Mecha design; manipulators

Consider your hand. You control all those 27 bones through muscles and tendons. The nerves give you feedback and send your commands down the like, commands that you are not even conscious of. Twist your hand, and you see it twisting. The large muscles come through the skin, but all the fine motion is lost unless we specifically look for it. It can grab and hold things in a wide variety of positions and ways, some that we don’t even know before someone else teaches that. These hands can build and destroy in equal amounts, they are our the tools of our creations.

Transferring that to a giant robot is a bit of a hassle.

Much like with a lot of other direct transfer elements with human body and giant robots, adapting hands 1:1 is an easy concept for sure. The idea of similar multi-use manipulator is attractive from the get go, but depending on the setting, human-like hands might not be the best option. A human-like hand requires far more parts, development, maintenance and simple tech than a say a pincer or more simple manipulator. Of course, the main argument for having a hand for a giant robot is its versatility, especially when it comes to weapons. However, that’s something that could be easily done with hardpoints where weapon is being mounted. We should also question how versatile does the hand of a giant mecha be, especially for a war machine.

Broadly speaking, all human-like hands with mecha follow the same basic idea, there isn’t much deviation. It’s either smooth or cubic. Using this example from a VF-19 serves as a good showcase.

VF-19 hand

While it looks complex, it’s more about the layered elements that make it look complex. Inner functions are of course barely thought, they’re not important. The fact that it looks like it could work and has plausible design elements, like the knuckle guard and fingers’ segments layer on top of each other when bent, is more than enough. Studio Nue has always preferred rounder elements to their design (sometimes dubbed as Bubble hands), especially with their older works. In Gundam, Sunrise and Bandai have preferred using more cubic hands, although exceptions are aplenty.

Gundam MS fed manipulator

The above generic Mobile Suit manipulator was designed for the models, but seeing how Bandai and Sunrise design their mechas models in mind nowadays, it’s a good example of a hand that’s more or less designed for wielding a gun and a beam sabre. It’s a bit more straightforward than VF-19’s, less well-rounded. The question of course is, if this hand is largely made for weapon carrying, why isn’t it designed as such?

The answer is, of course, because of Rule of Cool. When mechas are designed as characters, they’ve almost always given large amount of human characteristics in order to showcase dramatic events. Hands are no different in this. Beam sabre battles would be less dramatic and interesting if the manipulator would be specifically designed holder than a hand.

Controlling a hand like this has basically three options, direct 1:1 input, control macros or brain wave input. Variations and combinations do apply. While a “glove controller” would be idea, that’s pretty much what you do then with that arm. It’ dedicated for that arm, and the rest of the controls are either automatic or left other arm or legs. We discussed control macros previously, and this is most likely the best option overall, if brain wave scanning tech is not available in your setting.

Designing mecha’s hand really isn’t anything hard; just look at your own and mechanise it. Give it details for something to grab attention and some panels for easy access.

Giant robots don’t really have a need for similar level of sophistication when it comes to their hands, a simple grasping arm should be enough with some level of modification to suit the needed purpose. Hardpoints add a lot of versatility as well.

These take less maintenance and production costs would be lower too
These take less maintenance and production costs would be lower too

Of course, fiction doesn’t need to play by the rules of reality all that much, and if technology is advanced enough in a fiction to produce these things, why not? They could of course build better and simpler manipulators, but sometimes you do seek more complex solution for the sake of all the options it could give you. A gripping manipulator above doesn’t really offer many ways to grasp a thing.

Some franchises mix human-like hands with specifically designed manipulators, Muv-Luv popping to my mind foremost.

To be fair, this is complex for the sake of being complex, some of these steps could be dropped
To be fair, this is complex for the sake of being complex, some of these steps could be dropped. It’s a pretty good example of a very specific manipulator arm that works in junction of the main hand, something that I personally would like to see done more

Another one would Mobile Suit Z Gundam‘s The O with its assisting manipulators underneath its skirt. These manipulators question why would The O even need human-like hands, when the three-prong manipulator does everything they do. The answer to this is, of course, because the human design does not use that sort of hand. In a way, mecha in general should always be contrasted to armoured knights of legends, but that’s another topic.

