Monthly Archives: September 2014

Spotlight: Zoids – The Zaber Fang

The Zaber Fang

Welcome to Spotlight! Well, readers, here I am again, this time showcasing another zoid from the animated Japanese series Zoids: Chaotic Century.

The photo above is a still shot of a Zaber Fang (sometimes referred to in Chaotic Century and other series as a Sabre Tiger, Sabre Fang, or Zaber Tiger; Zaber Fang, however, is the more common name for the zoid). The cockpit on the Zaber Fang is in its head, beneath those glowing green eyes. The Zaber Fang, quite obviously, is designed after a Saber-tooth tiger. It is a common ‘cavalry’ zoid in Chaotic Century’s Gulyos Empire’s army. The zoid is agile, and fearsome.

The Chaotic Century antagonist, Raven, was first introduced to the audience piloting a lightly armed blood-red Zaber Fang. Raven, whose expertise with a zoid in combat is equivalent to the Winter Soldier’s proficiency as an assassin and hand-to-hand fighter, was shown to utilize his Zaber’s capabilities in unorthodox and brutal ways. I can never look at a Zaber Fang, no matter which character is piloting it, without remembering his vicious attack style, which he never abandoned even after he lost his Zaber.

It was Raven’s wicked fighting skills that jolted me to the realization that battles are not won on strength and firepower alone. For this reason, although I despised Raven for a long time, I always respected and liked the Zaber Fang.

While it is not the fastest ground zoid, the Zaber is fast. It is dexterous and lithe, making it a perfect zoid for close combat situations, which Raven always favored. The armaments on the Zaber Fang can easily be rearranged or removed; the machine gun on the Zaber Fang in the above photo could be detached and a larger or smaller gun put in its place.

Other Zaber Fangs in the series even came with “flying gear” – attachments that aided the zoids and their pilots in leaping high over a rival zoid or enemy fire. This also allowed particularly skilled pilots to pounce on and demolish enemy zoids. For some reason a great many pilots in most Zoids’ series never seemed to learn to do anything other than pull the trigger on their zoids’ guns.

Yes, a few pilots might have been scared so badly that they stopped thinking and kept their fingers on the triggers, but this is a no less pardonable offense than the first error. Freezing up in a battle, mentally or physically, results in the fighter becoming very, very dead far too quickly.

Of course, the fact that the Zaber can carry whatever weapons will fit on it and not bring it to its knees can also be a problem. Throw too much weaponry on the Zaber’s back and its speed, agility, and all-around maneuverability becomes lethally inhibited. As a result of watching Chaotic Century, I have little patience for characters who cover their machines – zoids or otherwise – with nothing but weapons. The extra weight can be awkward and a burden; this is not what a fighter needs in the middle of a firefight or melee. You can thank Raven for my opinion on this one.

But do not think for a second that a Zaber Fang would be defenseless weaponless. Though I would not recommend fighting with a disarmed Zaber, remember that those teeth and paws are not for show. Used efficiently, they can be as dangerous as the machine gun the photographed Zaber is wearing. (You can thank Raven for this opinion as well.)

All in all, the Zaber Fang is a capable zoid for almost any situation. It is, however, especially good for close combat. And that is where I would use it the most.

Later,

The Mithril Guardian

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Peace and Quiet

The Great Starship Race

“Captain,” Uhura said, “Helen Fogelstein, starbase magistrate, and Mr. Orland from the Race Committee.”

“Visual.”

“On visual, sir.”

The screen changed so smoothly this time, moving between compatible systems instead of struggling with two separate technologies, that for an instant it looked as though John Orland had a Romulan ship growing out of his ear. Then it was just Orland and a very approachable-looking woman in her fifties with short black hair and a single worry line across her brow.

“Captain Kirk,” she said, “welcome to Starbase 16. I wish I could offer you peace and quiet.

“We’ll have peace and quiet, ma’am, if I have to get it at phaserpoint. What’s going on? Why did you let that ship past your border outposts?”

“They came in broadcasting interstellar truce, and since they complied with all weapons deactivation regulations on approach, I had to let them come in.

