Every classic sci-fi reference in 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim
Vanillaware has created some phenomenal games in the past. Whether playing Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir with its stunning visuals and story based on Norse mythology, or hacking enemies with a magic katana in the Japanese feudal fantasy of Muramasa: the demonic blade, everyone can find something to enjoy in Vanillaware’s catalog. However, most of their games feature fantastic settings, and as fun as they are to play and beautiful to behold, using just one genre can get a bit stale.
That all changed in 2019 when the developer released their latest game: 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim. Unlike its predecessors, 13 Sentinels is unique in that it is a real-time strategy game with a giant time-traveling robotic sci-fi plot. While this isn’t Vanillaware’s first foray into RTS games, especially considering their 2007 Harry Potter– inspired game, GrimGrimoire, Edge of the aegis met with more success and commercial success. And speaking of inspiration, it’s no surprise that the game is full of references to beloved sci-fi franchises and pop culture icons like Godzilla, the perennial Japanese sci-fi classic. .
In the world of Edge of the aegis, Japan is attacked by giant monsters called Deimos. In the first chapter of the game, one of the main characters, Juro Kurabe, a fan of old sci-fi movies, tells one of his friends that he is going to see a classic Kaiju movie called Deimos vs. Mecha-Deimos. This is a clear nod to the fan favorite from 1974 Godzilla movie called Godzilla versus Mechagodzilla. The game even gets the good years, indicating that the parody film was released in 1974.
George Kamitani’s fanboy predilections don’t end there, as other references are gleefully tossed around. The film AND the extra-terrestrial also attracts well-deserved attention. Natsuno Minami, the game’s resident occult and conspiracy enthusiast, buzzes over and over to indifferent friends about how real UFOs are “just like EXT”. She explains EXT’s story as one of a human boy who befriends an alien and helps him find his way home. Natsuno then meets an adorable robot named BJ, and she covers him with a blanket the same way Elliot from HEY done to hide it from government agents.
This island land
It’s one of the most obscure sci-fi references in 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim. In the game there are nanomachines called “Innerocitor”, a callback to a device from the 1952 novel This island land by author Raymond F. Jones. The novel was adapted into a 1955 film of the same name, and both are about extraterrestrials who come into contact with humanity for nefarious reasons.
Men in Black, War of the Worlds, etc.
Famous conspiracy theories are also welcomed. The famous “Men in Black”, an alleged secret international organization that monitors extraterrestrial activity on Earth, make an appearance in Edge of the aegis. As they search for BJ, Natsuno must take the robot to the portal where he can return to his time. It is a reference not only to the conspiracy but also to the classic men in black film. However, the love of older science fiction doesn’t stop there, like HG Wells’ famous novel War of the Worlds is not only named and quoted in the game, but the alien invaders in Edge of the aegis also share a striking resemblance to the frightening tripod creatures of the classic novel.
Besides science fiction, real science and the famous scientists who pioneered it are appreciated. Natsuno’s best friend, Yuki, the school’s sukeban (or delinquent), affectionately nicknames her “Dr. Space”, which refers to the famous German-American scientist Wernher von Braun, a pioneer of space travel in the United States and in Germany. from “The Father of Space Travel”.
Several anime references
Including all anime and video game references along with other sci-fi movie references would be too many. But one of the most salient and well-known references comes from a conversation between one of the characters, Megumi Yakushiji, and a talking cat. When the interdimensional traveling cat named Fluffy suggests that the two make a contract, Megumi replies with a sarcastic “Make a contract? Are you going to make me a magical girl?” It’s not just a nod to Sailor Moon but it’s also a common trope used in magical girl anime and the most used plot device for how a magical girl gets her powers.
13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is filled with nods to plenty of cheesy stuff for classic sci-fi, video game, and anime fans to spot and enjoy. Vanillaware and George Kamitani test sci-fi fans’ trivial knowledge and indulge in sharing some of their favorite classic works. With these references, influences, and more, Edge of the aegis is one of the best games ever produced by Vanillaware.
How long does it take to beat and complete 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim?