Mecha is the general term for robots, especially in an anime context. It takes all shapes and forms, including the grotesque semi-organic beasts from Evangelion, the retro Super Robots like Mazinger, innocent Doraemon and war machines like the Arbalest and Macross Valkyries.
Mecha hold a special place in many fans’ hearts, as it plays to the inherent love for firepower, technology and sci-fi that (almost) all guys and some girls have. In spite of the unrealism and the cliches, there is rarely any action sequence more exhilarating than a good ol’ epic mecha battle.
This is an introduction to a regular feature I will be doing, titled Mecha Madness. I will periodically bring you articles featuring various mecha from the various categories. Expect to see the specs, power analysis, pilot intro, and most of all, reasons why they rock.
Mecha are generally agreed to be classifiable into 6 major categories.
These are designed to look like, or even act like living things or monsters. Some have a will of their own, others even devour other mecha. The most famous example is probably the EVAs from Evangelion. Besides that, other examples include the Overmen from Overman King Gainer, Brain Powerd, Xenogears and the Original Seven from GunxSword.
Evil humanoid robots that eat other robots
A mecha with dreadlocks and muscles.
Hero robots that save the world fall into this category. These basically have the flashiest (or gaudiest) colour schemes, use special moves the pilots must shout out and defeat monsters of the week. These types are rapidly losing their popularity though and were most prevalent before the 80s. Some of them can combine and transform too. Examples are Raijin-oh, Godannar, Aquarion and the gang from Super Robot Wars.
A combining mecha of the past: Zettai Muteki Rajinoh!
I hate this. Godannar.
These are typically mass-produced, weathered grunt mecha that fight wars and are destroyed without too much a fuss. The war machine types are generally as realistic as mecha can be, with suitable colours such as desert yellow or jungle green, fitting the battlefield terrain. They fight with weapons and do not have special skills. The Zaku and GM are the epitome of the war machine, Tomino introducing the concept in an era where Supers prevailed. Other examples are the M-9 Gernsback (FMP), the Macross Valkyries.
Possibly the suit that gets destroyed the most times in anime history - Zaku
This could be classified under the subsequent category but too many get destroyed. Valkyrie.
These are the highly futuristic, super detailed mecha that make mecha lovers wet their pants with glee. These do not have super attacks, but are equipped with drool-inducing awesome weaponry and incomprehensible made-up technology. This category overlaps with the war machine one quite a bit. The Gears from Xenogears, Vandread, Angel Frames from the Galaxy Angel games and Bakuretsu Tenshi’s Highway Patrol Car.
The six Angel Frames from the Galaxy Angels game. Designed by Gonzo, they are (from top-down, left-right): Kung Fu Fighter, Happy Trigger, Harvestor, Luckystar, Sharpshooter and Trickmaster. Very very cool.
Laser spammin’ Model-selling Fanboys’ Wet Dream
Strike Freedom goes here. Along with its little Seed Destiny friends.
These little buggers have broken the piggy banks of too many children.
Harmless Helper Bots
C3PO, Doraemon, Mecha Mikan from Gakuen Alice etc. These are helpful, cute and harmless. Normally used to inject humour into a series. Hey wait a minute, Doraemon can destroy the world easily with his arsenal of tools. By just hopping on his time machine and using his Air Cannon, he can slaughter the primitive humans. Or worse, rule over them.
He’s actually the strongest here. Who else can time travel, mind control, teleport, print money etc?
If I missed out anything, please feel free to comment. Also, try and throw up some mecha names too, it may just make the next issue of Mecha Madness!
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