Technology and Science in Gunbusuter

We Have the Technology: Aim for Physics

By Nomad(it’s education time)Otto and W-General

N) Science fiction, as distinct from other genres, is notable for its use and misuse of the language of science and technology, as much as it is for the setting. Of course, works of fiction bend the rules of nature to tell a story, insomuch as the events detailed never actually happened. However, many of works of fiction go much farther, and not only postulate events that are contra-factual, but, also, violate the laws of physics as we know them. In most genres, I, NomadOtto, can accept these violations without (much of) a fuss, but, in science fiction, bad science really gets my goat. This is mostly due to the fact that I dislike handwaving, and, in general, I like to explain stuff.

W) For this reason, we’ve decided to write a set of blogposts about physics in anime, in which I try to get Nomadotto to explain what’s going on, and, comment on the feasibility of such science and technology. The origin of these discussions dates back to Nomad’s ranting about Gunbuster II (Daibuster), after I showed him some clips in which crazy shit was going down, and, so, for historical reasons, we’ll start there.

N) Gunbuster II I found to be really disappointing, mainly because Gunbuster I had portrayed time dilation so well (but that’s a story for another day). Anyway, the horror begins when a space monster eats a black hole, and becomes superpowerful, only to be destroyed by a kick from our heroines. The, and I quote, “Destruction of the fluctuating gravity well [is] confirmed.”

W) This is when it gets awesome.

N) The problem is that afterwards the black hole’s event horizon (They use the phrase Schwarzschild horizon, which is a combination of the term above and the Schwartzchild radius, which describes the radius necessary for a black hole to form from a given chunk of stuff) falls apart. This is impossible

W) Yeah, they say that. I don’t get what your problem is, they say, “it’s not allowed in this universe.” It all makes sense.

N) Yeah, but that means that the singularity is now naked. WHICH IS IMPOSSIBLE.

W) Yeah, they say that. But what I don’t get is why that would cause the Big Bang.

N) So, there’s this theory called the Cosmic Censorship Hypothesis, that says that all singularities are covered by event horizons; this is because naked singularities can cause a violation of causality, which basically means physics breaks.

W) Yeah, and? You haven’t answered my question.

N) I was getting there! So, the weak form of this theory excludes the initial big bang singularity. So, maybe they thought that a naked singularity means another big bang.

W) That’s all you were complaining about. That’s not a huge physics error, it’s just a difference of interpretation. You can’t say that it won’t happen, I mean, scientists can’t say why the big bang happened in the first place.

N) I’m not finished! First, there’s the magic “God Hands.”

W) That’s not magic God Hands, that’s just Nono. You can’t say that physical appearance has any meaning.

N) Yeah, she’s using some bullshit physical reactor so she can change the laws of nature. If you’re going to use that shit, why even try the technobabble. It’s just a freakin’ magic wand.

W) They’re working in the framework of science and physics. If something that happens outside of the laws of physics happens, you can’t just say that, “it didn’t happen.” You have someone rewrite the laws of physics. That’s what Nono does.

N) And that’s my point, in science, you don’t assume a literal interpretation of theory. If something impossible happens according to theory, your theory is wrong. So, if your theory predicts naked singularities, which violate causality, there won’t be some magic force that stops the singularities, instead, it’s likely that they just don’t exists and that your theory is wrong.

2 Responses to “Technology and Science in Gunbusuter”


  1. 1 Hoshi September 26, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    Goodness gracious. Science is something that I will never be able to understand. That being said, someone posted this in our anime club @ school: The Anime Laws of Physics. :]

    http://everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1394377

  2. 2 ghostlightning October 15, 2008 at 11:42 am

    I think Diebuster was when GAINAX went full throttle on the Rule of Cool (started with FLCL) on the way to BEYOND THE IMPOSSIBLE culminating in Tenggen Toppa Gurren Lagann.

    I loved both, though I relate to Diebuster as an inferior 2nd arc to a great saga. I was so moved by the ending, such awesomeness.

    Technology = / magic series: The Vision of Escaflowne. I loved that series as well, and I couldn’t care less how they explained how things worked.


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