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Old 2012-09-21, 23:14   Link #41
stormtrooper
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I still appreciate mecha anime but not a lot anymore. My tastes have changed over the years I've been watching anime.

If it was along the lines of AKB0048, Rinne no Lagrange, and others, maybe I would watch it. Aquarion EVOL is a gamble for me but in itself is good. I watch Muv Luv too even if it focuses more on the mecha side and not so much on the plot compared to the novels.
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Old 2012-09-22, 05:41   Link #42
NightbatŪ
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Originally Posted by ForwardUntoDawn View Post
Transformers fits under the definition of being a mecha show, but is not the sole representative of their genre. As such, most other mecha shows discussed previously depicting hardware as a central element would very much be classified as mecha under the definition.
But when you look at it, the mecha really don't have a central role in many of the shows
Perhaps a little more in the 'Superhero robots' genre (which are often formulaic),
but it's mostly a script much like the movie 'Titanic' which could have taken place on a fishing trawler for all anyone cares
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Old 2012-09-22, 16:05   Link #43
ForwardUntoDawn
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Originally Posted by NightbatŪ View Post
But when you look at it, the mecha really don't have a central role in many of the shows
Perhaps a little more in the 'Superhero robots' genre (which are often formulaic),
but it's mostly a script much like the movie 'Titanic' which could have taken place on a fishing trawler for all anyone cares
The problem here seems to be the definition of 'central role'. No mecha work out there is concerned with only the mecha itself because that inherently does not flow well. Think of it this way: your computer is just a well-assembled pile of metal parts and silicon microprocessors with wiring and plastics until you power it on and put it to use

Similarly, mecha shows, and mecha anime in particular, are about the people who regularly handle such hardware. This sums up the entire genre: it makes more sense to be focussing on the people and how they may interact with either their hardware or how they use said hardware to interact with the world. Without the human element, I don't think it's likely that a purely mecha driven premise would fly well. Then again, I could also have missed the point entirely: what do you refer to when you say 'central role'?
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Old 2012-09-22, 17:49   Link #44
NightbatŪ
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Originally Posted by ForwardUntoDawn View Post
Then again, I could also have missed the point entirely: what do you refer to when you say 'central role'?
Well, as I said: Transformers (if anyone remembers Gobots and Robotix, those too), where the mecha ARE the central part of the story

I don't agree with your (the accepted) definition of a mecha show
But I think 'mecha' animes are often neglected because they appear to represent 'boys and their toys'
while the hardware actually isn't as prominent as one would want to believe
(Care to Remember the first Patlabor movie?)

Though I understand there are people who don't enjoy 'machined' battles being the source of action, or (in most -if not all- cases) war/military settings
the usual mecha shows don't have half the technobabble of startrek series, have less interaction between mecha and pilot than Knight Rider
and more often than not better stories than Harem/Martial Art animes
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Old 2012-09-22, 22:21   Link #45
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Historically it's about my favorite genre, though lately TV entries have been abysmal to mediocre at best while OVA's and movies tend to have kept what I've liked from mecha series past and don't have that weird incongruity between cours that virtually every TV mecha series has had for about the past 3-5 years.

The way I see it it's possible to break mecha anime down into about 5 different sub-categories, though many tend to share at least some crossover:

Space Opera: Large factional battles with lots of mass produced mecha (and usually some unique ones for the major characters) between two opposing but generally sympathetic sides with one usually playing the lesser of evils. These tend to feature high drama large scale conflicts where the characters main growth comes from what they do and how they do it and how it effects the large scale conflict at hand, though often the feeling is that the conflict is larger than they are and defines them as much or more than they define it. These tend to have long run times of about 26-100+ episodes and focus as much on the characters and their interactions as they do on large scale mecha battles. Needless to say these tend to be my favorites and have formed the backbone of my anime watching schedules throughout the years.

Examples: Mobile Suit Gundam, Macross, Armored Trooper Votoms, The Five Star Stories

Super Robot: Tend to be all about the gar moments and outlandishly designed robots and costumes with big overpowering and awe inspiring attacks. Characters tend to be more rooted in archetypes of good and evil, but can rise above their roles every now and then. If you like big action and something to get the blood pumping a good Super Robot show is generally a safe bet.

