Those little details in films/books/games/etc that you just can't help but wonder about.

sextus the crazy

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DoPo said:
A lot of giant mecha and robots - why do they need to be humanoid? I suppose I get terminators and such, as in "normal sized robots" - they were probably initially designed to look like humans, so humans would be less freaked out by the machinem but they are still somewhat guilty of it. I don't think the whole bipedal thing is that efficient - it's a machine, why does it need to have 2 arms, 2 legs and a head? It's designed for war and fighting, so why not just make it better - four legs would work way better for balancing and also speed, you can still attach as many hands as you want, but you might be better off just having guns, and the head is often times the weak spot - just have the weak spot behind several layers of protection and guns. Why mimic humans all the time?

I've been perplexed by this for just so-o-o long. Since I was a kid, in fact, I never did manage to watch many robot stuff because of that, it's always been nagging me.
Same here. Whenever I watch Mecha anime, especially the ones that try to be more realistic, I find the actual implausibilities of mechs distracting. There's a reason we don't use them; terrible surface area to armor thickness ratio (and some other stuff too).

OT: All of the unresolved subplots in Fire Emblem (GBA 2003). Like all of the shit about rebellion and eliwood's father's involvement that just gets dropped after the dragon's gate arc.
 

SonicWaffle

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Doclector said:
Well, yeah. What ones do you wonder about? What little unresolved sideplots and unanswered questions that shouldn't be important, but just bug you?
Well, to keep in relevant to the moment, I'm going to single out Pacific Rim. Obviously the decision relies on making a cool movie, but from an in-universe perspective; why are jaegers and their defensive strategies so hopelessly badly designed?

Who decided that the ideal mecha to fight giant monsters should be human-shaped? We couldn't research anything better for fighting in the ocean? Did humanity really think the best defence against kaiju was punching them and occasionally using secondary weapons as an afterthought? Why aren't they bristling with guns and other weaponry when we've seen how effective (from the original monster attack, that one jaeger with a chest o'guns etc) they can be? Why is the jaeger program wholly reactive rather than constantly patrolling the dimensional rip? Hell, why isn't the entire area a mess of warships, submarines, giant robots and weapon platforms? Why are the defensive walls built to keep the kaiju out so piss-weak, and apparently unarmed? Why did nobody think to copy that giant gun from FFVII and just plop it on top of the wall, aimed at the sea? Why did nobody think to litter the rip with mines and depth charges, and do the same with coastal areas aside from specified shipping lanes? Why is everyone celebrating at the end because they destroyed the defensive rip even after discovering that the pan-dimensional conquerors can make another at will and will more than likely be coming back?

Humanity is so fucking dumb in that movie, they deserved to get wiped out.
 

Lovely Mixture

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heh, that's your biggest problem with SAO? Ok sorry for the snideness, I just have vehement dislike of that show on both literary and technical aspects.


As for me.

In the Tiberium Universe, Kane is the immortal ultra charismatic leader of the Brotherhood of Nod. This organization is so big that the United Nations has to fight a global war on it.

Now, Kane is an awesome dude and in the pseudo-prequel you find out that he inserted himself into the Soviet Union and even managed to manipulate Stalin.

If Kane is that good at manipulation, why didn't he just insert himself into United Nations and manipulate them? Instead of fighting three giant wars with them?

It could be that the UN would have rejected Kane's weaponized use of Tiberium (even though they use it as a prime resource), that Kane's (understandable) messianic complex influenced him to become a ruler in his own right, or that he later decided to use the UN's Armies as scapegoats through propaganda. But it's never really brought up.
 

Gatx

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DoPo said:
A lot of giant mecha and robots - why do they need to be humanoid? I suppose I get terminators and such, as in "normal sized robots" - they were probably initially designed to look like humans, so humans would be less freaked out by the machinem but they are still somewhat guilty of it. I don't think the whole bipedal thing is that efficient - it's a machine, why does it need to have 2 arms, 2 legs and a head? It's designed for war and fighting, so why not just make it better - four legs would work way better for balancing and also speed, you can still attach as many hands as you want, but you might be better off just having guns, and the head is often times the weak spot - just have the weak spot behind several layers of protection and guns. Why mimic humans all the time?