“No, you didn’t,” Kirk told her casually. “The Federation isn’t a candy store, Ms. Fogelstein. You have an entire starbase and three security outposts at your administration. You might consider reviewing the regulations manual regarding approach of non-treaty contacts. You shouldn’t have to feel intimidated by anybody.”

“But I didn’t have any reason to turn them down. Part of the purpose for being out here is – ”

“Part of the advantage of being out here,” Kirk interrupted, “is the ability to act at your personal impulse regarding friction in non-self-governing regions. You’ve got the power, Ms. Fogelstein, and you should use it.”

The woman blushed, swallowed a couple of times, sighed, and nodded. “I wish I’d told them that.”

Kirk took a step forward and asked, “Mr. Orland, what do they want to talk to you about?”

Orland wasn’t any more at ease than the magistrate. He shifted back and forth so nervously that the screen seemed to be swinging. “They seem to want to join the race, Captain Kirk.”

“Join the race? That was their story? A Romulan heavy cruiser moves across the neutral zone, and that was the best they could do?”

He studied John Orland’s face to see whether or not he bought that story. How offended would the Race Committee be if he laughed in their faces?

“Do you want them in the race?”

“No, not really.”

“Why didn’t you say so?” He let them squirm a few seconds, realizing his bridge crew was squirming too, with empathy. “Why didn’t anyone speak up before the situation reached this point? You people shouldn’t be waiting for a Starfleet presence before you drum up the resolve to act on the power you do possess.” Too often that only leaves Starfleet with a disaster to clean up, he added silently. Clean-up was not the purpose of a starship as far as he was concerned, and he didn’t like doing it.

Exchange in Star Trek: The Great Starship Race by Diane Carey

Celtic Rhythm

If you have read my post on my favorite songs by the Irish artist Enya, then you know I am really into Irish music. Recently, I discovered these songs performed by an Irish all-women band called Celtic Woman. Though I cannot say that I like their singing more than I enjoy Enya’s, they certainly do sing well.

Anyway, these are the Celtic Woman performed songs I recently became interested in:

The Sky and the Dawn and the Sun Lyrics

Nil Se’n La

Siúil a Rún (Walk my Love)

At The Ceili

Dulaman

Teir Abhaile Riu

Enjoy the rhythm!!!

 

Until next time!

 

The Mithril Guardian

 

Quotable Quotes #1

Air, Fire, and Water

The world is a solemn place, with room for tennis. – John Berryman

I have a new philosophy. I’m only going to dread one day at a time. – Charles Schulz (PEANUTS)

Look wise, say nothing, and grunt. Speech was given to conceal thought. – William Osler

Why should the devil have all the best tunes? – Rowland Hill, English clergyman

You are what you eat. – Ludwig Feuerbach, German philosopher

Always forgive your enemies – nothing annoys them so much. – Oscar Wilde

Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter. – Mark Twain

Beethoven can write music, thank God, but he can do nothing else on earth. – Ludwig van Beethoven, German composer

Since when was genius found respectable? – Elizabeth Barrett Browning, English poet

He knows nothing and thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career. – George Bernard Shaw

A poet can survive everything but a misprint. – Oscar Wilde

A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It is jolted by every pebble on the road. – Henry Ward Beecher, American clergyman

Responsibility

The Cherokee Trail

They moved away, and Boone reached up, grasping one of the corral bars to pull himself erect. He had an urge to shoot, but beyond them was the house, and a bullet from his rifle would go through several inches of pine, and he might injure one of the women or that little girl. A man with a gun had not only to think of what he was shooting at but where the bullet might go if it missed, and almost any kind of a gun might carry up to a mile. – The Cherokee Trail by Louis L’Amour

Long ago, her father had taught her to shoot, and she remembered what he had said. “A gun is a responsibility. Never shoot blind. Always know what you are shooting at and never shoot unless there is no alternative. And consider every gun as loaded. Most of them are.” – The Cherokee Trail by Louis L’Amour

Spotlight: Zoids – The Gojulas

Zoids Chaotic Century

If you have kept up with my blog so far, then you know that one of my favorite animated television series is the Japanese show Zoids: Chaotic Century. I grew up on this show and – just like many people who grew up with a story and enjoyed it immensely – Chaotic Century is special to me.

