Giant Alien Space Babes and Monsters in Macross Frontier
Macross Frontier is the third installment of the Macross franchise and it debuted in 2008. The Macross franchise is known for its militarized use of pop music, as it is the most powerful weapon in the universe. The franchise is also known for the giant humanoid aliens known as the Zentradi, and Frontier adds a new giant alien to the mix, the Vajra. So the question of the day is just how realistic are these giant alien space babes and monsters.
Klan Klang of Macross Frontier fame is the quintessential giant alien space babe. Klan is a from a race of near human aliens known as Zentradi, who first appeared in The Super Dimension Fortress Macross, all the way back in 1982. The average Zentradi is about 10m or 33ft tall, dwarfing even the largest humans.
Here we can see the giant space insects known as the Vajra who can tower over the variable fighters piloted by the humans. However, the Vajra do vary in size from a cute lovable pet to giant ones that can rival the Super Dimensional Fortress Macross itself.
Square Cube Law
Ah, the square cube law, the bane of giant creatures everywhere as it creates a giant hurdle that any giant creature must overcome. The definition of the law can be seen below.
When an object undergoes a proportional increase in size, its new surface area is proportional to the square of the multiplier and its new volume is proportional to the cube of the multiplier.
Or we can look at it mathematically:
Then there is the simple version that the internal volume of an object increases faster than the surface area of said object. This is a large problem for living things because the weight of the living thing will increase much faster than its surface area, which can impact its physiology. It also causes a problem for living things due to the property of diffusion.
The spontaneous net movement of particles down their concentration gradient.
The simple definition is that nature hates it when lots of stuff gets back together in a tight space and that stuff will spread out over time unless there is an outside force acting on it.
This is why cells are tiny, and larger organisms are made up of a lot of them. The human body, for instance, contains about 37.2 million cells, not including the bacteria that live in or on us. The larger the cell, the longer it takes for material to diffuse into and out of the cell. You can model this at home by setting up a small cup of water and a large cup of water. Then put a single drop of food coloring into each cup and watch to see which cup develops a uniform color pattern first.
As previously stated, Klan Klang is a Zentradi an alien race with near human anatomy and physiology. Humans and Zentradi can actually have children with each other and half Zentradi children are seen throughout the Macross franchise. In fact, one of the female leads of Macross Frontier is stated to be ¼ Zentradi, which means that human Zentradi hybrids can have kids. This is so important because it means that biologically speaking humans and Zentradi are the same species. This is because all members of a species can mate and reproduce viable offspring, something that humans and Zentradi have been shown to do in the canon series. Now as for the possibility of Klan being a giant alien space babe, that depends on the reason behind her giant form.
FYI– let’s leave the whole size changing thing for later.
1- Larger cell size: if her size, 6 times that of the average human woman, is a result of each cell in her body increasing by the same factor, a number of problems will occur. Simply put, the cells will be too large to function properly. For example, the red blood cells of birds, another warm blooded species, can be up to 12 microns in diameter, while the average human red blood cell is 6-8 microns in diameter. If these cells where to increase in size to 36-48 microns, they would be too large to do their job properly because it would take far too long for oxygen to diffuse into the cells and carbon dioxide to diffuse out.
2- For the sake of the argument let’s assume that her size, 6 times that of the average human woman, is due to her having 6x times the number of cells. This removes the diffusion problem because her cells would be the same size as a normal human. However, this raises a whole new problem because Klan has close to normal human physiology. To date the largest human on record was Robert Wadlow, who reached an astonishing height of 8ft 11.1 inches or 272cm. While he was a towering giant, it is a far cry from Klan Klang’s height of 33ft.
People with gigantism such as Robert Wadlow grow much taller than the average human and suffer from a wide range of health problems as a result.
Enlarged hands and feet
Changes in facial features
High blood pressure
Soft tissue hypertrophy
These problems are a result of the body being much larger than what humans have evolved to be and the square cube law. Sorry, but now it’s time to do some math. The average density of the human body is 0.945g/cm3 and say that our test human has a volume of 100 liters, or 100,000cm3, which puts the mass of the average human at 94,500g or 94.5kg or 207.9lbs. Now let’s up this by a factor of six to account for the Zentradi.