I've been perplexed by this for just so-o-o long. Since I was a kid, in fact, I never did manage to watch many robot stuff because of that, it's always been nagging me.
There's a couple series that I know of that have explanations for why actually, but they're very limited to their own universes except for Gundam's explanation.

Evangelion's pretty obvious. On one level it's symbolic that humanity's ultimate weapon against a greater, alien power, is humanoid, but also they weren't "designed" like that, and they're actually giant... people... things cloned from Adam, or (was it Lilith?) who already has that shape.

In Macross, at some point humanity found a crashed alien ship that allowed them to advance their technology a bit but they also found giant humanoid corpses. Knowing that the possibility existed that they would encounter this race and that they would be hostile, the created jet fighters that could transform into giant robots in order to fight in hand to hand combat with the aliens if it ever came down to it.

In Gundam the explanation is "Active Mass Balance Auto-Control" or AMBAC. Mobile suits are intended to be a utilized mainly in a zero gravity environment where they take advantage of Newton's Third Law of Motion to make subtle maneuvers like reorienting themselves just by moving their limbs without the need to expend fuel. I guess they don't necessarily need to be "humanoid" but eventually they do start sticking on extra moving parts onto mechs that better take advantage of AMBAC (it's why some Gundams have "wings" in space). Also in Gundam the head is almost never the weak spot and only houses a main camera. There's still numerous other cameras in other parts of the body.
 

Diddy_Mao

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Harry Potter:

How does the "magical ability" manifest itself? It's obviously genetic to a point because there are "Wizarding Families" but one of the main characters in the book is shown to be of Non-Magical lineage so it's unlikely to be strictly down to breeding.

I normally wouldn't bring it up or give it a second thought but Rowling makes a big damn deal about the whole "purebloods vs everyone else" thing so...yeah. What's the deal?
 

william12123

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The HP magic thing is fairly weird. Then again, Rowling seemed to be building a world "symbolically" rather than technically. I wouldn't be surprised if she hadn't thought about it herself. Since muggle-borns and purebloods can present as much ability, and squibs can be born even in pureblood families, it's hard to say. I've read some fan-fiction (Harry potter and the methods of rationality) that addresses the question, but I ain't seen anything canon.
 

Fijiman

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In Halo 4 I can't help but wonder how the hell that big a group of the Covienent managed to not only stay in tacked after the civil war with the elites breaking off, but also were seemingly unaware of anything that had happened in the last five years.

Also, I don't get how Ash in Pokemon hasn't aged a damn day. Seriously, he's been on his journey for at least two years at this point in the show and they still haven't given him a birthday. The fuck is up with that.
 

Jolly Co-operator

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philosophicalbastard said:
Jolly Co-operator said:
I have a question about Avatar: The Last Airbender. I accept that people can bend one of the four elements (fire isn't really an element, but whatever). What I want to know is how the element a person is able to bend determined? Is it genetic? If so, what happens when people from different nations (for sake of example, let's say someone from the earth nation and someone from the water nation) have a child? Is one element randomly selected as dominant? If so, how is it determined which nation it lives in?
Its completely genetic. In the Legend of Korra series the two male leads are a firebender and an earthbender who are brothers. Their parents were of each bending ability, so its safe to say that the dominant element is completely random.
Thanks for the info. I never did end up giving Legend of Korra a try. Did it say how it was decided which country the brothers lived in?
 

The Wykydtron

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Pretty much all texts ever in Dishonoured. Especially anything involving whaling. It's possibly the most interesting thing in the game and it's not explored in much depth at all. There's a whale stuck on a ship within the first 20 seconds of the game if you look to the left and a glance at the sea at most points in the game will reward you with a whaling ship in the distance. Not to mention all the paintings depicting heroic whalers.

Basically, the oil found in whales is what passes as Dunwall's petrol or whatever fossil fuel variant you care to name. There's a debate over conservation issues among a load of other things waiting to happen because that's (cruelty to animals nonewithstanding) a technically limitless supply of fossil fuels if they get their shit together and do not hunt them right into extinction.