Hands are ultimately something that Japanese inspired mecha design does. For giant robots, America has always preferred more built-in options. MegaBot’s Mark II is a good example of this.


American vision usually attached the weaponry onto a pre-fixed arm that may have some freedom of motion to it, but is always more dependent on the movements of the main body. Compare this to Suidobashi Heavy Industry’s Kuratas and the difference in approach is notable.

The idea of having this built-in approach and lack of manipulators is just as valid.  While it lessens on-the-fly options and puts some limitations, it eliminates loads of moving parts that would require maintenance. The most prominent film example of this sort of thing would be our good old friend, ED-209.

I should probably write a whole entry on ED-209.
I should probably write a whole entry on ED-209.

Unlike with mechas with arms and manipulators, you can see ED-209 guns are its arms with no manipulators, as it needs none. It’s a robust little connector that looks sturdy and serves only to take the beating from the cannon’s recoil and swivel enough to shoot whoever full of holes.

Keep an eye to hands you see in mecha films and shows. Take notice how they are portrayed and how they function. Rarely you will see them doing things outside the capabilities of human hands, and showcasing how they are actually controlled is even rarer. Sometimes they take advantage of what a machine hand can do, like how Gundam washes clothes by rotating its wrist 360-degrees in repetition.

Washing machine Gundam

Mecha design; organic vs industrial

While organic vs industrial design is relatively dry-cut most of the time, I do feel that it’s a subject that needs to be touched upon to give further idea how to put some twists to whatever giant robot you are making.

Most Japanese mechas have a level of organic in them in form of general humanoid shape, but organic design is more about bio, about the smoother, naturalistic lines. This is of course contrasted with harsh corner and straight lines in the design that are almost innately machine-like, produced by human industrial forces instead of nature. Something like a tank or a car can be fully inorganic in design, but more often than not, elements from nature are applied to make it more pleasing to the eye.

There is a constant middle ground between the two, but it’s not exactly biomechanical. Gradual change between organic and mechanic design in giant robots has more to do with the base of general visual, while biomechanical is straight up combination of the two in harmony. There’s also techno-organic design, but that’s sort the same thing. It just has slightly stronger emphasize on the technological side rather than having the two governing together.

To use actual art an example of organic design, Art Nouveau is by its core is tied to naturalistic growth and style. It’s a direct contrast to the industrial style. For example, Gustav Gurschner’s Lampe Nautile, Vers 1899, exhibits the basic loose roles for organic style.


The rules are not hard, and I’ve effectively already mentioned them; curved, flowing, natural. There are no real harsh corners anywhere on the lamp and no visible connection points. Instead of steel gray, earthly bronze was used combined with the pearly look of a shell. From visual side of thing, go check Alfons Mucha, my personal all-time favourite.

That’s the stuff

To directly to Art Nouveau, Bauhaus’ had many core industrial designs that still affect how things are made, produced and designed. An industrial design is rather the opposite to organic, leaving less room for the organic growth and cutting the chase.


This 1930’s Bauhaus desk lamp shows some of the core elements in the rules; unapologetic in simplicity, not hiding joints or the fact that the form follows function and not the other way around. Rather than an earthly bronze, steel shine is applied to the piece with a brass joint at the base with a white baccelite switch. Even the switch is emphasized with a slight raiser from the base.

The two lamps both would serve in their function as a light giver, but the other fits for more moodier lighting, while the other is more a tool for office use. This relative idea is apparent in mecha design as well.

Aura Battler Dunbines Aura Battlers most likely is the well-known organic mecha from the 1980’s, based on Yoshiyuki Tomino’s work and ideas.


Dunbine’s appearance is based on a humanoid insect. It has a largely curvy body with visible bone white claws. While its colouring isn’t anything out of the ordinary, considering the time, but one of the main points it has for it are the yellow insect wings it has on its back. All that gives is a distinct feeling from previous Tomino’s works, all of which largely used industrial cubic shapes.

