Tag Archives: science of anime

Science of Anime: Destroying a Planet

There are few things that signify overkill like an Earth-shattering kaboom. A lot has been written about how much energy it takes to destroy a planet. But most of those discussions involve things like the Death Star, or how fast an asteroid would have to be moving. What about when your planet-killer is smaller; like a person?

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Science of Anime: Minovsky particles

Possibly the most famous example of fictional physics in anime would be the Minovsky particles and Megaparticles from the Universal Century Gundam timeline. Megaparticles are easier to explain; so called because they are large for a subatomic particle, their properties are the explanation for most of the more futuristic weaponry.

Minovsky particles are more interesting because they show how committed Tomino was to justifying what he thought needed to be justified, even though he could have easily gotten by with no explanation for this. (But Tomino’s ideas of what was and wasn’t realistic weren’t always right. The Guntank, actually more realistic than walking mobile suits like the Gundam, was phased out for being “too super robot” just because Getter-3 also had treads instead of legs.)

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Science of Anime: Scale

A lot of anime like to have things big.

The very first super robot, Tetsujin 28, is 18 meters tall, big enough that it’s English name was Gigantor. Of course, a lot of other mecha (especially the less realistic ones) are even bigger; Zearth from Bokurano is 500 meters tall. But it’s not just mecha; Dragon Ball, One Piece, Naruto, and Attack on Titan are just some of the more obvious examples of anime with giant creatures of one kind or another.

Goku_VS_Gohan_(great_ape)

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Science of Anime: Equivalent Exchange

In Fullmetal Alchemist, the most fundamental law of alchemy is Equivalent Exchange; like most real physical laws it’s not always phrased the same, but the basic idea is “To gain something, something of equal value must be given”.

The most-heard phrasing is from the first anime and seems excessively human-centric: “Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost. That is alchemy’s first law of Equivalent Exchange.”

In alchemy that does not involve living beings, this is typically seen as a conservation law; elements are only rearranged, not created or destroyed.

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Science of Anime: Space Elevators

Pop quiz time: what do Tekkaman Blade, Gundam 00, and Battle Angel Alita have in common?

They’re all anime that have space elevators and orbital rings. A space elevator is exactly what it sounds like; a tower that goes all the way from the ground up into geosynchronous orbit, so that you can get things into space on an elevator (or a vertically oriented train) instead of launching rockets. An orbital ring is a structure that goes all the way around the planet’s equator connecting several space elevators.

Tekkaman Blade

(Well, the Orbital Ring in Tekkaman actually isn’t as far from the Earth as one should be.)

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The Science of Anime

Tomorrow, I’m going to finally get around to starting a new series of posts that I’ve been planning for a while. I’ve always liked books and articles that connect science fiction and fantasy with real science, with The Physics of Superheroes being one of my favorite non-fiction books.

So I’m going to attempt something similar, but focusing mostly (maybe not entirely) on anime and manga. Most of these posts won’t be especially in-depth or technical, but I hope they can be a fun way to explore a few concepts.

Pokebiology: words with too many meanings.

Okay, I love Pokemon, but one thing I’ve always wished that the series hadn’t done was use the word “evolution” to refer to something that’s, you know, not what that word normally means in other contexts. Jen McCreight has an excellent post on her blog that goes into more detail about evolution and metamorphosis in Pokemon.

What you normally think of when someone says “Pokemon evolution” is really metamorphosis. Which is kind of obvious, considering in most Pokemon games the first Pokemon that you see evolve will be a bug type whose evolution is based on metamorphosis in real insects, like a caterpillar/cocoon/butterfly. Other times, Pokemon based on animals that mature gradually will suddenly evolve instead, but then, Pokemon based on mammals come from eggs too, so it’s just a similar deviation from reality. Pokemon aren’t actually evolutionary (in the real-life biology sense) relatives of the real-life creatures they’re based on (which don’t seem to exist in the Pokemon world anyway), so that’s fine. Either way, it’s still often something like a lion cub becoming an adult lion.

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