Also every other paragraph in the Name of the Wind books (best books I have ever read by the way.) Kvothe brings up some little nugget of information then swiftly moves on to something else. There's a brilliant bit in the second one where he's spending a fortune on luxuries and he buys some fancy ink and parchment and writes a letter to this guy who has a grudge on him posing as a lady who doesn't exist saying that "the baby" is his, signs it as a simple R, puts some drops of water as tear stains on it making sure to smudge the R so it could be a misshapen B and sends it to him.

It is never brought up again.
 

generals3

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MGS2, why aren't there any bodies from dead US soldiers in the Arsenal Gear area? They make an entire sub/ship/whatever filled with Metal Gears but there are no soldiers in it?!
 
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Jolly Co-operator said:
philosophicalbastard said:
Jolly Co-operator said:
I have a question about Avatar: The Last Airbender. I accept that people can bend one of the four elements (fire isn't really an element, but whatever). What I want to know is how the element a person is able to bend determined? Is it genetic? If so, what happens when people from different nations (for sake of example, let's say someone from the earth nation and someone from the water nation) have a child? Is one element randomly selected as dominant? If so, how is it determined which nation it lives in?
Its completely genetic. In the Legend of Korra series the two male leads are a firebender and an earthbender who are brothers. Their parents were of each bending ability, so its safe to say that the dominant element is completely random.
Thanks for the info. I never did end up giving Legend of Korra a try. Did it say how it was decided which country the brothers lived in?
Well, they lived in Republic City a newly founded city-state meant to bring all cultures and nations together, but I assume they would get citizenship to whatever nation they were born in. Legend of Korra is it nearly as good as The Last Airbender, but I think its still well worth the watch and a second season is currently in production which I believe will learn from all the issues of the first.
 

Austin Manning

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In the Metal Gear Solid series, why isn't your radar always jammed? Really, your enemies know there is an intruder in the facility, they can easily jam your radar and they don't use it themselves so they would be unaffected by the jamming. Though, if the reason why involves spoilers for anything past Solid, please don't answer as I'm still playing through those games.
 

Jolly Co-operator

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philosophicalbastard said:
Jolly Co-operator said:
philosophicalbastard said:
Jolly Co-operator said:
I have a question about Avatar: The Last Airbender. I accept that people can bend one of the four elements (fire isn't really an element, but whatever). What I want to know is how the element a person is able to bend determined? Is it genetic? If so, what happens when people from different nations (for sake of example, let's say someone from the earth nation and someone from the water nation) have a child? Is one element randomly selected as dominant? If so, how is it determined which nation it lives in?
Its completely genetic. In the Legend of Korra series the two male leads are a firebender and an earthbender who are brothers. Their parents were of each bending ability, so its safe to say that the dominant element is completely random.
Thanks for the info. I never did end up giving Legend of Korra a try. Did it say how it was decided which country the brothers lived in?
Well, they lived in Republic City a newly founded city-state meant to bring all cultures and nations together, but I assume they would get citizenship to whatever nation they were born in. Legend of Korra is it nearly as good as The Last Airbender, but I think its still well worth the watch and a second season is currently in production which I believe will learn from all the issues of the first.
Good to hear. Without any deep spoilers, can you tell me if Zuko's ending line "Where is my mother?" is ever followed up on?
 

Quellist

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My thoughts while watching Sword Art Online were more about the biggest manhunt in the history of the world that must be going on outside for the Psycho who ran the game and was systematically allowing the players to be murdered. The guy in woman's armour didn't get so much as a casual thought.
 

FPLOON

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The majority of things I wonder about are usually ignored within the context of accepting the universe that has been placed in front of me through said context. Even when I do try to find some logic behind it, it either explained at a later point in time, implied through the actions of the characters in said universe, or just plain accepted as "it's just fiction that is not similar to our form of reality".

The closest I had to wondering about something that's never truly explained in any form of context was during Kingdom Hearts. In each game, there are a set of world that you go to usually by Gummi Ship. With that said, the series has proven that there are other worlds that have not yet been engulfed by the darkness, yet they don't seem to be connected to other worlds that are also in this same predicament (unless a possible link is made within the game itself) or are presented as possible worlds to go to via Gummi Ship (usually by going over the checklist of what worlds have or have not been used yet) until the next installment at times, and even then the connections between them have changed from before.

Why are some world connected and others are not, especially when every world has the same amount of chance of being engulfed in darkness? And speaking of connections, if certain worlds are not actually connected, then how can the darkness spread between unconnected worlds without ripping the fabrics of space/time in the process? Does the darkness create these connections, or does the light do this and the darkness uses that connection to its advantage?

With that said, even with Xehanort's explanation of why he can be in two places at once as well as how he can technically "time travel", why hasn't it had any permanent effect on the space/time continuum, especially when certain versions of Xehanort seem to remember these particular moments more than other versions? Also, why is Xehanort the only one (so far) that can fully do this? Can't any of the other key characters in all this could do this if they knew how? If only the darkness can pull off "time travel" like this, then why can't the light do the same damn thing as well?


But, then again, this arc in the Kingdom Hearts series is not finished yet, so any of these questions can be "explained" in the next installment in the series *cough*kingdomheartsthree*cough*... so who's to say it won't be explained "perfectly" later on...
 

Ftaghn To You Too

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SonicWaffle said:
Well, to keep in relevant to the moment, I'm going to single out Pacific Rim. Obviously the decision relies on making a cool movie, but from an in-universe perspective; why are jaegers and their defensive strategies so hopelessly badly designed?
Who decided that the ideal mecha to fight giant monsters should be human-shaped? We couldn't research anything better for fighting in the ocean? Did humanity really think the best defence against kaiju was punching them and occasionally using secondary weapons as an afterthought? Why aren't they bristling with guns and other weaponry when we've seen how effective (from the original monster attack, that one jaeger with a chest o'guns etc) they can be?
It seemed that those secondary weapons were most effective when the Kaiju had been weakened by blunt force trauma or other attacks. They seemed to most respond to simply being battered down or sliced up rather than being shot. I give you the humanoid design thing, but they seemed to be mostly at home in the water. Humans synchronize best with a humanoid shape, so the human design is what you have. And the human design isn't great at water. That's why the final attack was considered crazy.

Why is the jaeger program wholly reactive rather than constantly patrolling the dimensional rip? Hell, why isn't the entire area a mess of warships, submarines, giant robots and weapon platforms?
Maintenance. Having huge mecha constantly completely immersed in sea water is probably hellish on the Jaeger. You need a base to maintain and repair the thing. Conventional troops just get slaughtered.

Why are the defensive walls built to keep the kaiju out so piss-weak, and apparently unarmed? Why did nobody think to copy that giant gun from FFVII and just plop it on top of the wall, aimed at the sea? Why did nobody think to litter the rip with mines and depth charges, and do the same with coastal areas aside from specified shipping lanes?
They did seem to be armed, just not well enough. I always attribute to the existence of the obviously inferior wall to some kind of military industrial complex shenanigans, since it makes NO FUCKING SENSE otherwise. Some of the kaiju would probably just fly over the mines and defenses anyway. They're assholes like that.

Why is everyone celebrating at the end because they destroyed the defensive rip even after discovering that the pan-dimensional conquerors can make another at will and will more than likely be coming back?
I think the idea is that the invaders are sort of a path of least resistance type, and well just kind of say "Let's go where they don't have giant robots for a while" at least giving humankind a reprieve.

Humanity is so fucking dumb in that movie, they deserved to get wiped out.
A whole bunch of stuff doesn't make much sense, but perhaps these justifications I just ripped from the depths of my colon will help you.
 

Lieju

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Diddy_Mao said:
Harry Potter:

How does the "magical ability" manifest itself? It's obviously genetic to a point because there are "Wizarding Families" but one of the main characters in the book is shown to be of Non-Magical lineage so it's unlikely to be strictly down to breeding.

