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Mecha anime and manga, known in Japan as robot anime(ロボットアニメ,robotto anime?) and robot manga(ロボット漫画,robotto manga?), are anime and manga that feature robots (mecha) in battle, and it is broken down into two subcategories of Super Robot and Real Robot. Mecha series cover a wide variety of genres from comedy to drama, though are always fantastical and larger-than-life in nature and feature large-scale battles and/or action sequences. Mecha anime has contributed to a greater popularity of mecha and has expanded into other media, with video game adaptations, and has also contributed to the popularity of scale model robots.
The genre started with Mitsuteru Yokoyama's 1956 manga Tetsujin 28-go (which was later animated in 1963 and also released abroad as Gigantor). Its inclusion is debatable however, as the robot was controlled by remote instead of a cockpit in the machine. Not long after that the genre was largely defined by author Go Nagai, into something considerably more fantastical. Mazinger Z, his most famous creation, was not only the first successful Super Robot anime series, but also the pioneer of the genre staples like weapons that were activated by the hero calling out their names ("Rocket Punch!") though an earlier mecha series, specifically Toei's Giant Robo (tokusatsu) also had this feature of the mecha's attacks being shouted out. It was also a pioneer in metal die-cast toy such as the Chogokin series in Japan and the Shogun Warriors in the U.S., that were (and still are) very popular with children and collectors. Getter Robo, for its part, was the first combining robot, something that became a frequent design theme and was aggressively imitated in similar mecha shows. In 1976 Brave Raideen aired, in which the titular robot was given mystical properties as opposed to its sci-fi predecessors and it had one of the first true transforming toys as opposed to the impossible morphing done by Getter Robo and Osamu Tezuka's Ambassador Magma, which was the first transforming robot.
This popular genre features robots piloted internally, examples are Mazinger Z, which established the genre (1972), Mobile Suit Gundam (1979), Super Dimension Fortress Macross (1982) and Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995), though the latter as with all organic mecha may also be considered sentient.
Assembling and painting mecha scale model kits is a popular pastime among mecha enthusiasts. Like other models such as cars or airplanes, more advanced kits require much more intricate assembly. Lego mecha construction can present unique engineering challenges; the balancing act between a high range of motion, good structural stability, and aesthetic appeal can be difficult to manage. In 2006, the Lego Group released their own somewhat manga-inspired mecha line with the Exo-Force series.