Another 80’s mecha that is more or less organic in design is Iczer-Robo.


Iczer-Robo is a relatively early example of a bionic being, composed of both mechanical and biological components. It’s outer appearance has flowing smooth lines, but do carry certain industrial vibes. It is between the two, but inside it is very much organic. We even see Iczer Sigma’s birth in the series in a giant tank without any of its armour, basically saying that Iczer-1’s robot are not as much build as they are grown. In many ways, Evangelion’s concept of having an organic being in an armour restraints controlled by a human inside a cockpit surrounded by a liquid is nothing new, as Iczer-Robo did it first.

To directly contrast Dunbine, let’s go with the King of GMs, Ideon.


Ideon is such a strange design at first, especially when you consider it is formed of three separate units. At first, it’s not particularly pretty mecha to look at, but it grows on you. It’s follows the archetype of a blocky mecha as its body can be broken down to cubic geometrical shapes very easily. Drawing a very rough sketch with just boxes is very easy and good practice. It’s completely opposite to Dunbine’s shapes. Some years later, Makoto Kobayashi actually designed and built an organic Ideon model, and while that is more directly organic being, the contrast is striking.


The contrast between the two is striking, but both are the same core design, just in different style. Not only did it lose pretty much all of its boxiness, but also lost mass here and there. Some elements were changed to fit primordial god theme slightly more, which is evident of its slightly grotesque appearance. Plain red was replaced with broken, earth red instead with the occasional blob of light grey and bright red at joints.

Maybe one of the most famous industrial looking robot in sub-culture is the one that was designed to look like an American car.


Robocop‘s ED-209 is an exceptional example of industrial designed mecha. It’s form follows the function and nothing is really unnecessary. The joints look robust and strong, mechanical. It’s colour is largely that dull gray with a blue hue with black governing top of the main body, red are spared for wires and weapon bits. Steel grey is evident from bits that require to look like bare steel, and you have that yellow-black striping showing what parts to be wary of. It’s a hulking beast that doesn’t have softness to it despite having curves. They’re all cold and designed, rather than organically stemming from the body. It’s a terrific, iconic design.

Of course, there are a lot of things you can do between organic and mechanical design, not just in looks but how the mecha act and move. Zoids are largely designed to look like industrial machines, but their organic nature comes from them acting like animals instead of machines. Shield Liger for example moves like a real big cat and all the joints and the like are designed to accommodate this despite it’s overall industrial look. Just look this PV of MasterPiece-01 Shield Liger and how they made the model itself move.

I’m rather impressed on how they got the side parts to move like it was breathing or moving muscles around

As you can see, you can mix organic and mechanical together rather large degree for various kinds of effects. Just like with every other post in this mecha design series, the best way to look into this is to study actual existing examples. For organic, it’s the body structure and shapes of real life creatures that you could use to make a giant robot. For industrial design it’s much easier, as there are numerous books going over that topic.

Real world is a very good source for examples to learn from, instead of looking into existing mecha design. Modelling a mecha after something real and giving it a mechanical twist, but perhaps in an organic fashion, can lead to interesting and great designs. Or just nab a fighter jet plane and use its elements to make a whole tech three of giant robots.

Monthly Three: Robot cops are awesome

Rather than talking about Robocop for three entries, I’ve changed the theme of this month to discuss how certain franchises and series get turned into either family or children’s franchises, which in the end may doom the franchise. We’ll startwith Robocop, then discuss the Rambo franchise and then end with Alien.

