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The Rise And Fall Of Mecha


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#1 Anjian

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 08:18 PM

This is a very good compilation about the rise and fall of mecha in anime, the causes of the rise and the fall, and what the future and hope holds. I do think its a bit incomplete since the vlogger is trying to cram what is a lengthy thesis of discussion into a video as short was possible.




I would think the beginning of the fall started much earlier than the author is thinking. It began with Urusei Yatsura, which during its run from 1978 to 1987, invented as many modern anime tropes as possible, so much so, that this show is the prototype for modern anime. The trends created by this anime only continue to grow and grow over the years, cementing each step of the way.

Among which are:

The Waifu
The Pervert
The Harem
The Love Triangle
The Ignored Childhood Friend
The Aliens and Supernaturals in High School
The Tsundere
The Trap
The Mysterious Transfer Students
The Large Ensemble of Weirdos

Success also gave way to other Rumiko Takahashi's works to be turned into anime, like Maison Ikkoku, Inuyasha (another big step into the Isekai genre) and Ranma 1/2. And because of that, also led the way for modern manga artists and writers.

While toys and model kits helped sell mecha anime, merchandising helped sell non mecha anime and UY was in the forefront of that, given the tons of figures surrounding its cast. But there was another important element (which the above video failed to mention) is that anime is increasingly being made to sell manga. As much as manga was the seed of the anime, the anime has also become a tool to sell more manga.

And when you can see where the manga is going thanks to UY, it began to create a cyclic effect anime is created by manga and anime is made to sell manga, which cemented similar UY type anime and these tropes even further.

Urusei Yatsura also laid the foundation and format for a new type of long running anime, centered around a core manga. This eventually led to anime such as Dragonball, Naruto, and Bleach. And guess which studio began its career with Urusei Yatsura that went on becoming synonymous with such series --- Studio Pierrot. Later seasons of UY was done by another studio --- Studio Deen ---- that also built its career doing non mecha anime, and in particular with Studio Deen, Full Metal Alchemist and Fate Stay Night.

Once the studios that began to make non-mecha anime become overly successful, they paved the way to others, while displacing those that did, like Sunrise.

2007 to 2010 is certainly the beginning of the "fall", with the rise of Slice of Life and the studios that made them with Hidamari Sketch by Shaft, Lucky Star and K-On by Kyoto Animation. Then over the years, come the Isekai genres, thanks to Sword Online and idol genres, such as Love Life.

Another notable event has also began to happen, and that is anime being made to promote video games. This really began to kick off past the 2010, but we have a longer running and famous predecessor for that --- Pokemon. Lately this trend has moved into promoting mobile games.

Despite attempted comebacks in the near future, I am not that optimistic about the mecha genre in anime, for all the waifu and manga sales that need to be made with other anime genres, and the flood of big titles hitting the screens such as new seasons of Tokyo Ghoul, One Punch Man and Attack on Titan. One can even connect the enduring popularity of Neo Genesis Evangelion due to having the mech genre's first merchandisable waifus like Rei Ayanami. Another issue is that anime and manga has long become extensively character driven. You can no longer make the giant robot the centerpiece of the anime. But like the way Urusei Yatsura has shown, you make the characters, or character ensembles, the centerpiece of the anime.

#2 The Basilisk

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Posted 19 March 2018 - 02:16 AM

Interesting, nice and educational writeup of ANIME MECHA

Are you aware that BATTLETECH is in fact an alternative draft of anime mecha ?
When Robotech, the BATTLETECH precursor, was born its main goal was to do away with all the sparkly prepubescent girly wiggle and singing and creating a western style post apocalyptic rust and dust scenario where big stompy mechs could be exactly that.
Not knights in shining armor but big, bad relics of centurys of war.
Dark, dirty, gloomy, apocalyptic, golems doomed to everlasting death and decay.

Posted Image

Sure there is some room for....how shall I put it....cuteness....sexiness maybe....but more the rough and edgy side of it.
Think of Starwars, Dune, Ghosts of Mars, Wing Commander.....maybe put a bit of Riddick and Sigourney Weaver Alienstyle in it too.

Edited by The Basilisk, 19 March 2018 - 02:16 AM.


#3 Anjian

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Posted 19 March 2018 - 03:52 AM

Battletech only offers the geographic difference of origin in terms of its mecha subgenre, but Battletech truly falls right into the post Gundam or Third Era of Mecha where everything became dark, faction war themed and realistic. Macross is pretty unique for its idol approach, but no other mecha series since then has done that so Macross can be considered an exception to the mecha trend.