I normally wouldn't bring it up or give it a second thought but Rowling makes a big damn deal about the whole "purebloods vs everyone else" thing so...yeah. What's the deal?
There are several possibilities.
-it's possible Hermione (and other muggle born witches and wizards) have some wizarding ancestry, but since they had children with non-magic users it didn't manifest in all of the offspring. Think of hereditary traits, it's possible magic is a recessive hereditary trait.

- it's a mutation of some kind that just happens sometimes. Magic users can have non-magic kids. There is a word for it in-universe, I don't remember what it is, but the caretaker in Hogwarts is one.

-magic is not genetic. It's possible whether you become a witch/wizard depends on something that happens to you in a womb or as a child. Let's say if a fetus gets magic-radiation in the womb they can develop powers. If the mother is a witch, they'd get that radiation that way, but a non-magic user could get in a situation where the developing fetus got the radiation as well. Or something more supernatural, even. Souls exist in that universe, so maybe whether you're a magic user depends on what kind of soul you have that has nothing to do with genetics, but using magic attracts magical souls, or souls choose where they want to be reincarnated or something.

- Those muggle parents actually have magical talent, but it was so weak it wasn't detected.

No matter what the reason, though, and whether the wizards even know what causes the magic, there would be people who'd go 'well, obviously if you want wizard kids, you should marry other magic users.', and there'd be a worry that people with muggle blood could produce muggle children. Or kids that aren't as strong in magic.

And they might be right.
As far as I know we don't actually know if Hermione, for example, is more likely to have non-magical children than a non-muggle born witch.

But the point in the books kinda is that the racist jerks who think muggle-born are 'mudbloods', are wrong.
 

jurnag12

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Jolly Co-operator said:
I have a question about Avatar: The Last Airbender. I accept that people can bend one of the four elements (fire isn't really an element, but whatever). What I want to know is how the element a person is able to bend determined? Is it genetic? If so, what happens when people from different nations (for sake of example, let's say someone from the earth nation and someone from the water nation) have a child? Is one element randomly selected as dominant? If so, how is it determined which nation it lives in?
It is completely genetic, and random to boot. It's even possible for two benders to have a non-bender child. Hell, according to The Legend of Korra, Aang and Katara managed to get all three flavours (Kya, oldest child and a Waterbender, Bumi, their oldest son and a non-bender, and Tenzin, second son and an airbender).

Although this does make me wonder if the avatar could only pass on their native element, or possibly any one of the 4.


Leemaster777 said:
Here's a big one: The Death Star.

Okay, I can buy that the Empire built that thing in space, and managed to keep it a secret. But WHAT did they make it out of?

What I mean is, where in the HELL did Empire dig up THAT much metal? The Death Star is the size of a moon. That is a freaking metric fuck-ton of metal, plastic, and assorted other materials. Where did it all come from?

You could say that they found some metal-rich planet or something, but even IF (and that's a pretty massive if), they found a planet that contained enough metal to create an entire moon, how did they go about extracting it all? Even if they had every clone in the army working that planet, it would take a FREAKING LONG TIME to mine an entire moon's worth of metal. And that's ignoring transporting that much metal from a planet's surface to space. And the smelting process.

Really, if they wanted to build a spacestation the size of a moon, they should have just found a moon made out of metal, and hollowed it out. Would have taken a helluva lot less time and effort than making one from scratch.
As someone has mentioned before: asteroid mining and just stripping planets while using the entire system's population as slave labour. Alternatively, they just take all the metal that's already mined and processed from one of the several established junkyard planets where they dump old and broken starships and droids and such. Just a matter of melting them down and casting the parts.

Also, while the Death Star is a massive project, you really shouldn't underestimate the manpower and technology available to a galaxy-wide empire. It probably wouldn't be a problem to just enslave a few million workers, make them work themselves to death building the Death Star, and then dumping the bodies in a star to keep the secret.
 
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Jolly Co-operator said:
Good to hear. Without any deep spoilers, can you tell me if Zuko's ending line "Where is my mother?" is ever followed up on?
Technically it is followed up on in one of the first scenes of the first episode, but that's the only mentioning of it.