Robocop may not need any sort of introductions. Alex Murphy being turned into a law enforcing robot stuck with pop-culture for a good reason. It’s a damn good movie and its satire still hits hard. While there are some elements that certainly dates it, its designs and overall look are largely timeless, portraying an upcoming cyberpunk future with OCP wanting to usher Delta City on Old Detroid. This makes Robocop’s world very bleak, violent and corrupt, where no man can trust another, lest he be backstabbed. Low- and middle class citizens who have no place in OCP’s bright future are left to rot, and OCP owned law enforcement has to quell these people down despite the moral conflicts. Criminals revel in this world, abusing the corruption of the officials and taking every bit they can from those who just want to survive in this changing world. It is powerful stuff, and only handful of Robocop’s stories dwell deeper into the possibilities what sort of dichotomy this change ushers.

It is also a story and world that is very much an adult one. It can’t be naturally turned to a children’s franchise or something the whole family could enjoy. The over the top violence combined with the satire is something children don’t get, and removing violence leaves the satire largely punchless in this case.

Robocop himself it the main reason why the franchise began a downslope from its third movie onwards, and the main reasons for this is because Robocop is seen as a good guy robot who apprehends bad guys. My description of Robocop above is how the franchise is overall seen, but it would be more apt to say that Robocop is about a man who dies in the line of duty, is used to build a cybernetic being to function as a puppet to the villain, but regains his humanity in the end. Space Detective Gavan is an example of a franchise that build for children from the ground up, and there’s nothing wrong in that. Gavan excels very well in being that sort of show, and bringing it to the adult audience would be incredibly easy, just like with almost any other children’s franchise. However, it is very easy to fuck up this transition with a bad script, which happened to Kamen Rider the First, and arguably, to Man of Steel. It’s not necessarily a good idea, but many fans that have grown up with something like comics expect these comics to grow with them, which has essentially fucked up the comic industry.

It’s like a bunch of bloggers from Tumblr wrote this list

Turning an adult franchise to children’s or even family friendly franchise without a doubt will take something away, be it sexual imagery, violence or otherwise something that could shock the unprepared or kids in the audience. When you remove something that is essential to the tone to the work, you need to replace it with something else. Robocop 3 is a good example, alongside the two cartoon series, how the very idea of a robotic cop is not taken seriously as entertainment for adults in the larger scheme of things.

The movie tries to try to keep the spirit of the original work intact, with the third movie trying to keep OCP being a dominant evil entity, but even then they’re reduced to almost a bumbling fool status with Kanemitsu Corporation taking over them and sending Outomo, the android ninja, to take care of Robocop. Kid characters are often used to have the children something to relate to, but kids never give a damn about them. Just like with Batman and Robin, kids don’t want to relate to Robin as they can never become him. They can become Batman, which is why they look up to him. However, Hollywood idiots still force child characters as secondary main characters to create a relation that is experienced by a very small margin of the audience. In Robocop, there is nobody for kids to relate to. Murhpy is a gunned down cop and is not supposed to be a role model of any sorts and he can’t be made to be. This is unlike Gavan alias Retsu Ichijouji, who dons the armour of Gavan to fight crime and be an overall just guy. He is someone kids can look up to.

The first movie in the franchise was relatively successful and has become a classic. The second movie isn’t up there with the first one, and script suffers largely due to Frank Miller’s base script combined with exec meddling, and the third one was bumped top PG-13 for larger audiences and possible profits. Robocop 3 succeeded the most in Japan, unsurprisingly. After the horrible reception the third movie got, and lacklustre success of the cartoon, Robocop the Series tried to be a sort in-between the R-Rated original and children’s franchise. It didn’t really succeed. The main reason for this is that Robocop himself could not be violent and the action reflects that. He has cartoony non-lethal methods of incapacitating criminals instead of blowing their kneecaps or dangly sacks. Much like how Robocop 3 played OCP for comedy, most of the darker and more violent scenes in the Series is treated with humorous tone and played for laughs rather than using Verhoeven’s over the top violence to give it an accent. It has heart, but it just can’t achieve what the original movie had because of wasn’t not allowed aim to follow in its image. The Series’ script wasn’t anything worth mentioning really, and overall didn’t do much service to showcase the franchise.

