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Old 2013-02-28, 08:58   Link #41
relentlessflame
 
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One side point that I wanted to mention about mecha (though I'm starting to wonder if this tangent should really be moved to a separate thread dealing with this topic specifically), is that there has really been a declining interest in plamo over the last decade or so. I mean, Bandai is really a toy company, and creating anime was really an avenue to sell toys (as it still basically is today). So it used to be that mecha shows marketed primarily based on the design of the cool-looking mechs that you'd want to buy toys/models of. But now, the focus has shifted instead to marketing based on the characters. The amount of people collecting mecha toys may have declined, but the amount of people collecting character goods is going up. Something like Vivid Red Operation takes that to the nth degree; the traditional-looking mecha in the show are all enemies and rather unimportant, but the female characters and their various combinations are the "cool factor". This is no doubt the prelude to a deluge of figures and character goods to follow. You might also consider Accel World another example of this, among others.

I think marketing anime based on the female characters has always been a "thing" (for obvious reasons), but I suppose that's the main things that's changed over the last decade or so. It's just chasing the market based on the toys they think they can sell.


Edit: I think I am going to split the thread, now that I look at it again. Brace for impact...

Edit 2: Split complete. I hope the split makes sense the way it worked out...
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Old 2013-02-28, 09:44   Link #42
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
Why not? Both shows involve a lot of combat centered around giant humanoid mechas being piloted by humans.

That is the core of a "mecha as primary genre" show - Giant humanoid mechas being piloted by humans.
Look at how it works in the oldest mecha shows like Mazinger Z and Tetsujin 28-go. You'll find more similarities between those shows and Vividred than Code Geass or Evangelion.

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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
Where you see "mecha" here, I think it's at least as easy to see "magical girl".
[SNIP]
I haven't watched Madoka, but Nanoha borrows heavily from mecha shows.

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Docking is very much like a magical girl transformation scene.
The name comes from "Symmetrical Docking" from Gaogaigar.

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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
So you don't think there's any chance that Gundam Age flopped, at least in part, because interest in mecha is dwindling amongst the hardcore anime fanbase in Japan?
There's no chance whatsoever. Gundam AGE's early episodes had a viewer rating of 4-6, and it dropped like a rock because everyone hated it. I think it ended up around 1.5 or so.

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Gundam Unicorn is doing extremely well in sales. I don't think anything caught it in 2012 in individual disc sales. Yamato 2199 doesn't even try to compete with that, and it hold high sales in 2012 as well. Yamato 2199 is coming out the same way, but faster, having completed 14 episodes since April of 2012 (4 Chapters) with the end likely coming out in the Fall (probably before the last Gundam Unicorn episode). Plus Yamato 2199 will be on TV stating in April for a 26 episode series that will also end in the Fall.
The second Macross Frontier Movie, Sayonara no Tsubasa would have topped Unicorn, but its disc out at the end of 2011.

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Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
One side point that I wanted to mention about mecha (though I'm starting to wonder if this tangent should really be moved to a separate thread dealing with this topic specifically), is that there has really been a declining interest in plamo over the last decade or so. I mean, Bandai is really a toy company, and creating anime was really an avenue to sell toys (as it still basically is today). So it used to be that mecha shows marketed primarily based on the design of the cool-looking mechs that you'd want to buy toys/models of. But now, the focus has shifted instead to marketing based on the characters. The amount of people collecting mecha toys may have declined, but the amount of people collecting character goods is going up. Something like Vivid Red Operation takes that to the nth degree; the traditional-looking mecha in the show are all enemies and rather unimportant, but the female characters and their various combinations are the "cool factor". This is no doubt the prelude to a deluge of figures and character goods to follow. You might also consider Accel World another example of this, among others.
I think that a lot of this loss of interest has more to do with there being more ways to spend your money nowadays. Television viewership has declined for similar reasons.

When it comes to model kits, nobody can compete with Gunpla, so it makes sense to skirt the problem by focusing on goods where Gundam doesn't dominate.
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Old 2013-02-28, 10:33   Link #43
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I don't see this being true of science fiction. One huge barrier is language - because English dominates the science fiction world so much, there is very little movement from non-English sources. From what I can tell, Japanese science fiction has had very different concerns and approaches, and I can't see all that much cross-pollination. I admit that I'm not too familiar with Japanese written science fiction - perhaps you can enlighten me on this.
Japanese post war sci-fi has been heavily influenced by the classics like Asimov, Dick, Doc Smith, Heinlein and Clarke through SF-magazines translating their works. It's true that the language barrier in turn prevented much Japanese literature going the opposite way. I can only mention Komatsu and Murakami for certain.

