A helmet is to protect, even in fiction

Often fiction tries to make something cool with the expense of coherent realism. There’s a lot of small things here and there that require slightly larger suspense of disbelief than others, and then there’s just things that make little to no sense in-universe either.

The latest releases of Muv-Luv franchises have given way for helmets for the surface pilots. The helmetless pilots were one of the gripes people used to have, but then again the VNs never made it a big deal to begin with and was consistent with itself. Perhaps it doesn’t make much sense not to have helmets for the pilots, but consistency is preferred over retcons.

Retcons like this do not usually bother me. It can be played in various ways, like saying that certain groups do not use the helmets for whatever reason or something like that. What bothers me in this that the helmets’ design simply doesn’t fit the setting.

Visually speaking, the helmets do fit the bill just fine. That’s not enough, thou
Visually speaking, the helmets do fit the bill just fine. That’s not enough, thou

The problem with the helmet designs that are introduced into Muv-Luv’s BETAverse is that they don’t function as proper helmets. They’re more like glass domes, even if they were some sort of highly resistant super science plastic. It’s more like they’re made for high-end cosplay than for high-speed tactical surface fighter piloting.

A helmet’s job is to protect the wearer’s head. We know that this helmets really doesn’t do that from the top as it’s just a dome. I assume that the sides are well protected because of the shell being there. The top, however, is not. I’ve seen some arguments for the point that increased area of clarity increases the field of vision above. I don’t support or even take this argument all that well, as TSF pilots use indirect ‘Laservision’ to see outside their units.

I still regard this a really neat idea
I still regard this a really neat idea

The pilots do need normal vision outside the cockpits, that’s a given. In some manner, we could actually have completely shut helmets that simply run on battery and give the pilots feedback via Laservision all the time, and the pilot could switch between visions at will. This would give them access to the TSF’s camera view even outside the cockpit, but this would cumbersome to use overall.

However, the increased vision doesn’t stand with the dome. Human eye doesn’t see all that high, and having a clear dome on top of your head is just design for the sake of visuals rather than actual use. It’s not protective. You could actually just cut the clear part from those extended bits over her eyes and the helmet would suddenly have more protective area as well as padding inside. That’s sort of important as well; there’s no padding in the clear parts of the helmet, and that’s highly dangerous. Then again, we all know that no amount of armouring can save your head from a BETA.

It's a bit bulbous, but form follows use
It’s a bit bulbous, but form follows use

The F-35 pilot helmet has a lot of stuff going on for that âge’s designers could have used. First of all, the helmet is fully protective. There’s extra layer of visor there for sure, but it’s far from the surface pilot helmet’s overhead dome. As the F-35’s helmet uses augmented reality to give extra feedback to the pilot, the pilot could look down at his feet and practically see through the plane. This is, by all means, the same function the Laservision gives to the surface pilot. It is pretty clear that the retcon helmet is designed to sit more on the surface pilot’s shoulders than on his head, much like an astronaut’s helmet. As such, the surface pilot’s head does not move the helmet, which is a problem when you have all that material on the sides. The F-35 helmet is on top of the pilot’s head and allows full vision that comes with the head motion.

It should be noted that the surface pilot helmet may do is that it holds its own  separate atmosphere. This is something that fiction does often and is as often just assumed. For example, Iron Man’s suit has its own atmosphere that keep Stark alive during high altitude flights, not to mention space travel. Muv-Luv, and mecha genre in general, work on comic book logic so that’s not a true issue. One could argue that the design of the helmet and its existence is an application of comic book logic, but then you’d also have to remember that the lack of helmets follows that as well, meaning that the setting is in contradiction with itself.

Then suddenly, real training helmets
Then suddenly, real training helmets

The surface pilot helmet design is also the worst helmet design in-universe. The training helmet that’s being retconned into the story showcase that âge is able to design very practical and usable looking gear and helmets. The helmet above could easily be the surface pilot helmet with some changes. Add a visor and close the exposed area on top of the head and you would have a pretty damn nifty design. Of course, the visuals would need to be changed a little bit to go with the Fortified suit’s design.

I admit that the surface pilot helmets grind my gears as they are retcons. However, the helmets have not appeared in every installation of the franchise since their appearance. That’s the contradiction, and the Total Eclipse visual novel’s PC edition will clearly use the helmets, at least in one or two scenes.

What decides when the surface pilot helmets are used? Why they’re not used by everybody? Why were they even retconned into the franchise if only selected amount of pilots ever use them?

The helmets are a minor thing on the grand scale for sure. However, it does stand out as a negative flicker in the world building âge and ixtl have been doing. To be blunt, it doesn’t make any sense how these helmets are handled. That, or I’m a person who takes this far too seriously.

Even then I do like the design, in the end.