So these Kaiju are all coming from the Pacific Ocean, and the film's tagline is "Go big or go extinct". Ahem... what about Europe? Western Asia? Africa? Eastern North and South America? The Caribbean?
They're all suffering from the economic collapse that comes from constantly being attacked by monsters. Anyways, the Kaiju were just the first step before the Rift aliens completely exterminated the humans.
They're coming from the Pacific; that doesn't mean they're staying there. The plan is to eventually move out over the rest of the world; they're just focusing on the Pacific Rim's population centers first. According to one of the scientists, if the rate between Kaiju incursions continued to increase at the rate it was, they'd eventually be looking at a Kaiju coming through once every four minutes, and those Kaiju would be Category 4s (easily a match for a Jaeger one on one) and Category 5s (who can apparently survive point blank nuclear explosions). The rest of the world would die after the Pacific, but they'd still die.
Besides, the East and Southeast of Asia are the parts of the world with the highest population density. Coming for that region, the Kaiju are directly attacking the biggest chunk of the human species by numbers.
Ahem, may I introduce you to Otachi? Now, think about what her appearance indicates of the alien's plans.
Energy Weapons as Artillery
If they are capable of creating energy weapons for the Jaegers, why don't they create artillery units with those things. At the very least, mobilizing a battalion of plasma blaster tanks along the coastline to back up the Jaegers would be smart.
Energy weapons would be short ranged due to interference from the atmosphere not to mention the power requirements would need something the size of a Jaeger to carry.
Gipsy Danger's blueprints states it fires plasma via charge ion carrier rail. This, along with the line about unloading the entire clip, suggests a physical component to the ammunition that would provide significant range. Gipsy Danger's power source is capable of self-sufficiently powering two plasma cannons and all of its components and systems without showing signs of taxing. The same power source would probably be able to power a large series of fixed canons and possibly last longer since power would mainly only be consumed when firing. More likely, a smaller power reactor would be able to sufficiently handle all the power requirements necessary for a defense line.
Which still doesn't mitigate the possible range restrictions.
It changes it from short-range weapons to at least mid-range weapons. The technological limits aren't explored, so we don't know exactly what the effective range on Gipsy Danger's plasma cannon is. But even a mile range would be a better defense plan than the nothing that seems to be the backup defense line shown in the movie.
Maximum observed range on Gipsy Danger's plasma cannon is several hundred feet, or slightly more than its own length. Given that they don't take long-range shots vs. Kaiju even when presented with perfect opportunities, and that Raleigh isn't a macho idiot, it can be reasonably inferred that several hundred feet of range is all he's got. IOW, way too short to put on a wall... by the time the charging Kaiju's in range, it's close enough that the momentum of its /corpse/ will probably do a wall breach, even assuming you could somehow one-hit-kill it, anyways.
Plasma weaponry wouldn't be the most effective weapon anyway. It would inflict splash and thermal damage rather than kinetic piercing and trauma like a solid round. Frankly, I think it would be far more efficient, cheaper, and safer to use either MLRS batteries, rail guns, or even large caliber gas fired rounds, all of which (save for the rail gun) were shown to be effective against the Kaiju. Striker's missiles worked quite well in Sydney, and your average destroyer packs a lot more munitions than it does. This isn't Evangelion, conventional weapons do work, and I would think a small fleet or a squadron of fighter pilots, who aren't total dumbasses with feet for hands, would be able to take on the baddies easily. The only reason to use a plasma round would be to cauterize the wound and prevent the acidic blood from spilling, but defeating them at long range and would mostly remove this issue anyway.
The missiles only worked on Categories 1-3. The Category 4s were a whole different story, and Slattern, the first of presumably MANY Category 5s, took a NUKE to the FACE and still had fight in him. Hell, it took six days to kill the first Category 1 with conventional airstrikes. The smallest, weakest Kaiju ever, and it still wrecked half of Southern California over the course of a week before the US Air Force finally bled it to death. Conventional artillery is not your solution, and exotic artillery like the Jaeger plasma cannons is likely too damn expensive to build units for everywhere along a continent-sized wall (and that's after assuming it would do any good at artillery range to begin with, a fact still not in evidence!); you have to concentrate it on mobile platforms that can take the firepower right to the Kaiju.
Trespasser was far from the "smallest, weakest Kaiju ever". The Categories didn't exist back then, but it is likely that he was a Category 3 or 4, on a suicide mission to test the current strength of the human military. Keep in mind, it took 3 nukes to kill him, and everyone was shocked that Slattern survived a single nuke. It's possible that Trespasser was a Category 5. Then, the Category 1s came in after they knew what resistances to breed into them.
All nukes are not created equal. The one they hit Slattern with was a 1.2 megaton device, which is big. It's possible that the ones Trespasser survived were lower-yield, maybe on Fat Man's level (20 kilotons), since back then the government wouldn't have realized we were in Godzilla Threshold territory and would have been leery of using the high-yield nukes.
The scenario that Trespasser was strong and then they went back and started sending weaker Kaiju seems rather unlikely. All Kaiju are on a suicide mission, to cause as much damage as they can before they are put down. If the makers send a Category 3 or 4 and found humanity had the capability of putting one down, no matter after how long it took, then they'd go make subsequent ones stronger, not weaker.
The Rift might have destabilized after sending Trespasser through, preventing them from just sending more Category 5s. Also, remember, Category 5 is not the highest end that the Kaiju masters can throw at Earth, just the highest end of what the Rift can send.
On top of that, the Kaiju are ridiculously agile for their size. Anything firing from far enough away to not simply get wrecked in an instant by the thing it's trying to kill is going to be lucky just to end up causing less devastation than the monster itself; maybe Category 1-2 Kaiju are dumb enough to get their faces pounded in, but the higher-class Kaiju would be difficult to hit in a way that causes much damage. And that's before you get into the higher-class Kaiju.
To be fair, we never got to see Striker's missiles used against the Category 4s because of that EMP, but the ease with with Gipsy's blade cut through Otachi would suggest that they would be fairly effective, at least more effective than the plasma cannon was against Leatherback, and it took about a half dozen shots to the chest. A coordinated strike with ship mounted missiles and cannons would've done the job. And no, they wouldn't be hard to hit. Tiny planes moving at hundreds of mph can be taken down with ground based machine guns, a powerful AI (i.e. the one they have managing the Jaegers) could kill them with targeting vectors and coordinated fire from several miles away, or they could just, y'know, use missile tracking. Also, physically, the battle with Slattern is an anomaly. It took a 1+ Megaton nuke, point-blank, which would have been several magnitudes hotter than the sun, but couldn't handle a jet of reactor venting, which would have been tens of thousands of degrees maximum to prevent damage to the internal structure (unless it's a fusion reactor, in which case, it would also be hotter than the sun, but still not as intense as the explosive).
I assumed the nuke managed to damage Slattern enough for Gipsy's reactor vent to do the trick. IIRC Slattern's skin was visibly cracked and the soft bioluminscent flesh was exposed in many points.
SE is only about 2,000 tons. We're talking a two kiloton bomb.
I don't presume to have an answer as to WHY Striker's missiles worked, even though we only saw them work on the rather pathetic Metavore, but the fact is they do, when our other conventional weapons simply don't besides nuclear force. Perhaps they're simply too large, heavy and short-ranged for fighters to carry, not to mention they probably only work if they all strike a point clustered together. As for Slattern, its heat-shielding probably was shot after the nuke hit. It certainly looked worse for wear. Not to mention, swords and explosions work on vastly different principals, so comparing Otachi's resistance to one but not the other doesn't prove much. Kevlar can block a bullet but be pierced by a knife, after all.
You're completely right, it is foolish to compare those two different forces. But we can at least assume that if the plasma cannon can cut through Kaiju like a lightsaber through a small child, a series of high impact missiles could probably work. Who says the weapons would have to be mounted on a conventional combat aircraft? A plane the size of a strategic airlifter could probably haul a few guided missile pods and engage targets from long range using JDAM kits. Instead of using 20 or so Jaegers, they could have dozens of strike craft, and a few AWA Cs patrolling the Pacfic at all times, Cold War style; and that's assuming they wouldnt use refitted versions of the hundreds of combat ships already available. Also, appreantly the missiles are some kind of specialized anti-Kaiju weapon or whatever, I guess they harden the nose cones with tungsten and unicorn horns?
Distance seems an essential element in Eureka's payload. He could have fired on Otachi from well across the bay, but didn't until he was in spitting distance, as it was when up against Metavore.
Distance? The writers proved that they had no concept of effective range the minute they showed jet fighters flying within slapping distance, not once, but twice. I had assumed they got up close to make sure the missiles didn't hit Typhoon.
What, in San Francisco? There is no way that those fighters didn't make first contact with Trespasser way out in the bay, given how fast they fly. We see them doing what they do at the Golden Gate bridge because they're long out of missiles by then but still desperate to stop the thing, or at least distract it away from the bridge. It's the same logic as the Hansens trying to hit Leatherback with flare pistols — desperation.
Jet craft never get that close to the target during a strafing run. There is no reason a trained fighter pilot would try to fly under the beast's armpits.
His suggestion is that fighter pilots were desperately trying to draw Trespasser's attention to themselves, much like the Aussie Rangers did with Leatherback.
In the case of Mako's memory of the Tokyo attack, it didn't look to me like the aircraft even attempted to pull up. They might have been going for a deliberate suicide run. The first example looks more oddball but could be them trying to get its attention as mentioned. As for the whole firepower thing, bear in mind that these mechs are weighing in at thousands of tons and those punches at their size are moving immensely fast. You're talking a minimum estimate of double the momentum of inertia of the plane strikes on the world trade centre concentrated over a fraction the area through a less flexible surface. Yet despite that, the Kaiju absorb them almost casually, anything that can absorb that is going to shrug off pretty much any blast overpressure, even a nuke would have trouble generating enough pressure, (hell, tanks and ships have survived close range nukes and they're a hell of a lot less sturdy), though the rads and thermal would do a hell of a lot of harm, and doubtless are what killed 2 out of 3 at the end. Striker's missiles do work, of course, but they're extremely large bore and apparently short ranged, (there's a correlation between range and warhead power for a given size). We're talking missiles far bigger and nastier than anything the navy currently uses here with dedicated super armour piercing warhead. You're probably looking at enough explosives to fill a bunker buster in each missile and enough penetrating power to take out a nuclear silo with a bunch to spare, and it still took a dozen hits before it went down, and that was after it was softened up by who knows how many punches first, (hell, it might have been hit by other missiles and stuff before that, we only see the kill shots). The other problem is the Kaiju have shown their water speed; a ship would be an easy kill for them, and waiting until they're on land results in a lot of dead civvies and other problems.
You're not saying that having a giant mecha brawl it out on land would result in less civilian casualties, are you? I'm sure the only reason the roads aren't crimson rivers is because of the timely evacuations.
It's stated in a number of sources, (mostly supplemental though the movie displays this as SOP as well) that the aim of the Jaegers is to intercept them in shallow waters. The Kaiju even making it to land is already a partial mission failure.
What I wonder is why the plasma cannon isn't the Jaegers' opening attack. We see several shots of Jaegers holding Kaiju off one-handed while the cannon charges, and we know from the way GD checks Leatherback's pulse that the cannon is capable of rapid fire once it's warmed up. Given that, why don't they start charging up when the Kaiju's still a mile away, so they can ventilate the thing the second it enters effective range?
Charging the plasma cannon might take extra concentration, or might divert power away from running the rest of it. Think about it like holding down Mega Man's charge shot while trying to do platforming — it's doable, but it's something else you have to coordinate. Now, scale that up to giant robot levels. It might be a thing they only want to do when they know they have a shot.
If the cannon takes extra energy and concentration, all the more reason to use it before getting into melee.
Unless you miss, or holding the concentration on charging the cannon means you're not paying enough attention to your surroundings and dodging. The weapons are effective, but the Kaiju are able to dodge unless they're pinned down or it's point-blank range.
So, standing there waiting for the Kaiju to come to you is too much multitasking, but a freaking one-handed fistfight isn't?
It's not "standing there waiting for the Kaiju to come to you," it's preparing yourself for the Kaiju's opening attack, and that's if you can even see the Kaiju before it attacks you in the first place. Throughout the movie, there's maybe once or twice where the Jaegers have any idea where the Kaiju is before it leaps out and attacks them — and if you're holding that plasma charge, then what? You fall over and miss, most likely. And because you were concentrating on holding that charge, that's less you're concentrating on fighting and dodging.
A "one-handed fistfight" is going to be less strenuous because that's not what it is. It's just holding the (preferably already weakened) Kaiju in place while you get ready to finish it off.
Answering the initial question, say you did have a massive artillery piece capable of firing massive shells (something like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schwerer_Gustav — 7 ton shells out to 29 miles ). While this is a great amount of fire power, the US alone has 12,479 miles of coast they need to defend. That's 215 pieces to completely cover the coast without overlapping ranges. Not only that, but rate of fire is a concern — the linked piece could fire 1 round every 30 to 45 minutes or typically 14 rounds a day (you are, after all, trying to load a 7 ton object into something). Not to mention that Kaiju are fast moving targets — something artillery is terrible at hitting precisely because they're so far away. So, while such pieces might be useful, ultimately, they would really only be useful as support (as they're used currently) not has a main offensive. And if you need a lot of fire power in one place, it's more practical to concentrate it into a Jaeger (or whatever the case may be). As far as the Jaegars not firing the first shot, it could be a matter of safety and/or combat longevity. A powered up weapon can potentially explode or a shot accidentally fired. And a powered up weapon may cause enough wear and tear that holding the charge or keeping the weapon active for prolonged periods might ultimately limit a Jaegers endurance — machine guns for instance typically need their barrels changed every few belts because of wear/tear and heat. Is it the 'best' move? Maybe not, but wantonly using up your resources isn't, either.
Note that all cases of the Plasma Caster being used to kill something, it took way more than one shot, had to have the target be relatively immobile, and was at what amounts to Kaiju-sized point-blank range. Having anything other than a Jaeger go that close to a Kaiju would amount to suicide, let alone finding a way to immobilize the Kaiju long enough for multiple shots at the same location. All of the Jaeger's fancy weapons are used as finishers; it appears that heavy blunt trauma are needed to weaken the Kaiju first to get through their thick hide before a deathblow can be dealt. Gipsy and Striker both were punching their opponents for a hell of a long time before whipping out any real weapons.
The apparent requirements for a weapon able to hurt the Kaiju would preclude its deployment on anything smaller than a Jaeger. You're going to need a massive power supply to feed the gun, and the gun itself is about three times the size of a full-sized fishing trawler, going by the intro to the movie. Gipsy's power plant took several seconds to fully charge the cannon, indicating an enormous power requirement which would also add to the artillery piece's mass. Anything able to mount a gun like that would be gigantic and not very mobile, and range restrictions as demonstrated in the movie would mean it would have to get within point-blank range before firing, a prospect that would be daunting in an open field, let alone an urban environment. A Jaeger is pretty much the only weapons platform able to get that kind of a gun into range of a Kaiju and kill it without getting destroyed in the process.
It's also worth noting that Gipsy's plasma cannon initially can't fire rapidly — each time it has to charge up before it can fire, as shown during the fight with Knifehead. By the time it gets broken out in the fight with Leatherback, it's been upgraded to be more practical to use rapidly, but initially Gipsy was in a bad position to be shooting at Leatherback with plasma charges — had they missed, they would have hit Striker, and even once on land they needed both hands to knock Leatherback around a little bit before they sacrificed the use of one hand to bring out the plasma cannon.
Just some stray thoughts: why not build some Jaegers on purpose as weapon carriers, and assign them to the regular ones as fire support? They would follow their leader at a distance and recieve targeting data from them. Their construction would be simpler as they wouldn't need to actually brawl with the Kaiju; maybe they wouldn't even need the two pilots and Drifting. Such a machine would essentially be a battleship turret on legs (think GDI Juggernaut).
Might be impractical considering the massive amount of resources individual Jaegers demand to begin with. These things have the material requirements of entire carrier battle groups on top of the titanic R&D costs, plus the equally titanic maintenance costs, to the point where building a massive wall around the coastline of every Pacific nation was considered a better financial option than trying to rebuild damaged Jaegers and maintain their current fleet.
Chest Missiles as Artillery
One of the Jaegers had missile launchers in its chest. These proved highly effective against most of the Kaiju they were fired against. So, why not mount these same missiles on conventional mobile artillery platforms, and launch them from there? Surely, a battallion of these missile launchers would be cheaper (and easier to find operators for) than a Jaeger.
For that matter, why not put longer-range rocket motors on these missiles, and turn them into Cruise Missiles? Then they could be launched from anywhere.
One word to address both: Mobility. It seems to be the key aspect regarding everything about Kaiju combat; Everything needed to take a Kaiju down needs to be in position to strike when the Kaijus have been beaten to a moment of weakness. The best method of applying this is to simply mount the weapons ON the Jaegers. The cruise missile could still theoretically be possible, but the size and complexity of the missiles would make such a thing difficult. And keep in mind; Just because we don't see it doesn't mean they haven't made something. Artillery and/or cruise missile variants of the anti-Kaiju missiles may very well exist in-universe.
They may be used as a support salvo... but even that's contingent on being able to spot the Kaiju first. Also, missiles have a travel time — in the time it takes to get a target, aim, fire, and impact, the Kaiju might already have hit land... at which point, we're already operating under a conditional mission failure since we're explicitly trying to stop them from damaging infrastructure and cities. And if the first salvo doesn't kill it or there is a need for an escalation in force, well... you're already screwed at that point because use of something like a nuke is going to do as much hard as good. By pushing initial contact out as far as possible, these options remain viable without causing damage to yourself.
Also, when we see the size of the missiles next to a person, they look to be the length of a SAM missile and about 5 times as wide. You could fit one of those things on a truck and no more unless you started using mining equipment. And Depending on the ratio of warhead to motor its possible that their range made arming a fleet of B-52's with them non-viable.
They're even bigger than a SAM missile. These are missiles that would be comparable to medium-range missile artillery like a SCUD or MRLS battery. And these missiles appear to be short range, with less space given over to fuel and more given to payload and penetration capability. You're pretty much not going to be able to mount these on a tracked vehicle and have it remain relevant in a battle against something as mobile as a Kaiju; the only way you're going to get such a missile launcher in range to be effective would be to have it relatively close to the Kaiju. It would get a single salvo, at which point the Kaiju will either tank the hit and destroy the now-defenseless artillery, or it will go down. Too risky, especially when Jaegers are proving effective at stopping the Kaiju with the same weapons.
All this faffing about fuel to warhead ratio and range and such might matter if for some reason the weapon actually needed to be self propelled, but luckily we have an alternative in for of the extremely advanced gravity boosted kinetic weapon commonly refereed to by laymen as "bombs". Even if the bomb has to be silly huge, so what? Put them in back of C-5 galaxy's and away you go. It's not like the Kaiju can do crap about even a transport aircraft flying over them. Accuracy is also non-issue, for instance the MOAB might have weighed over then tons and needed a cargo plane to drop, but it was also a guided weapon that could be expected to impact within a few dozen feet of it's aim point. That was with just GPS a laser guided model could be used to pick up specific aiming points on the target without any issue.
You think they weren't dropping those on the Kaiju beforehand? Three days of constant bombardment was required by the most advanced military in the world to put down the weakest of Kaiju. We can safely assume that bombs were among that arsenal.
Watsonian answer: it's not practical. Doylist: It's more awesome to see Jaegers than missile batteries.
An army of Jaegers
Why didn't they create an army of Jaegers as backup units or combat teams to take down the Kaiju faster and more efficiently?
Because each one of those Jaegers probably costs as much to run and maintain as an entire conventional army. Also, pilot qualifications for giant robots are obviously going to be on the high side.
Add onto this that it still took a lot of time to build them. It took about 14 months for a Mark 1, and even the current ones still took a few months.
They were able to repair and reload Gipsy Danger in a matter of hours. Given the amount of damage seen fixed quickly in the movie, resources weren't that great a limitation. At the height of the program, they had 20 active Jaegers. It's hard for me to believe that no one had the idea of just keeping the factory running to build a few more while the main one was still active. Especially as attacks started becoming more frequent. They could have at least had multiple Jaegers being deployed for each attack since it was always one Kaiju coming from a known location for over ten years.
And all those Jaegers would be over-priced scrap metal without highly trained, specially selected, Drift-compatible pilot teams for each one. The comic shows just how rigorous and selective the training is, and anything short of that is basically handing the Kaiju dinner on a silver platter.
Pentecost was able to find twenty recruits for Raleigh's partner, and it is implied any one of them would have been adequate. It is hard for me to believe that they were only able to train about 50 total pilots out of the hundreds of thousands of eligible people, and that they weren't able to train up people over the course of the war. And, apparently, Drift compatibility is tested by your ability to anticipate your teammate's actions like Bash Brothers. Two people with similar psychological profiles put through training as a combat team would create your pilots. A similar method is already used by numerous countries for their elite military and law enforcement teams.
The US Navy alone has more than 200 active fighting vessels and a weighs a total of more than 3.1 million tons. With all of the nations of the world working together (hell, even just the industrialized ones), production and maintenance shouldn't have been an issue. Especially when they can afford to build massive sea walls almost immediately after funding the Jaeger project. Besides, when extinction is on the line, I would like to think that money would be no object.
After Category 3 Kaiju began to appear, the Jaegers began to lose and world leaders began to doubt the program. They started to shift their focus on building a defensive wall against the monsters and lost interest in the Jaeger Program.
What about bunker busters? Designed specifically to penetrate and destroy hardened targets, they seem like the perfect conventional weapons for Kaiju combat. Also about a thousand times cheaper than a Jaeger.