However both Japanese and French New Wave cinema were highly influential in the art house scene so some adaptations found their way. Magazines were very important here as well. Heavy Metal magazine and Moebius helped introduce European sci-fi to American visual artists. Manga off course has been a major influence since the 80s, especially in France. Then off course there is Japanese pulp with things like Godzilla and Ultraman.

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Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
One side point that I wanted to mention about mecha (though I'm starting to wonder if this tangent should really be moved to a separate thread dealing with this topic specifically), is that there has really been a declining interest in plamo over the last decade or so. I mean, Bandai is really a toy company, and creating anime was really an avenue to sell toys (as it still basically is today). So it used to be that mecha shows marketed primarily based on the design of the cool-looking mechs that you'd want to buy toys/models of. But now, the focus has shifted instead to marketing based on the characters. The amount of people collecting mecha toys may have declined, but the amount of people collecting character goods is going up. Something like Vivid Red Operation takes that to the nth degree; the traditional-looking mecha in the show are all enemies and rather unimportant, but the female characters and their various combinations are the "cool factor". This is no doubt the prelude to a deluge of figures and character goods to follow. You might also consider Accel World another example of this, among others.

I think marketing anime based on the female characters has always been a "thing" (for obvious reasons), but I suppose that's the main things that's changed over the last decade or so. It's just chasing the market based on the toys they think they can sell.
Don't forget that late night anime are not aimed at children. The number of late night/OVA mecha titles has been few and mostly aimed at small older collectors audience.

Bandai and Takara-Tomy still have massive mecha based toy properties like Transformers, Gundam and Zoids. So other than declining toy sales for demographic reasons I don't see any changes to plamo and such like.

Mecha anime is traditionally weekend morning, early evening fare. It's not competing with character centric late night anime (imo the mecha vs moe debate makes no sense at all) but with live-action shows which are cheaper to produce. Same reason why Disney has replaced most of it's cartoons with Hannah Montana shows and their ilk.
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Old 2013-02-28, 11:05   Link #44
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This is what Wiki has to say about Mecha anime.

Key Excerpt: Mecha anime cover all series that revolve around the use of piloted robotic armors in battle, which is broken down into two subcategories of Super Robot and Real Robot.


"Piloted robotic armors" is a key, central part of mecha. I think this terminology is broad enough to cover both "Super Robot" and "Real Robot".

Infinite Stratos fits this "piloted robotic armors" condition well-enough (admittedly it is borderline). But VRO doesn't.


Are some mecha anime tropes popular? Yes, clearly so.

But the state of the genre itself depends on how many anime shows are out there, how much they're getting talked about, how much they're influencing other anime shows, and how well they're selling.

And this paints, at best, a mixed picture for the modern mecha genre. It's certainly not enjoying a Renaissance, imo.
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Old 2013-02-28, 13:40   Link #45
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Don't forget that late night anime are not aimed at children. The number of late night/OVA mecha titles has been few and mostly aimed at small older collectors audience.

Bandai and Takara-Tomy still have massive mecha based toy properties like Transformers, Gundam and Zoids. So other than declining toy sales for demographic reasons I don't see any changes to plamo and such like.
I'm not really an expert on this market, so maybe I'm not using the right terms or making the right distinction. But, in my mind at least, there's a distinction between kids who are just buying what we'd call "toys", and then the more serious model kits that require assembly and painting that may be aimed at a bit of an older audience. This sort of "hobby store" market is what I perceive as having shrunk a bit over the last decade or so (though of course it still exists). I always assumed that mecha anime, even in prime time slots, was attempting to appeal to both sets of audiences with merchandise.

That aside, I do agree with your point about demographics. I think it would be interesting to do an analysis of the sorts of shows targeted at each demographic and/or airing in each of the major time block categories to get a better sense of how trends have really changed.
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Old 2013-02-28, 15:51   Link #46
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I was around for the 80s mecha boom which I consider to be the era of traditional mecha series and I fail to understand how VVO is in any way representative of that era. Show me the number of sci-fi mecha shows from the 80s that are about little girls with huge asses going on trips to the beach and making friends. Now show me the number of shows that are like Evangelion with its monster of the week layout or Code Geass with its factional warfare, disposable mecha, political/military backdrops and character drama. Now switch to the 2000s and do another comparison.