Another problem The Series had can be heard in how Robocop is seen. Rock Shop has a heroic renderition, something that it wasn’t originally

The Prime Directives TV-series in the early 2000’s wasn’t a family friendly entry in the franchise, but it wasn’t over the top with the violence either. This series suffered from low-budget, mediocre acting at best and not the best script out there. The franchise finally had given the chance to aim for the same kind of take Verhoeven realized, but the vision wasn’t in there. So, a franchise that went from being a hard R-18 action movie with surprisingly spiritual heart went to be a children’s Saturday morning cartoon and superhero movie in relatively short time, and then tried returning to its roots with Prime Directive only to be ultimately to be dismissed.

The trailer for Prime Directives is kinda awful and tries to hide bad acting with a constant barrage of action.

The reboot movie from 2014 followed the same lines as the third movie and the Series, and its reception was not favourable. It retreads the same points the original did with worse results, especially how it handled the relationship between Murphy and Robocop. There no weight to anything in it, because it doesn’t do anything new. It’s more or less a forgettable PG-13 action movie that doesn’t stand out from the current comic book movies as it uses the same style, tone and looks. Outside few scenes, especially the one where Murphy is shown his current nature, it’s a very safe flick. You could say that just like J.J. Abrams’ Star Treks, the new Robocop was supercharged for the new generation and very few things have a feeling of weight, be it in physical objects or in themes. One of the problems in this is that the motion original Robocop was staccato and very deliberate in movement. The new 2014 version looks like a man in a suit.

Anyway, the 2014 Robocop didn’t get a standing applaud. SONY has been wondering whether or not to make a sequel, but it has the same problem as the original; Robocop’s story is essentially over. While you can expand on his further adventures, at least the 2014 reboot can go deeper into how cyborg Murphy could function as a husband and father, for better or worse.

Robocop seems to be successful when the violence and darker tones are intact. While Robocop is not a heroic robot like Gavan, the character and movies can discuss humanity and our relationship with machines and change, something a wholly family friendly show and a kids’ cartoon can’t do to the same extent. Not to say kids’ shows couldn’t do that, but Robocop can’t without stripping itself from the adult take and themes it set since its creation. Children can enjoy Power Rangers and the like just fine, but Robocop should have stayed as something only for adults.

At least there’s an OCP logo


At least they added the OCP logo and the badge, but why the hell are they the same colour as the rest of the damn suit? They’re supposed to stand out to show that it’s A) an OCP product, and B) it’s a goddamn police officer. The OCP logo by all logic should be coloured like the OCP logo, and the police badge should be gold coloured as per tradition, or whatever colour the modern Detroid’s finest uses. Still, I’m happy to see these logos, even in their current state. I hope they’ll add the colours in post-production.

But the rest of the suit is just… well, that’s the problem; it looks like a suit. It isn’t supposed to be a suit, but a full body prosthetic. One of the worst parts is actually the neck area, which looks like an additional armour, a suit, rather than what a body would have.

The neck area overall looks very inorganic;the parts do not flow from each other at all. It’s like they added these pieces together and called it a day. This part looks just as as fluid as rhino driving a Ferrari. Seems like they also went with bionic right hand for whatever reason. In the original film they cut Murphey’s arm off because OCP wanted it so. That hand, if they really are going for an organic right hand, is the very thing that tells that the the meaning of this film is to go against the original.

If they’re going against the original film, then why make a Robocop movie at all? They should’ve just made a completely new franchise.

Let’s go through the… design from head to knees.
The head is taken from pretty much all the recent sci-fi sources. There’s no reason to have that red line in the helmet, as the whole top part is the visor. But it’s one of the defining traits that Robocop had, and that’s pretty much theonly thing they kept from the original.

Still, the helmet bugs me. Originally Murphy’s face was crafted to a robot skull, thus there wasn’t really anything else of him there. Here it seems that they kept more than the face. I’m not going to say anything about the actor’s appearance, as Robocop could be anyone. He could look a bit paler, a bit more dead. I miss the days when the make-up staff were good enough to make it look like faces were crafted on top of robotic skulls. It adds a lot of depth, which the new one is missing.