I think we can safely assume that if they resorted to nukes on American soil, they resorted to every other available option first.
Yet a bunch of cannons on Striker's chest that fire what are clearly just big conventional shells kill stop a Category 4, but somehow making those shells into bombs/missiles for planes that a Kaiju could never even touch is apparently totally impossible for... reasons.
The indication in-universe is that said cannons are primarily used after Striker has beaten up on the Kaiju for a while, damaging it enough that the cannons can blast it apart. We also don't know how long the battle against said Category 4 lasted; Striker could have been fighting it for an extended period, wounding it with repeated blows, before finishing it off with the cannons. Not enough info to say one way or the other. And it's also stated in the novelization that two other Jaegers (Echo Saber and Vulcan Specter) had been outside the wall fighting Mutavore while Striker was kept behind it to act as Sydney's last defense. Obviously, they were both destroyed and their pilots either killed or so badly injured that they weren't options to pilot Gipsy Danger in Hong Kong, so we really don't know just how much damage they inflicted upon Mutavore before the Hansens were able to take it down with Striker's cannons.
They did have an army of Jaegers. They had enough Jaegers that by the time Knifehead appeared, the military was confident that they had enough Jaegers to defeat any incursion, right up until the 4's started showing up. By that point, Kaiju were showing up every few weeks, and the Jaegers were getting destroyed faster than they could be replaced.
The movie flat out tells us that the Hong Kong battle-station alone once housed 30 Jaeger's, and we know of at least 4 other stations worlwide, they probably had 100's at one time. But most have gotten wreaked in the meantime.
Supplementary material states that a total of 22 Jaegers were built.
Actually, it's 23 named Jaegers. 7 Mark-I's, 4 Mark-II's, 5 Mark-III's, 5 Mark-IV's, 1 Mark-V, and 1 Unspecified Mark (Lucky Seven). There are likely more even Jaegers that haven't been named.
One thing not to underestimate is how much infrastructure would be needed and the expense of the project. A modern carrier battle group carries compromises over 7500 people across over a dozen ships. All to ensure that the carrier (1 ship) can do it's job. But that's not factoring in the even larger logistical ships that regularly re-supply the group or the infrastructure to provide the resources for those ships to bring. Also, even for something like a battleship, typically only about 4 of any given class are ever built. 4. Now this isn't to say that they wouldn't try or want to build more (extinction and all that), but rather that demand may very well out pace supply and the ability to train/provide infrastructure. That's, after all, one of the reasons stated in the movie for the decline of the program to begin with — not that it wasn't effective, but that they simply could not keep up. You can have all the pilots you want, but no Jaeger, they're worthless. You can have both but without the support staff, that Jaeger can only fight for so long. And perhaps more importantly, you don't build a multi-billion-dollar machine with the intent of using it as a general purpose fighting machine and not worry about attrition because you have reserves — the resource drain would be phenomenal and wasteful. There's no point in winning the fight against the Kaiju if your infrastructure collapses.
Another point is that Jaegars likely individually cost the resources to equal to an entire carrier battlegroup and beyond just to assemble, let alone maintain. Look at how big those things are; they can use tanker ships as hand weapons. The resources needed to even partially build a single Jaeger would likely bankrupt most modern nations' economies, even with wartime rationing and economic laws.
It seems that at the height of Jaeger Combat, every Jaeger was basically it's own countries mark on the world; they probably wanted that mark to be unique for propaganda purposes and, at the time, there wasn't a need to mass produce them since the handful they had did the job well. It wasn't until Gipsy Danger's fateful battle with Knifehead that caused them to seriously reconsider the invincibility of the Jaegers, at which point it became an arms race; each new jaeger had just enough new gadgets to survive until the Kaijus adapted again, at which point they had to overhaul the design again. There's also several hints that each Jaeger is tailor-made for its first set of pilots; this is very obvious with the Crimson Typhoon, who can only be piloted by the Wei Triplets and no one else, which means mass production would be out of the question.
Not necessarily. It doesn't seem to be a big deal to swap out one of the pilots, since no one makes a big deal about a new pilot in Gipsy or Striker. Drift compatibility is the big thing, as long as the pilots were trained properly they could probably run the Jaeger just fine. Crimson Typhoon is more of an issue, but if you could find a group of three compatible people it would likely work. From the dialogue about Typhoon, it sounded like it wasn't the only three-armed Jaeger, so there had to be other groups of three out there.
Why does the Rift work that way?
Everything about the Rift just screams at me. If you're going to make an interdimensional portal to send attacks through, why in the world would you:
Put the entrance on your end right next to you, without defences? This is just a no-brainer.
The portal doesn't appear to open into the heart of the aliens' territory. It opens into a factory that's assembling Kaiju. All the nuke did was take out a factory; there's no indication that it wiped out the entire alien species.
Put it on your ceiling? This way it needs upwards propulsion to send things through, and anyone attacking you can let gravity do the work.
Don't assume that it was on the ceiling. Note how Gipsy was slowing down as it "descended". It is entirely possible that it was simply being carried "up" into the alien facility on momentum. If anything it looks almost as though it was a zero gravity underwater environment.
Make it go two ways? If they can require authentication, then why ever allow anything back through? It's not like they value the Kaiju highly enough to recover them once the planet-wrecking is over. You can just make a new portal once it's ready to harvest.
It's hard to say since we don't know the limitations of the portal or how the aliens' technology works. As for the upward propulsion, there seemed to be little gravity in the dimension.
The thing about doorways is that, well, they are two-way in general. Don't assume that the aliens can make the portal one way.
In general, it helps to consider that it's less a rift, which is natural and unpredictable in nature, and more like a Stargate. It's deliberately built to facilitate travel between point A and point B. It also helps to consider that the aliens thought themselves more advanced and likely didn't consider that Earth would figure out how to get back through the door. Wouldn't be the first war lost to hubris. Also? The aliens were pretty much winning up until that point. Humans only thought they were, the opening narration by Raliegh points this out.
Newt mentioned that the aliens are planning on colonizing Earth; they may have needed to come back and forth between the Rift after the Kaijus have finished their extermination to coordinate their exodus. They probably never counted on anyone but them going back through the gate.
They're not planning on colonizing, but harvesting. They aren't looking to expand onto Earth, but to take all the resources and leave a lifeless rock. Hence the need for a two-way door.
Newt claims they are colonizers, moving from world to world as they strip them bare and ruin them.
Kaiju codenames and categories
Who determines a Kaiju's codename and category? The nicknames seem very on-the-nose despite the apparent complete lack of pre-mission briefings, while categories seem entirely arbitrary. The 5 doesn't seem meaningfully larger than the 4s.
The Kaiju's category is defined by their water displacement, toxicity level, and ambient radiation when they come through the Breach. The Category 5 Kaiju (Slattern, H: 596' est. W: 6,750 tons est.) was MUCH larger than any previous one. He was more than double the weight of the heaviest Category 4 (Scunner at 3,230 tons) and well over 100' taller than any previous one. The naming convention seems to be pretty general and random based on the shape they see when they come out. One Kaiju came out and his head was shaped like a knife, so let's call him "Knifehead". Another comes out shaped like a giant gorilla, let's call him "Leatherback". One is named "Sydney" because, well it's about to attack Sydney, Australia. Don't think too much about the codenames.
You should also keep in mind that the Kaijus are basically depicted in the movie as natural disasters. The naming and rating systems for Kaijus closely resemble the naming and rating systems for hurricanes. Like the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale was created by a civil engineer and a meterologist, the Kaiju scale was probably also created by people who research the Kaijus. What it comes to the names, is there really some logic to why a hurricane gets a name like Katrina? Like in the case of hurricanes, the names are probably just tools for referencing the Kaijus.
For hurricanes, they're named alphabetically in order of appearance for the year.
Slattern is definitely much bigger than the others. Water-displacement and tonnage aside, when other Kaiju face off against Gipsy, it's roughly proportionate to a male gorilla facing off against a human, maybe a grizzly bear fighting a man for the Category 4s. But when Slattern stands in front of Gipsy at the Rift's edge, it's more like rhino versus human.
Except for the part where the wiki lists Slattern as being 6,750 tons and Knifehead, a Category 3, is 8,700 metric tons (9,590) tons. Considering how Slattern appears so much larger than any previous Kaiju, someone likely wasn't paying attention when they wrote the line the AI trotted out about Knifehead's weight and codename.
One thing to consider is that, due to the scale what we're talking about, bigger may not seem noticeably bigger. When you're already 500 feet, an other 100 isn't nearly as much as it may seem. And weight is deceptive due to Cube Square Law — the weight tonnage will go up really really fast at that point. Look at Slattern — that extra 100 feet in height ''doubled' it's weight from the last 500 feet of height. Sure, the movie may not be going for a lot of accuracy in that department or the scale, but the idea applies.
Did they really think originally that the reason they couldn't fit a bomb through the Rift was that it wasn't wide enough? Despite the fact that massive Kaiju were getting through?
The impression I got was that, prior to the events of the film, they believed the Rift to be an unstable natural phenomenon and the Kaiju to be gigantic wild animals from another dimension. Ergo, the Kaiju incursions would be occurring whenever the Rift burped and got big enough to send one through. It spent most of its time being too small to send anything through.
Yep. When Newton suggested they were essentially biological weapons, it completely changed the game. Before that, his theories were laughed at.
They didn't think it was narrow, they thought it opened and closed. In fact, it's possible that that was correct, and that the DNA lock was there as extra insurance on top of that.
Why build a wall?
Why would you ever think that a wall of all things was a better method of dealing with Kaiju than something that actually kills them right away? Your absolute best-case scenario is it can't get through, but it keeps battering away at the wall(thereby weakening it for the next attack) until it's dealt with, or worse, just goes over it. There is no reason to think that they'd just give up and go away — as far as anyone knows at that time, they're mindless. They also know the Kaiju are changing to better deal with the defenses — it's much easier to overcome a (relatively small, judging by the height of the Kaiju that broke through Sydney's) barrier than something that actively fights against the monsters and is capable of planning and doing new things.
They were working under the assumption that the Kaiju were just wild animals. If that were true, the walls should have been perfectly adequate for deterring them.
The breach in Sydney is the first ever recorded in at least half a decade since the walls first went up. It was incredibly fortunate that Striker Eureka was still there to fend Mutavore off, but up until very recently, the walls worked. And the alternative was pouring untold billions, if not trillions, into constantly constructing new Jaegers and finding warm bodies skilled enough to become pilots when the Kaiju keep on killing them.
I'm decently sure the wall had mounted defensive turrets on it. I *could* be wrong and those might have been cranes for the construction, but one would think they weren't going to assume the Kaiju were just going to run into a wall and go away, they were going to run into a wall and get shot at either until they died or went away. Still, the wall wasn't the best idea given that it was, essentially, surrendering the Pacific, which would cut out vast amounts of trade, transit, and fishing profits.
My personal guess was cultists sabotaging the defense efforts. We know Kaiju-revering religions exist in this universe; we saw some in Japan. Whether they call the thing they worship Dagon, Cthulhu, or something from Japanese culture, there were some people who were resigned to or even welcomed destruction. If any of them had infiltrated governments, they could have turned public policy and/or opinion against the Jaegers because they were effective. I realize there's little evidence of this in the movie, but it's not a terrible explanation for all the Idiot Balls being juggled.
It's possible that the "suits" had been assuming the Kaiju, like their skin parasites, wouldn't actually be able to survive in Earth's environment for long due to incompatibility between their physiology and Earth's biosphere/atmosphere/hydrosphere. If they'd been told there isn't enough ammonia or digestible food available in the Pacific for an animal of their massive size and biochemistry, and that the attacking Kaiju were like dying animals lashing out in their slow, but inevitable death throes, then walling them off until they croak of natural causes might genuinely have sounded like a better plan than continually sacrificing billions of dollars on Jaegers. This reasoning falls apart if you know the Kaiju are biological war machines, hence don't need to live long to fulfill their function, but nobody told the "suits" about that until too late.
The idea that they were dying animals is somewhat disproven by the first Kaiju surviving six days of airstrikes before dying. When something that big is attacking, six days is a long time to hold a wall.
The wall is quite possibly a simple vanity project to maintain some illusion of protection while the government works to protect what and whom it can. A bit cold, but had the last-ditch effort to close the Rift not worked a fully-funded Jaeger program wouldn't have fared any better in the long-run. Riots were already breaking out worldwide over the those rich and fortunate enough to settle inland. Constructing defensive structures on an epic scale was intended to give the billions of coastal poor, who’d otherwise overrun inland refuge settlements, a false sense of protection and purpose. Also, it's likely the governments knew that the Kaiju were attracted to population centers, so maintaining mass metropolitan populations on the coastline was likely very, very intentional.
If the Kaiju are mindless, as initially believed, then they don't have any goals. They just head of in a random direction, and stuff gets crushed just because it's there. So logically, if a Kaiju encounterd a big wall, it would probably just bump into it once, and then turn in another random direction. Nobody expected that a Kaiju would single-mindedly keep smashing that one wall until it broke.
If nothing else, because walls worked in the past, in so far as popular perception goes. Castles, the Great Wall, the Dragon's Teeth, so on and so forth — walls have worked. The hitch — and this is something that may very well have occured in-universe — is that while walls are impressive, as this headscratcher notes, walls are defensive. Sieges worked not because they were able to destroy the castle, but because the defenders more often ran out of supplies before re-inforcements came. Up until they learned that the Kaiju had an actual purpose (war), a wall could very well have been seen as a good idea by both the majority of governments and civilians alike with only the PPDC and others realizing otherwise.
Why not use the sword earlier?
Why did Gipsy Danger rely so much on punches, improvised weapons, and seemingly ineffectual point-blank cannon shots in the Hong Kong fight? It had two swords built into its arms.
Kaiju blood and guts is toxic. Since the sword didn't seem to be thermal based, it wouldn't have cauterized any wounds. Slicing either of those Kaiju to pieces in the middle of the city would have created a major biohazard.
It has been stated officially that the people working for Hannibal are people that have already been infected with Kaiju blood and were going to die anyway. Pretty tragic, actually.
And, given China's often callous attitude toward worker safety, he might've simply not cared.
For the most part, they never really needed anything more than that until now. Also, Raleigh didn't know about the blades since they were an upgrade to Gipsy Danger; he still should have known from Drifting with Mori. It could also be because the pilots may not have been proficient in that kind of armed combat during the early days, and it would have resulted in problems with the Drift for the pilots until they mastered a style.
Drifting doesn't give you everything, I think is the implication.
It still doesn't make sense that they didn't use the sword till later in the film. Don't want to spill toxic blood? Then why not stab it when they were still fighting in the ocean? Besides, blood spills anyways when they "check it's pulse" with the plasma weapon. Raleigh didn't know about the sword or couldn't learn about it from Drifting? Then why didn't the people in charge tell him about this important addition that could save his life? (Especially since I think they listed some other improvements that had been made.) Raleigh hadn't mastered it? He was pretty good when training with staffs, and didn't seem to have any problems when they fought with swords on the ocean floor. Forget fancy sword training, if they had just stabbed the Kaiju in the face during the Rocket Punch scene the fight would have been over quickly.
They don't want to spill the blood on land if they can avoid it. Raleigh is still unfamiliar with using the sword, though he does adjust very quickly. There would still be the concern of breaking the Drift because he might have to start thinking about his movements. There is a big difference in fighting with a sword (we know he has training in) and a wrist-blade (which we don't have any reference for). It is mentioned several times throughout the movie that instinct is better than analyzing. Next time you're walking down the street, focus on every aspect of your gait from the rotation of your hips to the way your foot rolls and see if you can keep going without looking like a bow-legged duck.
Supplementary material states that they worried about the toxic affects at first but as things escalated they stopped caring, the main reason they focus on punches and the like is that this is what the Jaegers are designed for and what the first generations of pilots where trained in. The whole idea was to replicate the impact pressures of a nuclear bomb without the collateral. A few thousand tons of machine moving at however many 10's or 100's of metre's per second and concentrating that impact over a fist sized area is perfect for that, and got the job done quite well at first. It's only as the Category 3s and especially Category 4s show up that punches stop being enough on their own. But even then the Jaeger's appear to use them to soften the target up so they can use the long charge up time plasma casters and missiles we see.The swords appears to be a new addition to grant even greater concentration of force for taking on the newer, bigger Kaijus.
This is the first time the sword has been used in combat and with no pilots to use Gipsy before and being unable to capture a single Kaiju due to Hannibal's efforts they couldn't test it and hence didn't know just how strong it was. I don't think anyone knew Gipsy's sword would be the greatest anti-Kaiju weapon ever. Untested military weaponry is never used as a first resort. Gipsy's normal strategy of softening up a Kaiju with his fists then blowing them up with the plasma carter would obviously have been the strategy on such a desperate mission, not using and testing out random crap noone knew the effectiveness of.
Everybody got complacent
The entire world is facing gigantic monsters. Completely new creatures with unheard of capabilities and strength. Now, I get that humanities first scientists would be focused almost exclusively on stopping them, and since they decided to do that with giant mobile weapons platforms, fine. What drives me up the wall is that apparently after designing all these robots, the scientists of the world just... Stopped. No, seriously, there is a period of time in the movie where we are stated to be easily beating Kaiju left and right to the point of merchandising, and humanity stops advancing. Gets complacent. And by the end, there are exactly two knuckleheaded scientists left in the world who apparently care enough about the Kaiju themselves and the Rift — which even by the end is mostly unexplained — to continue researching them. No. Damn. Way. What happened to actual research? Why didn't humans try to capture one of these things alive? Send probes down into the Rift? Or even better, try experiments?! All it would have taken to reveal the secret barcode nonsense about how only Kaiju can go through the Rift would be something as simple as one guy going "Hey, these giant monsters can go through the Rift. Let's try dropping one of their carcasses down it, see if it goes in!" Then humanity could have even gone on the offensive, or just launched a nuke strapped to a Kaiju corpse. But no. Out of the entire world, the only two people left to care are a Kaiju Otaku and a Hollywood Nerd. And byAnno they are terrible at their jobs.
First off, what makes you think that the scientists just stopped? The Jaegers work, so wouldn't you think that they would be working to build better Jaegers? It's explicitly stated that the later models were more advanced, so obviously somebody was working on them. Second, there's no evidence that those two scientists were the only ones in the world, they were just the only ones at that particular base. Most of the rest were probably working in actual labs. You know, places that aren't functioning military bases? (This leads to a little Fridge Brilliance about why they were so "terrible at their jobs": No respectable lab would hire those two nutcases, so they were the only ones available when Marshall decided he wanted his own science division.) Third, Kaiju corpses are explicitly stated to decompose extremely rapidly, so it would be a logistics nightmare to get the corpse back to the Rift in time. (This leads to more Fridge Brilliance: Perhaps the creators designed the Kaiju that way specifically to make it hard to use their corpses to open the Rift and mount a counter-attack?) Also, the corpses were useful in other ways: they were presumably being dissected, used as trophies, and/or harvested for the Kaiju organ black market. If anyone had suggested taking this valuable source of information/morale/profit and dumping it back into the ocean, just to see what would happen, they'd be laughed out of the room (remember that the Rift was thought to be a natural phenomenon at the time).
First, yes I do think the scientists just stopped. The Jaegers worked, but evidently not in any way that was that much more effective. The Gipsy Danger, a Generation 2 mech, ended up out-performing 3 different far more proven mecha. You can state that the later models were more advanced, but when the fastest mecha ever, the Generation 5 mech, still has real trouble against these creatures and mostly fights hand to hand, I don't think the scientists were doing much to advance them. Also, there's a difference between engineers who kept the mecha working, and scientists who advanced the theory. \\ Second, it doesn't matter if there were hundreds more labs out there, none of them were able to make the kind of advances that were made at the very last minute during the years of relative peace they had while Jaegers were still taking down Kaiju easy. There was evidence that no other scientists exist because these two were the only ones doing anything. They didn't even have assistants besides each other for crying out loud! \\ Third, considering how much time humanity had on it's hands while Kaiju weren't about to destroy the world, to the point of merchandise and gags on talk shows, they had to at least consider how to go through the Rift themselves. Evidently, the only thing they tried was firing missiles at it, which all bounced off. Common logic states that the Kaiju are getting through somehow though, so what would it take to get one of these rapidly deteriorating bodies to the Rift in order to try this theory? ...How about a live captive. If you can kill it with plasma, you can likely find a way to sedate or shock it into unconsciousness, or at the least bind it's body for experiments. Also, Hannibal was keeping entire storehouses of live Kaiju specimens, including somehow skin ticks. If a glorified bone powder dealer can figure out how to keep these things stable, ("AMMONIA!") then an entire government team with years of time should be able to do it. It's not "just to see what would happen," it's figuring out through experimentation how in the hell these things can get through the Rift when nothing else, organic or non-organic, can get through.
Minor correction: it was stated in the movie that Gipsy Danger had been rebuilt into something more unique. Presumably, it ended up being a melding of the Gen 2 designs (nuclear powered, not slaved to the bases' systems) and Gen 3 designs (I don't know exactly what that would entail).
Correction: Gipsy Danger was a Mark 3 Jaeger, and Cherno Alpha a Mark 1. Assuming that Striker Eureka is the one and only Mark 5, that means Crimson Typhoon is Mark 4. Since Jaegers are only as good as their pilots, we're to understand that Gipsy Danger's amazing performance in combat is due to the high Drift compatibility of its pilots.
Pentecost explicitly describes their performance as incredible, so i think it's safe to say they where pushing it well beyond any kind of expected performance level. Also, the retrofit could have included a bunch of stuff slated for cancelled future Jaegers, which would make it a hybrid Mk3/Mk6.
