For the newbs: Mecha, androids, Cyborg and Robots





I've grown to love Pacific Rim ever since it's on HBO. I didn't even care about the hype when it was being hyped, but now that I've seen it, I don't even know why I like it so much.

However, during said hype, mistakes where made. Mistakes regarding what a robot is and what a mecha is. So, for all those now gettin g into Geekery, this one's for you.

The word robot finds it's root in the word roboto, the polish word for slave. The word mecha comes from the latin mechanical.

A robot is an autonomous mechanical being. In fiction, at least, these usually tend to move for themselves, and act for themselves, without imput from the outside. R2d2 is a robot. So is Johny #5 and Sonny from I Robot. So are the Sentinels form the X-Men and the Transformers.

A Geth from Mass Effect is an alien robot.


Subcategories of the robot include the android, which is a robot in the general shape of a man. C3PO David from Ai  and David from Prometheus are androids.

The Robot Wall-E, while imbued with human-like personality, is not an Android.
 Gynoids, are robots shaped like women, which are somewhat rarer, and even more rare to be described as such. EVi from Mass Effect 3 is a ginoid.

Both the T-100(left) and the T-X(right) are robots, but T-1000 is an Android, while  T-X is a ginoid.

Not to be confused with Cyborgs. Cyborgs are humans with noticeable mechanical parts added to them. The Bionic Commander, Jax from Mortal Kombat and Will Smith's character in I Robot are cyborgs.

General Grievous substituted all his body parts save his heart for mechanical ones, thus becoming a cyborg. However...

Luke Skywalker lost his hand, and had it replaced with an indistinguishable replica. Luke Skywalker is a cyborg.


But a Mecha is not a robot. A Mecha is a vehicle designed  with the appendages of a quadruped. It has no will of it's own. The Jaegers from Pacific Rim are Mechas. So is the Power-loader from Aliens, the vehicles used by the Zion resistance in Matrix Revolution, and the Evas in Evangelion.
A pilot ascends into his mech in the dormant Mechassault franchise.
So, hopefully this will clear up any confusion about that before the Pacific Rim comes out. I know many are not "in the know" of Mecha, because it's a bit of a niche concept here in the west. Robot is more popular. In fact, we tend to refer to a cyborg as "having a robot arm". We need to be working on the jargon, because how are you supposed to enjoy Mecha beating up on kaiju without correcting this technicalities?
The Probe Droid is not piloted, but the Walkers are. Thus walkers are Mecha, and the Probe Droid is a robot.

Unlicenced Lawyer : Van Damme's Guile

There once was a time, then a Street Fighter movie did not exist. Not a single one. There were not enough cartoons and animes and comics about Street Fighter to fill a Wikia. There was no Alpha, no Ex, no "Assassin's Fist" and certainly no "VS Tekken". There was only "2", 12 characters whose lives as far as we knew revolved solely around hurting each other in.
Ok, there might have been some.

In that world, full of optimism and potential, the announcement of a Street Fighter movie did exist. Back then, we weren't "tired" of remakes and adaptations(I guess with the record breaking millions these adaptations are making now, you could argue our tiredness can only carry us so far.) A Street Fighter movie was not a horrible suggestion: it was the alternative to no Street Fighter movie.

So the movie was made in 1994. They made some...choices with it. Some of those choices do not sit well with the most hardcore fans, who's clinging to a "sola interactiva" philosophy is as commendable as it is ill advised.
"They ruined T. Hawk!" yelled no one.

There's plenty of deviations that I would not have done, should this have been MY Street Fighter movie. As many, the 20 years since have mellowed my views on it, perhaps nostalgia catching hold, but that doesn't mean we can't have a better version. However, I am here to speak on behalf of one of the movies most fought about elements, it's lead character  Guile, played by Jean Claude Van Damme.

It's easy to see why they would be angry. Of all the National charicatures in Street FIghter, Guile is easilly the harder to screw up: A big, American military man. Why they went with a guy with a heavy Brussels accent, we might never know. We do suspect it having to do with getting a big name in there. Yeah, they where obviously only thinking about only the almighty dollar. But what do we know about Guile? Well, he looks like this.



Wait a minute: American military, huge muscles...early 90s... things that were popular... people with jowls and pronounced chins...


If you think about it, it makes sense to think that, when trying to represent an "American" martial arts/stock character, Capcom's designers would look at what was popular in American Cinema, and nothing was more popular than Arnold at the time. You can accuse Capcom of being ripoff artists, and you'd be right about that. But not only where they not the only ones, but they where pretty good at it, too. They put John Matrix in the hair of some nazi guy from Jojo's Bizarre Adventure and then boom! New character.

In this sense, Jean Claude Van Damme is the perfect choice for Guile:  a thickly accented action movie star. There's no way they would have gotten Arnold at the height of his career to play a big, cartoony setting like this, at a time where he was selling movies for himself. And besides, as far as having someone  doing stuff like this:

It makes sense to bring in a guy who can do stuff like this:



I say we have all been a bit unfair to Street Fighter: The Movie in this sense. Now, was giving Van Damme a moving speech a bad idea? Maybe. Was making his pants blue instead of Green a betrayal of SF cannon? Perhaps. Should The Boxer have been working for Bison and the Russian Guy have not been? Definitively.  Is the movie perfect? No. Is Van Damme the Worst Possible Guile? Not on your life, bud.

Now, who wants to hear about how I think Charlie should be played by Tom Cruise?
You know I'm right!


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