Too me VVR is highly representative of what mecha has become. Less about the mecha (there really aren't many) less about the intrigue and more about dressing up little girl moe archetypes in skintight suits to fight some non-descript foe with no real development like what you could see in any show mecha as a factor or no. There have been more shows like this than actual shows about factional warfare and the harsh struggles of the cast, although valvrave and galgantia which are upcoming mecha shows both look like a return to tradition at first glance.
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Old 2013-02-28, 15:51   Link #47
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Japanese post war sci-fi has been heavily influenced by the classics like Asimov, Dick, Doc Smith, Heinlein and Clarke through SF-magazines translating their works. It's true that the language barrier in turn prevented much Japanese literature going the opposite way. I can only mention Komatsu and Murakami for certain.
Given where the genre is most dominant, there's a certainty that prominent English-language SF writers will influence writers in other countries. However, that's probably more reflective of individual works rather than general trends. And really, with SF being so culturally sensitive, a general trend (or a particular issue) that affect one country usually will not spread very much. For example, works that are affected by the rise of religious fundamentalism or libertarianism aren't going to resonate very much in Japan.

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Don't forget that late night anime are not aimed at children. The number of late night/OVA mecha titles has been few and mostly aimed at small older collectors audience.
There's also the rise of other kid-oriented mechandise like card games.

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Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
I'm not really an expert on this market, so maybe I'm not using the right terms or making the right distinction. But, in my mind at least, there's a distinction between kids who are just buying what we'd call "toys", and then the more serious model kits that require assembly and painting that may be aimed at a bit of an older audience. This sort of "hobby store" market is what I perceive as having shrunk a bit over the last decade or so (though of course it still exists). I always assumed that mecha anime, even in prime time slots, was attempting to appeal to both sets of audiences with merchandise.
The main reason why appealing to children is so important is that if they're hooked early, there's a higher chance that they will stay in the hobby for a long time.

And sometimes, all it takes is one big hit to revive the market. A good example of this is Girls und Panzer, and how it has single-handedly boosted interested in the model tank market. A lot of retailers are even using the show to advertise the rest of their model lines.

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Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
That aside, I do agree with your point about demographics. I think it would be interesting to do an analysis of the sorts of shows targeted at each demographic and/or airing in each of the major time block categories to get a better sense of how trends have really changed.
The one big trend that's relevant to this thread is that there are very few mecha anime airing during prime time hours nowadays. The viability of the late-night broadcast means that most of the shows that might have been slated in prime time in the past are getting pushed into the wee hours. Evangelion was originally broadcast in prime time, but that'd be almost unthinkable today.
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Old 2013-02-28, 16:20   Link #48
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Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
I'm not really an expert on this market, so maybe I'm not using the right terms or making the right distinction. But, in my mind at least, there's a distinction between kids who are just buying what we'd call "toys", and then the more serious model kits that require assembly and painting that may be aimed at a bit of an older audience. This sort of "hobby store" market is what I perceive as having shrunk a bit over the last decade or so (though of course it still exists). I always assumed that mecha anime, even in prime time slots, was attempting to appeal to both sets of audiences with merchandise.

That aside, I do agree with your point about demographics. I think it would be interesting to do an analysis of the sorts of shows targeted at each demographic and/or airing in each of the major time block categories to get a better sense of how trends have really changed.
Yes this is a good distinction. As a model kit builder myself I've never liked having my hobby referred to as toys or the shows they're based on as toy commercials. It sells both short but strictly speaking about models, if you play with them like toys you're asking for trouble.

There's a lot too building models including cutting pieces accurately, following instructions, piecing them together, affixing decals which requires a lot of precision and painting. It can also be a costly investment too with high grades (usually 1/140 scale) averaging 15-20 USD too Perfect Grades (usually 1/60) scale which are extremely detailed top quality kits which run 200-300 USD before paints are factored in. Its possible newer generations just aren't willing to spend that kind of time an money and enter that kind of hobby. Plus if the designs and shows themselves aren't popular like with AGE the kits usually aren't that popular either since the kits that sell are the ones that have the popular lore and design to go with them.
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Old 2013-02-28, 16:40   Link #49
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But, in my mind at least, there's a distinction between kids who are just buying what we'd call "toys", and then the more serious model kits that require assembly and painting that may be aimed at a bit of an older audience. This sort of "hobby store" market is what I perceive as having shrunk a bit over the last decade or so (though of course it still exists). I always assumed that mecha anime, even in prime time slots, was attempting to appeal to both sets of audiences with merchandise.
Ah I see. Maybe it's easier to make a mental separation between 'ready made toys' and 'construction toys'. Both are available for any age bracket, the complexity simply increases for the intended age. You can find $1000+ toys for adults and entry level model kits (imagine one-time-use LEGO) for early childhood. Some franchises are particularly strong in one of the two toy types and/or age brackets.