Assuming the Rift was a naturally forming phenomenon, that would be a huge scientific endeavour into our understanding of quantum physics, and the Kaiju represent a real world example of divergent evolution. Even something as basic as discovering that all the Kaiju are clones should have been figured out after only a few attacks due to studying the DNA and physiology of the corpses. Up until the end, it was assumed each Kaiju was a different species. I have to agree about the lack of scientific study. Striving to understand the Rift would be something that might cease once they realized Kaiju would continue to come through, but dissecting what was left of them should have been one of the highest priorities. Understanding the tactics and capabilities of your enemy is paramount in fighting a war.
The Breach had obviously been thoroughly studied, Hermann (who most likely was a physics expert) had a model on how it worked and there was a public knowledge of it being a passage to another dimension. The part concerning their lack of understanding of Kaiju biology is somehow explained by the Word of God mention that they actually are silicon-based beings, which would require a LOT of new research. It's perfectly possible that by the time of the film's events, only recently scientiests were able to crack the Kaiju's DNA code.
Scientific research by no means is something cheap. Although it is one of the top priorities, you need to consider the huge investiment being made in building and maintaining the Jaegers. They are amidst a war, being attacked every once in a while and spending tons of money just to keep themselves from being utterly destroyed, all the time with a very damaged economy. Also, a good part of scientific research is done by Universities, which in this scenario would have lost a good part of their budget, thus being unable to keep research and teaching resulting in a shortage of new scientific minds.That said, Crimson Typhoon had more advanced weaponry than Gipsy Danger and Gipsy Danger had more advanced weaponry than Cherno Alpha, so there WAS scientific research. Just compare Brawler Yukon to any other Jaeger and that becomes pretty clear. It's just that they were putting it all in making better Jaeger tech, most likely because they thought the Kaiju would eventually stop coming or that the Jaegers would be enough to take care of them until they found a final solution. They didn't expect that there would be stronger Kaiju since the Jaeger Program worked out pretty well until it didn't. And, if nothing of that convinces you, there's still the MST3K Mantra.
According to the Fridge page, the Kaiju Bosses may have learned about the three "on-deck" Jaegers when Newt Drifted with them and been tailored accordingly. Gipsy Danger was an unknown quantity to Newt, and therefore to them.
Remember that this is primarily an action movie, so naturally, it focused on the action. Every second of screentime spent on Technobabble is a second that isn't being spent on MechasuplexingKaiju. So, just because these things didn't get even a passing mention on-screen doesn't mean they didn't happen. 1. Yes, Gipsy Danger performed better than the Gen 5 models — against Kaiju that were specifically designed to fight Gen 5 models, and that had already been weakend by fighting the first wave of Jaegers (or by having a nuke go off in their face). And, yes, there's a difference between scientists and engineers. Scientist: "I've discovered something! Kaiju stomachs don't produce any acid! Since their blood is so acidic already, it just uses blood as the acid to start digestion!" Engineer: "Great. How does that help me build a better Jaeger?" 2. They were the only ones shown doing anything on-screen. They didn't have any assistants because they were on a military base that probably wasn't even supposed to have a science division at all. They were probably supposed to ship any recovered Kaiju parts to a properly equipped lab, one that had assistants and everything. And the only reason they were able to make any progress at all is because one of them plugged a Kaiju brain into his own. Because that sounds like something any sane scientist would do as a matter of routine, instead of something that's likely to scramble your brains and be reserved as a last resort. 3. I'm sure they tried all sorts of probes, x-rays, ultrasound, etc. to check out the portal. None of which resulted in militarily significant intelligence, and so wasn't mentioned by the military personel who had the lion's share of the screen time. Also, capturing anything alive is much, much harder than just killing it. Go watch any nature documentary or reality show which involves trapping wild animals, and then imagine how much shorter the episode would be if they'd used a pistol instead. The difference here is that the extra time is measured in danger to human lives — even if the Kaiju is in the middle of nowhere, there's still the danger to the Jaegers and pilots. And, so, having spent the time, expense, and human lives required to capture the thing alive, you want to drop it into the ocean, just to see if the portal reacts, instead of studying this live specimen of humanity's worst enemy? Yes, dropping it into the Rift would have provided vital information, but they didn't know that, and, based on what they knew at the time, studying the Kaiju itself would be far more likely to result in useful data. Of course, this is all assuming that the creators didn't equip their weapons with a Self-Destruct Mechanism specifically to prevent capture. The not knowing about them all having the same DNA is a little harder to explain, but it could be that he just missed the article that particular fact was published in. Or, he could have known all along, but was just now explaining it to Marshall.
I disagree with the above. That scientific data would have been extremely useful. Knowing that the blood is toxic would have allowed the engineers to design a more effective coolant or neutralizing layer to the mechs. They could have also replaced their bladed weapons with blunt force defenses like hammers or flails or prevent artery breaches, or even super-heated the blade to cauterize wounds. Any information could be used against the enemy.
I think his point wasn't about they discovering that the Blood was acidic, they already knew about Kaiju Blue, but about the digestive system. The thing is: every practical scientific discovery comes after a lot of not so practical discovery and they were running against time. Maybe they were researching while all they had to fight were Cats. 1 and 2, but once things got ugly, they went desperate. There's also the points posted above around the issue of capturing living specimens. And, besides, we didn't see much of the Kaiju War. As far as I know, somewhere, someone might very well be researching and not being listened to or not coming to much results. Studying animals is hard work. Studying beings extremely different of anything we know? Good luck. Also, focusing too much in the scientific side of the thing could've ruined the movies rhythm. That's still an action flick, guys.
Along similar lines to the above: if all the Kaiju are clones, why are they different? They would have had to undergo massive Bio-Augmentation to go from genetically identical creatures to one with wings and an acid sack and another with an EMP generator etc. Phenotypic plasticity can only go so far. I guess making them clones was an easy way to have Newt discover that they were engineered. Except you can have organisms that are clones just from asexual reproduction. It would have made more sense if they'd put in a couple more lines explaining "they're genetically identical but they look really different and that couldn't happen naturally."
One of the scenes when the scientists Drift with the Kaiju seems to show a Kaiju being assembled rather than grown. Presumably, the Masters have a stock of genetically identical muscle tissue, bones, eyes, etc. that they then put together, much like how machines can be assembled from various off-the-shelf parts. That does raise the question of why one would be pregnant, but that could be explained away. Like, maybe being pregnant makes it more aggressive.
Maybe the Kaiju was pregnant simply because the Masters allowed the Kaijus to mate.
It's possible that they were basically trying stuff and seeing what worked. Assuming the Rift activation schedule was a limitation of the technology, they only have one chance at a time. So, they started by making them bigger and stronger. Then they started with unique attack abilities.
DNA stands for Deoxyribonucleic acid, which is the building block of all life on Earth. Most scientist who seriously think about life evolving on different planets doubt that they would have actual DNA — as in the aforementioned molecule. The odds of life from another universe where the laws of physics themselves may well be different being based on deoxyribonucleic acid are, well...suffice to say, the Kaiju most likely don't actually have DNA by the true scientific definition of the term. When Newt says they have identical "DNA", he's using that as short hand for whatever molecule they are actually based on. The reason it took so long to discover they're all identical is because it likely took several years to crack the code on precisely what that molecule is and how to compare it from one to the other.
Be careful about the fallacy that better/advanced means better overall. Advances in tech aren't something you plan — Jaegars could be advanced not because there was some great leap in an arbitrary 'power' rating, but in safety (congrats, no radiation poisoning), responsiveness (congrats, you don't have seizures), cost (congrats, it only takes 1 billion dollars), and so forth. And don't assume that just because they're more advanced or later models, that they have some mystical betterness that makes them better in all areas. Kevlar is highly bullet resistant, but it does absolutely nothing for knives and blades, which have been around for thousands of years. Fighter jets are incredibly advanced machines, but really, really suck at short range because they're moving so darn fast (that's why you have copters). The A-10 is decades old but is still a highly reliable machine. One advert for a new generation of phone touts it as having a highly advanced digital camera component... the same components that have been in your digital camera for years (just now you can talk on it). As far as the Breach, reaching something at the bottom of the ocean isn't as easy it seems. There's currently 1 ship (the Alvin) capable of deep sea exploration (and even then it can't reach the bottom). It's also barely big enough to hold three people. Kaiju are massive with incredible swim speeds. The combination means that exploring the Rift in person is practically suicide if a Kaiju is anywhere close by. You could send a Jaegar but that means retrofitting it so that it can perform useful scientific studies. And theres nothing to say that they didn't try to explore it (they do have a lot of information about it) and such difficulties meant they couldn't afford to risk any further loss of life and equipment. And why it may seem silly that people would slowly lose interest in the matter, it's not as silly as it may seem. Look at AIDS — after the initial panic, how often does the public actually think about it nowadays? Very little because advances in medicine have made it liveable... just like the Jaegars did.
On the subject of scientific progress; The entire timeline of the Kaiju War from when Trespasser made landfall till they bombed the Rift with Gipsy is just barely over a decade. In that time they've learned about Kaiju Blue, known about the chemical composition of the Kaijus, and cracked their DNA (or whatever is the equivallent) code. This is in between having to fight for their lives for most of it and not having any clue on exactly what a Kaiju is. And given that humans only had a handful of specimens to study, most of which were either too radioactive (from the nuking), toxic (from Kaiju Blue) or decayed to be effective to be used, it's amazing they know as much as they do already.
What about the islanders?
This is a bit of Fridge Horror there... but what about the millions of people who live in the Pacific Ocean? Surely they were evacuated, right? Or even worse... what if there was nobody to evacuate because a Kaiju could take out an entire island nation in only an hour?
The Kaiju seemed to be focused on heading for highly populated areas, so the islands would probably been fine for a while. They probably intended to exterminate the same way we would, focus on the largest concentration as the source and go after any outliers or stragglers from there.
Also, the news reports implied that only the rich would be able to relocate inland, while the poor were left behind.
If it makes you feel any better, when Pentecost is talking to the UN representative from the United States, the US' massive "port cities" are listed as Anchorage, Honolulu, and one other. So that means that the Hawaiian islands, at least, have not been completely destroyed, if Honolulu is still counted as a city rather than a pile of rubble.
Travis Beacham, the film's screenwriter, was asked this on his Tumblr. He answered: "Kaiju tend to head for heavily populated areas. So if you live in up around Mendocino or on the island of Nauru or someplace like that, you’re probably never going to see one."
Unless of course the island happens to be in the kaiju's way. I mean, the kaiju are trying to destroy major population centers and exterminate humanity. They wouldn't even blink at just curb-stomping an entire island into the ocean floor and moving on. So while events like that probably weren't all that common, they would have happened just by chance.
Why didn't Hansen eject?
If the Jaegers have ejection systems, why didn't Pentecost have Hansen eject before detonating the warhead? Unlike Pentecost, Hansen was still young and not terminally ill, so he had no reason to sacrifice himself, and it was clearly shown before the mission that he would have wanted to come back alive. Plus, Pentecost has already proven that he can solo pilot a Jaeger if he needed to. Sure, the ejection pod might have gotten destroyed in the nuclear blast, but he still would have had much better chances of surviving than staying in the cockpit.
Not enough time. He can't wait for the escape pod to get out of range of the blast, and a nuclear bomb that size has a lot of range. Raleigh, OTOH, has the advantage of detonating his nuke on the other side of a dimensional portal; all they need is enough seconds to make it to the portal and they're clear. And all this is assuming that any one of the three Kaiju surrounding his immobile Jaeger didn't just grab the helpless escape pod and eat it anyway.
I doubt that Hansen couldn't have gone for the escape, at least. Pentecost had the Chekhov's Skill of being one of two men to have piloted a Jaeger in combat solo. Combine that with the fact that Pentecost was wanting to go out fighting instead of slowly die from his cancer, he could have stayed behind and kept the other two Kaiju distracted with Striker while Hansen escaped. Simple as that.
Yes, and Slattern plucks the unarmed, unpowered, Drifting escape pod out of the water as easily as a man grabs a sponge floating by in the bathrub and eats him. Then, the Marshal has to blow his nuke alone, anyways. Chuck Hansen didn't eject because they were already surrounded and he had nowhere to go, its that simple.
Except the Kaiju will always focus on the biggest threat presented to them. In the Hong Kong battle, the Kaiju actively ignored the disabled Striker Eureka until the Hansens provoked them. In Mako's flashback the Kaiju chasing her immediately broke off the chase when a Jaeger appeared. The kaiju would have been too focused on destroying Striker Eureka to bother with a relatively harmless ejection pod.
The Hansens are precisely my point. The Kaiju 'know', from their prior experience, that if the pilots are starting to climb out of the Jaeger, the Jaeger is no longer a threat and its time to squish the pilots. Obviously, 'solo-qualified pilot still inside with nuclear suicide charge handy' is an exception to this rule, but they're not clairvoyant.
Slattern would have just ordered Scunner to grab the con-pod while he tore into Striker, anyways.
Chuck said that half their systems were down so it's possible there was no chance of using the escape pod, maybe the AI knew it was jammed or something?
And he was going to...what, outrun and float above the nuclear blast that created a void in the ocean? The blast was big enough that it emptied a section of the biggest body of water on the face of the planet. Even if the escape pod somehow survived the initial blast (hint: it would not), the impact would have sent the pod flying at speeds that would have left the person inside it as some kind of thick paste. He doesn't eject because ejecting has absolutely no chance whatsoever of improving his odds of survival.
Gipsy Danger's pod escapes the Jaeger's nuclear detonation with only minor damage. Your argument is invalid.
Gipsy Danger's pod survived because it fell back through the portal and was in another universe from the detonation, not because it was that resilient.
Clearly, the escape pods were one of the systems on Striker Eureka that were damaged in the fight.
As far as why Chuck didn't use an escape pod, a common belief in fanon and possibly a confirmed fact in canon is that you never leave your co-pilot behind. While it was entirely possible that he could have gone and maybe even survived after that, Chuck was basically raised in a Conn-Pod. He's had the whole "never leave your co-pilot" thing drilled in his head since he was in the Jaeger Academy, so it was probably a matter of pride for him. Even before detonate the payload when he's saying his awkward goodbyes to Herc, you can tell he had resigned himself to the fact that he was wasn't going to live.
This troper believes the reason that Chuck didn't eject is the two-key principle with nuclear weapons: both pilots are required in order to set the nuke off.
Pentecost moves forward without approval
Pentecost's superiors tell him at the beginning that he can't enact his plan. How come he gets to do it anyway?
Because after they pulled his funding, he went and brokered a deal with Hannibal Chau — the Rangers' cooperation with the black market in Kaiju parts, in return for Chau's money (and presumably some from the city government of Hong Kong's, which I'm sure liked having its own private defenders) to fund continuing operations. Remember Pentecost's comment as they arrive at the Shatterdome? "We're not the military anymore, we're the Resistance." At the end, Pentecost was fighting his own private war — he'd gone rogue and taken the Jaegers, the Rangers, and their support crews with them. They'd basically become Shatterdome PMC at that point, and the only reason they were getting away with it is because why bother to stop them? They're only going to get themselves killed, and besides, its kinda hard to stop angry Jaegers with conventional troops anyway.
At the beginning of the "present day" part of the movie, Pentecost was given eight months' worth of funding, very clearly just to shut him up. They didn't care what he did with that funding, be it attempting a desperate-seeming plan or buying eight months of Hookers and Blow.
If nothing else, as long as Pentecost is fighting Kaiju, from a pragmatic standpoint, it buys the Wall time to be built or other solutions to be found without any additional cost. So even though funding has been pulled doesn't mean that his general support was pulled too.
If you pay close attention, the government tells Pentecost that he is authorized to take all remaining Jaegers to the Shatterdome and work from there. They pulled his funding, but he still had authorization to command the Jaegers if he can find an alternate funding source (which he did).
Why do you need a neural connection?
The reason why there are 2 pilots is because the neural link is too strenuous for 1 person to stand for very long. However, why is a direct neural link necessary to pilot the Jaeger? Wouldn't hand and feet controls (which Jaegers have anyway) work just as well?
Proprioception. Kinda hard to pilot something that huge and awkward with the finesse and precision necessary for hand-to-hand combat if you have no sense of how it's moving and exactly where the limbs are. Hell, its hard enough to know exactly where your bumpers are when you're just parallel parking your car, doing it for your hands and feet in a 250-foot tall giant robot without an actual nervous system connection to them would be impossible... especially when you're not just trying to walk, but also trying to wrestle and swordfight.
Why would the aliens send a pregnant Kaiju?
So they wouldn't have to waste resources making more?
Possibly simply as an experiment of some short. It seemed Leatherback and Otachi were very experimental Kaiju by the aliens.
Von Neumann machine. Its a lot easier to scourge the entire Earth if your biological constructs are self-replicating. Also, those Kaiju were sent on a specific mission to find and kill Newton. If you're going to be looking for something as small as a human, carrying along mini-Kaiju to deploy as 'small craft' to your 'dreadnaught' would be an obvious aid to that mission. Unfortunately, they weren't quite ready to drop yet... but the Kaiju were laying that mission on in a hurry, seemingly.
Or possibly they'd been intending to wait until Otachi had given birth and they had two acidspitters (or even more!) but Newt's hacking into their hivemind scared them and they sent Otachi in out of panic.
The film's novelization goes into more detail about the whole pregnancy deal. Newt says that he always thought the Kaiju could breed since they do possess reproductive organs, and confirms that it was within the Masters' plans to make them reproduce locally once the Breach allows the passage of two of them.
The Kaiju creators have gained an understanding of what they're facing through Newt's Drift. The "baby" Kaiju may have been thrown in as a last-ditch attempt to get him in case the main attack — which was likely thrown together rather quickly after Newt Drifted with the Kaiju brain — was defeated. They would have known Newt wanted another brain to Drift with, so it was not too much to expect he would end up near enough to the Kaiju's body for such a trap to work — and it nearly did.
Why wouldn't they send one? Unless the pregnancy inhibited the Kaiju's combat ability, they probably don't care. They are weapons of war, after all. And unless the pregnancy/birthing period was so debilitating (long period of time for instance), even if the Kaiju had reduced combat effectiveness, they might still not care. A baby Kaiju requires lots of resources to grow so why not make your enemy provide it; a defensive protective momma Kaiju is always handy. And it may have been to help lay the ground work for bigger plans by providing enough of a logistical base for more and bigger Kaiju to be brought through.
More interesting, if Kaiju can breed like any animal species, that involves a male and a female. So we have the question over who got Otachi pregnant. Is there a male Otachi in the Masters's facility? Or was any other Kaiju, and it just was a matter of genetics that the offspring was identical to his mother?
The screenwriter's comment on his Tumblr have implied more that Otachi was just "printed" pregnant. So her child had no father.
I saw it as another sign of the aliens who sent the Kaiju being Dangerously Genre Savvy. They've seen Mutavore, Knifehead, and dozens of other aiju taken down. Otachi being pregnant would give her an extra edge — yeah, she's dead, but after the Jaegers leave, Otachi Jr. pops out and continues wreaking havoc.
How does Hannibal survive the Kaiju Blue?
"Kaiju Blue" is incredibly toxic and dangerous. How is Hannibal able to carve his way out of Otachi Jr., seemingly without ill-effects?
Only seemingly, perhaps — it might be something due to the creature still being practically fetal, but that should mean it's permeated with more of mom's toxic juices, not less.
He's the leading pioneer on the utilization of Kaiju bodyparts, secretions, and other. He may have developed or (more likely) paid someone to develop a counter-agent to Kaiju Blue. It might also explain how he got enough funds that the PPCD could deal with him, (No sense getting in bed with a poor black market dealer) counties would pay a lot of money for that stuff. Also, Rule of Funny.
Also, we know someone else who survived Kaiju Blue exposure without apparent ill effects except slight hair discoloration: Mako.
Word of God says Mako's "hair discolouration" is dye, not a symptom of KB exposure.
It's possible it's a toxin that requires long term exposure over the course of days, weeks, or years to be deadly.
Kaiju Blue kills within hours or days. Tendo's grandfather died from it in San Francisco. But he got covered in Kaiju blood from a wound. Mako did not get exposed to Kaiju Blue. Onibaba went down, but Kaiju Blue happens as decomposition happens. I'd say the baby's Kaiju Blue was probably not powerful enough or ...
The WMG section has a pretty interesting theory concerning Hannibal.
Taking into account the fact that Kaiju Blue takes "hours to days" to kill, it could be as simple as the Stinger being out of chronological order with the ending of the film. Giving the lighting in the scene, it's entirely possible that it takes place moments after Newt and Hermann left to get back to the Shatterdome. I'd also imagine that whatever steps Hannibal's people took to neutralize the blue on site had an affect on the stuff inside the Kaiju and Kaiju baby.
Almost certainly, the Stinger does take place very soon after Newt's departure; otherwise, Chau would have suffocated long before the Kaiju Blue could poison him.
Salvage Crimson Typhoon
Ok, I understand why Cherno Alpha was unsalvageable, but why didn't they salvage Crimson Typhoon? I mean yeah, it's head was taken off and its pilots died, but otherwise, it seemed to be completely undamaged except for its claws. And Mark 3 and higher Jaegers seemed to have detachable heads anyway.
It may well be salvageable, but it likely wasn't doable in the time they had available to them; even if it was, they probably couldn't come up with a three man team to pilot it.
Yeah, remember, Striker had virtually no damage and Gipsy's was mostly outer plate damage, the internals were largely untouched so both would have been quick repair jobs. Crimson would have taken much longer to assemble a new head for, especially if a lot of important electronics where in the head.
Pentacost actually commands that the three Jaegers be retrieved. I assume that means that Chreno, Crimson, and Striker were brought back, assuming he didn't consider Gyspy since it could move under it's own power. I would assume Crimson Typhoon will be repaired, but it wouldn't be possible to have it operational for the final mission of the movie.