There’s a trouble brewing in his chest as well, and in the torso in general. If this design was out there some fifteen years ago, then it would be acceptable. It’s 2012 and we’ve seen this design in games, comics, movies, books and God knows where else. It’s such a generic design that it hurts. It’s like one of those Crysis suits mixed with Iron Man. A lot of people see Batman suit in it, that so that you just need to add the belt, cape, batlogo and the ears, but that works for any black suit.

Also, this is the real Batman.

The same goes for the rest of thesuit really. There’s nothing to say about the rest of the design I haven’t gone through previously, except that the legs are a horrible mess.

The legs are actually the worst region to show the suit part of the… suit. They don’t look likea natural part of the whole body rather than something that was just put on top of a suit underneath. There shouldn’t be any reason to have that kind of look; the body itself should be the armour.

It’s just not Robocop. It has nothing to do with Robocop. It’s like with the American Godzilla movie, or the Super Mario Bros. movie.

It’s said that Robocop was inspired by Japanese tokusatsu show YouTube: Space Sheriff Gavan. The two do look pretty similar, but ultimately different. Gavan’s suit is supposed to attract attention and have that romantic view on law enforcement, kinda.

The same can be said of the original Robocop, but the design is far more utilitarian in a sense, and more believable. Whereas Gavan wears an armour, ‘Robocop’ is a body. The silver is to catch attention, to show that this person is to be feared of. What you see is coming at you, it’s not going to stop until you either surrender, or you’re shot down. There’s no in-between. Making Robocop black is going against the idea of superior law enforcement unit, as Robocop is not a damn SWAT unit.

Now if they made this into a RoboSWAT then the appearance would be far more appreciated and acceptable. The form needs to follow the utility, and this one doesn’t, not even with the colours. Thiscombined with the fact that they’re basically taking an enormous dump on the original doesn’t sing a very positive song.

I wonder why the film studios hate their audience so much?

This film can be salvaged; discard it and start from the scratch.

Let’s take a look at new Robocop

There is no fine line between a suit of armour and complete body prosthetics. The other is something that is worn, the other is something that is you physically. Robocop had the latter.

There’s redesigns and completely new takes on existing designs, and then there’s replacing designs. The updated design of the Jaguar E-Type is a redesign that works because it respects the original and looks pretty damn sweet. It still looks like an E-Type car but isstill having its own unique twists. This Robocop design is far from being as successful as aredesign, as it doesn’t respect the original in any way.

The original Robocop design was inspired by Space Sheriff Gavan, but that’s mainly thematic. Robot Cop isn’t the most unique idea, but Robocop’s take on the idea, and on the design, is nothing short of iconic and defining. That design up there is pretty damn atrocious. First of all it has nothing unique in it. It could be Iron Man’s stealth armour, it could be a suit from Mass Effect or any other generic 00’s sci-fi. You could say thatwhat they were aiming at and I’d tell you to shut up. The original design kicked in and made a following and lead into countless parodies. This new design is a follower and a parody. Whoever decided that this was the design to go with (and the designers who worked on it ) is a stupid man. I have nothing for them except contempt. It says a lot that I’ve used the same basic idea for a helmet design quite  a lot through these years. However, for appearance and somewhat menacing effect there would be two glowing dots inside the helmet where the eyes would be in certain situations.

This design doesn’t even try because the designers didn’t even try.

If the core idea isn’t there because lack of skill, understanding, will or anything else, don’t do it. Just leave it alone and allow people who know what the hell they’re doing to do it in your stead. Then why are you writing a blog? Shut up I’m on a roll here.

They designed it as a suit. It’s not a suit. It shouldn’t look like a suit. In reality they’re both suits, but in the films they should not be. May God help them if they changed Robocop’s origin to a powered armour in this one.

