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This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

Wolviepris: Would Piccolo's Hellzone Grenade from DBZ qualify?

Dark Sasami: Come to think of it...this trope already has two very good names, both of which are common in fandom and both of which are Wiki Words. Shouldn't we pick one and go with it instead of inventing another, especially one based on <scorn>Robotech</scorn>?

Gus: for reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Itano_Circus seems to have a broader context. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macross_Missile_Massacre is pretty on topic.

You do see the term Macross Missile Massacre used elsewhere.

Looney Toons: Since I created the original entry, I just want to note that this was the only name I'd ever seen for this phenomenon until today. And I'm quite active in anime fandom and fan fiction.

Dark Sasami: Well, Googlefight (which is of course the ultimate authority on everything) has 58 hits for Roboteching, 252 for Itano Circus, and 636 for Macross Missile Massacre. Many of the Macross Missile Massacre ones were clones of TV Tropes (incidentally, what's www.gottapost.com and why am I on it?). I don't think that really shows a whole lot of bias in any direction; more probably, that the internet is actually big enough to house several segments of fandom. Still, I like Wiki Words and I like to mock Robotech almost as much as Battle of the Planets. No offense.

Nerem:I think this should be renamed to 'Itano Circus' myself, as that is the actual, technical term for the trope.

Looney Toons: Re: naming. I quote myself from the Macross Missile Massacre Discussion page: "I removed the Itano Circus refs from [Roboteching and Macross Missile Massacre] because judging from the Wikipedia entry on it, it's something else entirely, possible a metalevel category of which they are parts." The referenced Wikipedia entry actually describes Itano Circus as "a highly stylized and acrobatic method of depicting aerial combat and dogfights in many anime" — and is not limited to missiles and beam weapons. If you want to create an Itano Circus entry, go right ahead — but it's not an alternate name for either of these tropes.

Willy Four Eyes: [SPOON] How about just "Homing Lasers"? [/SPOON]
Securiger: there is actually a real world phenomenon which is kinda' similar. It's called "gathering". The missiles don't turn in formation, and the range at which they do so is a small fraction of the total range, but otherwise it is sort of similar, and may have inspired the trope. Explanation: (as a rule) when a guided missile is launched, it is flung out rather violently by the launch system, and is generally not headed in quite the right direction to begin with. After a while, the control system figures out where it is and which way it is going, and sends some commands to get it back under control, then it makes a couple of violent corrections before continuing on relatively peacefully to its firey destiny. Obviously there is good reason to minimise the distance required to "gather" a guided missile since this affects the minimum effective range. Consequently, while some older ATG Ms had a gathering range ~20% of maximum range, in most modern surface-to-surface guided missiles (e.g. anti-tank guided missiles) the gathering distance is less than 200 m (often, less than 100 m) out of a 2000 ~ 3000 m range. (I presume it may be further with air-to-air missiles, but it would still only be a small fraction of the total range or the missile would be almost impossible to use.)

(random passer-by): Indeed. And early Sidewinder air-to-air missile prototypes were, according to some stories, given that nickname because they were in "gathering" status all the way to the target, and the smoke trail from the rocket motor made it obvious that they were zigzagging violently all the way in. Which is (supposedly) why the missile was given this nickname, because it was originally fired over desert ranges in the southeastern US and the manner in which it was seen to move through the air instantly reminded everyone of the manner in which a certain type of snake found locally moved over the sand. However, as this particular species of snake is a "pit viper" that can sense heat and find its prey in the dark, I wonder if that story isn't a bit too coincidental.

Also, many rocket guidance systems before around 1970 were mechanically and electronically extremely crude by today's standards, as you might imagine, and the machinery that moved the control fins only had two settings, "all the way to the left" and "all the way to the right." The engineering term for this, at least in the English-speaking world, was "bang-bang guidance" or "bang-bang stabilization," which greatly extended the gathering range and contributed to a lot of early designs, like the AIM-9, behaving in this manner all the way in.

There were severe problems in Vietnam with one radar-guided air-to-air missile, the AIM-7 Sparrow, which, due to this phenomenon, had a "gathering" range of several miles, and therefore could only be used effectively against targets outside visual range. And as the rules of engagement in Vietnam required visual confirmation of every air target, this meant the AIM-7 was worse than useless. It was not worth a damn in combat, and it was dead weight on the aircraft that carried it.

And yes, even with the most modern antiarmor guided missiles, the gathering range is sufficiently long that armies must continue to issue cheap unguided short-range antitank rocket launchers to cover the 100+ meter "dead zone" in which the guided missiles cannot function.
Looney Toons: It appears we have several anime listed under video games by mistake... that's assuming they're not game versions that I'm not aware of. If someone who has a better idea could check it out and confirm/fix. In particular, I noticed we had a Gall Force entry under the games when I saw the new Gall Force entry someone recently made. And I think there are others.