Not to mention they'd have to train three new pilots.
Salvaging old Jaegers just doesn't seem to be Pentecost's way of doing things. He only brings back Gipsy Danger as a last resort, and requires a significant amount of time to restore it to working order.
As stated before, the Crimson is unique in that it needed 3 pilots to work. It's likely that they couldn't even retrofit the rest of the chassis to work with a normal conn-pod, and finding another set of people to do the Thundercloud on such short notice was impossible. There's also the fact that the Crimson went down hilariously fast; one smack of a grabby tail into the head and the entire Jaeger was crippled. The Cherno, in comparison, actually held it's own for a while until Leatherback and Otachi double-teamed it, and even with it's reactor torn out, arm dismembered and it's cockpit flooded, it was still functioning until Leatherback crushed it's conn-pod. The Crimson was way too fragile now that the Kaijus were actively going for it's weakpoint Pentecoste would definitely have thought it'd be way too much risk for way too little return.
Crimson Typhoon doesn't necessarily need 3 pilots. Its movements are controlled by two of the three pilots, just like all the other Jaegers. The third pilot sits in the back behind some sort of computer from which he operates the weapon systems. When Gipsy and Striker activate their weapon systems, one of the pilots has to touch the control panel in the middle. Crimson Typhoon's pilots never do this because the third guy in the back does it for them. They say "Thundercloud formation" and the guy in the back activates the buzzsaws. It could probably be retrofitted to work like the others pretty easily. It's just a matter of moving the weapon systems control panel to where the pilots can reach it.
'What' console? The head is gone.
Radio back to base
Why didn't Newt just radio the Shatterdome and tell them what they had found instead of getting on a chopper to tell them personally? Were they that excited?
Newt isn't exactly one of the most logical people around. He's a borderline Bunny-Ears Lawyer.
They're in the middle of an insanely important combat operation, and the eccentric scientist guys radio in with some weird story about Drifting with a dead Kaiju and finding out that the people who control the Kaiju (a concept that flies in the face of the conventional wisdom) won't allow the bomb through the Rift (another crazy hypothesis) without a Kaiju corpse around it. Yeah, it's important if true but it sounds totally insane and mission control has better stuff to be doing right now.
Communication between the Shatterdome and the city is probably restricted during an active battle with Kaiju, because the operation takes priority over everything else. The Marshal can't afford to be distracted by civilian authorities calling him in mid-battle to bitch about damaged skyscrapers or ask who's going to pay for that oil tanker Gipsy'd just smacked a Kaiju in the face with.
Except for the part where they rode back to base on what appears to be a Shatterdome chopper. Most likely, he just wasn't thinking logically.
So, the aliens realized that Earth's atmosphere is bad for them only after wiping out all dinosaurs? Wouldn't it make more sense to check it before launching an operation that probably (basing on their strategy from the movie) took many years and lots of resources to complete?
No, they weren't. Newt was explaining how the Masters were planning to wipe the Earth clean of humans using the Kaiju...just like they had wiped it clean of the dinosaurs in the past.
So, they were here for 135 million years?
Plus, the Dinosaurs were only a fraction of the size of the Kaiju. And it would also mean that our modern-day birds somehow are descendants of biological war machines from another dimension.
It doubt the Kaiju took that long to exterminate the dinosaurs, since the dinos certainly lacked any way to put up a defense. The Masters probably debated for a while about what to do since the Earths's conditions were less than ideal, and the consensus was just to wait for a while (remember, we have no idea how long living these aliens are) and pherpas conquer other planets that were more suitable. In the movie, it is established that they didn't expect to find the Earth inhabited by us humans.
Well, there is that comet to remember. Perhaps it was a case of incredibly bad timing — Just as they were almost done with the dinosaurs and ready to take Earth for themselves, a giant rock crashes the party and screws up the climate.
The real question is, how the heck do the humans know that Kaiju had anything whatsoever to do with the dinosaurs? Did somebody dig up a kaiju fossil that dated to the Mesozoic, and just happen to do so simultaneous with the current round of Kaiju attacks?
Newt was the first person to know anything about that. And no, someone missed the point. The argument was made that if the Kaiju were dinosaurs, then the Kaiju somehow stuck around on Earth for 135 million years. Or, 67.5 times as long as humanity, because that's how long the dinosaurs survived. The comet also doesn't seem to have anything to do with this, because the aliens were repelled by the oxygen-rich atmosphere the dinosaurs thrived in. The comet had nothing to do with foiling them.
Indeed, far more likely is that a Kaiju showed up ~65 million years ago, possibly as a scout, causes significant ecological damage to wipe out the most dominant form of life on the planet at that time (dinosaurs), then retreats after planetary conditions are considered sub-optimal by the Masters.
How do we know? We know because Newt Drifted with a Kaiju brain and hacked into their hive mind. He got all his data from their memories.
Why are the Jaegers so spread out?
So, the Kaiju all come from a single location, and up until recently only appear one at a time in long intervals apart. So why were the Jaegers stationed all over the world, rather then circled around the Rift?
Because the Rift is in the middle of the ocean (where it is hard to build a base and you don't want to build a floating or on-stilts base over Kaiju Central), the Kaiju have always swam absurdly fast, and they tend to go out from the portal towards numerous destinations worldwide.
Also, as was demonstrated in the final battle, Jaegers don't fight very well underwater.
There's a reason why the Jaegers stay at the "miracle mile" off-coast: so that they can intercept the Kaiju close enough to the shore that they can fight with maximum effectiveness while avoiding damaging the cities and putting people at risk.
Why are the Jaegers so big?
Rule of Cool aside, why did they make they Jaegers so damn big? It's quite likely that a Jaeger with half the mass of the ones depicted in the film would be able to operate with only one pilot — and the highly exclusive Drift Compatibility factor goes right out the window. Anyone qualified to be a fighter pilot could be a Jaeger pilot. Hell, judging by what we see in the film, a slightly tech-savvy Mixed-Martial-Arts fighter could be a Jaeger pilot. These smaller Jaegers, due to the lower resource cost and far more simple (and durable) bodies, could be built and maintained by the dozens, rather than, at the most, twenty. That means, rather than fighting one on one, Jaegers could take Kaiju in packs
These are questions that would technically apply to any giant robot show. Giant robots are inherently Awesome, but Impractical.
Not to mention that half-size Jaegers would get crunched like Peter Dinklage vs. the Rock in close-combat with the Category 4s. The Jaegers are built that damn big because they're fighting things that are that damn big and getting bigger all the time. They'd likely build the Jaegers even bigger if they had the engineering, time, and resources to do it. And yes, pack tactics. Pack tactics assume that you'll be losing some mini-Jaegers in every fight. But a war of attrition favors the Kaiju.
The Jaegers were made with the priority of stopping the Kaiju from making landfall. They're a defensive mobile wall with offensive capabilities, meant to stop Kaijus in their tracks; hence the "grapple with them" idea behind their conception. It's almost like football in that regard; you want huge, tough linebackers who can tackle hard and stop the Kaiju from making their play. Smaller Jaegers would get ignored or brushed aside as the Kaijus make their way onto the cities, and once they're there, Kaiju Blue will do the rest.
Neural linking didn't burn solo pilots' brains out because the Jaegers were big, it burned them out because they're complicated. Piloting a thirty-foot robot of comparable complexity would be just as hard as piloting a two-hundred-foot one.
They are so big because can you imagine trying to build something with that many moving parts and complexities AND be built to withstand the punishment of the Kaiju without it being massive? It was my thought that they are not that big "only" to fight the big monsters, but also, they can't build them much smaller due to all the components that go into them. It is a matter of durability plus offense plus moving parts plus current tech. All that equals big damn robot.
Where did Newt get the know-how to MacGyver a homemade Drifting machine, anyway? He's a biologist, for criminy's sake!
There's this thing called "life." You get experiences while going through it. Newton's entire life story and educational background doesn't get explained in the movie, so its safe to assume that, because he was able to build the device, somewhere along the line he learned some electrical engineering on top of his biology.
Where did Newton get the second headset for the Drift with Herman and Otachi Junior?
That looked like an actual Drift rig the second time, instead of his homemade kit-bashed version. Standard-issue Drift rigs come in pairs.
He most likely asked it to be delivered from the Shatterdome. Marshal Stacker did support Newt's endeavor, so he probably issued orders akin to "give this man whatever he requests".
Where did Hermann learn to back-program the machine so quickly (so they could both use it)?
Newton was right there. He could just show him how to do it.
Open another Breach
Why can't the aliens just open another Breach? If they had the power to do it twice (dinos and Pacific Rim), then they can do it a third time. Fridge Horror much?
Actually, we don't know that the Breach was ever closed between the dinosaurs and the events of the movie. It was established that when a Kaiju isn't coming through, it's not possible for anything to enter through the Breach, and seeing how little of the ocean floor we've explored, it's not that ridiculous to assume that the Breach stayed 'open' but unused the whole time.
Several points. 1: We just detonated a nuke inside the alien base. Presumably, this destroyed the portal generator, killed most or all of the Masters supervising the attack, and probably destroyed most of the Kaiju they'd been breeding for the primary assault. 2: The Kaiju must take an insane amount of resources to grow and feed, especially the Category 5 (and 6 and 7) monsters that were about to be sent through. 3: The Masters have no clue how we got though their gate. As far as they know, we could do it again as soon as they open the next gate. For all these reasons, they'll probably write Earth off as too dangerous and expensive to attack again.
They have more than one parallel Earth to conquer it seems. Maybe they will try one who does not fight back.
Related to the above, why didn't the Masters open a second Breach, say in the Atlantic? More than double the territory to defend means more than double the Jaegers needed to keep up, and a far greater chance of getting Kaiju through to destroy our cities and manufacturing.
There's no reason to assume the Masters can pinpoint where on a planet's surface their Rifts will open. Heck, if they had that level of control, they'd probably have placed their first one somewhere on the Eurasian continent instead of way out in the Pacific where each Kaiju would have to swim hundreds of miles before it got to a city worth attacking.
The Masters aren't exactly in a hurry. Last time they were on Earth it was several million years ago, and they just decided to wait for a while. For them, opening another Breach to save some years of conquest would be akin to buying an expensive sports car just to get a couple seconds earlier at work. Not worth the effort.
Why are we assuming the dimension-spanning giant monster building alien race waited several million years from their perspective? If they've mastered portals between dimensions, what's to say they can't just pick the time of their invasion too? Or that their time matches up with ours? That's probably more appropriate to a WMG, but I think it's worth noting that from the aliens' perspective they could have tried once to test the waters, noted it wasn't optimal, then just skipped forward until it was.
Breaches are probably ridiculously expensive to open. They definitely weren't making full use of the Pacific Breach up until the end, and even then it wasn't clear whether they were. Besides, it's an obvious Sequel Hook.
If nothing else... they were winning the war of attrition and if it weren't for Newt, they would have won in a few years once the Jaegers were gone (the Walls would not have stopped them and the ramp up time to make something even better than Wall or Jaegers would be years down the line). And we know they're a patient bunch. So there's not really a lot of compelling reasons for them to change tactics or speed up their schedule of escalation.
Send all the Kaiju at once
Why do the Kaiju come only in intervals? Wouldn't it make sense for all of the Kaiju to be sent through at once?
The Breach operates like the wormhole junctions from Honor Harrington; it can only pass so much mass per individual transit, and then it 'closes' and remains close for X period of time. Unlike the Manticoran Wormhole Junction, however, the Breach actually improves with repeated transit... gradually. So, at the very opening of the Breach it can only open once every few months and only let through something as large as a Cat 1. But after repeated uses it gets slightly bigger and bigger, and the dimensional conduit is more... 'stable', we'll say... and so it can be opened more often, and transmit more mass per jump. Until finally, after a dozen years of regular use, it becomes big enough to finally start sending through the Cat 5s. Short version: If the aliens could dump all the Kaiju out at once, they would have. However, the Breach has a harsh mass limit per unit time as to how much it can move, so, they have to take the openings as they come.
I thought they were just sending them through in mathematical progression.
The mathematical progression was due the limitations of the Breach.
It could also be that the Masters just don't want to waste resources, so if we hadn't invented the Jaegers they'd have just sent through a Category 1 or Category 2 every few months because nothing more was needed.
It's more likely from the limitations of the portal. Gottlieb's theory about the rate of Kaiju appearances and their predictability kind of lends itself to the idea that the portal was steadily becoming more stable, allowing more mass to be shoved through.
Though in that case, it seems like they could send several smaller kaiju through the breach and have them hang around instead of immediately going for the cities, at least toward the end when they could send the bigger kaiju through. Then, once they'd built up a force of several kaiju, they could send them all after one or two cities. Newt said the atmosphere was livable for the kaiju, right? And taking down four category 1's would probably be more difficult than killing one category 4, if only because there were more targets.
No one realized that the Kaiju were more than just animals?
I can buy that the general consensus for a while was that the Breach was an unfortunate freak occurence of nature, and that the Kaiju were just animals from another dimension. But after seeing that the Kaiju came up stronger and stronger with each wave, and that they always went headfirst for a heavily populated city, woulnd't be pretty logical to assume there was more to them? I mean, it took 12 years for a scientiest to say "Hey, lets run two DNA tests on different Kaiju samples to see if something is up".
He says DNA, but they might run off of a completely alien biology. It might have taken that long to even realize which microscopic bit carried the information they needed to compare.
It also might be a fluke, remember it's not that all the Kaiju are identical it's that they're all clones and the two samples Newt had were identical. It could also be noone had samples of two identical ones to compare before especially since it's mentioned at some point that dead Kaiju decay very quickly if left unclaimed
Up until Newt made a discovery, they had never seen anything like Kaiju as a weapon of war. What reason would they have to think that? The getting stronger could be seen any number of things (we were weeding out weakers ones allowing other, stronger, ones to breed and look for food). And heavily populated cities would naturally attract them due to resources and food supply. Coyotes for instance actually thrive better in urban environments than they do in wilderness.
Clearly the Rift does not admit non-Kaiju material
Why was it necessary to Drift with a Kaiju brain to learn that the Rift wouldn't admit matter that wasn't a Kaiju? Doesn't the simple fact that the Pacific Ocean hasn't been draining away into the Rift already establish that?
Because the Breach isn't open 24/7.
Because of ^ that ^ and this Ocean with a Drain. It would still take a long time for a major drop in water level. And because the aliens "launch bay" appeared to be underwater as well, so equal pressure maybe?
You wouldn't need a major drop in the whole ocean to detect if seawater was coming through, just the current created by the outflow would be proof. Instead, there's an outward displacement of water when each Kaiju arrives, which is how they get rated by category. So, the sensors installed around the Rift are reading outwelling of water, not water moving the other way. Ergo, matter comes in, no matter goes out.
Except the break expands every time a Kaiju comes thriough, if water and the Breach can't occupy the same physical space you'd see the opening shove the water away first, plus the breech only opens exits as big as the Kaiju coming through, so with it in the way, a lot of water draining down would be unlikely.
They didn't need the Drift to learn it wouldn't admit anything not a Kaiju; they needed the Drift to learn it WOULD admit a Kaiju, since up to that point they had simply assumed it to be a one-way conduit.
Wrong. They had already assumed that the portal was 2 way long before those 2 scientists ever Drifted with the Kaiju, which is why they started on their "go through with a massive bomb and blow them all up" plan to begin with. It was only when those 2 Drifted with the Kaiju that they realized that there was a DNA lock on their side to keep them from going in.
They probably just assumed (or hoped) that the Rift was specifically set up to repel liquids (like seawater) and small objects (like nukes), but it accepts massive mostly-solid objects such as Kaiju. Under that logic, a Jaeger is massive enough to trick the system. What they didn't know is that the Rift actually scans for Kaiju DNA.
Actually, what they thought was that was that the Breach opens up to admit Kaiju and then closes again, and that all the previous attempts failed because it was closed at the time. The hope was that a multiple transit would hold the Breach open long enough to get the bomb through.
Kaiju skin parasites
if the Kaiju are artificially grown/assembled in some alien lab, why do they have skin parasites?
Why bother sterilizing your war machine when its entire purpose is to go crap on an alien ecology anyway?
Maybe they serve some sort of purpose, like cleaning the Kaiju of dead skin or something.
We call them parasites because of our incredibly limited understanding of the Kaiju (beyond how to kill it). They might actually be part of their immune system.
Immune systems aren't external. That would defeat the purpose. They're separate lifeforms feeding off a larger one. It's the very definition of a parasite. You're also forgetting that the guy calling them parasites is a Kaiju scientist with detailed knowledge of their biology. The Kaiju may be giants, but they're still living beings.
Your immune system actually does include your skin and the secretions of your skin. It's part of the first layer of defense. More likely than not, the "parasites" are used as a cleaning mechanism that helps regulate the Kaiju's skin and repair damage to the armor. Remember that up until Newt Drifted with the brain of the dead Kaiju, he didn't know that they were bioweapons, so he'd automatically assume that tiny (relatively) bugs living on the Kaiju's skin were parasites.
Ugly thought: If the "parasites" are actually something the makers deliberately incorporated into their bioweapons, could they be hooked into the same Hive Mind as the Kaiju? If so, that would mean that there's still a bunch of creepy-crawly little spies for the makers alive on Earth, wherever one of Chau's customers have managed to keep those bugs alive...
Why no air support for the Jaegers? A simple flare gun hurt one, and helicopters were constantly circling around yet do nothing but give dramatic lighting. Even a single minigun would at least distracted a Kaiju to some agree, let alone some Hellfire missile pods to annoy it and make it divide it's attention and less focus on the one thing that can actually kill it and which humanity only has a handful of.
The flare gun hurt the Kaiju the same way a mosquito would hurt you. They got lucky in that they hit its eye, but beyond that it was merely an annoyance. As far as the helicopters or jets getting involved, they don't want to run the risk of friendly-fire in either direction (from one of the jet's Hellfire missiles hitting a Jaeger, or a Jaeger being thrown into a jet/copter). The Jaeger and Kaiju are in extremely close combat and constantly moving/spinning around. It's better to not get the little ones involved and let the two giants duke it out.
Also where told in the supplementary material that they hit the first Kaiju with everything below a nuke and didn't so much as scratch it. Anything the coptors or an existing jet could have carried.
The choppers, from a Watsonian perspective, were there to light up the battlefield and act as spotters. Which is why Raleigh specifically asks one if they have eyes-on the Kaju.
Is it ever addressed that the Otachi corpse spilled thousands of tons of Kaiju Blue right in the middle of Hong Kong? And what about the Kaiju in Tokyo and Sydney? Were those cities abandoned?
Presumably, people had become better at neutralizing it after the first incident, since it's never again brought up after that. I mean, because honestly, killing Kaiju in the ocean, where KB can be diluted and spread into water sources, probably did.
They are alot better at neutralizing it, Hannibal Chau managed to literally sell parts off Kaiju after neutralizing them, odds are he wouldn't keep that knowledge to himself if he could sell it to the government.
As they're cleaning up Otachi, Hannibal actually has a quick line about them acting fast to neutralize the stuff.
Why test with a live Jaeger?
Who thought it was a good idea to have Mako and Mr. Becket's first Drift take place in an actual Jaeger with live weapons?
No doubt, that was probably a dumb oversight for the sake of the plot. But, if I have to Fan Wank an argument, I'd say that the plasma weaponry on Gipsy Danger was probably inherent into the system. It's just energy being redirected, not ammunition fitted into a ballistic weapon.
They tried a shutdown as soon as the caster started charging but the system locked up. Basically Failsafe Failure. They end up having to cut the computer connection to Gipsy which seems to function as a proper failsafe switch would, (i..e cut the flow and it goes off)
There's also the fact that Raleigh wanted her to know what a real Drift was like before they had to go live against a Kaiju. She had an awesome simulator record, but simulator and real action are not the same thing.
It's because they're idiots. They knew perfectly well that one's first Drift tends to have problems, but instead of having Raleigh and Mako Drift for the first time in an empty room somewhere, they decided to do it in a fully armed Jaeger. A Drift machine like the one the scientists used to Drift with the Kaiju that simulated the strain that Drifting puts on the pilot would have worked just as well, at the very least it would have made the Drift between the two work better.
They are not idiots, they were saving time. Stacker trusted Hermann's predictions (how refreshing is that for once, the high ranking military does listen to the scientiests?) that the odds were about to get desperately against the PPDC. They were testing both the compatibility of the Rangers AND the systems of the newly reffited Gipsy Danger, and if everything went fine (and Leatherback and Otachi hadn't attacked), Stacker most likely would have deployed the four Jaegers to assault the Breach that very same day. They were racing against a doomsday clock, don't forget that.
The Drift is a neural connection between the pilots and the Jaeger. It could be that having critical systems for fighting in a Jaeger off during the first run would damage the pilots understanding of the neural framework of the Jaeger. They don't have time for Mako to futz around trying to use the plasma caster if she can't find "where" it is in the network.
How in the hell can mere helicopters carry thousands of tons of giant robots? What? No way in hell they'd be be able to life an arm, let alone the ENTIRE thing across several miles presumably.
Let's see, a Kaiju is said to be about 2500 tons. Let's assume that's metric, and the average Jaeger would be around that mass. The Mi-26, the largest and most powerful helicopter in current production, has a load capacity of around 20 tons. Therefore to lift a Jaeger, you'd need around one hundred and twenty five Mi-26's. Oh, wait, some guy did the calculations better than I did.
The Jaegers are almost certainly lighter than the Kaiju, considering they can walk down city streets without collapsing the streets below them or trundle around offshore without getting bogged down in sand. Giant robot shows in general assume the weight of the robots is much lower than it would be realistically.
Gipsy Danger is almost 2000 tons, Cherno is over 2400. These measurements are known thanks to the artbook.
