Created By: sengmengida on June 1, 2013 Last Edited By: sengmengida on June 6, 2013

Species-centric aesthetics

Bug-shaped aliens fly bug-shaped spaceships.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Some aliens and fantasy races really like to make vehicles, armor, weapons, and architecture that resemble themselves, whether its insectoid aliens building multi-legged crawling war machines or mermaids that have a fish-scale pattern on all of their clothing. The human version is probably mecha, but this goes a little further and has less logical explanations, and seems mostly for aesthetic reasons. Not to be confused with organic tech or living ship, since those have a reason to resemble their creators or some other life-form.

Community Feedback Replies: 22
  • June 1, 2013
    Melkior
    Your description needs to be impersonal, not read like a personal letter. Personal notes in the YKTTW should be separated from the actual description by a blank line. Putting the notes in italics also helps make it clear that the notes aren't meant to be part of the trope description.

    I've added the Needs Examples tag for you as well as Description Needs Help.
  • June 1, 2013
    DracMonster
    ^He's trying to hash out a hazy idea and see if it's tropable, that's not supposed to be a proper description yet. (I often do this on my initial write-ups)

    Having said that, Sengmengida, try to think up two or three examples. I kinda think this is specific to a Horde Of Alien Locusts, but maybe not. (Insect Ships or somesuch could work if it is.)
  • June 1, 2013
    sengmengida
    ^Exactly. I'll try to think of some examples, but I'm more interested if this is something anyone else has noticed. It's not exactly Horde Of Alien Locusts, because it could just as easily be reptilian humanoids that have a scale motif on everything.
  • June 1, 2013
    DracMonster
    If it's only organic stuff it may actually be covered by Living Ship.
  • June 1, 2013
    Larkmarn
    • In Animorphs the fighters used by the Andalites (think centaurs with a scorpion tail) are sleek pods with their primary weapon being a laser cannon mounted like a scorpion tail over the back of the ship. Averted by the Yeerks, whose fighters resemble cockroaches while Yeerks themselves look like slugs.
  • June 1, 2013
    Larkmarn
    And really, wouldn't almost all Mecha count as well? Like you said, it makes as much sense as human flying around in man-shaped ships... and we've got entire genres based around exactly that for thesake of Rule Of Cool.
  • June 1, 2013
    sengmengida
    You make a good point with the mecha, but they're human-shaped because it's intuitive for a human move as he normally would to control them. They are suited for environments that a human would be, climbing over obstacles and such (though some fly, again Rule of Cool). Your example of the Andalites is more what I'm talking about, since an Andalite is not a flying creature, but they make their fighters resembles themselves for no good reason.
  • June 1, 2013
    sengmengida
    Adjusted draft.
  • June 1, 2013
    DracMonster
    Y'know, I just thought of another one which isnt species but sure feels like this. G Gundam went for pure Rule Of Fun. Every robot was styled based on the hollywood version of that culture (IE, the egyptian planet had a mummy gundam.)

    I think the idea you have here may actually be related to Planet Of Hats, where the spaceship or other machinery styling communicates what hat they're wearing. Species can be a hat, so this could encompass when the space lizards build lizard-shaped ships and robots.

    Another example is Eve Online, each (human offshoot) race's ship design. For instance, the minmatar are slave refugees, so their ships look like cobbled-together junk heaps.

    Something like Hat Based Engineering maybe?
  • June 1, 2013
    sengmengida
    It probably overlaps some with Planet of Hats, but I don't know if "being a bug" is a hat.
  • June 1, 2013
    DracMonster
    Hmm wait.... Shaped Like Its Pilot?
  • June 1, 2013
    sengmengida
    That would cover the most prominent examples.
  • June 1, 2013
    StarSword
  • June 1, 2013
    GayGeek
    subverted on Zoids where humans pilot a variety of Mecha, all of which are animal-based in their design
  • June 2, 2013
    StarSword
    ^That's not a subversion, that's a plain aversion.
  • June 2, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Hmm, in a case of the starship resembling its captain:

    Western Animation
    • One Star Trek The Animated Series episode "How Sharper Than A Serpent's Tooth" has the Enterprise encounter the starship of Kukulkan, an advanced alien who's essentially a snake with wings. Though his starship bears a more mundane shape, it can project a holographic shell in Kukulkan's likeness.

    An image of Kukulkan's ship is here: [1]

    And if the design need not look like an insect per se:

    • Another Star Trek The Animated Series episode "Beyond The Farthest Star" has the Enterprise encounter an enormous derelict starship that takes its shape from an ant colony. A Doomsday Log displays the ship's captain as insectoid, complete with compound eyes.

    An image of the insecoid ship is here: [2]
  • June 2, 2013
    Diask
    When aesthetics resemble specific person, it's Faceship.
  • June 5, 2013
    StarSword
    Literature:
  • June 5, 2013
    SharleeD
    ^^^^ Actually, you could consider it a straight example, as the Zoids are generally vertebrates, like the people inside. They're just not modeled on the same species, much like insectoid aliens might have spider-shaped ships.
  • June 6, 2013
    Melkior
    I like the original name, but it seems like the trope should be expanded to not only cover spaceships but anything which unexpectedly and inexplicably has a shape reminiscent of its builder(s).

    Comics:
    • The Neverending from the ElfQuest Future Quest stories have living spaceships which look like giant, alien heads very similar in shape to the Neverending themselves.
  • June 6, 2013
    kjnoren
    Videogames:

  • June 6, 2013
    GKaiser
    This seems related, if not a sister trope to Color Coded For Your Convenience - it allows the viewer to easily distinguish the parties involved in, say, space combat by providing quick reference to who's on board the ships.
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