Mecha anime and manga
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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.
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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.
The mecha anime genre (as well as Japanese kaiju films) received a Western homage with the 1998 first-person shooter Shogo: Mobile Armor Division developed by Monolith Productions and the 2013 film Pacific Rim directed by Guillermo del Toro.
These are robots that have the ability to be self-aware, think and/or feel emotion, the source of sentience varies from aliens, such as the titular robots of American-produced cartoon The Transformers (1984), to artificial intelligence, such as the robots of Brave Police J-Decker (1994) or Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet (2013), to magic, such as Da-Garn of Brave of the Legend Da Garn (1992) and even disembodied human souls in Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995-1996). The first sentient robot, also the first mecha anime in colour, was Astroganger (1972).
These are robots that are controlled externally, the first mecha anime, Tetsujin 28-go (1966) is a famous example.
This refers to robots that are controlled by humans but rather than being piloted as a vehicle the humans may wear (hence the name) robotic armour, such as in Genesis Climber Mospeada (1983) and Bubblegum Crisis (1987), fuse with the robots, such as in GaoGaiGar (1997), combine with the robots, such as in Transformers: Super-God Masterforce (1988) or become the robots themselves, such as in Brave Command Dagwon (1996).
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.
- Axinto, Jemarc (24 April 2014). "Pacific Rim: In-depth study of the influence of Anime". The Artifice. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
- Daigo Otaki - Encirobot.com. "Astroganga - Pagina Principale". Encirobot.com. Retrieved 2014-06-30.
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- Mecha Anime HQ: Extensive coverage on Gundams and other mecha.