It's worth the mention that in the early version of the script, the Jaegers were deployed using special VTOL tiltrotor aircraft designed for such purpose, not normal choppers.
Tiltrotor VTO Ls have exactly the same physical limits on lifting capacity as a helicopter. Their advantage comes not from lifting capacity, but from range, as they can fly like an airplane and take advantage of wing lift for fast flight. That's not possible to do when carrying something at slow speed, like a Jaeger, so Tiltrotors would be no more effective than a large helicopter.
If you look, there's a whole webwork of cables linking each Jaeger to dozens of copters. Add the possibility of huge Jaeger-program-byproduct helicopters, and it becomes feasible...assuming your cables are strong enough.
Nope, it's simply not feasible, as the prior calculation demonstrates. The film is simply using Artistic License to make it look Cool.
A frightening thought about the helicopters is what becomes of them after they release the Jaegers. They aren't exactly letting the 2000+ ton robots down gently which means 2000+ tons of lift is transferred to the helicopters as soon as the let the Jaegers go. With that kind of lift, these helicopters would be careening into the sky at a ridiculous rate.
Not really. Since the total load is broken up over multiple helicopters, every one is not lifting anything more than its current design max. So it would be no different for each helicopter than if each one suddenly cut loose its normal maximum payload. There would certainly be an unbalanced upward impulse from the engines (presumably running near maximum power), but that's entirely within a pilot's designed flight envelope expectation.
But even spreading 2000 tons of lift across the eight helicopters still gives each helicopter 250 tons of lift. That is still a significant amount considering the best lifting capacity of current helicopters is about 26 tons.
As pointed out above, I think it's pretty safe to say that using any possible helicopter configuration isn't feasible in the least. It's not possible to create helos with enough lift, and any sort of cabling arrangement using real helos is completely impractical, if not impossible. We just have to accept it as Artistic License - Physics in service of Rule of Cool, and leave it at that. That said, it's not as obvious of a break from reality (as compared to, say, the "baseball boat" ).
Considering the power generation and tech base of the setting, it is possible that helicopters have been dramatically improved in the fifteen years that the Kaiju War has been ongoing. I mean, look at the Jaegers' technology. Fifteen years with everything being thrown into human survival against an existential threat can do a lot to boost technology.
Attack them with coolant
Ok, so if coolant/antifreeze turns Kaijus into ice as quick as a Sonic the Hedgehog on a treadmill (if I remember correctly), then why couldn't they just dump the stuff all over the things from the sky? It would make the mission a lot easier.
Normally, the Jaegers are supposed to be fighting Kaiju out at sea, not on land. Dumping a bunch of coolant there would just mean you're fighting in an ice field instead of water; Gipsy only managed to direct the spray at Otachi's tail long enough to have an effect because her tail was grappling an arm directly in front of the cooling vents.
That's a lot of coolant you're getting airborne and then have to get in range of the Kaiju. Not an easy task.
Horizon Brave, the Chinese Jaeger, had two coolant tanks on it's shoulders to use in "Cryo" attacks. Needless to say, after we saw the Jaeger's "Corpse" after the intro, it probably didn't pan out too well after the Kaijus started adapting.
The masters are not crippled
Why do people keep assuming that the Masters are offensively crippled because humanity blew up a single lab? Sure, that would be a blow, but even we Puny Humans were able to churn out at least one Jaeger for every 1st world country. The only reason they weren't able to exterminate us outright was because of the limitations of the Rift; if they had been able to send more than one Kaiju from the start, we would have been dead before the Mark IV's were an idea. The Masters are far more advanced than we are, and at least a portion of their culture is based on inter-dimensional conquest. Why wouldn't they have more than one Rift generator? Why would they not have more labs that could just continue where the first one left off?
No one is assuming that they're crippled in-universe, or at least no one we see is assuming they've been defeated. Since a sequel's already in the works, they likely do resume the offensive eventually.
Several points. First, I got the strong impression that sealing the Breach undid all the progress they'd made stabilizing it, so it will take another decade before they get the Breach up to invasion strength again. Second, the main point is not that we annihilated them, it's that we are the only world so far that has managed to hurt them. Even though we only destroyed one base, that's still terrifying to a race accustomed to being able to leave the fighting to the Kaiju. High probability that they won't risk opening another gate, since they know we could just drop another nuke down it. For that matter, we could send an intact Jaeger through and rampage over their world like reverse Kaiju. The Kaiju probably wouldn't make very good defenders, too bestial.
Or, simply, that kind of fighting would do the master's homeworld what it did to the humans — be a massive drain on resources and infrastructure (not to mention any possible side effects of Kaiju Blue on them).
This. We have no way of knowing what the fallout from the attack is. There's no guarantee that The Masters would be immune to the Kaiju Blue (Are we immune to the things we fill our war machines with? Go drink Diesel and eat Uranium and see.), their home world just got nuked and covered in the stuff. It would be the equivalent of someone teleporting a nuke into a densely-packed nuke silo on Earth. Extensive damage would be done, poisonous fallout would spread for hundreds of thousands square miles and a major blow against their military would be evident.
Experience has taught humanity that neutralizing a beach head and destroying the materiel of an invading force can deter future attempts at invasion. Or at least slow it down enough for us to mount an effective defense. Now that the Rift will need time to restabilize, the Kaiju will be fighting against Mark V Is right off the bat that are designed to combat Category 5 Kaiju and we will only keep improving them from there. Instead of hastily cobbled together war machines and similarly trained crews, humanity now has the experience necessary to effectively fight the Masters. If a Rift (or many Rifts) opened the next day, nations around the world would go back to war footing, build Mark-6 Jaegers, and expect that Category 6 or higher Kaiju will arrive eventually if they cannot close the Rifts. It would be like the German army of 1939 having a rematch with the Allies from 1945. It would not end well for them.
Nuke the Rift!
Given that once the aliens are known to be hostile, and that there's a single point of entry for them (out in the middle of the ocean, near no one), can someone please tell me why the first reaction isn't to nuke the living heck out of the Rift every time something pops through? There's reasonable warning of when they're coming through, and nuclear torpedoes (in the high 100s of kT range) already exist. And please don't say that this would cross the Godzilla Threshold, because we're way over that with the Kaiju just appearing. Sure would have saved a lot on the cost of building Jaegers...
Raleigh does mention they tried to engage the Breach before and it always ended in failure. Notice the Kaiju are MUCH faster in water, the warning you mention is the Kaiju getting in our world and displacing water, so there is a window of scarce seconds where they could nuke the creature. Plus we have no idea of the depth where the Breach is located, it could be way beyond the operational limits of modern day submarines. Another thing, I can't find anything about nuclear torpedos on the high 100s kt range, it seems the one nuclear torpedo the US navy had was a 11Kt warhead (similar to the yield of the Russian equivalent).
Raleigh's dialogue concerns the idea that they were trying to close the Rift via nukes, NOT that they were using them to merely engage anything that came through. I did re-look up, and the largest torpedo/mine warheads were indeed in the 10-20kt range. However, the 500kT warhead of the various ALCM is roughly the same physical size, and making nuclear mines which could survive the 10,000 foot depth where the Rift was is trivial. No Keiju is going to be able to outrun a nuclear explosion from a mine a few hundred meters from the Rift. At least until we get to the Category 5 Keiju. It just seems like something completely practical to do that was obviously ignored. Not a biggie, just kind of a "huh, why not do it first?"
There's a problem to simply just surround the rim with a dozen nuclear mines. It's not going to stop the Kaiju from coming through portal, just delay the inevitable. Also, the constant usage of nukes to combat the Kaiju would be extremely costly given the fact that all of the nuclear energy in one nuke would have been used upto destroy one Kaiju, whereas a giant robot powered by nuclear energy would at least be used to kill several Kaiju in its service of duty. Then there's the fear of the Pacific Ocean being contaminated permanently due to the constant use of nukes. One, two nukes might be fine, but a daily use of it would just raise fear for the public, especially when it doesn't solve the root of the problem, the closing the rim where the Kaiju arrive.
^ Yes, if you nuke the Kaiju after they come through the portal, it doesn't stop more of them from showing up later on. However, Jaegers have the exact same problem! They've been killing Kaiju for well over a decade and they still haven't come up with a permanent solution. So that's not an argument in favor of Jaegers (until the final attack on the Rift, perhaps.) And energy efficiency doesn't matter, because we have thousands of nukes sitting in storage. (You could modify them to work at depth, I'm sure.) Wouldn't you rather spend 10 nukes and risk nobody's life, than use one Jaeger and risk millions of lives? If you're going to use Jaegers at all, they should be the secondary line of defense, protecting the cities. The first line of defense should be a bunch of nuclear sea mines surrounding the Rift.
If you don't think regularly detonating nuclear bombs in the middle of the ocean is going to risk millions of lives, you clearly don't have any real grasp of what radiation and nuclear bombs do. Do the terms fallout, contamination, and nuclear winter ring any bells?
^ That's not how underwater nuclear detonations work. Underwater nuclear detonations (even in the megaton range) at the depth of the Rift (10,000+ ft) cause absolutely no fallout or substantial radiation outside the immediate blast zone. The contamination would be very minimal (though measurable due to our sensitive instruments nowadays). It's unlikely that ANYTHING from the detonation would actually reach the surface (as demonstrated by the French and American submerged tests in the 60s). And the contaminants would be extraordinarily diluted by the volume of the oceans. Fears of nuclear winter and mass land contamination (which, turned out to be overstated when the mathematical models were redone) is based on huge number of distinctly separate surface detonations (not even airbursts). Very different scenario, very different effects.
Uh, can you cite some credible research on that? No, I mean really. I'm not saying you're wrong, I've just never heard that. However, even if that's true, wouldn't the act of repeatedly detonating nuclear devices at the bottom of the Pacific cause tidal waves and such, just by virtue of the amount of water the blast would displace?
I'm not the above Troper, but I think this looks interesting: http://www.cddc.vt.edu/host/atomic/nukeffct/enw77b2.html . Keep in mind that this paper defines a "Deep Underwater Explosion Phenomena" as being at only 500 feet, much shallower than the Breach, yet "There was no airborne radioactive cloud" from it. As for waves, the energy from the blast goes down by the square of the distance from the blast. Here's an interview of someone who witnessed an underwater nuke (as it happens, the same one discussed in the first link). The wave was thousands of feet high near the blast, but by the time it got to his little island, 2.5 miles away, it was only a few tens of feet tall. Randal Munroe, NASA scientist turned comic author, had this to say about it.
The film's early draft actually had an answer to this headscratcher: They couldn't use such nukes because they had none left, all the fissile material available was consumed during the years of war against the Kaiju. Of course, this doesn't apply to the finished film, but it's worth the mention.
How could you possibly use up all the nukes? We have thousands of them left over from the cold war, and we can easily build more if we want to! (Especially considering that the entire world is teaming up to fight the Kaiju.) Even one nuke should be sufficient to kill a Kaiju. And until the main events of the movie, Kaiju only showed up about once per month. So our current stockpile should easily be enough to deal with that threat.
Actually, IRL a lot of Cold War-era nukes have been repurposed into reactor fuel already. Nearly 45% of US nuclear-plant fuel comes from Russian nukes. (In fact, the current US supply of those will be gone within this year, unless another disarmament treaty comes along). Even still, there's about 10,000 viable nuclear weapons still left on Earth at this point in time.
It also then begs the question if they've apparently somehow consumed all the fissile material on Earth fending off the early Kaiju then where exactly did they get the fuel for the nuclear powered Jaegers? Really though the complete lack of any attempt to interdict the Kaiju at sea with nuclear weapons despite the back story itself stating them effective and indeed ultimate deployed on land to stop them is just a huge plot hole.
Raw Kaiju speed while underwater means it would be pretty close to impossible to get any nuclear ordnance into place to intercept one unless the nuclear ordnance was close to its destination point. Since those destination points are the very cities you're trying to protect....
Why do the masters want Earth?
Why do the aliens want Earth so badly? If they came here when the dinosaurs were still kicking, and then left for a few million years until we showed up, Earth can't be that valuable. And even if it is, they know they want the air and water to have more carbon based pollutants, what was stopping them from say... hooking the portal up to a car muffler?
Who says that the aliens focus on Earth alone? The aliens have conquered other worlds in the past according to the movie. They might have focus conquest somewhere else before focusing on Earth again. And the reason they came back to Earth is because humans have polluted the environment and caused global warming, the right conditions for an invasion.
That's one half of the question. Surely a race capable of building giant biological war machines has access to Model T Technology. Why wait for Gaia to spit out a race evolved enough to both pollute the planet and actively resist them, when you can just send the chemicals yourself?
I don't think they were "waiting for Gaia to spit out a race that would pollute the planet" so much as they just happened to look towards Earth again when the conditions were right.
Maybe they were going to after they were done with the Dinosaurs but the asteroid/comet messed up Earth so much they had to write it off.
Everything has a code name
Why do the Jaegers have those nifty code names? Normally, you use code names to conceal purposes, capability, and deployments from an enemy's intelligence-gathering. But the monster-Masters don't have any intel capability on Earth. They just send in monsters. So why not call the giant robots Jaeger 1, Jaeger 2, etc.? Or Jaeger I-A, I-B, II-A, or whatever? Or Jaeger Sydney, Jaeger Anchorage, Jaeger Santa Monica, etc.?
The F-16 bears a name that is very Jaeger-ish, the "Fighting Falcon".
Jaegers are themselves effectively avatars of humanity's hopes and technological capability. They're going to be named something more than just a numerical code. Humans name fighter jets and tanks as well, because they both like nicknames and they anthropomorphize the weapons system.
In the movie it's shown that both the Jaegers and the Kaiju are heavily marketed, so the cool sounding names make sense.
The names would also be callsigns. "Gipsy Danger engaging Knifehead" is a lot less of a mouthfull than "United States third generation Jaeger number two engaging Kaiju number seventy-six." for example.
They also do most of their fighting at sea, presumably with backup and guidance from naval forces. Navies have been naming their ships for thousands of years; sailors are used to using vessels' names in communications.
Clarity too. The Jaegers might have actual designations, but in the field, codenames might make things easier to keep track of on the fly as well as being easy to read. "Jaegar 23" is kind of meaningless since you have to correlate that into both capability and pilot. Listing out Jaeger I, Jaeger II, Jaeger III, can be confusing if you're in a hurry. But Gipsy Danger... you know immediately who that is. Look at the Humvee or Huey for real life examples.
It's probably great for propaganda purposes too. A name like Crimson Typhoon is a lot more impressive than Jaegar Number Whatever.
The military nicknames everything. Also, the Jaegers were being used to sell merchandise, In-Universe and out.
Naming the Kaiju
The moment a Kaiju emerges from the Breach, it's catergory is automatically determined using measurements of water displacement and a codename is given. But how does that work with the more descriptive names? How do they know Leatherback is gorilla-like or that Knifehead has a knife-like head without seeing them first?
One can get a pretty good idea of size and shape with a good sonar system, and they're going to have enough sensors pointed at the Breach to pick out some pretty hefty details.
Why they're called "Kaiju"
Why were they called Kaiju? They hit San Francisco first, not Japan. I know they were leaning pretty hard on anime tropes, what with the giant mechas fighting godzilla monsters. But they could have done that by having the first attack be on Japan or something so the name makes more immediate sense.
Because American culture doesn't have a common name for generic giant monster other than Kaiju?
Kaiju is a well known name for giant monsters, which whomever it was that decided to name them that in-universe decided to give them. In fact, I'm surprised to see the name NOT used for giant monsters in movies outside Japan more often.
It would be like undead humans appearing, and not calling them with the pre-existing, popular Z word. Of course, Not Using the Zed Word is a trope in itself, but the movie simply avoids it.
A newly discovered creature doesn't need to be given a common name using words of the language where it was first discovered, nor do they need to be named something that makes immediate sense (real species' common names frequently don't). Presumably, at some point, someone called them kaiju (perhaps an anime fan, as theorized above, or a scientist, or a talk show host, or whatever) and it stuck.
Was Mako the only survivor?
Was Mako literally the only survivor of the Tokyo attack? While I get that a Kaiju attack would no doubt kill tens of thousands if not millions of people, I'm having a hard time imagining how one of them could kill off an entire population center, especially one as large as Tokyo, for the same reason I'd have a hard time imagining a single human completely annihilating an ant colony by hand.
The Kaiju was able to detect where Newt was even without being connected to him during then. Perhaps Kaiju can track humans by smelling them or seeing their heat signature.
What we saw was the memory of a frightened little girl, not a video recording of the event.
In one of the making of videos on YouTube they stress that the sequence is a subjective memory and not an exact recording. For example, the Kaiju is larger than the others seen in the film.
And, of course, most of the population was probably already evacuated. Which leads to...
When did they ever say that Mako was the only survivor? Just because she was the only human in that area doesn't mean that she was the only one left in the entire city. Tokyo is huge. Mako is probably just stuck in an area which was evacuated; she got left behind somehow.
Evacuating Hong Kong
How come it took so long to evacuate Hong Kong? It seemed like people weren't even moving until the Kaiju took out Typhoon and Alpha and made landfall.
It takes a long time to evacuate any major population center.
Due to the geography and high population density, it would be impossible to quickly evacuate out of Hong Kong. The people were visibly being moved to undergound locations, and it is noticeable that by the time Gipsy finds Otachi, the streets and buildings seemed deserted.
Just for comparison, during the Cold War, both the US and USSR assumed that the cities couldn't be evacuated without at least a week's prior notice. Moving millions of people out of a heavy urban area is extraordinarily difficult, especially if you have to move them more than a dozen miles or so. Movies like Deep Impact and The Day After Tomorrow radically understate the time that large-scale evacuations require. In a place like Hong Kong, which has a huge number of narrow choke points and few external roads or transit to mainland China, moving the 7 million people a distance of 50 miles (a good "safe" distance away from the Kaiju), would take weeks. My bet would be almost a month to do a full evacuation. Shelter-in-place is by far the more practical strategy.
Build a wall around the Rift
Instead of build a gigantic, continent-spanning wall around the entire Pacific Rim, why not just build a smaller, thicker shell around the portal itself? It'd probably be a hell of a lot more cost-effective and much stronger (instead of having 50-foot-thick walls around the entire ocean, you could have a 500-foot-thick shell around the portal). Yeah, it would still be a temporary solution, but why not focus all the effort around the portal itself instead of spreading the wall thinly across the whole Pacific Ocean?
Because that wall would need to be taller to compensate for the increase in depth at that site. Additionally, you'd get much less people volunteering to work on it if it's so much closer to where a Kaiju could come out at any minute.
Kaiju attacks began at a pace of one every 24 weeks. Perhaps it was deemed impossible to construct such shell around the Breach, since it is located somewhere in the bottom of the Challenger Deep, and quickly constructing large scale structures at such depths would be exceptionally difficult. For all we know it was something they tried and ended in disaster, the war lasted for a period of ten years and we were only shown the very end of it and some brief glimpses of the early days.
They wouldn't have to build it all underwater — they could just build it in sections on land, fly it over, drop them in the ocean, and then put the sections into place with submarines.
Unfeasible. It would require engineering and materials sufficient to build a wall over eleven kilometers deep straight down, with submarines to anchor the wall sections into the ground, and to deploy and complete the construction at a sufficient pace at the deepest point in the ocean before a Kaiju emerges. If a Kaiju emerges at any point in the construction process, the project is wrecked.
For that matter, why didn't they try planting nukes in the face of the Mariana Plate and blow the whole cliffside into a trillion tons of rubble, burying Challenger Deep in a gargantuan undersea landslide? Sure, it'd probably kick off a tsunami, but at least they'd know exactly when it'd start and where it'd hit months in advance, unlike Kaiju attacks.
The walls appear to be armed to some degree, and we don't have any weapons that can function at that depth that a Kaiju would give a damn about. They can swim and water resistance doesn't seem to really slow them down much; good luck hitting with a torpedo. The Walls at least managed to hold off Mutavore for an hour; while pathetic in real terms compared to what a Jaeger can do to it, that's an hour during which they can pound the Kaiju with everything they have. It's still a terrible plan, but I don't see any reason why the Wall wouldn't have been successful if all they had to deal with was a Category 3 every few weeks. As for just burying the portal, it's not a bad idea but one wonders how long it would actually hold them off; how long would it take Otachi or Leatherback to get through a little rubble?
This, or better yet an underwater facility, could have done immediately without going through all the trouble of inventing Jaegers. Just build a 200m-diameter watertight radiation-proof dome, drain the inside of water, then drop a nuke through a second after each Kaiju gets through. Don't want to use nukes (or similar-yield non-nuclear explosives) because you want to investigate the portal or because it's just unfair (because there's no way that a nuke to the face wouldn't work, but a couple of punches and pulls from a Jaeger would)? Fine, just install Jaeger-level weaponry on the dome's inside and slaughter them in a way that suits you (they'll probably adapt to your defences though), and have a nuke at the ready for if it goes wrong. Also make sure to dig the ground underneath the portal away too, and prepare appropriate defences underneath it, to prevent monsters from escaping through the ground.
The resources and engineering needed to build such a facility at the bottom of the ocean would be astronomical, beyond even what the Jaeger program would cost; hell, the sealift capacity required to simply transport the raw materials needed to assemble a two-hundred-meter-thick dome of material strong enough to withstand a nuke alone is staggering. note Even built out of pure titanium, a one centimeter thick and one meter wide slab of two hundred-meter long titanium would weight in at one hundred and eighty metric tons, and building a one meter thick, two hundred tall, and two-hundred long plate of titanium would weigh in at 'three hundred and sixty thousand metric tons. This is for a single slab of two hundred meter long, two hundred meter tall plate. You'll need a hell of a lot of plates to build this structure, with the number increasing astronomically for every meter of open space allowed around the Breach to give your nuke room to work. This is before you start digging deeper under the ocean floor to ensure the Kaiju don't dig out. And the Kaiju aren't just going to sit there and let you build such a facility. If a single Kaiju pops up during the months it would take to build such a facility, the entire project is ruined almost immediately. And no, nukes don't work on Kaiju; the very first Kaiju took three direct nuclear hits to kill according to the novelization. Not to mention we have onscreen evidence of a Kaiju taking a nuke to the face and keeping up with the offensive.