You would say that this is the easy part just multiple all the numbers by six and there you go, but you have to remember the square cube law. The Zentradi are six times the size, not the volume which will be much larger.
If you take the volume of a human and turn it into a box, the box would be 46.4159cm per side. Now take that box and increase the sides by a factor of 6, making it 278.9cm per side, with a volume of 21,694,295cm3. This means a Zentradi has a volume 216.9 times that of a human and would mass 20,501kg. This makes the weight of a Zentradi 45,102lbs, 216.9 times that of our normal human.
Bone has a compression strength of 170MPa, and that is more than enough strength to support the weight of the body. Our Zentradi, however will be exerting 210MPa of pressure on their femurs, easily crushing them just by standing upright.
Weight- 45,102 pounds
Force- 6,460,086 newtons
Surface area of the femur– .0308 meters squared
Pressure = force/ surface area
Pressure = 6,460,086 newtons / 0.0308 meters squared
Pressure = 210Mpa
This does not even take into account the problems other body systems would have trying to operate at a size far beyond what they were ever adapted for. You all know what is coming next: the giant alien space babe is busted.
The technical term for everything I just went through is called allometry, or the study of the relationship between body shape and size. In the case of the Zentradi, where everything scaled proportionately is called isometric scaling, since Zentradi have near human physiology. On the other hand, allometric scaling is when the body shape changes as the size changes. This is why elephants and mice have different structures.
Wings of different sized animals
Since animals of different sizes can have different internal structures and physiology, it is entirely possible for an animal to deviate significantly from what we observe on a daily basis. Perhaps the most classic example is the dinosaurs, seeing as some species are huge and they did exist at some time.
Their large size is a result of having different body structures, and physiology than modern day animals.
“But why don’t any extremely large animals exist today?”
Ok, we know an asteroid or volcano killed all the dinosaurs, but why aren’t there any animals of comparable size today? The answer to that is the environment. The atmosphere at the time of the dinosaurs was once thought to contain more atmosphere than the atmosphere of today. Recently that theory has come under debate as recent studies are showing that the atmosphere at the time of the dinosaurs contained less oxygen than the today’s atmosphere. Either way the environment the dinosaurs lived in was very different than the one we live in today and it affected their evolution leading to large body sizes.
Based on the previously discussed dinosaurs it is now possible to determine just how realistic the Vajra really are in regards to their size, which can vary greatly.
The Vajra can range in size from the size of a cat or dog to a truly gargantuan beast that rivals the Macross class itself. There is very little given on the actual physiology of the Vajra so it’s not possible to talk about capital ship class, but it is safe to say that the pet-sized to the space-fighter sized Vajra are possible. I can only think of one way for some of the larger capital ship classes to work, plants.
Yes, you heard me, plants. What you have to realize is that as trees grow they continually grow more vascular tissue each year as the previous year’s tissue dies, so only a small part of the tree trunk is actually living tissue. This creates the rings of the tree. FYI- The thicker the ring the better that year’s growth was.
The capital ship Vajra can take advantage of this unique aspect of plant physiology when creating the armor and non-moving parts of the ship.
This could dramatically reduce the amount of living tissue needed for the capital ship class Vajra to function and if it was damaged it could be replaced over time. While that might reduce the width of the ship somewhat there is still the problem of controlling the weapons, engines and everything else at the same time. I have a solution for this problem as well. The Vajra have shown the ability to communicate over long distances, using a method that is beyond the scope of this post. Either way it would be a snap for the Vajra to send a message the length of a ship. This way a separate Vajra could control a different function of the ship as ordered by a central command unit.
Thus, it is possible to determine the possibility of a giant alien space monster if we only look at the size of the creature and leave the living in space part to another day. The pet to fighter sized Vajra are entirely possible and are confirmed based on the fact that there are or were living things that size.
As for the capital ship class Vajra, if several Vajra cooperate using their in-universe communication system to work together, than it is possible to create a larger Vajra.