I don't think there was much of an adult market for mecha toys before the early nineties when the first generation of fans grown up on 70s shows acquired the spending power to sustain it. I'm tempted to agree on prime time shows. There have been initiatives like the fairly obscure Bandai/Tomy Eldran franchise in the 90s which were targeted a number of mecha shows strongly at elementary-schoolers. There may be modern equivalents I'm not aware off.

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Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
I think it would be interesting to do an analysis of the sorts of shows targeted at each demographic and/or airing in each of the major time block categories to get a better sense of how trends have really changed.
It could be something that has not been done before. I'm not aware of any western sources that have investigated anime by age-group and target audience. Anime is too often falsely characterized as having a single audience and market.
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Old 2013-03-01, 17:22   Link #50
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IMO, hard sci-fi is declining because it is hard to make and hard to please. I am sure it will take alot more time to design mecha/technology then say a story base on a highschool setting. And yet with internet and forum, all these "internet expert" aka you and me keep blasting these shows by poking through their plot holes. So they simply make shows that make suspension of belief a pre-requisite (VRO). Why spend significantly more on a show that will have a lower rating then an show that is much easier to make?

Besides, back in the days selling models are huge in mecha shows, I don't think kids (6-12 years old) buy as much mecha models as back in the 80s. If they have money they spend them on smart phones and video games.
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Old 2013-03-02, 07:18   Link #51
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One side point that I wanted to mention about mecha (though I'm starting to wonder if this tangent should really be moved to a separate thread dealing with this topic specifically), is that there has really been a declining interest in plamo over the last decade or so. I mean, Bandai is really a toy company, and creating anime was really an avenue to sell toys (as it still basically is today). So it used to be that mecha shows marketed primarily based on the design of the cool-looking mechs that you'd want to buy toys/models of. But now, the focus has shifted instead to marketing based on the characters. The amount of people collecting mecha toys may have declined, but the amount of people collecting character goods is going up. Something like Vivid Red Operation takes that to the nth degree; the traditional-looking mecha in the show are all enemies and rather unimportant, but the female characters and their various combinations are the "cool factor". This is no doubt the prelude to a deluge of figures and character goods to follow. You might also consider Accel World another example of this, among others.

I think marketing anime based on the female characters has always been a "thing" (for obvious reasons), but I suppose that's the main things that's changed over the last decade or so. It's just chasing the market based on the toys they think they can sell.


Edit: I think I am going to split the thread, now that I look at it again. Brace for impact...

Edit 2: Split complete. I hope the split makes sense the way it worked out...
I blame the female side of the otakudom.

No really, starting with around the time Gundam Wing came about, girls flocked to the characters, and tilted the consumer base to character-focus. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, but it got worse and worse until it became completely uneven and unmanagable for the franchise.

Somewhere along that road, Gundam became more and more focused on bishounen display case franchise rather than what we the old school fans remember, a gritty war epic involving various people from all walks of life.

There's nothing wrong with pandering to fans, but I think they need to re-examine the scales and balance.
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Old 2013-03-02, 09:39   Link #52
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IMO, hard sci-fi is declining because it is hard to make and hard to please. I am sure it will take alot more time to design mecha/technology then say a story base on a highschool setting. And yet with internet and forum, all these "internet expert" aka you and me keep blasting these shows by poking through their plot holes. So they simply make shows that make suspension of belief a pre-requisite (VRO). Why spend significantly more on a show that will have a lower rating then an show that is much easier to make?
I believe the problems above can be eliminated if they have a strong script with rich setting, well-written story and good characters. In short: donít work on anything before you have a good script. Donít make the same mistake like Guilty Crown, Eureka 7 AO, Aquarion EVOL, Gundam AGE, or Michael Bay. In case of Michael Bay, he ordered his artists to design the robots and began to shoot Bayformers 2 when the script is still being written by Rob Orci and Alex Kurtzman inside a hotel room. Yes, it's true .
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Old 2013-03-02, 14:01   Link #53
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I'm just going to jump into this and add my voice to those claiming that VRO is not mecha. It's a magical girls show where the justification for the plot devices was replaced from the usual "because magic" to a fresh and different "because science".

If one's looking for a modern example of the changes in the genre lately one would probably pick up Rinne no Lagrange as a perfect example of what I believe many of the older fans are concerned about. I'll state outright that I personally found the show rather charming (or at least a bit over half of it) but it clearly shows how the interests of the audiences have subverted the genre and turned it away from the nitty gritty mecha war to the interpersonal relationships between characters set to a background that just happens to have human-piloted robots in it.

Personally I'm more saddened by the apparent lack of proper space operas lately. Sure we've had Space Brothers and Moretsu Pirates recently but aside from that I can't seem to recall anything since Banner of the Stars III in 2005. And besides that having happened 8 years ago it was also criminally short.