Soldiers on foot
What was the purpose of all those armed soldiers who constantly show up, appear to be in large numbers yet do not seem to serve any real function as they are useless against Kaiju and there is no indictation there is a human threat against the Shatterdomes or Jaegers to justify their presence or carrying more than a sidearm.
Just a guess, but we were shown at least one good sized cult that reveres/worships the Kaiju. It's not too much of a stretch to assume that they might carry out a jihad on the ones responsible for killing their gods.
Take a look at the kind of future we have here. Giant monsters destroy every coastal city they come across, the rich and powerful have homes inland while the poor have to live on the coast, and every time you kill one of these monsters a blue acid seeps into the ground causing death and contaminating the area. Riots would be a very real threat, especially in an area so close to the Shatterdome, and especially on a very populated island near several more highly populated countries with gigantic wealth disparity. Not to mention the Kaiju-worshipping cults that might be trying to wage a holy war on the people who threaten their gods.
There's also the fact that the Shatterdomes are full of equipment, food and other supplies. If they had no security, looters, thieves and rioters would ransack the place, especially given the wealth disparity we've seen. It is still a Military Installation and Guards are still necessary to keep the peace.
Re-applying Jaeger technology
Wouldn't people have found other applications for Jaeger technology? Perhaps in construction maybe? Or was it just more dramatic to see workers fighting over jobs at the wall.
The workers are cheaper. The world's resources and industrial capabilities were put to their limit, if building more Jaegers for defense wasn't considered a viable option anymore, then building the hundreds of Jaegers necessary for construction (even smaller, less complex ones) would be out of the question. Plus, the Wall was in big part a propaganda vehicle to make the population feel good, so it makes sense that giving lots of blue collar work would be part of the plan.
Jaegers don't exactly seem to be precision machines. Using a giant like that might be like using a baseball bat to make an incision.
I don't know, Gipsy could take that fishing boat and then place it safely again in the water, without crushing it. That shows a pretty good level of precision for a machine of that size. Jaeger tech certainly will be repurposed for civilian purposes after the world recovers.
Some of it probably already is with The Wall, no way you could build something that size and length so quickly without considerable technological advancement somewhere along the line. Either in the Rn D, logistics, or industrial output even if not the building itself. I bet some spin-off technology is in place there somewhere.
How did they get back through the Rift?
At the end, how did Mako and Becket's escape pods get back through the Breach without a bit of Kaiju to let them through like they did on the way in?
It's possible the Rifts only worked that way for something going in from our world, as a safety measure so we couldn't throw a bomb in (you know, like how they planned). They probably never figured anyone would figure out how to get in to begin with.
The Rift was falling apart as they were heading back, so perhaps the "software" scanning for DNA was one of the first bits to go, allowing them to pass.
Also, Slattern's corpse was still floating around in there, keeping the door open.
Or maybe the aliens had a second failsafe that caused the Rift to automatically propel Earth-native DNA on their side back through to its planet of origin. Could be that a wounded kaiju'd returned home for repairs on a previous occasion and dragged a bunch of pesky marine bacteria along with it, that they didn't want to have to fumigate their base for again.
Why sacrifice the most successful Jaeger?
Why wasn't the original plan to detonate Gipsy Danger or Cherno Alpha? Both are older-model nuclear powered Jaegers capable of collapsing the Rift when detonated, but instead Pentecost decides to strap a nuke to his most successful Kaiju killing machine and drop that into the hole instead while the "walking nuclear reactors" run escort? Surely it should have been the other way around, with Striker Eureka defending Gipsy?
Because the ideal plan was for all four of the Jaegers to get in, drop the bomb, then get out again — you don't sacrifice a whole, functional giant killer robot if you can avoid it. Also, Striker is not only the most successful Jaeger, but it's specifically noted as the fastest — it has a better chance of getting in, dropping the bomb, and getting out than the older, slower models.
Really, the failure of Mako and Raleigh's first Drift is the catalyst for the whole plan degenerating and falling apart — if it had gone well, Gipsy would've joined Cherno and Typhoon to intercept Leatherback and Otachi, and a 3-on-2 fight in the Jaegers' favor would've ended a lot differently. This would've led to them being able to launch the final assault with double the strength, and sooner (less lengthy repairs on Gipsy and Striker), meaning they might have made it to the Rift when only the two Category 4s were out (making it a 4 on 2 fight), or maybe even before they popped out.
Pretty sure the original plan was for Striker to jump into the hole on a one way trip to deliver the bomb, with the pilots ejecting afterwards (if possible). Striker actually would have jumped into the hole if Newt hadn't shown up in time to stop it. It was definitely a one way trip for the Jaeger in question, so why voluntarily blow up your best one? Tactically speaking, the carrier can only move as fast as its escorts; there's no point in outrunning your escorts, especially if you're running toward the place where the alien monsters are crawling out of.
At that point, the plan was one of desperation — it was two Jaegers vs. two Category 4 Kaiju, on the Kaiju's turf and in an environment where the Kaiju hold the advantage. At that point, with the plan such that it was, the best option was believed to be to just rush the portal and get the bomb in there at all cost before the Kaiju killed them. If they'd been there sooner, with the other two Jaeger, actually killing the Kaiju and having the extra time to set up the bomb would've been feasible.
And it's not about outrunning your escorts — it's about getting there with the escorts, then rushing to the portal while the escorts keep the Kaiju busy. A running back is a faster sprinter than a lineman. The linemen only have to create an opening and tie up the defense, not keep up with the running back down the length of the field.
Sure, if sending your runner to run straight at the opposing defensive line with no backup sounds like a good idea to you. An analogy isn't even needed to prove this one. In the film, Striker Eureka took point and headed straight for the Rift while Gipsy held back. Look who ended up creating an opening for who? Effectively, Striker did end up running escort for Gipsy, which is what the plan should have been the entire time. I think the "plan" was just a big plot excuse by the writers to give Striker a nuke.
Your football analogy doesn't hold up. Not only do giant robots underwater not have anything near the level of agility possessed by athletes, the end zone is also where the bad guys are coming from and defending from, and the play was to have the carrier head straight at them ahead of the backup.
I have to ask it, why was it absolutely necessary that Striker was the one carrying and deploying the bomb? A much more tactically sound strategy would be to have your best Jaegers to keep the defenses busy and leave the path free for the weakest one to use the bomb.
Because, again, Striker was the fastest. Priority One was to get the bomb to the Rift. You don't give that job to the weakest link in the chain. If all else failed, that bomb still had to get to the Rift, and your best chance of that happening is to give it to your best man.
Not to belabor the analogy, but in football, you don't give the ball to the worst athlete on the team, you give it to the best, the fastest. The runner might well be a solid hitter in his own right (like a fullback), but if he's the fastest one on the field, he gets the ball and everyone else goes blocking for him.
Yeah, and if they actually put their best Jaeger on escort, doing the job of killing Kaiju, as it was originally designed for and most successful at, not only would the plan have a much smaller chance of failing, they'd have saved themselves a nuke as well. Seems to me that it was just a plot excuse to give Striker nuclear capabilities.
Striker WASN'T the best Jaeger, it was the FASTEST — i.e. the most athletic.
Fastest and most powerful without sacrificing any of the armor other Jaegers have. Also the most successful at killing Kaiju with 11 kills, as well as being the most technologically advanced and modern. Objectively the best.
You're missing a key point: What happened at the ending was not the original plan. What happened at the end was a desperate rush to get the bomb to the Rift before the Kaiju killed both Jaegers. The original plan — where it would've been 3 Jaeger escorting Striker against two Kaiju at most, would have gone a lot differently.
OP here. I'll buy that explanation, but you have to admit that Pentecost isn't much of a tactician if he didn't switch tactics given the new circumstances, with the original plan seemingly having a weak, if any, backup strategy in event of failure.
Even the best tactician can only work with what he has, and what Pentecost has is two Jaegers, one bomb, a strict time limit, and no support. You go to war with the army you have, not the army you want. He doesn't have a back-up strategy in the event of failure because he is throwing literally all he has into this last ditch effort.
He has 2 Jaegers, one of which doubles as a bomb. He straps his bomb to the Jaeger that doesn't double as a bomb, which is a valid decision, since it makes both Jaegers walking bombs. But given that his goal is to throw one bomb down the hole, and that giving up one Jaeger is necessary, choosing to give up the one better at killing Kaiju doesn't seem to be the best choice, given that they were both at the hole and ready to jump. Of course, Pentecost was piloting Striker at the time; maybe he had a death wish?
As it is, Striker ended up escorting Gipsy, which was the most effective plan, and what the plan should have been from the start when there were 2 Jaegers left. You do go into battle with the army you have, but not without revising your plans first in light of new circumstances.
Prior to the Hong Kong attack, their plan seemed to have factored in the possibility of facing three Category 4 Kaijus at the point of the drop. It's likely that they might have considered none of the Jaegers would make it back alive, given that Category 4s have regularly trounced them. Pentecoste even told Striker to hold back against Otachi, despite having the support of Crimson and Cherno, which meant that they knew about the relative power level of Category 4s against the older models. When all four Jaegers have a risk to be blown up completely, it's best to give the payload to the fastest one and hope that it makes it into the Rift before it's caught. It's pretty obvious Stacker doesn't like this plan either, but as he said; he doesn't have much to work with. The whole revelation that the Kaijus were tactically aware of their plan now just made everything a whole lot worse, which is why Stacker ordered the attack as soon as possible.
The plan wasn't to detonate Cherno or Gipsy because the plan wasn't to detonate any Jeagers at all. The plan was to get the nuke to the Rift and send it into it. The release was damaged in the fight — they detonated the nuke while it was still strapped to Striker because there was no way for them to get the nuke OFF Striker.
What was he saying?
What was Yancy saying to Raleigh right before he died? His sentence is "Raleigh, listen to me! You have to..." and then he dies. First, why was he talking at all, considering they're in Drift together; second of all, what could Raleigh do that Yancy couldn't do with him, or for him?
My guess is that Yancy realized Knifehead was about to get him and was trying to break free of the Drift to insulate Raleigh from the death-shock. He was probably trying to say "You have to let go!".
Pilots talk to each other all the time when they're in Drift, so it's clear that Drift doesn't carry all of your thoughts to the other side. If you have something important to say, you say it out loud. You can't be sure that the Drift will carry that particular thought to the other pilot.
Also, people just do not think in linear, easy-to-understand sentences. The Drift, to me, seemed more about reaching a state of equilibrium where you could move in concert with one another. It may not be as effective for telepathic communication.
Are there no railguns in this universe? If a sword could go through Kaiju skin surely a railgun round could do the same? Maybe next film?
Long-range attacks in general seem to be ineffective against Kaiju — notice how none of the Jaeger use their long range attacks until they've already whacked the Kaiju a few times, or are within swinging distance anyway. Probably they don't use a lot of attacks from long-range is they can't reliably hit the agile Kaiju, at least without causing a lot of collateral damage.
Real Life railguns have a nasty tendency to destroy themselves when fired. The heat from the projectile is so immense that it melts the rails that propelled it, preventing any repeat shots. They're basically multi-million-dollar throw-away weapons at this point.
Gipsy Danger has a plasma caster on its arm. Heat probably isn't an issue. Even so, a wieldable flintlock-style railgun would go well with Gipsy Danger's "gunslinger" design. Maybe this should be a WMG entry...
Poor countries with Jaegers
How can countries like Chile and Peru afford Jaegers?
I don't think they could. While rich industrialized countries were able to build Jaegers by themselves (there was a level of collaboration between goverments, though), the ones in the Lima and Panama Shatterdomes most likely were made as joint efforts between the nations of Central and South America. One of the points during the intro narration was that the Kaiju menace was so grave that pretty much everybody forgot whatever grievances they may had in the past and joined together into building stuff that could punch Cthulhu and tell him to be squamous elsewhere.
Also, you'd be surprised what a country on full war footing can put out when it needs to.
Jaegers became really popular before Category 4 appeared, so building one would be a very effective way to bring tourists to your country, not to mention a politician could in theory earn a lot of popularity by having something to protect the country from a Kaiju, even if the Kaiju don't necessarily focus on those countries, so they would want to invest in one of them.
Also, Chile can't afford not to have at least one; they would ideally prefer to have several, considering that as a country they consist almost entirely of Pacific coastal real estate and stuff within a few hours of Pacific coastal real estate.
The PPDC is an international organization that is jointly funded by every member nation. Presumably, the wealthier nations chip in to help the poorer ones with funding and whichever country hosts the construction and provides the pilots is chosen before production by The Omniscient Council of Vagueness. Otherwise every other Jaeger would be of American manufacture. (Assuming the opinion of the US Government was "we finally have something to sink our defense budget into that no one can bitch about!")
The country of the Jaeger just denotes where it was built. The PPDC is composed of a nation that's pooled their resources and manpower. There's no guarantee that a Japanese Jaeger would be constructed by Japanese people either, just that it was built in Japan. Global cooperation might be hard to comprehend for some, but in this movie that was the case.
Multinational corporations with interests in the less-affluent Pacific Rim nations might have funded some of the construction projects, too. Even a Corrupt Corporate Executive isn't going to place profit-margins ahead of preservation of the human race, and getting to brag about how your company's Jaegar saved Guayaquil or Manila is bound to boost your brand image.
Bury the Rift
Related to something mentioned above, but I think it deserves its own entry, why not take the Stargate approach and just bury the Rift?
That'd fail for the same reason the wall idea did.
They even state earlier in the film that they have tried before to close or bury the Rift, but have failed since it must be closed from the other side.
Where were the A-10s? The only aircraft shown fighting Kaiju were fighters and helicopters, but A-10s are perfect for the task; they're armed with ideal anti-armor weaponry, and speed and maneuverability are a non-issue because until Otachi and Leatherback none of the Kaiju have any anti-air capabilities.
A-10s are probably just too small. Heck, at the scales we're talking about, Jaeger punches probably carry a greater force per square inch than Gau-8 rounds.
The A-10s were offscreen with all of the other military hardware that fought the Kaijus and were only able to put down the weakest ones after six days of constant assault.
The GAU-8 shoots a projectile that weighs about 400g at 1000 m/s, with a projectile diameter of 30mm. Kinetic energy is Ke = 0.5mv2, and penetration is defined by Ke per unit area. Both the GAU-8 and modern Kinetic Penetrators from artillery/tanks have far more penetration capability that even the largest Kaiju could manage. (Kaiju attacks are based on huge mass, which can smash through defenses, but have very small penetration rating. Similar math applies to Jaeger physical attacks. Think of the different in penetration of a baseball bat vs a pen knife.) Outside of magic, there's no way any biological protection could defend against this type of attack. That said, given the size of the Kaiju, it's entirely possible that these weapons couldn't do sufficient damage once penetrating the hide of the Kaiju to cause it any substantial harm (think: poking a human with a small needle).
Considering that the Kaiju were created by a species that has been around for quite literally tens of millions of years and is capable of interdimensional travel, it is entirely possible that yes, there is some kind of biological protection capable of resisting modern anti-armor rounds thanks to the simple fact that their technology is so far beyond humanity's. So, yes, magic, for a given definition of "magic."
A-10 weapons were not penetrating, just like every other conventional weapon used on the Kaiju. The first Kaiju tanked everything the US military threw at it for a week straight. The GAU-8 simply was not getting through, just like everything else they used.
They are probably at the bottom of the ocean having been thrown against the Kaiju at the very, very, very beginning of the first incursion because they were seen as being the perfect tool for the job. We don't see them because in all probability, they didn't survive the encounter.
It's right there in the movie's tagline: Go Big or Go Extinct. Anything smaller than a Jaeger would be crushed or knocked aside by a Kaiju. You need something that can match the Kaiju in mass and able to lock it down in physical combat to prevent it from hitting a city. Anything too small would fail at that objective. Not to mention that, up until 2020, the giant Jaegers were winning the war, so the "build it big" design mentality was working.
Square/Cube Law means that anything of that size is going to have to be so tough that nothing short of a nuclear weapon would even scratch it. It wouldn't even notice a GAU-8 being fired at it.
Tiny Ocean or Fast Kajiu
I don't recall the exact numbers, but I believe that during the attacks on both Anchorage and Hong Kong, the heroes had about an hour heads up after a Kajiu came through the Rift. While the movie doesn't provide the exact location of the Rift, Anchorage and Hong Kong are about 5000 miles or 8000 kilometers apart. Which means the Kajiu would have traveled at least 8000 km in about two hours. Do they have a swimming speed of Mach 4 or what?
Indeed, the Kaiju are really fast in the water. The very first fight has the fishing crew track the Kaiju by radar, and see it get a mile closer every two seconds.
The novelization puts the Breach somewhere in the bottom of the Challenger Deep.
It's Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale again. Nothing the size of a Kaiju can travel that fast in water — hydrodynamic drag increases geometrically with speed. The only thing that can travel underwater that fast is still-experimental supercavitating rocket torpedoes (which actually are missiles, underwater), and they depend on a specialized rocket motor and extreme streamlining to create a "bubble" of air around the torpedo, effectively flying underwater. This kind of thing is categorically impossible to do with something the size of a Kaiju, something with the hydrodynamics (i.e. body shape) of one, and something which doesn't use actual rocket propulsion (i.e. "swims" instead). A reasonable speed, assuming the incredible capabilities of the Kaiju, would be 100mph or in water.
Nothing on Earth, via natural evolution or built by modern technology and using our current understanding of physics, anyway. Remember, we're dealing with a specie sthat has been around for at least sixty-five million years and is able to move between dimensions. The Kaiju may well have some capability to move that quickly underwater via a mechanism we don't understand yet. These are Sufficiently Advanced Aliens, after all.
Just as a note: from the Challenger Deep, it's about 3000km to Hong Hong, and 8000km to Anchorage. Which would mean about 20 hours to Hong Kong, and 50+ hours to Anchorage for anything coming out of the Deep.
I'd like to know how you came up with those estimates, considering we have no idea of how fast the Kaiju can swim.
3000 km divided by 20 hours equals 150 km per hour. That's 93.2057 MPH or less than the the reasonable estimate give above.
The movie does not match this estimate. We see right at the beginning that a Kaiju was able to cover three miles in the span of about five seconds going by the dialogue on the fishing boat. That's 36 miles per minute, and 2,160 MPH. So it would take a Kaiju less than four hours to reach Anchorage from the Challenger Deep. They can swim really fast.
That speed makes no sense. That's several times the speed of sound. If Kaijus could swim that fast, their would create Tidal waves behind them. The boat would've been destroyed before Knifehead ever even got his head out of the water, from the water he'd be pushing. Heck, he'd displace so much water the sonar the boat uses would not work properly.
And, of course, the explanation could be that they just have bad sensors. Or the Kaiju are somehow extremely stealthy/hard to follow.
As you said. Big ocean. They probably just have sensors pointed at the Rift to alert them of an incoming Kaiju, assuming those weren't destroyed by said incoming Kaiju, and near each city to alert them of imminent attack.
I just re-watched the Hong Kong briefing and the exact dialogue is: "The Breach was exposed at 2300 hours." And later: "They'll reach Hong Kong within the hour." So we know that Otachi and Leatherback came through the Breach at 11 PM and that they're about an hour away from Hong Kong during the briefing. We don't know at what time the briefing is held, though. For all we know, the briefing is at 2 AM and the Kaiju have been swimming for three hours and are still an hour away.
I also have the Pacific Rim novel on hand, which explains tracking the Kaiju pretty well. I quote: "Even though observing the Kaiju was a piece of cake at first — they always came from the same place, so Tendo was guaranteed to get a good look at them right off the bat — keeping track of them in the open ocean was a lot harder. They were fast and their silicon-based anatomy meant they didn't have a thermal signature that showed up against the deep-ocean background. Radar worked well at close range, but the Pacific Ocean was big enough that nobody could get complete real-time radar coverage at the depths the Kaiju occupied."
Were the Jaegers really that expensive?
Let's do some math here. Start with a US Zumwalt-class destroyer. Those are already pretty darn high-tech, and weigh about 14,000 tons (7x as heavy as a Jaeger). They cost about $7 billion, counting R&D costs. Let's assume that Jaegers are 7x as expensive as a Zumwalt per weight, and therefore cost the same per unit. The essentially peacetime US air force's B-2 fleet alone is worth 6 of those.
Given that, how could a wartime US with exactly one major weapons program only have 3 Jaegers, instead of building the entire listed fleet twice over just by itself? And how could a skyscraper-sized wall several thousand miles long possibly be cheaper?
We don't know exactly how much damage the early Kaiju did before they were stopped. It took a week to stop the first one, throwing everything short of nukes at it, which means that a lot of regular military assets had to be replaced due to being trashed, plus infrastructure and regular rebuilding (and I imagine most insurance companies would cite force majeure when asked to pay out, so up to the government and private enterprise to make good), plus loss of land which was too contaminated to reuse or the costs in even trying to decontaminate it... Plus lots of things I probably can't even imagine in hidden costs. Then further early attacks all over the place before someone said "you know what, lets try plan Voltron". I can see that bill running into several trillion dollars. Then once you have the Jaegers, you have R'n'D, but also training costs, maintenance costs, repair costs (which is not the same as maintenance costs), weapons refueling, transport costs (jeez how much must it cost to transport those things!?), various support costs for the Jaegers and its associated personnel. Then the damn Kaiju get stronger than the Jaegers and no matter what you do they just keep getting more and more trashed, and there is less and less in the economy to spend it on because half the population is living in shanty towns and everything is starting to collapse because the entire economy is slowly grinding to a halt due to knock on effects. Then someone says "lets just build a wall instead with the money we spend on this fleet of robots and once it is up, then it is up and we won't be constantly paying out. Maybe with the security of a wall we can get the economy going again. It'll pay for itself within 30 years", and it probably seemed like a good idea at the time because it has turned into a war of attrition and those things really kill economies.