The original design, and the suit used, has those mechanical properties that make it look properly robotic. It’s intimidating, utilitarian for specific use and yet has a certain uncanny valley in there. The shoulders in the original are unmistakeably raised on top of the actor to give it a certain look and feel. The black parts, while stretchy, were masked with other black parts that meshed well with the silver outlook. Take a look at Iron Man’s production shots, and see how they managed to build the suit without relying on visible stretchy materials. It’s pretty awesome that they managed to build most of the suit like that.

Actually, if you look closely you can actually notice one point of design that’s important; the eyeslit.
The eyeslit, the red line in the helmet, looks menacing in the original. There’s no reason to have that in the new design. Why are they having it? Because it’s iconic. That just draws the question why aren’t they using other parts of Robocop’s iconic design as well? The new design would actually look better if they’d remove the red line and make the helmet completely black. Give in a mouth guard as well and you’d actually have a new kind of helmet that would work with the design. But then again, it still would look like an Iron Man/Mass Effect knock-off. The new eyeslit looks… well, like a red line. It has no function outside the cool factor, but it’s out of the place from the rest of the visual language of the suit.

I have no hopes that they’ll change the colour of the suit in post production. They’ve chosen to go with matt dark grey and they’ll stick with it. Too bad that colour is idiotic as hell. Why such a dull colour? Are you afraid that it might look toyetic when your original intention was to make Robocop into a goddamn transfomer? God that was a stupid idea. I want to punch a baby narwhal so hard that it would fracture the time-space continuum because of that. I’m sure that this colour choice was because of both 00’s trend of lolrealism and the recent movies that happened to have a character called Batman. Actually, just add the bat ears and you’d have a high-tech Batsuit right there.

Not having the silver colour, or somewhat shiny dark blue at least, goes against the idea of Robocop being seen. I do understand that this colour is much closer to the real life police uniform in colour that the original, but where’s the badge? If you take a close look at the left chest you might notice a shape that looks like a badge slot. Actually, I’d be OK with the design if he had a badge there alongwith all the other markings a police uniform may come with. However, because it’s dull grey and nothing more, the design just scream colours.

The original silver/bluish silver colour plays to the intimidation aspect. It tells that it’s made of sturdier stuff, that there’s no reason to hide. Whoever steps in with those colours on has no reason to cover himself; he is there to kick ass and take names. The new one is stealthy, and that’s part of the problem overall. Robocop as an idea even in-universe was meant to be seen. His presence would allow a safe feeling for the citizens and a presence of threat for the criminals. The black colours don’t do that unless they’re played for fear like Batman does, but the overall design doesn’t really allow for that overwhelming presence the original design gives out.

That’s the biggest misstep in the new design; it has no presence over anyone.

In that leaked picture Robocop has no presence over anyone, unlike in the screenshot from the first movie. Sure, they’re from a different environment, situation and all, but you can still see it. Or rather, you can still feel it. It just doesn’t work as intended.

I’m not saying that I don’t like the design, but it’s not for Robocop. It would work in some sci-fi flick where the cops would wear that as an armour and be called something like cybercops or the like. I can see this new design as a nudge towards Robocop, as a homage and as a parody, but not as Robocop.

Here’s an idea; redesing the original properly, and use this new design for mass-produced models that follow on the original’s foosteps. Just remember to add the badge and other flavours to them.

There’s a high possibility that this is just a stand in suit, and the body we’ll see in the movie is made through CG. The matte grey hints towards this to an extent, but that’s just idiotic; why make the suit out of CG when you can make it look good through actually having the damn thing in reality?

So they made Robocop a transformers wait what?

I grew up with Robocop in a manner of speaking. I saw the first film around the same time I saw Star Wars and Indiana Jones. That’s around five or so. I remember my dad blocking my sight from seeing the monkey brain eating scene in The Temple of Doom, but I watched pretty much everything else block-free because of my sweet elder brothers.

I got into Robocop 2 around the same age, but saw Robocop 3 and the animated series much later on, so these weren’t there as I grew up. Same goes for the live action TV-series, which all share the same flaw; they’re pretty terrible.