Examples: Mazinger Z, Getter Robo, Giant Robo, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

Fantasy:

Not nearly as used anymore as it was in the 80's and 90's and probably the least explored variant on the mecha concept period. These tend to marry fantasy concepts like magic, fairy tale kingdoms and outlandish creatures and machinations with mecha concepts to create a blend of fantasy and sci-fi.

Examples: Aura Battler Dunbine, Vision of Escaflowne, Panzer World Galient, Broken Blade

Psychological

Very prominent in the late 90's/early 2000's but have died off of late much like fantasy mecha. These tended to take the space opera concept of character focus still further yet by bringing the scale of conflict down to pure focus on major cast members and tended to be about almost outright psychoanalysis of the cast members with the mecha serving more as a symbol or extension of them as opposed to a piece of military hardware. If you enjoy lots of long scenes of people talking and really dense bordering on confusing, but nonetheless engrossing dialogue then these are the mecha series for you.

Examples: Neon Genesis Evangelion, The Big O, Rahxephon, Mobile Police Patlabor

New Age

The most recent crop of mecha shows that I define as starting around the end of 2009. These are the mecha shows that seem to have embraced the modern pillars of otaku fandom and tend to have more in common and focus on the tropes and concepts that are popular within those domains while taking very little if anything in style from any of the above managed sub-categories and thus having the least feeling of crossover out of the bunch. Generally the mecha (and to some extent the overall narrative and character progression) have a feeling of being an afterthought to fanservice and love triangle style romance and personally I think (hope at least) that this New Age style of mecha show is still very much finding it's footing and thus struggling to define itself and that sooner or later we'll get a functional narratively congruent show out of it, but for now it's definitely betraying it's youth.

Examples: Star Driver, Guilty Crown, Rinne no Lagrange, Aquarion Evol
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Old 2012-09-22, 23:14   Link #46
Westlo
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Originally Posted by Blaat View Post
For me it's taking out Gurren Lagan for Shin Mazinger.
Shin Mazinger Z is one of the most underrated mecha series of the last 5 years easy, Baron Ashura... take a bow.
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Old 2012-09-23, 07:33   Link #47
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In general I love mecha anime. Mecha is a visual theme which allows animation to really show of the strengths of the medium. Even today it still has a massive edge over live-action or CGI in terms of visuals and scope.

That said, as much as I love the format, I realize giant robots have become somewhat anachronistic sci-fi from a time where physical/mechanical solutions rather than software seemed the way of the future.

In some recent anime like Star Driver or IS, mecha is often just a prop to pimp the visuals rather than an integral part of the storyline. I'm not yet sure what to think of it.
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Old 2012-09-23, 12:22   Link #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Westlo View Post
Shin Mazinger Z is one of the most underrated mecha series of the last 5 years easy, Baron Ashura... take a bow.
Finally something we can agree on again.
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Old 2012-09-23, 12:24   Link #49
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Well i love mecha anime so much
Evaneglion is the greatest anime ever made along with gundam series
I enjoyed a lot macross plus too , it was a blast.
Guren lagann was awesome , Unicorn currently is doing a good job and will probably enter the pantheon of the greatest anime ever made if the ending is a masterpiece.
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Old 2012-09-25, 11:27   Link #50
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i m okay with mecha, but i m NOT okay with gundam (i know i know, they should be the same thing), none of the gundam series, not even gundam SEED, has ever appealed to me, but some mecha animes are among my favorites, such as Code geass, TTGL and vision of escaflowne.
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Old 2012-09-26, 14:40   Link #51
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I was never a big fan of the mecha sub-genre (or theme) in anime, so my actual viewing experience with such shows is limited. However I do believe mecha can actually be interesting and enjoyable to people who aren't fans of it.

Like most sub-genres within anime (or any form of entertainment) the execution is what counts, but I'm not necessarily talking about the execution of the entire show, as in the quality of the art, animation, sound, story, characters etc. But the actual use of the sub-genre within the show. Because English is not my first language I think the best way to explain what I mean is by using an example:

Let's take Code Geass, a show that seems to execute most things right, but I thought the use of mecha within that show was pretty horrible. I never understood why there was even mecha in that show. Nothing the characters did within the show needed to have mecha in it, the plot itself didn't need to have mecha in it, and in the end of the day it just seemed that mecha was put there just for the sake of having mecha there, and for me, that is a bad was of using mecha. On the other end of the spectrum, there's Full Metal Panic, another show that used a lot of different themes, but here the use of mecha seems to actually drive the story forward, mecha actually had a purpose within the story, and I felt it was a good use of mecha.