The bottleneck seemed to be with obtaining the materials necessary to construct Jaegers, with each one being pretty much filled to the brim with machinery, along with other requirements. That said, Jaegers did seem much more viable than building a solid wall around the coastline.
The problem with those calulations is that we have absolutely no idea how much the Jaegers cost. You say "7x as expensive as a Zumwalt per weight" but in reality could be "700x as expensive as a Zumwalt per weight". Again, we have no idea. Bear in mind that the entire world was united in building those machines, which (together with the damage done by the Kaiju) left the world's economy in ruin, to the point that the norm is that people work for food. They are probably a LOT more expensive than you think.
Supplimentary material states that Striker Eureka cost approximately $100 billion, or as much as the International Space Station. Countries generally have no problem racking up and maintaining debt; China and Japan, for example, have been in perpetual debt for decades, and the current US debt acrued over just 13 years could buy 165+ Strikers. I doubt money would be much of an issue, especially with extinction on the line.
It might be possible sure... but even with the Zumwalt, the US only plans on building 3. THREE! Iowa-class battleships? 4 were made. Just because a country CAN doesn't mean it will or even should — dumping everything into the Jaegar might very well mean there's no budget left over to do anything else... like look for other options or encourage advancement in research.
A Jaeger is a fully functional combat robot armed with state of the art weaponry, god-knows how many servomotors and joints, some kind of on-board nuclear powerplant, a delicate on-board neural interface, and experimental technologies such as plasma cannons. That's not accounting for the hundreds of crews in it's maintenance bay, the cost of maintaining specialized Shatterdome launch bays for each one's deployment, frequent replacement parts, and the amount of spotter helicopters for it. As advanced as the Zumwalt might seem to us, it's little more than a floating brick with a fancy gun welded to it compared to the technological mess that is a Jaeger. It's part of the reason why we don't have combat robots right now; they're doable, just that the production and maintenance costs alone doesn't justify their deployment. The Kaijus justified those costs.
Electronics don't work that way....
So let me get this straight, apparently because Gipsy Danger is running off a Nuclear reactor and "analog" it's immune to Electromagnetic Pulses? Did the writers not do research? EM Pulses wreck ANY electronics. Also, the fact the EMP knocked out Hong Kong's power grid and disabled a Jaeger would mean that the electronics in the Jaeger would have been permanently fried. That little bit just irked me. And shouldn't have the EMP done something to the pilots as well? I know the human body is more chemically-controlled than electronically-controlled, but still. That would not be pleasant to get whacked by at all.
Arguably, since Gipsy had a nuclear reactor (and wasn't one of the hastily made 1st gen Jaegers), it would have been shielded pretty well against radiation. And no, an EMP pulse would not harm a person in any significant way, or even be felt like you think it would. People get exposed to pretty powerful sources of electromagnetic radiation every day due to medical MRI scans, and as far as I know there is no evidence that magnetic fields produce any sort of damage to biological tissue.
The EMP did electrocute the pilots as it occurred, or maybe that's was just strain from neurally feeling their Jaeger's electrical systems fluctuate. Either way, it did a bit to them.
Remember, we're dealing with aliens with strange and unusual technology. It is entirely possible that it wasn't actually a typical EMP, but rather something more exotic. Note how all of Hong Kong's power systems seem to remain online; the only thing really affected by the burst were the Jaeger systems and the Shatterdome. It is possible that the burst only affected Striker Eureka and the Shatterdome's own power/electrical systems, so it possible that the weapon that was used was specifically tailored to target Mark IV Jaegers and the Shatterdome's C&C systems. In that case, an older model Jaeger might be immune due the layout of its electrical grid and power source.
The "Gipsy is nuclear... analog" line made no sense to me, but Gipsy being immune to an EMP made sense because nuclear reactors put off a lot of radiation (I don't know if that includes electromagnetic or not), but presumably that makes its electronics well-shielded.
"Nuclear/analog" line aside, it's possible that early Jaegers were EMP-hardened, but the builders stopped bothering somewhere between Gipsy's construction date and Striker's because they'd never seen an EMP attack out of a Kaiju and we'd stopped nuking them by then. If Cherno and Crimson hadn't already been destroyed, they might have survived the EMP too.
More likely, the early Jaegers were probably EMP-hardened because at that stage we were regularly still throwing nukes at the Kaiju as weapons of last resort. Obviously, that stopped when the wall policy came into being, so the most modern Jargers dispensed with what was seen as an expensive-yet obsolete bit of tech. The EMP defense was probably ditched in the name of cost-saving.
I took "analogue" to mean the pilot-Jaeger interface. If memory serves, in the prologue, Yancy and Raleigh have their legs connected directly to a gear system, which means analogue (no computer interface) while Striker was maybe connected to the pilots via sensors (digital interface) which would have been fried by the EMP. Coupled with Gypsy's system shielding against its own reactor, it makes sense to me that Gypsy would be functional.
Why stop building Jaegers?
Striker Eureka was completed in 2019, before Category 4 Kaiju began coming out of the Breach. The PPDC cutting funding to the Jaeger Program citing "losing Jaegers faster than they can be built" is entirely wrong, since they weren't building Jaegers at all. Knifehead only emerges in 2020, a full year after Striker Eureka's completion. Isn't the halting of Jaeger construction the ultimate sign of complacency?
Perhaps they were referring to repairing destroyed Jaegers, or they were so busy repairing that they didn't have time to make new ones. Presumably it's easier to fix the old Jaeger than to build a new one from scratch.
Gipsy Danger was left in Oblivion Bay until 2023, 4 years after Striker Eureka's launch. The news segments also show several other Jaegers just left as scrap where they were disabled, with no new ones replacing them.
They could very well have reached a point where they simply couldn't maintain any more Jaegers, especially when the Jaegers were winning the war. After Knifehead's appearance, the resources that would have gone into building new Jaegers were being funneled into simply keeping the intact ones in repair, and from there into the Wall.
Perhaps after Striker Eureka was completed, the PPDC thought that they had enough Jaegers for the time being. We know of roughly two dozen Jaegers, and the Kaiju weren't showing up at such a rapid pace around 2019/2020. If there's only one Kaiju attack every few months, do you really need 50 Jaegers? Plus, you still need to maintain the entire Jaeger fleet. The novelization does state that a Mark V-E Jaeger was in development around 2024 but had its funding cut.
Mako and the Right Plasma Cannon
During the RABIT fiasco, Mako inadvertently activates Gipsy Danger's right plasma cannon. But she's on the left side, so how is she activating the right? Other scenes in the cockpit show the pilot only controls their respective arm, and uses their other arm to handle the control panel.
Other scenes in the cockpit also show that the Jaegers mimic the exact actions of the pilot(s), e.g. walking, swinging a club, etc. Mako using her right arm to do what happened to be the activation gesture for the right plasma cannon would activate the right plasma cannon, her trauma-induced increased brain activity negating and overriding Raleigh's inputs to the system.
During the fight in Hong Kong, Raleigh offers to remain in position to hold Otachi's tail while Mako uses both her arms to vent the coolant. He's on the right side then but controlling the left arm on his own, so presumably pilots can temporarily override their partner's control of the other half for brief periods without brain damage.
The artbook mentions that Crymson Typhoon operated by having two of the triplets moving the Jaeger, while the the third acts as a gunner until the Thundercloud Formation is engaged. Of course it could be something specific to the Chinese Jaeger, but it could be that the Jaeger's co-pilot (which IIRC is a term used in the movie for both Mako and Herc Hansen) normally operates all the weapons systems.
It's not that each pilot controls one side of the Jaegar exclusively, it's that each pilot uses one side of his or her brain to link up to the Drift. The reason the Jaegars need multiple pilots is because having both of a person's cerebral hemispheres linked at the same time causes too much brain damage; linking just half the cerebrum allows the unaffected side to take up the slack when the Drifting half gets over-strained. When the pilots call out that they're "left side" or "right side", they're talking about their own brains, not the Jaegar's systems. If anything, Mako using her "left side" would give her more fine control over the right arm than her partner has, because the human cerebrum is contralateral: your left hemisphere controls your right side and vice versa.
Definitely Just Animals
Before Newt's first Drift, had it not been considered before that the Kaiju are created? Each one looks different from the rest, which suggests an artistry involved and would have hinted to the commissioners of the Wall that the beasts simply won't be deterred like any other wild animal.
Earth has many animals that look different from each other. There are people who believe they were created with artistry involved. Those people are called creationists. Scientists as a whole tend to believe in biodiversity and evolution as general rules for why not all living creatures look the same.
It's only later when he has enough samples to look into their genetic makeup that he realizes that all Kaiju have the same DNA, and immediately considers the possibility that they're manufactured.
I don't think all the kaiju have the same DNA. If they did, they'd probably look a lot more similar to each other. Newt points out a specific example of two kaiju with the same DNA. I mean, Otachi had wings. If all the kaiju had the same DNA, that shouldn't have worked.
Maybe they would've been very similar if allowed to grow naturally from a single cell, but having the same genome doesn't mean they can't be sculpted and put together in many different shapes and still function.
But Earth's animals look different because they're different species, and it's observable that their individuals look alike. But the Kaiju are one species and yet are always different, and many of their structures veer more towards Rule of Cool than practicality (what did Trespasser need that giant bone mohawk for?) If the Kaiju had really evolved, then there should have been a repeat species at some point, and if there was competition to get through the Rift, then only the strongest Kaiju should be getting through. But that none of that was happening should have been a hint.
Sorry if all the Kaiju looked the same to you, even though the director explicitly went out of his way to pick different designs for each one. There were only 46 confirmed Kaiju attacks by the end of the film, so it's not exactly a large sample size to base judgement on. There are definitely more than 46 species of animal (or even dinosaur) on Earth to choose from without worrying about repeats.
Trespasser has a mohawk for the same reason a giraffe has a long neck, a hammerhead shark has a flat head, a triceratops has a flange and 3 horns coming out the top of its head, and a swordfish has a pointy head. Out of context it's hard to guess what it's for, but it's reasonable to assume that it's there for an evolutionary reason.
Remember, nobody knew that there was competition among Kaiju. Even so, each time they weren't pitting the same pool of Kaiju types since each one was individually built. Assuming you didn't know that to begin with, and didn't know that Kaiju were genetically identical, seeing a different type of Kaiju each time isn't very surprising, especially given that you don't know where they came from or why they're here.
I didn't say the Kaiju look all the same. The point of my argument is derived from that they all look different. And with a bit of observation, one can easily guess what those animal functions are for. A hammerhead's wide head gives it a wider range of vision. A triceratops' frill and horns are for defense. Swordfish's sword is a weapon. Giraffe's long neck gives it a good view and keeps its head from being targeted by predators. But the Kaiju have structures that don't have much of a practical purpose, like the mohawk and Tron Lines and thus suggest at an artistic reason for including them.
You said it yourself. The triceratops' frill and horns are weapons for defense. The swordfish's sword is a weapon. Trespasser's 'mohawk', as you say, or 'axe' , as most people would call it, is a weapon. Trespassers take their axe heads and ram them into their targets to injure or disable them (see how Knifehead uses his knifehead to assist in chopping off Gipsy Danger's arm). The axe heads are key to eliminating other competing Trespassers and finding a good mate as the size of the axe is an important criteria to females. Is that so hard to wrap your head around that giant creatures can have bodily weapons and odd-looking features as well? If you can accept that animals have evolution-granted weapons, then you should be able to accept that if you assumed that Kaiju were naturally occurring animals, them having bodily weapons isn't an oddity at all.
As for the 'Tron Lines', take your pick of bio-luminescent animal. Firefly? Lantern fish? Other deep sea animal that not only gives light , but can also flash different patterns and colors? Are those designed? (seriously though, look up those deep sea animals, some really freaky things going on with them)
When scientists see new species that aren't like the rest, the first step they usually take is to classify them into the hierarchy of living creatures. They usually don't stop to consider that maybe they were created by some higher being. So to answer your question, no, nobody considered that Kaiju were created by some higher being from the observations 'no two Kaiju out of 46 look the same', and 'Kaiju have 'weird' body features (by your standards)'.
Actually, upon further thought, to answer your question, yes, before Newt's first Drift, it was considered that Kaiju were created. See that Kaiju cult in Hong Kong? Those are the guys you're looking for.
I must say, it is a bit odd that it took so much time for someone to consider that the Kaiju weren't just animals and were operating under somebody's commands. I mean, the Kaiju basically A) burst out the Breach, and then B) proceed to swim straight to a heavily populated city and begin to trash it. After a handful of attacks it would be pretty evident that a very specific and unnatural pattern of behavior was going on with the creatures.
Or that they're attacking the cities for the same reason a platypus will zero in on and try to eat a battery hidden in the gravel at the bottom of its tank: they're sensitive to electricity and target whatever's around them that's emitting the most.
And that they're developing abilities to combat Jaegers. It can't be just mere evolution at work to counter a "predator", because none of the kaiju live to propagate their kind and thus induce natural selection.
Possibly confirmation bias at play combined with institutional embarrassment. You start off by saying that they are naturally evolved, and because there would be a massive kerfuffle given how many people get het up about normal evolution, a lot of egos get pinned to the acceptance of Kaiju evolution so every time a new Kaiju shows up everyone looks for a way to support the Kaiju natural evolution hypothesis. Then those weirdo Kaiju cultists show up, and anyone who suggests that Kaiju might not be natural gets labeled as one of those. Between the two attitudes, people just unconsciously ignore any other possibility that Kaiju natural evolution because only unscientific abnormal people believe anything else.
Perhaps there might be some institutional embarrassment at work, judging by Gottlieb's "That's impossible" retorts, but it still doesn't seem far-fetched for a decent scientist then to ask: "How are the Kaiju evolving abilities to combat Jaegers? None of them survive to produce offspring, so there's no chance of passing on advantageous traits or fighting experience, yet they're passing them along anyway." It may not lead them to the theory of "the Kaiju are created", but it might put it back on the table.
This section of the discussion is completely irrelevant since this is after Newt's first Drift you're talking about, when Kaiju with EMPs and acid sacks start appearing, after he's Drifted with the Kaiju hivemind and found out that Kaiju are built. The Headscratcher was specifically asking why nobody considered the possiblity of Kaiju being created before Newt's first Drift.
EMPs and acid can't have been the only anti-Jaeger weapons mounted on Kaiju. And it's already been confirmed by Beacham that Otachi wasn't the only flying Kaiju. So even before Newt's Drift there may have been other types of anti-Jaeger abilities. Tons of Jaegers had fallen, after all.
Pentecost's contradictory orders
OK, so Otachi and Leatherback are heading for Hong Kong and Crimson Typhoon, Cherno Alpha, and Striker Eureka are deployed to stop them. All well and good, but Pentecost's orders to Herc and Chuck are horribly contradictory. During the briefing in the mission control room, he tells them to "only engage as a final option." While Cherno and Typhoon are being airlifted and Striker is walking into the harbor, Pentecost tells them to "engage at their discretion." So, he tells Herc and Chuck to engage whenever they see fit. And yet when Otachi is roughing up Cherno and Typhoon and Herc wants to engage, Pentecost tells them not to because they need Striker to carry the bomb.
"Engage as a last resort" and "engage at your discretion" aren't actually contradictory instructions. Pentecost was basically saying "engage only if you need to, but I'm leaving it up to you to decide if you need to."
Exactly. But when Herc decides that Striker needs to step in, Pentecost says no. Only after Crimson Typhoon has fallen does Herc defy Pentecost's orders and charge into battle.
Speaking of the bomb, that's another thing that doesn't entirely make sense. Why do they need Striker to carry the bomb? Sure, it's the fastest Jaeger, but I don't see why Gipsy Danger, Cherno Alpha, and Crimson Typhoon wouldn't be capable of carrying the bomb if they had to. Pentecost compromised his own plan. If Striker joined Cherno and Typhoon in the fight from the get-go, maybe they wouldn't have been destroyed and Otachi and Leatherback would've been dealt with much easier. Then, Pentecost would've been able to run the operation as planned: with Striker carrying the bomb and the other three Jaegers running defense.
This is pretty much covered above in the folder "Why sacrifice the most successful Jaeger?". Long story short, they don't want to risk any chance of the Kaiju getting a second's advantage when the Jaegers head to the Breach. The Kaiju are coming out faster and faster, so likewise the fastest Jaeger has the best chance of dodging them and delivering the bomb successfully.
It's just a mistake. People make them
It's also not guaranteed that they would have won at Hong Kong if Striker had gotten in the fight earlier. Otachi was holding its own against two Jaegers, and they two had a chance only because Leatherback had yet to enter the fight. Had Striker fought with them from the beginning, Leatherback might have decided to burst out immediately rather than ambush, and so unleash his EMP earlier.
True, but 3 against 2 offers a better chance of victory than 2 against 2. And perhaps they could've taken out Leatherback before it had a chance to unleash its EMP. Or kill Otachi before being shut down by the EMP. And even then, the EMP wouldn't have affected Cherno. If Gipsy (a Mark III) is immune to the EMP because it's a nuclear Jaeger, then surely the Mark I Cherno Alpha must be immune to it as well.
No one knew about the EMP at the time.
Cherno would be immune, but would now have to fight two Kaiju alone. And we know how that went.
Actually, Cherno wasn't immune to the EMP pulse from Leatherback. So it looks like Cherno was upgraded and "running on digital".
Leatherback used his EMP attack right after destroying Cherno.
Rewatching that scene, its clear that Pentecost is not giving the Jaeger pilots actual tactical orders. He's giving them their roles in the battleplan. Once the battle begins, he gives them tactical orders to hold position. There is no contradiction there, just the difference between pre-battle planning and mid-battle orders.
Wading into the ocean.
What bothers me is that a 300-odd foot Jaeger can wade out ten miles and still be submerged only about half-way. I also would point out Gipsy Danger rising out of the ocean to engage Knifehead. We DO see a large platform that a Jaeger rides upon exiting the Shatterdome, but is it carried along, like a rocket with the treaded platform? Like the platform is propelled and gives the jaeger something to stand on, which raises the question of how a Kaiju and Jaeger stand and fight out at sea?
I'm not the best at looking at naval charts, but this chart (Hong Kong far right) seems to suggest a depth of 45-50 meters is about right, which is 145-165 odd feet give or take. Really, we need a troper who can actually read charts properly to tell us.
The escape pods.
Okay, the Jaeger escape pods fire the crew up to the surface and then deploy flotation devices, which is very useful and makes perfect sense. And then they automatically open out into completely flat rafts with no protection from the elements, which means if the sea is even a little choppy and the crew are even a little injured (quite likely, if they're ejecting), they're going to be swept overboard long before a rescue team can get there.
I rewatched the ending scene, and the hatch on the escape pods very obviously doesn't blow automatically. Mako's hatch does open, but Raleigh's doesn't. Since he is unconscious, logic dictates there there is a manual control for the pilot. Plus, the Jaeger vs Kaiju engagements occured close to the city coastal lines, if needed help would arrive very quickly.
In theory there would always be support craft in the area so it wouldn't have been that long until pick-up. In this case it took a bit longer because they were operating outside of normal conditions.
Jaeger Weapons and Tactics
Throughout the film, we can see from Jaegers which can simply punch Kaiju to Jaegers which (if not on screen, at least in blueprints) can kick, shoot, burn, electrify, freeze, zap and cut down the monsters. But the question is: What is the idea behind some of these attack tactics? Are all them so practical?
In case of Cherno Alpha, the electric punch would be a good option (and should have been the first thing they did as soon as the Kaidanovskies had its metallic hands on Otachi, by the way). But the flamethrower one is another matter - given their massively thick skin, Kaiju don't look vulnerable to fire, specially if they are fighting in the sea. And, more important, why would they want to coat with incendiary gel a Kaiju which is probably going to tackle them while in flames? Let me cite a flavor text from Magic: The Gathering: Fire will eventually destroy a zombie, but a fiery zombie destroys a lot of other things first.
The Jaegers are all pretty damn fireproof (Gipsy looked none the worse after atmospheric re-entry) so I don't think Cherno Alpha, the best-armored of the four remaining Jaegers, would be affected by being tackled by a flaming Kaiju. Cherno actually uses the flamethrower in the novelization and hit Otachi in the face with it. It definitely caused some damage. Cherno wasn't able to capitalize on it because Leatherback immediately jumped it. The flamethrower is described as "searing away the flesh", and if it hits the Kaiju in the eyes, it'll definitely hurt.
I see. About the other weapon, does the novelization say if Cherno used the Z14 electric fists as well? A stunned Otachi would have been an easier opponent.
They use it once but Otachi blocks it and knocks Cherno down.
In the film or in the novelization? In the film, that wasn't a electric attack, but a piston-powered regular punch. It indeed stunned her, but not like 415kv would have done.
In the novel.
