Guillermo del Toro made geeks sigh in absolute glee and satisfaction with his latest masterpiece, Pacific Rim.
When titans clash
The director's latest work is a love letter to the Japanese monster and mecha film genre. Even Hideo Kojima, creator of the Metal Gear games that feature giant robots, was gushing over the Jaegers and Kaijus. When universes collide, will the Jaegers stand a chance against giant mechanical beings? Here’s our take.
Image credit: Quillery
Vs. Neon Genesis Evangelion
Trying to understand the plots and sub-plots of this Japanese anime is like navigating through a labyrinth. So here’s the gist of it: Evangelion mechas are the last line of defence against hostile beings called Angels that are bent on triggering the Third Impact to cleanse the world.
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? But Pacific Rim’s Jaegers are as different from the Evangelions as night and day. The nuclear-powered Jaeger requires two pilots to function, while Evangelion only requires one pilot. However, Evangelions are tuned to work with chosen children, and it has a record of going berserk. Pacific Rim's pilots are replaceable, as evident when Mako Mori is a perfect partner for Gipsy Danger’s original pilot Raleigh Becket.
The Evangelion mechas, like our smartphones, are limited by a battery life. Once the unit is unplugged from a power source, it has a five minute time limit. In contrast, you don't see the Jaegars running low on power with its nuclear-powered engine.
Vs. Mobile Suit Gundam
Comparisons between the Jaegers and Gundam mechas are inevitable, though their enemies are worlds apart. The Gundam universe deals with internal strife, often caused by the difference between humans and meta-humans. These Newtype, Coordinator or X-Rounder (depending on which universe or era the series is based on) are exceptional pilots that can bring out the full potential of the Gundams.
Jaegers, however, are subjected to the harmony between its pilots, and a wrong move can be fatal for the iron giant. Most Gundam mechas are armed with a wickedly cool laser sword. Gipsy Danger and Striker Eureka have equally sharp blades too, but they do not dazzle like the beam sabers do.
Winner: Mobile Suit Gundam
The defender of the universe shows what it means for a team to work together. You need five separate pilots to activate the robot lions and merge them into the fighting machine Voltron. A lot like the gestalt sub-groups Constructicons and Aerialbots from Transformers. Its arsenal includes a giant sword and a shield to fend off attacks from robotic beasts that, for the lack of creativity, are called robeasts.
Wait, what if one pilot is injured? Voltron has a backup pilot, but when two fighters are out of action, the giant robot might be missing a limb.
I love Cybertron’s inhabitants, especially the Autobots’ illustrious leader Optimus Prime. Who doesn’t love robots that transform into vehicles, planes and even combine to form a mean and kick ass bigger robot?
Pacific Rim does not stand a chance against the good old Transformers animation and movie. But with an apple to apple comparison, Michael Bay pretty much slaughtered the franchise with his over-the-top action sequences in the live-action movies.
Vs. The Iron Giant
Here’s the hard truth: Pacific Rim is all about the action, though touching moments between Mako Mori and her surrogate father Stacker Pentecost might bring a few tears.
But The Iron Giant wins hands down as a tearjerker. Despite its size, the alien robot's gentle nature and protectiveness towards the human child Hogarth Hughes portrays a stronger connection between man and machine
Towards the end, the metal hunk was recognised as a hero, and in case you haven’t watched this wonderful animation, let’s just say the ending would have made you bawl like a baby.
Winner: The Iron Giant