But there is more than mere nostalgia in my appreciation for the series. Chaotic Century was the first television show which drove home to me the fact that battle – or fighting of any kind – is not always best accomplished by continual punching.

Prior to viewing Chaotic Century, my only impression of fight scenes was a great deal of motion which, to my childish eyes, seemed to focus a great deal on punching an opponent. I saw no tactics or strategy involved in fight scenes, only continual motion.

So it was that I was rather rudely awakened to the fact that fighting does require a modicum of thought to be effective. While watching episodes of Chaotic Century, I learned that pure muscle and energy could certainly aid someone in a fight, but that there were other factors involved in battle as well. Factors such as maneuverability, speed, and dexterity became more important as I followed the story presented in Zoids: Chaotic Century.

The lesson was perhaps learned a bit too well. To this day I avidly watch fight scenes in movies and television shows, scrutinizing the actors’ choreographed maneuvers in an attempt to follow the fighting to predict how the battle will fall out.

It is for this reason that Chaotic Century has held my interest for the length of time it has. So today I am launching a new type of post called Spotlight! These posts will be quick, simple pieces of writing discussing my opinions on something, usually a character, a scene, or – wait for it – a zoid.

The reason I include zoids in these posts is because there is so little written on WordPress about any series of Zoids that I cannot help wanting to fill the void. Whether or not anyone reads these zoids posts, I will be having fun, so who cares?

All right, everybody ready?

Then…FIGHT!

Zoids – The Gojulas

The Gojulas

The first zoid on the block is the Gojulas (pronounced go – ju [as in ‘judo’] – lass). Based on a Tyrannosaurus Rex, this zoid can be a holy terror on the battlefield.

In Chaotic Century the Gojulas is used primarily by soldiers of the Helic Republic. The Gojulas has dense armor, which is not easily pierced, and two large cannons set on its back, making it the equivalent of a very tall, solid tank. And do not let the above photo fool you – the cannons may appear flimsy but they can shoot shells that will utterly destroy almost any opposing zoid. Some Gojulases come equipped with two pairs of small laser cannons on their torsos, but I do not believe that the above Gojulas does.

The Gojulas is considered by many zoid pilots (that orange dome on the Gojulas’ head is actually the canopy for the pilot’s cockpit) to be the ultimate combat machine. And the respect they show throughout the series to the Gojulas is well earned. With the cannons on its back, the Gojulas can generally take out almost every antagonist before it can get close enough to do any damage to the Gojulas, making it a nigh impossible target to destroy.

But the Gojulas does have its limitations. First and foremost among these is the heavy armor on the zoid. The armor protects it from serious damage most of the time; simply shooting at a Gojulas until one runs out of ammunition is ill-advised indeed. I have watched them take heavy fire and shrug it off like rain.

However, the heaviness of the Gojulas’ armor means that its maneuverability is severely restricted. If enough opponents can get close enough to the Gojulas, the zoid’s cannons will be useless in protecting it, since they are meant to fire at long range targets and not enemies sitting directly under the Gojulas’ snout. Also, more powerful zoids can easily destroy the Gojulas from a distance.

The laser cannons some Gojulases are equipped with are rather small, and so they would not be terribly effective against a multitude of zoids at close range. And the more nimble the hostile zoid, the more the likelihood of the Gojulas being unable to target it long enough to destroy it, since its bulk lowers its range of movement significantly.

Also, the Gojulas has to keep its balance or it will tip over and land on the ground (that is what occurred in the episode the above photo came from). So the Gojulas has to be positioned on level ground that will not give way beneath its weight. Cocky pilots who try to push the zoid faster than it can go or who are not paying attention to their surroundings can – and have – grounded Gojulases in their conceit.

Despite these drawbacks, the Gojulas is a truly impressive combat zoid. I would be more inclined to use it as a fixed weapon or to plod it toward – and through – enemy ranks than to use it in melee combat. But I suppose that a skilled pilot could wade into a melee in a Gojulas and win the fight. That skilled pilot, however, would very likely not be me!

Well, that is all I have to say today. As they signed off in Chaotic Century, readers, “See you on the battlefield!”

Later,

The Mithril Guardian