In case of Crimson Typhoon, the Thundercloud Formation looks to me like the worst tactic possible against any Kaiju. It seems to consist in pulling out its rotating pincers and slash the Kaiju again and again until it dies, which may be in five cuts or fifty cuts. During that time, as the pincers don't cauterize the wounds, they are inadvertedly spilling loads of Kaiju Blue in the environment with each cut, not to mention the amount that a sliced Kaiju corpse would release. Even worse, the pincers are fragile and easy to be destroyed if the Kaiju grapples the Jaeger mid-process. Given Crimson Typhoon has three arms and a BFG plasmacaster in one of them, why not wrestling the Kaiju with two arms while blasting its guts away with the arm cannon, instead of unnecesarily extending the fight with a dangerous and impractical eskrima exhibition? Gipsy Danger showed against Leatherback how the plasmacaster Gun Fu should look like.
I will agree that what Crimson Typhoon did in the movie doesn't seem like the best applications of its buzzsaws, but I wouldn't say that they're bad weapons. First of all, the Kaiju Blue is toxic, but it can be easily neutralized, as Hannibal Chau demonstrates. So spilling it isn't that much of a problem. Secondly, the buzzsaws pretty much take the place of regular punches as the best way to wear the Kaiju out. Crimson Typhoon's spindly arms don't look very suitable for punching. And the cuts it inflicted on Otachi didn't seem all that severe. Crimson Typhoon likely cuts the Kaiju up a little, weakening it and slowing it down so they can use their plasmacaster on it, which, while being more powerful than Gipsy Danger's, takes a lot longer to charge (+/- 7 seconds) so they can't afford to miss. The Kaiju has to be severely injured and slowed down for Crimson Typhoon's plasmacaster to work properly.
Hannibal and his men wore HAZMAT suits. The Kaiju Blue is possible to neutralize, but the cleaning is costly — remember the news showing miles of terrain posioned by the blood. About Crimson Typhoon, your explanation looks plausible, but the idea behind Crimson and its features still puzzling. Equiping a speedster Jaeger with a low rate BFG looks to me like equiping a ninja with a backpack howitzer. Lighter, faster plasmacasters like Gipsy's would have more sense in Crimson Typhoon than a giant, slow one.
The news footage was from the second Kaiju attack, though. That's like 10 years before the movie's events. They're likely a lot better at cleaning it up by now. And if you compare the charge time of Gipsy's plasmacasters against Knifehead and against Leatherback, you'll see a big improvement. Gipsy's wasn't originally that fast either.
I'm kind of curious about the control systems, after reading something that mentioned Pacific Rim in terms of "controlling giant robots through interpretive dance." Seems to me that there's something more going on under the hood there than we're shown on screen... Has it been confirmed that the Jaegers are controlled through physical controls, or is it a direct neural connection and the pilots are in those bitchin' free-motion harnesses because acting out the motions plays better on camera and, presumably, helps focus the mind on the correct motions? At the very least, it'd explain why trying to solo a Jaeger tends to nuke the brain.
The latter. Word of God states that the Drifting system is based on pre-existing DARPA tech that was to be used to mind control fighter jets. The whole things isn't just to control the robots, but even more importantly to provide the pilots with a sense of propiception, allowing them to "feel" the body of the Jaeger and have spatial awareness.
Kaiju Blue Meta
From a storytelling perspective, why does Kaiju Blue exist? It doesn't seem to have any relevance to the plot at all.
Foreshadowing the fact that there was something behind the Kaiju. In-universe, the Kaiju Blue is intended as both a last-ditch poison and terraforming chemical, softening up the indigenous population and making the world a little bit more hospitable for the Masters at the same time. It's a bit suspicious that supposedly natural creatures would have such a defense mechanism. Because, of course, they're not natural.
It's also another explanation for why the military can't use conventional weapons to kill the Kaiju, because even if they succeed they'll just end up blowing toxic radiation everwhere.
How does Raleigh end up on the Wall in only five years? Raleigh and Yancey must have been in service at least a couple of years to rack up 5 kills (Kaiju only came though every couple of months at that point, and presumably only one in every two or three at the most entered Gipsy's territory), and Jaeger pilots presumably make a lot of money, since they are so rare and important. How could Raleigh blow through his reserves that fast?
Sports stars (which Jaeger pilots are, in many ways, just crossed with firefighters writ large) have been known to suffer similar financial blunders after losing their careers to injury. Not to mention that Raleigh was also deeply depressed due to losing his brother, which could have easily led him to making a number of stupid financial decisions. And finally, for all we know he was still filthy rich, and just worked on the Wall because he wanted to do something to fight the Kaiju, and didn't think he could pilot a Jaeger.
Nothing suggests that Jaeger pilots make a lot of money. They became famous, yes, but I can't imagine they were earning more money than a semi-high-ranking official in the military. This is not a friendly sports game. They're fighting to protect humanity from certain destruction. I imagine monetary gain would not be something that the cadets thought about when they signed up for the Jaeger Academy.
It's not a friendly sports game, but it was treated as such far more than it should have been. Jaeger Pilots were superstars, with merchandising and talk show appearances. If they weren't making decent amounts of money off that, then they all had terrible agents.
They don't have agents. They're military personnel. The Jaegers are military equipment. They're "rockstars" in the sense that they're propaganda tools, but they're not going to get royalties off Jaeger-related merchandise anymore than a tanker is going to get money off a LEGO tank being sold. Any money made off of Jaeger-related merchandising is going straight back to either the Jaeger program itself or the countries that built the Jaegers.
Take astronauts, for example. They make public appearances, get interviewed, and there are thousands of space shuttle toys. Do you think they're inherently rich? Toss in the fact they're in a Crapsack World and it's even less likely.
The world's economy is hinted to be going to pieces, hence by the abundance of "work for food" jobs seen instead of "work for pay". Even a rich person may find their wealth draining quickly in a terrible economy. Raleigh's had five years to go broke, and isn't qualified for other jobs that would pay as well as his old one.
It is not said that he ended working on the wall out of financial distress. It might have been a choice to distance himself from the death of his brother and drown his grief under hard physical work.
I wonder if Jaeger pilots can be held accountable for any property damage they caused, especially if said damage could have been averted. For example: could whoever owned that oil tanker that Gipsy smashed Otachi with sue for damages because there was no reason for Gipsy to pick up a random ship in the harbor and drag it into the city to beat up a Kaiju with?
Probably not. By the events of the movie, the world has mostly gotten used to how the fights go, so presumably most of the damage is written off as "Well, it would have gone worse without the Jaeger." Note that the public bunker doesn't seem designed to protect against a direct Kaiju attack so much as to get everyone out of the way to reduce casualties due to collateral damage.
Then again, the Kaiju weren't supposed to find the underground bunkers. Otachi only found the Hong Kong bunker because it could sense that Newt was in there.
There wasn't anybody aside from those in the Shatterdome watching Otachi and Gipsy Danger fight, judging by how empty the city is by then. The owners of said destroyed property have to prove that the Kaiju didn't do it, that the Jaeger was solely responsible, and that there was an alternative, without having even witnessed how the fight went.
Well, that oil tanker didn't end up wedged between two skyscrapers by itself, and Kaiju don't use tools (Leatherback being an exception because he's a big-ass gorilla). I think a proficient lawyer could make a case out of this.
Military deployment in self-defense is almost always waived, especially in a time of war. So long as an officer with the authority to deploy a military unit okays it — in this case, Pentecost — there will almost never be repercussions. There's a reason why a military deployment is considered a last resort. You really can't sue the military for things like that. You might be able to sue the government, but more likely you're just going to get a payout from government-allocated disaster funds. Any lawsuit against a military force for collateral damage during a military action in wartime is unlikely to go anywhere.
Presumably the response to anyone suing the military — thereby implicitly trying to make it more difficult for the military to stop giant monsters from destroying everyone and everything — will be, "Tough shit, tell it to someone who cares."
With the specific example regarding the tanker, the situation in the movie — major battle as part of a long term, total war scenario — almost certainly means that the ship is considered a military-controlled vessel due its strategic and logistical value. Even if civilian-owned and operated, it will be almost certainly acting under either direct government or military orders and with a military charter, so it could be commandeered by authorized military forces as needed in a time of emergency.
While there probably are cases of people getting sued for trying to help others, I seriously doubt any sane judge or jury would side with someone who bitched about how their house was destroyed by a giant robot trying to stop a giant monster that wanted to kill everyone.
Trespasser Sucking at his job?
In the narration we learn that over 6 days of rampaging across San Francisco, Trespasser destroyed 3 cities and made "tens of thousands of victims" (Note that Victoms does not imply casualties, but can include anything from dead to injured to those rendered homeless). That is prior to the existence of warning systems against Kaijus and Kaiju shelters. So how did Tresspasser make so many victims (20k to 90k)? I mean it's a tragedy, yes, but really that in six days of rampaging across an area home to over 8 million people in the bay area it's a goddamn miracle the tally's so low. How did that happen?
The bulk of that number was likely in the first couple days. There wasn't a Kaiju warning system then, but the communications infrastructure would still be perfectly capable of telling everyone in the area "There's a giant monster coming, this is its estimated path, GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE WAY." Kaiju are fast for their size, but still slow enough that people can easily get to safety given days of warning. There's also repeated talk of the military luring the monsters away from the cities in the early days (with mixed success), so presumably it was steered towards less populated areas as best as possible while everyone evacuated.
Remember also that the first wave was basically a bunch of attack dogs sent to destroy targets of opportunity, and Trespasser was the weakest of the Kaiju and the first one to be sent out to attack any human population center. Considering that he's a first shot at a relatively unknown enemy, inflicint tens of thousands of kills is pretty solid for the Masters' opening salvo.
If you look closely in the first scene where Trespasser attacks the Golden Gate Bridge, none of the cars have people them and they're all stopped in the middle of the road. It's possible that much of the city managed to get warned that he was coming and so evacuated out fast.
It didn't say "tens of thousands of victims". It said "tens of thousands of lives were lost. The Bay Area is pretty big. If Trespasser is in the center of San Francisco, people in Oakland and other cities are going to have plenty of time to evacuate. Even most of the people in SF would know not to sit in an office building while that thing is coming their way.
The Knifehead fight
When Gipsy Danger charges its plasma cannon a second time, Knifehead takes advantage of this opening and rips the Jaeger's arm off. But then when Gipsy charges it for a third time, Knifehead seems to just ignore the cannon in favor of biting scraps off of the shoulder stump. Why would it ignore the cannon this time? Without a second arm, Gipsy has no way of pushing Knifehead back so it'd be even easier for the Kaiju to tear off its other arm or the rest of its head.
Knifehead may have thought that Gipsy couldn't do jack with a hole in its head and one pilot ripped out.
One look to its left and it would see the plasma cannon clearly charging up. It couldn't assume that Gipsy couldn't do anything when the Jaeger was clearly still active.
It only knows what it was told. The creators probably knew about the two-pilot thing, so they most likely programed the Kaiju to ignore one side after the pilot for that side was killed.
Ignore that one side even if the Kaiju can clearly see that the cannon on that side is glowing and charging?
Knifehead is, at the time of the plasma charge, face first in Gipsy Danger's torso, on the opposing side (Up to it's eyes in the left side, while the right side was charging to fire). Knifehead probably couldn't see what was going on.
Also, after Yancy is killed, why does Raleigh fall back to the tactic of charge the plasma cannon first, when he just did that and it got his arm ripped off?
Because that's the only tactic Raleigh even has left. With one arm, he's not going to outfight Knifehead in melee. Charging the plasma cannon is the only option of surviving the fight.
After being informed that Knifehead is still alive, Pentecost tells Gipsy's pilots to "grab the boat and get the hell out of there." But why? The Kaiju isn't going to just disappear once Gipsy leaves. It's either going to keep chasing the Jaeger or head to the city, which now has no defender. Plus, as far as Stacker knows, Knifehead might be badly wounded and just needs to be finished off. Why would he tell them to run away?
I imagine that Pentecost wanted Gipsy to return to the Shatterdome or the Miracle Mile so that the Shatterdome could launch another Jaeger and they could double-team Knifehead.
Grabbing the boat is preventing casualties, but when they're in deeper water, a Kaiju could blindside them — which is exactly what happened. On the miracle mile (as we see in Hong Kong) the water is generally too shallow for them to get nailed from behind. Also, everyone seems surprised that Knifehead survived a point-blank plasma cannon shot to the chest, so Pentecost probably had a feeling something was wrong and wanted them to pull back so they could re-assess the situation.
"Both plasma cannons are shot"
So when Otachi is flying into the atmosphere with Gipsy in its clutches, Raleigh says that "both plasma cannons are shot". Either he means they're busted, or they're out of ammo. The second seems more likely, but there is no way both cannons could've been out of ammo. I have counted 13 shots fired into Leatherback from the right cannon, and then another 4 shots are fired from the left cannon to "check for a pulse". Assuming that Gipsy did empty the entire clip of the right cannon into Leatherback, that would mean that the cannons have enough ammo for 13 shots each. So then what happened to the other 9 shots the left cannon should have had left?
Also, wasting ammo on Leatherback's corpse was totally unnecessary. They could've just as easily checked if Leatherback was still alive by just stomping on its head really hard.
They could've stomped on the head, true, but Jaegers are slow, and Otachi was still out there and in need of killin'.
"Both cannons are shot" means that both cannons have been damaged beyond functioning. If they were out of ammo, they would have said they were out of ammo.
Why split up in the battle of Hong Kong?
I get not sending Gipsy, as at that point she was more of a threat than a help. But why oh why would you order Striker to hang back? If anything is tough enough to take out CT and CA, then the two of them will probably be able to take out Striker Eureka too. The least you could do is actually use your one advantage at the moment (numbers). It's not even that Striker was hanging far enough back that it'd be safe; it was only far enough back that it couldn't help enough that his teammates died gruesome deaths.
Striker is the reserve, in case something unexpected happens, i.e. one of Kaiju bypasses Crimson Typhoon and Cherno Alpha. Keeping an additional force in reserve to respond to the unexpected is basic military tactics; the fact that Striker did not get to the battle in time to intervene and save anyone wasn't a failing of the tactics in question, it was just that the two Kaiju overwhelmed Crimson and Cherno before reinforcements could arrive. That's just a simple case of the enemy being more powerful than expected, and not something that could have been planned for.
Why are they credited?
The credits sequence (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNzGvBJkVtk) lists Brad William Henke, Diego Klattenhoff and Larry Joe Campbell at the end. I wasn't familiar with any of them, so I looked up who they played in the movie. Brad was the foreman at the wall construction site, Diego was Yancy and Larry was the construction worker standing next to Raleigh when they watch Mutavore on TV (the one that says: "That thing, it broke through the wall like it was nothing."). I can understand why they'd put Diego Klattenhoff in the credits, as he was a somewhat major character, but the other two made no sense to me. Their roles were so minor! Robert Maillet, Heather Doerksen (Cherno's pilots), the Luu triplets (Typhoon's pilots), Mana Ashida (young Mako) and hell, even Santiago Segura (Hannibal Chau's assistant) played more important roles in the movie, and they're not listed in those credits.
Obviously the former had better agents than the latter.
Credits are often weird and really heavily on actor's agent's pull. In the sixth Harry Potter movie, Timothy Spall got a credit screen all to himself when his character was only onscreen for 20 seconds, while Bonnie Wright, who plays Harry's love interest, had to share her credit with a bunch of other names.
Possibly they'd originally had more lines, but those scenes were cut for pacing. The credits might've been laid out based on the size of their roles in the original screenplay, not the final version.
UK In The PPDC
After the time-skip, when the various suits are telling Pentecost that the Jaeger program is dead, looking closely can see representatives from Canada, the US, Japan, Peru...and the United Kingdom (the one who shouts down Pentecost with 'the Jaeger program is dead!'), for some reason. 'Hands across the sea' is one thing, but why is the United Kingdom involved in this?
Its a first world nation with a blue water navy. Hell, as an island nation, they've got serious interest in dealing with an aquatic threat, even if its on the other side of the world.
Not to mention that it probably wasn't seen as entirely impossible that a Kaiju could slip past the US Alaska stations and under the Arctic ice-cap into the Atlantic. The UK would be one of the front line nations if that happened. Definitely not a possibility to be ignored.
The UK has many long-standing economic and defense-treaty commitments to Pacific rim nations. They've obviously decided to honor those commitments, even if Britain's own turf isn't directly threatened yet. (Besides, for all they know, another Rift might open up in the Atlantic one day.)
Crimson Typhoon's arms
Jaegers require two pilots because the strain of controlling their giant bodies is too much for one pilot. Crimson Typhoon, however, has three pilots, thus splitting the load even further and allowing it to have three arms. Thing is, why only three? In most Jaegers the two pilots are controlling four limbs plus the torso and head. It stands to reason that with a third pilot it should be able to handle at least two extra limbs, so what's the deal there?
The pilots aren't handling limbs, they're handling an arm and a leg. Arms and legs function very differently. You'd only get a benefit if Typhoon had three legs.
I don't think that's how it's supposed to work. The whole point of the Drift system is to allow the two pilots to function as one; it's not like one pilot is responsible for X while another is responsible for Y, they all control the whole robot as one. They always move in sync while piloting, too.
Apparently, Crimson Typhoon was a very advanced Jaegar with extremely complex and powerful weapons. The usual set-up was, three pilots Drifting and controlling the Jaegar in sync. One brother would control each hemisphere, or half (so there is a certain division of labor between one side and the other), and the third brother just sits tight until they enter combat, when he manages the weapons himself. When they enter the Thundercloud Formation, all three brothers move as one.
Striker just stops fighting
So I just watched the movie's finale again and it made me realize something. Striker Eureka just completely stops fighting the Kaiju for no reason whatsoever. Gipsy killed Raiju and Striker had Slattern on the ropes, but instead of finishing Slattern off, Striker just stops and Pentecost decides to detonate the nuke to kill both Slattern and Scunner while Striker probably would've been able to finish off both Kaiju's no problem. Then they could've grabbed any of the Kaiju carcasses, attempt to pull the nuke off of Striker's back and toss both into the Breach. Or alternatively, set the nuke to blow, have Striker jump into the Breach and use the escape pods to get out. What they do in the movie just makes no sense. Detonating the nuke to me seems like a last resort, not something you do while your Jaeger is still in fighting shape.
Striker wasn't in fighting shape. The first blow from Slattern's tail caused water breaches and knocked out half their systems. Striker was wounded but holding its own against Slattern. However, it was now going to be up against two Kaiju at once, and last time that happened the Jaeger got smashed to pieces. Even Gipsy didn't fight both Otachi and Leatherback at once, and it had just emerged from a very brief gang-up that cost it a limb and a half. If Striker were to engage both Kaiju, there's a very good chance it would fail, the bomb would get destroyed, and then Gipsy would be finished off. Blowing the bomb early was the better often.
Striker could very clearly still fight, and could've finished Slattern off by attacking as soon as Slattern started calling for help instead of just standing there. Scunner wasn't close to them, so Slattern would be dead before Scunner could even get there. And Scunner wasn't in the best shape either, so Striker could've probably taken it down as well seeing as how effective Striker's blades are.
Slattern may have been wounded, but it was still in pretty good shape. It did survive a point-blank nuclear explosion, after all, and even when stabbed by Gipsy still knocked out Mako's oxygen. Note also that Scunner took a sword to the head and yet was still in fighting condition. Attempting to fight them both involves too many risks. The first blow from Slattern caused enough water breaches that the Jaeger's days were numbered, so even if it beat both Striker's crew would drown anyway. And if it took down just one Kaiju, crippled Gipsy would still have to fight the other and that's a risk Pentecost doesn't want to take. He'd rather take the option that keep Gipsy alive and the other Kaiju dead. Blowing Striker was just skipping ahead to the inevitable.
How could Raleigh and Mako just lose track of something as big as a Kaiju? I know Raleigh said they couldn't pinpoint it because it was "...moving quick.", but finding a Kaiju would be as simple as following the trail of destruction it would leave in it's wake. There were also helicopters flying over the city, so finding it would be even easier.
Otachi was hiding behind the many skyscrapers, and didn't really destroy that much. The helicopters were there, yes, and Raleigh even asks them if they have a visual, but they only lost sight of Otachi for about half a minute.
KAIJU IN SPAAACE!!!!...or, Kill Sat the basterds!
Depleted economies not withstanding, why the hell wouldn't you launch a bunch of satellites into geosync orbit, tip them with as many nukes as you can afford and rain down unholy nuclear fire on the rift anytime those little basterds reared it ugly head? Yes, I know this is a Mecha/Kaiju movie...so parking a ton of Kill Sat satellites wouldn't add to the theme of the movie. I'm just saying that it'd be awesome as hell seeing a salvo of nuclear missiles flowing down from space to nuke the kaiju. Also dropping kinetic projectiles from low-earth orbit would put quite a dent into most anything.
Nukes don't work very well underwater. You're going to need at least twice as many nukes as normal to kill these things, probably more. And if you wait for them to surface before attacking, then they're next to a city, and dropping a nuke that close is a very bad idea. Space-based weapons just aren't feasible in this situation. Space colonies would change the nature of the film significantly, since they'd be able to move most of the population to safety offworld, but we don't have that capability at the moment, and there's no sign that this 'verse has made any meaningful improvements in that area.
Also, you know, shooting a dozen nukes at the Earth is an absolutely terrible idea all on its own. Does the term "nuclear winter" mean anything to you?
Also, space-based nuclear missiles would seriously wig out most nations on Earth. They're totally fine with giant mecha, which would be well-suited for fighting kaiju, but orbital kill-sats can just as quickly be turned against human nations.
The US government's plan for orbital kinetic weapons (The earliest idea was called Project Thor, with more modern plans sometimes called 'Rods from Gods') estimated that kinetic projectiles would take 12-15 minutes to impact on a target. Kinetic bombardment from space is realistically only useful against entrenched, static positions.
Kaiju also move stupidly fast underwater. The only time they'd slow down enough to get a reliable hit would be when they surface... and by that point they're on your coastline, nomming your cities. Dropping a nuke at that point is just doing the kaiju's job for it.