Fast forward the end of 00’s when some concrete info on the Robocop remake surfaces. The fool I am, I was hopeful that this Hollywood remake would be something decent, unlike so many remakes, sequels and re-imaginings thus far. I mean, somebody has to have faith in humanity, right?

Oh boy, let’s skip to few months ago.

I’m man enough to admit that I got little bit pumped about this viral teaser. The video does have that OCP spirit in it, the designs look pretty sleek, except ED-209 looks… Let’s put it this way; the original ED-209 was designed to resemble an all-out American car with huge fuel consumption. That’s where the front grill and overall design came from. The new ED-209 seems to go for parodying the movie Transformers design, but why? They’re well parodied already by themselves. Why not take similar approach and create a sarcastic design of modern cars, or Apple designs? OK, Apple design have been parodied enough elsewhere, let the horse already die there. As such, the new ED-209 concept is a miss. It doesn’t fulfil the slot that ED-209 should fill. I even have to question whether or we should be calling it ED-209.

And the Robocop concept… Oh lord.

If you didn’t know that the above concept was for Robocop, what would you have imagined it to be? The original design is iconic for a reason. If they wanted to use something that’s not Robocop at all, why to even use the name?

Because of name recognition, of course.

If you want me to go deeper what’s wrong with that design above as a Robocop, I can do that in a separate post, because pretty much everything is wrong with it, from head to toe.

But now there was some small leaks what the concept of Robocop would be in the remake. And let me tell you this that what I’m saying isn’t just my honest to God opinion, but also a fact; it reeks of failure.

First of all, as it stands now, there’s very little that’s Robocop in the story frame. Robocop wasn’t about a cyborg police going killing people and coming out good, but a man inside a shell, deciding who he was and what he was. It’s a story about the human character. This suggested concept seems to ignore this for toy sales.

Toy sales? Then why the hell they call the first version of Robocop as a toy from the 80’s? There’s nothing toyetic about Robocop’s design outside cyborg shell, and later the jetpack and the cartoons but those are out of the window, we’re talking about Verhoeven’s original film. Are they trying to make fun of current world making toyetic designs, and then make one? That’s not funny or ironic or satire, that’s just sad! It’s like laughing at somebody because they have a cat, and then going home and fucking one in the ass. I apologize, that’s just wrong.

The original film was a good satire on then current USA’s expense. However, its message still applies today because the things it rises to consciousness haven’t swept away. Even the SUX car still applies, even thou we’re going for more environment friendly cars, but SUX breaks down just as easily as modern computer controlled cars. The human characters are timeless in the film, and while you see that’s it’s clearly retro-future nowadays, the audience can believe because every thing’s there physically and not a goddamn CGI horror they’re going to be in the remake.

This concept also reeks of post-9/11. I’m not here to offend anybody, but move on people. Having Robocop, a police unit, going through an Al-Qaeda camp with some sort of action mode is beyond stupid. Creating a transforming vehicle, let alone a cyborg, is a mechanical nightmare for designers and engineers. Oh, it’s supposed to be toyetic to give out sarcastic remarks? Well fuck me silly, that’s stupid as hell. OCP, as mad as they would be, are not idiots. Incompetent perhaps, but not idiots.

Robocop having him change from civial mode to this other mode is idiotic, as it doesn’t serve the outer purpose of the design at any point. Design a sturdy, strong and determined outlook to which civilians can rely on, and what criminals want to avoid. Like the original design. There’s no goddamn need to have a secondary mode, unless OCP decides to make Robocop into military unit, and then they’d make a different prototype for that use.

You can’t make a satire out of the original film when everything it satires still applies. You’ll only end up with a product that hurts itself and will be looked down as a shitty cash-in.

Goddamn, even Jurassic Park IV’s suggestion of intelligent cyborg Velociraptor’s as police/SWAT hounds was better than this shit.

If you want to make a successful remake of anything, then respect the original source material. Otherwise you just might as well make something that has been inspired by the original work.