“What the $#@& is up with Idolm@ster Xenoglossia?” or “How to have sex with your giant robot”

May 29, 2007 at 11:40 pm (Analysis, Anime)

I just finished watching, what was it…Episode 8 of Xenoglossia. Honestly I am kind of bored with the story. I figured it would be more, I dunno, action-packed. I want to like it though, so I have to find something to fixate on. Since I’m an aberration of an anime fan, instead of lolis I fixate on story constructions that seem interesting or novel to me. And by fixate I mean blow all out of proportion in terms of significance and intent.


I was very tempted to photoshop seaking into this…

Now, I am not a mecha-expert (a “mechxpert”, if you like), however I have seen my fair share. Several Gundams, Eva, RahXephon, FMP, smatterings of old classics like Mazinger Z, and so on. So I am perfectly willing (and interested) to hear critical feedback on this in terms of like “Well, Series Y, which you perhaps have not seen, is like this too”, etc. This is just based on my experience.

When viewed through my Ivory Tower Opera Glasses, one of the interesting things about comparing different mecha anime is the relationship between protagonist and machine. For instance in old super robot anime like Mazinger Z, the mech is basically like a super-power; the pilot is a super-hero, and the robot is a weapon and / or an alter ego for the pilot. In the early U.C. Gundam,the focus is more on the morality and consequences of war; the mobile suits are just part of that, however there is still this idea of specific people being able to call great power to their hands, and the question of what they can and should do with it.


Imber: TITS OR GTFO

Evangelion throws a huge wrench into this conceptualization and makes the pilot-mech relationship much more…human. Here, the robots really are alive, where before they just looked it. Not only are they alive, but they have souls, and very intimate relationships with their pilots: the Eva are their pilots mothers, formed into immense engines of destruction. For all that, the children can still control them, but only to the extent that they can control themselves. It is easy to go on and on about Eva, since it is clearly written to be gone on and on about, but this will suffice for now.

As a sidenote, I’ve been told that in the RahXephon manga the mechs tentacle rape their pilots’ souls. I’ll have to look into that further.

Jumping forward quite a bit, there’s Mai HiME (time for more LOL SPOILERS) where there are still mecha, but they’re robot companions (like Giant Robo!) instead of suits. Here again there is an intimate relationship between each HiME and her Child, but only because the Child represents another human being (and more than that, love, fear, trust, etc.) with whom the HiME already has some kind of intimate (if occasionally one-sided) relationship. I suppose it’s also worth pointing out that Obara intentionally did a gender-role reversal in Mai HiME, where the women protected the men they loved, since one of the major themes is the classic protecting-what-I-hold-dearest, though Mai figures out a different meaning for herself at the end…


Haruka: …well, it’s okay, since it’s you Imber

I brought up Mai HiME largely because it’s from (I think) the same creative team as Xenoglossia, which can now be addressed itself. In Xenoglossia it seems that rather than represent a lover (or treasured person), the IDOL *is* Haruka’s lover. As in EVA, the IDOLs seem to possess some degree of sentience, so this concept becomes workable. The idea has been played with for the entire show, but becomes a bit more blatant in episode 8. In the very style of a fetishized anime romance, Haruka presents her virgin breasts to Imber and speaks of how she wants to know the “real Imber”. I’m curious where they’re going with this. It would be very genre to have Imber turn into a bishie prince at the end of the show, but probably more interesting if it did not. Anyway, this seems like a new approach to pilot-mecha relationship to me, so I thought it was worth commenting on.

Also, lol @ “nozzle” jokes.

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4 Comments

  1. Equivalent_t said,

    …..this so reminds me of Sentou Yousei Yukikaze. It’s not mech, but it has a man who’s practically in love with and emotionally dependent on his own non-sentient and only quasi-intelligent fighter jet. I think you might have watched it since it’s been around, but if you haven’t, it’s a fairly interesting take.

    I don’t watch Xenoglossia, but depending on how other things turn out I might just tune in because of this. Really odd relationships like this intrigue me if they’re done well. (No bishie prince, please, Sunrise?)

  2. sethjohnson said,

    I haven’t seen that one; I may look for it. Thanks!

  3. j.valdez said,

    > As a sidenote, I’ve been told that in the RahXephon manga the mechs tentacle rape their pilots’ souls. I’ll have to look into that further.

    The difference between anime fans and normal people is that anime fans see tentacle rape as a plot device.

    I was wondering what was going on with this as well. We saw all the blushing and how she had related imber to a “guy” that she was having trouble with in the beginning episodes.

    I was thinking the same thing; I think Imber is going to do the whole bishie transformation thing, possibly in a dream.

  4. Danny Choo said,

    I want to be Imber with Haruka showing me her eyes.

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