. The Double Zeta was a maintenance nightmare and much more fragile than a regular mobile suit because of all the extra moving parts that went into the combination, it had low endurance because of the combination design's impact on internal arrangements, and Neo-Zeon's forces discovered it posed little threat as long as they could keep the individual parts from combining after launch. Those same problems are going to apply to basically any combining mecha, they're going to be less versatile, less durable, and a realistic foe isn't going to gormlessly sit on their arse and wait for you to finish your gaudy three minute combination sequence. It also got deconstructed in Macross M3, when the rogue Zentradi group Struggle fields a combining battle suit that was heavily armed and resistant to the loss of parts thanks to its decentralized power system, but was fragile and had low endurance as a result of being three separate ships... the player character actually pokes a bit of fun at the idea of the combination design.

I'd also suspect, based on my own viewing experience, that the slightly older audience real robot titles are targeted for would be less inclined to see the repetition of the combination sequence favorably. The combination animation is not something that tends to get drawn more than one way, so it quickly stops being impressive and starts being annoying reused animation filler. Its welcome wears out with speed proportional to how practical the combination actually is.

For instance, the Impulse Gundam in Gundam SEED Destiny quickly became a source of tooth-grinding frustration because there was no practical reason for it to launch in four pieces EVERY FRIGGING TIME when the Minerva did have multiple catapults capable of launching full sized mobile suits with option packs already affixed. It didn't take all that long for it to become transparently obvious that the sequence was there to consume 45 seconds or so to keep its animation budget down.

There's a really good example of the problems combining mecha pose in Genesis Climber MOSPEADA, It was not written with combining mecha in mind, but its toy partner twisted arms to get them added after seeing the success the Macross franchise was having with transforming fighter jet toys. The result was the AB-01 TLEAD, an ugly, chunky mess that's somewhere between an attack plane and bomber that can dock with the AFC-01 Legioss to function as an enormous booster system but is basically useless 99% of the time since half its weapons can't be used when the two were combined, it's very difficult for the TLEAD's pilot to get in and out of the mecha while the two are docked, docking and undocking takes several seconds of stable flight during which they're vulnerable, being docked prevents the fighter from using some of its own operating modes, and the extra engine power comes at the expense of greater fuel consumption in both craft. In short, it's a realistically terrible idea and the show's writers had to quickly demote it to a glorified bus to haul the supporting cast around in the vacant bomb bay.


WildeHopps_Shipper wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 6:59 am
And how do teams of mecha compensate for their inability to combine with each other?
At the risk of pointing out the obvious, there's no need to compensate for the lack of something that offers no inherent benefits to speak of.

Combiners work better in Super Robot shows, where mecha are powered by magic, fighting spirit, believing in me who believes in you, or a stubborn pig-headed refusal to look facts in the face. That way, the combination results in a literal ALL YOUR POWERS COMBINED situation where the resulting one robot is often more powerful than sum total of all of the individual robots.


WildeHopps_Shipper wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 6:59 am
My guess is that mecha teams instead specialize in combat roles normally expected in an otherwise infantry unit. Some of them specialize in light armor for flight or maneuverability, others specialize in heavy armor for tanking hits. Some are better at wielding melee weapons, others are better with guns like sniper rifles.
You do see this sort of arrangement in many real robot mecha shows, where different members of the unit to which the cast belongs are either operating differently-equipped versions of the same mass production mecha or different model mecha that provide a balanced assortment of combat capabilities in the unit. It's not entirely realistic at that scale, but you could think of it as a microcosm of a much larger unit. It's not compensating for anything, it's just an efficient way for small specialist paramilitary units to operate in fiction and creates variety for merchandising.

Realistically, what you'd expect would be for there to be no specialization in roles inside a unit as small as a platoon or team of mecha. Specialization would occur on a platoon or larger basis, where a whole platoon or separate unit would handle a given specialism. Like in Mobile Suit Gundam: 08th MS Team, where the titular team's Mobile Suits were all configured with the same multipurpose loadout most of the time. Or Skull Squadron's Skull and Vermilion Platoons from Super Dimension Fortress Macross and Macross: Do You Remember Love?, where everyone was flying identically-equipped multirole VFs. At most, you might have a command variant with expanded communications.
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Re: Why don't we see as many combining mecha like we used to?

Post by Kuruni » Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:38 am

Well, we still get them yearly from Super Sentai series. Just go ahead and browsing Power Ranger Wiki, pick any of later shows' main mech, it's probably fill your quota of combiners.

Shinkalion is on going, and it's full of combiners.
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