So ye, using mecha just for the sake of mecha will probably appeal for mecha fans, but that's just lazy. A really good show is one that takes an aspect people don't care about and make people care about it, and that's for me what makes a good mecha show. Make me care about that aspect, even tho I don't usually care for it.
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Old 2012-09-26, 15:51   Link #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guybrush View Post

Let's take Code Geass, a show that seems to execute most things right, but I thought the use of mecha within that show was pretty horrible. I never understood why there was even mecha in that show. Nothing the characters did within the show needed to have mecha in it, the plot itself didn't need to have mecha in it, and in the end of the day it just seemed that mecha was put there just for the sake of having mecha there, and for me, that is a bad was of using mecha. On the other end of the spectrum, there's Full Metal Panic, another show that used a lot of different themes, but here the use of mecha seems to actually drive the story forward, mecha actually had a purpose within the story, and I felt it was a good use of mecha.
I don't really see how Full Metal Panic needs mecha in it's story any more than Code Geass did. To me a better example of a series where it really feels like it wouldn't work without the mecha is Mobile Police Patlabor. There mecha are such an intricate part of everyday society in helping shape the future not only of every day labor, but of Japan itself since without them the Tokyo Bay Project that forms a major part of the backdrop of the shows political dynamic wouldn't be feasible at all. It just wouldn't be the same show at all without the mecha period.

With both Code Geass and FMP there's a lot more focus on small scale human drama, people with special powers, school based espionage, and romance and it feels like it could just as easily be done with tanks and planes since neither series ever travels into space like Gundam where you really get to see why it is that Mobile Suits are deemed the most effective design for combat and construction. For all I know the new Code Geass OVA might change that though as the director said it's going to focus more on the mecha combat and tactics involved than the TV series.
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Old 2012-09-26, 23:47   Link #53
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I'm down with mecha anime. I grew up with the likes of Robotech (Macross), Voltron (Go Lion), and Tranzor Z (Mazinger Z). I tend to gravitate to that style of anime today including, but not limited to, Eureka Seven, Vision of Escaflowne, Macross Frontier, and RahXephon. Except for Gundam. I just never could get into that. Back then, it was "HOLY CRAP! SO AWESOME!" Now I hope what I watch has a good story and characters to go along with the mechs. I left Transformers off as I don't feel that falls in the mech category. A mech is something that can be piloted. Transformers, not so much. Anyway, giant robots! Yay!
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Old 2012-09-27, 02:43   Link #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaioshin Sama View Post
Historically it's about my favorite genre, though lately TV entries have been abysmal to mediocre at best while OVA's and movies tend to have kept what I've liked from mecha series past and don't have that weird incongruity between cours that virtually every TV mecha series has had for about the past 3-5 years.

The way I see it it's possible to break mecha anime down into about 5 different sub-categories, though many tend to share at least some crossover:
Not gonna quote your entire post, but I appreciate this synopsis and mostly agree with you.

I think the mecha anime that I tend to like the most are ones that seriously imagine the emotional impact of mecha, like Evangelion, Bokurano and also FMP: TSR as well as anime which present mecha in a novel and refreshing manner like Escaflowne ,Big O although I think that there are a lot of interesting possibilities which have been surprisingly left mostly unexplored, to my knowledge.


I think one thing that bug me about mecha shows is the convention whereby in most mecha shows, mecha are presented like some kind of ultimate weapon. (There are some notable exceptions like 08th MS Team) The reality is that such a fighting vehicle would have a lot of weaknesses and in any universe where such weapons where present, there would undoubtedly be some cheap utilitarian defense devised to counter them.

For example, you rarely see chains and other entangling barriers used against mecha in anime, but in reality this kind of major vulnerability to it's locomotion (the tendency to trip and fall , being carried down by your own extreme weight) is a huge weakness that could be exploited in a number of ways (cables, pit traps, oil slicks, enormous ball bearings etc.) that are all cheaper than a mech itself.

Moreover, in any universe in which you could build a mecha, vehicles like tanks and fighter aircraft would have similarly fearsome specifications that would make them superior to mecha in some ways. There is no way, at any level of technology, that the design of a mecha is much harder to armor than a tank. Yet I cannot remember a time in a mecha anime where a better armored tank defeated a poorly armored mecha with it's heavy firepower at long range.

