Tag Archives: science of anime

Science of Anime: Beam Sabers

Star Wars had lightsabers before any anime did, but weapons similar to them are quite common in anime, so they’re the topic today.

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First of all, they certainly can’t literally be light. Neither a normal beam of light nor a laser stops when it reaches a set length, or blocks other beams from crossing itself.

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Science of Anime: Getter Rays

Getter Robo is full of things that defy the laws of physics, but it’s not really the physics that we’ll be looking into today. It’s the implications the title robot’s power source has for biology that concerns us.

Getter Rays are called the energy of evolution. (As is Spiral Power from Gurren Lagann, in direct homage to Getter.) They are said to be what originally wiped out the dinosaurs on the surface, and are still harmful to the reptilians of the Dinosaur Empire. Most of the other things they do don’t really have anything to do with evolution at all.

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Science of Anime: Destroying the Moon

Another one from Dragon Ball. Goku’s transformation into a Great Ape is triggered by the light of the full moon, so “Jackie Chun’s” method of changing him back is to use his Kamehameha to blow up the moon. For how much of a task it is to do that, see “Destroying a planet”. This post is going to be about what would happen to Earth if the moon was destroyed.

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Science of Anime: Ludicrous Size

As I’ve said before, some anime like to have things so big that the square/cube law says they shouldn’t be able to support their own weight. But weight only applies when there’s gravity, right? So how about giants in space?

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Science of Anime: Space terminology and scale

Transformers Energon was the terrible English dub of Transformers Superlink, which wasn’t that good to begin with. One infamous line of dialogue from it was “We warped into another galaxy on the outer reaches of the solar system.”.

That’s an extreme example of an issue that a lot of other anime have to a lesser degree; mixing up astronomical terms and/or the scale associated with them. Several series have used “galaxy” like it meant “universe”. Others don’t seem to realize how close a “moon” and a “planet” can be in scale.

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Science of Anime: Size Changing

This is a topic that was already well-covered in The Physics of Superheroes. But while The Atom and Ant-Man/Giant-Man/Too-Many-Names-Man have size changing as their explicit super power, a lot of anime (and near-anime) characters do it incidentally, as a part of other transformations. Of course, so does the Hulk.

For example, Devilman is considerably taller as the demon Amon than as the human Akira. (Or in Mazinger Z vs. Devilman, much taller.) Well, at least he’s supernatural.

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Science of Anime: Capsules and Poke Balls

Some anime, especially certain shounen series, seem to have a “throw it in” mentality. They have all kinds of individual elements whose presence in the series seems unrelated to anything else in the series. This results in some really unique worldbuilding.

Dragon Ball is a great example. At it’s core, the central premise of the early parts of the series was “loosely based on Journey to the West and has magic balls that summon a wish-granting dragon”. But just look at everything we see within just the early episodes. Dinosaurs! Hovercars! Animal people! Whatever the heck Puar is! Transforming at the full moon! Then we get robots (including Arale from Dr. Slump), a manwolf (which is not the same thing as a wolfman), someone whose personality and hair color change when she sneezes, and Krillin being able to smell at first but then not after he’s reminded that he doesn’t have a nose. (Okay, that last one falls under Looney Tunes territory.)

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Science of Anime-ish Western Animation: Sozin’s Comet

I said examples don’t necessarily have to be from anime, and here’s my first one that doesn’t refer to a Japanese series. Though the fact that Avatar: The Last Airbender is anime-influenced isn’t really in dispute.

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Science of Anime: Spiral Power

In Gurren Lagann, it often seems like almost nothing is impossible, and the things that are impossible still happen anyway. Examples (and spoilers):

So in this case, maybe the question should be just how many “exceptions” to the laws of physics do we have to suspend disbelief for when we watch this series?

Would you believe just one?

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