Mecha, by comparison, has had at least a few Gundams in between and of course heavy hitting shows like Code Geass and Macross F. I will however concede that we are starting to reach the point were another hit like those is getting overdue... or at least the fan in me is eagerly awaiting such a show.
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Old 2013-03-02, 14:29   Link #54
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Personally I'm more saddened by the apparent lack of proper space operas lately. Sure we've had Space Brothers and Moretsu Pirates recently but aside from that I can't seem to recall anything since Banner of the Stars III in 2005. And besides that having happened 8 years ago it was also criminally short.
Space Brothers isn't a space opera show. It's a near-future space exploration show in the vein of Moonlight Mile or Rocket Girls or Planetes. Space operas are shows like Tytania or Terra e, and it has never been a very prolific genre if you're not going to include the ones with mecha in them.
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Old 2013-03-02, 14:33   Link #55
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and of course heavy hitting shows like Code Geass and Macross F.
The Macross franchise has tons of appeal to people outside of the teenage boy crowd and mecha otaku crowd. There are love triangles, lots of awesome music of various genres, a fun mix of comedy with drama, and characters with potential moe appeal like Mylene and Gamlin. I know that I definitely didn't pick up SDF Macross for the variable fighters.

This large range of appeal beyond mecha is probably a strong factor that has allowed the Macross franchise to last until today.
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Old 2013-03-02, 15:09   Link #56
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There are love triangles, lots of awesome music of various genres, a fun mix of comedy with drama, and characters with potential moe appeal like Mylene and Gamlin.
Gamlin = moe??!


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Old 2013-03-02, 16:19   Link #57
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I have to ask, if sci-fi and mecha are dying out then how is it possible to explain the likes of the Amazon preorder chart right now:

http://www.amazon.co.jp/gp/bestselle...rsr_d_1_3_last

Looking at the sheer number of sci-fi and mecha related titles new and old that appear to be charting well it seems more popular a field than ever to stake a bet on.
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Old 2013-03-02, 19:12   Link #58
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I have to ask, if sci-fi and mecha are dying out then how is it possible to explain the likes of the Amazon preorder chart right now:

http://www.amazon.co.jp/gp/bestselle...rsr_d_1_3_last

Looking at the sheer number of sci-fi and mecha related titles new and old that appear to be charting well it seems more popular a field than ever to stake a bet on.
Not including remakes, reboots. Bake would be #1 removing all the mecha on top of that list.
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Old 2013-03-02, 19:27   Link #59
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Personally I'm more saddened by the apparent lack of proper space operas lately. Sure we've had Space Brothers and Moretsu Pirates recently but aside from that I can't seem to recall anything since Banner of the Stars III in 2005. And besides that having happened 8 years ago it was also criminally short.

Mecha, by comparison, has had at least a few Gundams in between and of course heavy hitting shows like Code Geass and Macross F. I will however concede that we are starting to reach the point were another hit like those is getting overdue... or at least the fan in me is eagerly awaiting such a show.
For upcoming space opera's Yamato 2199 is the high profile one. A retelling of the classic 1970s space opera with new animation and it's amazing.

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I have to ask, if sci-fi and mecha are dying out then how is it possible to explain the likes of the Amazon preorder chart right now:

http://www.amazon.co.jp/gp/bestselle...rsr_d_1_3_last

Looking at the sheer number of sci-fi and mecha related titles new and old that appear to be charting well it seems more popular a field than ever to stake a bet on.
Mostly boxed Blu-ray sets of the top-franchises (Evangelion, Gundam, Yamato) in that list. Those titles are, together with Ghibli movies, in a league of their own. They have a large seperate fan-base outside of the anime scene. Their sales hide the large drop off of new material in the last decade. You're going to struggle to find more than a dozen new mecha series since Geass.

Mecha centric shows and sci-fi are not major genres in the late night market and there have also been fewer prime time youth mecha/sci-fi shows. In that sense there has been a decline.

You could say there is an evolution as character centric shows have increasingly started to use elements like mecha or a sci-fi setting. In that sense variety is increasing.

Last edited by Bri; 2013-03-02 at 19:38.
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Old 2013-03-02, 19:36   Link #60
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Vanguard paid homage to mecha a bit....
Transformation and gattai included:


Else yeah, you won't see that much new ones.
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Dang it Avalon, you c(XD LOL)-block Shirou and Reinforce, but don't protect his mind in other ways? What is wrong, you woman?
Friendship, be made! Magical power, gather! Starlight Breaker.... this world!
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