By that same token, a mecha would never be able to fly as quickly as a purpose designed fighter aircraft. Yet you often see mecha easily flying down and destroying fighter aircraft in mecha shows.

I'm not saying that I need my mecha shows to be realistic. Far from it. But why do the majority of mecha shows choose a mundane near to distant future military premise if they aren't going to even acknowledge the tactical realities of human warfare? If you want to make a absurd, and unrealistic show, why not have an absurd and unrealistic premise?

For example, you could have a mecha show where necromancers with gigantic medieval bone mechas fight wizards in golem mechas made out wood and stone? Why not more mecha shows like EVA where people are actually controlling gigantic organisms? Why not shows like Angelic Layer where fighting robots aren't even weapons at all?

Instead we get stuff like Gundam W most of the time.
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Old 2012-09-27, 04:05   Link #55
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Why no one talks about the five star stories ?
Those mechas are awesome

I saw the animated movie long time ago , the ending was crazy
I love the robot design , the gold mortar head is fabulous
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Old 2012-09-30, 21:27   Link #56
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I'm a big Mecha lover, but Mecha has gone down in quality in the last few years. There was a good few years where we Mecha fans were spoiled for choice, with Gundam 00, Code Geass, TTGL, and Macross Frontier (among others). Today pickings are thin on the ground.

If you want to see what makes Mecha great, you really need to look at some classic titles. I'd say Super Dimensional Fortress Macross (the Original) and Gunbuster sum up the genre's appeal quite well. I think as a genre it lies at the core of the development of Anime, Anime and Mecha are inextricably linked together. Many of the generation defining shows have been Mecha (most notably Gundam and Evangelion). Many visual elements were also first perfected in Mecha, like the Itano Circus.

Also, Transformers is a poor example of Mecha. For one thing, it lacks Pilots. The pilots in Mecha are an important element, as it humanizes the whole thing. In fact, Mecha is kind of like Chivalric Romance in Space. It hearkens back to a time where armed conflicts were largely decided by single battles between "heroes". By underplaying the role of mass formations, and elevating the individual, Mecha makes war narratives "glorious" again. The Giant Robot allows the individual to stand out among the faceless masses.
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Old 2012-10-01, 09:15   Link #57
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Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
Also, Transformers is a poor example of Mecha. For one thing, it lacks Pilots. The pilots in Mecha are an important element, as it humanizes the whole thing. In fact,
Yet having robots show humanoid emotions and actions is not humanizing, if not that than the interaction between robots and humans on equal level is
Viewers seeing 'living tin cans' in the same light as if they were portrayed as human actually makes this a very succesfull implimentation

Quote:
Mecha is kind of like Chivalric Romance in Space. It hearkens back to a time where armed conflicts were largely decided by single battles between "heroes". By underplaying the role of mass formations, and elevating the individual, Mecha makes war narratives "glorious" again. The Giant Robot allows the individual to stand out among the faceless masses.
Irony in th fact that chivalry never existed, 'knights' being noblemen too heavy to actually do combat and glorious battles being bloody fields of slaughter and gore where poor buggers died for a meager salary and were more expendable than the arrows they fired

Ah the old saying "as time goes by, a memory will become more beautiful"

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Old 2012-10-01, 12:04   Link #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lenneth4 View Post
Why no one talks about the five star stories ?
Those mechas are awesome

I saw the animated movie long time ago , the ending was crazy
I love the robot design , the gold mortar head is fabulous


I wouldn't go expecting many people around here to actually know what the Five Star Stories is, but yes when it comes to the level of detail put into designs the Mortar Headds are a mecha fans wet dream. It's one of the reasons I'm looking forward to Gothicmade as it's going to put the likes of the generic mecha designs we've been seeing in shows like Rinne no Lagrange and Total Eclipse to shame.
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Old 2012-10-01, 13:01   Link #59
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I think FSS has interesting concepts but it is too narcissistic for its own good.

I'm not referring to the mecha designs, but rather the story. The nuances kinda reminds me of Crest/Banner of the Stars.

edit: although, I think FSS designs can cross the line and be too ornamental at times. Personally, I prefer what Mamoru Nagano did in L-Gaim.

Also, yes, I am looking forward to Gothic Made

I hope it's good, but on the other hand it could turn into another Brain Powerd, which was average.
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