Battletech is heavily influenced by Fang of the Sun Dougram in its quality, atmosphere, settings, and Dougram is almost like a Battletech-Mechwarrior story. Battletech has zero in relation to Macross in spirit, but everything in Dougram is. Furthermore, a good number of mechs from Dougram were ripped off into Battletech, like the Roundfacers into the Griffin, and Dougram itself as the Shadowhawk. Everything about the rule-look of Battletech, such as glass cockpits and the chest heavy blocky designs, all came from Dougram. Dougram itself was followed by Armored Trooper Votoms, which in turn inspired Heavy Gear in the West. What BT does is take the otherwise simple Dougram concept into a far more comprehensive universe that are teeming with planets, history and mecha.

This scene and diorama isn't really based on Battletech but on Dougram, portrays not a Griffin but a Roundfacer, a Soltic H8.

Posted Image


Another aspect of the Gundam era of mecha are European colonial types (Zeon etc,.) which we also see in Dougram and other mecha anime, and which we also see plenty in Battletech. Gundam, Dougram, Votoms, and the anime of these era aren't filled with sexy girls either, and it should be noted that Gundam series also started the trend which we now refer to as GoT type of storytelling where we love to kill off main characters one by one. In fact many mecha shows are just outright bloody, particularly when you consider its teenagers, some of whom are girls, that are getting killed there. In Gundam, you can't get anymore serious when you have an entire space colony dumped into a populated city on Earth.


The 4th Era of Mecha, starting with Neon Genesis Evangelion is when things are taken to the next level. We have gone beyond politics, but now into religion, philosophy, metaphysics, and cosmology. Where in the first era of Mecha (Mazinger Z), foes are like mechanical kaiju, in the second era (Gundam) its another human faction, in the third era (Evangelion), the foes are now quasi religious, beings that are angelic, mythical, and god-like, and their attacks on humankind can seemingly be like apocalyptic judgement, and our robots, our technology stand in the way of this divine judgement. There is simply no Western precedent to this subgenre of mecha.

Edited by Anjian, 19 March 2018 - 04:04 AM.


#4 Anjian

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Posted 19 March 2018 - 04:17 AM

One question is whether series like Full Metal Panic and Code Geass can be considered a mecha series, or an anime series with mecha on it. When I watched Code Geass, I never felt that the story was about mecha, the mecha is part of the background, but not central to the plot and the characters. Ghost in the Shell has its mecha, as well as Bubble Gum Crisis, but we don't consider them mecha shows, even though Tachikomas are as memorable and iconic as any mecha ever drawn.

The one key element that defines a mecha show, vs. an anime show that happens to have mecha on it (and by golly many anime shows do) is that in a true mecha show, the mecha and the robot is such a central aspect that the show is literally titled around it. For example, Big O and Gurren Lagann are perfect examples. A show like Knights of Sidonia is a grey area, and yes it has mecha, tons of it, but the mecha are fodder and grunt background types, the show is titled around the space colony known as Sidonia and the people who protect it.

Edited by Anjian, 19 March 2018 - 04:18 AM.


#5 The Basilisk

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Posted 19 March 2018 - 04:57 AM

Duno dude I think you're walking down the completely wrong road there.

While the fact remains uncontested that the early Battletech Battlemech designs may be inspired or even copied from some mecha comics and animes THE BASIC IDEA OF BATTLETECH and its Universe was to create something not mangaish or animeeish but in style rather something along the lines of classic western military science fiction like StarWars.

So if you say Battletech is related in spirit to the mecha animee you are completely on the wrong track.
It is more Shadowrun, Cyberpunk or general postapocalyptic military SciFi than anything else.
Just get a general idea of the authors writing Battletech fiction or the sourcebooks.

Edited by The Basilisk, 19 March 2018 - 04:59 AM.


#6 Anjian

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Posted 19 March 2018 - 05:06 AM

View PostThe Basilisk, on 19 March 2018 - 04:57 AM, said:

Duno dude I think you're walking down the completely wrong road there.

While the fact remains uncontested that the early Battletech Battlemech designs may be inspired or even copied from some mecha comics and animes THE BASIC IDEA OF BATTLETECH and its Universe was to create something not mangaish or animeeish but in style rather something along the lines of classic western military science fiction like StarWars.

So if you say Battletech is related in spirit to the mecha animee you are completely on the wrong track.
It is more Shadowrun, Cyberpunk or general postapocalyptic military SciFi than anything else.


You certainly have a very wrong and very limited idea of anime mecha.

Because what you just said is EXACTLY what Dougram is all about.

There is nothing mangaish or animeish about Fang of the Sun Dougram.

https://en.wikipedia...the_Sun_Dougram


Quote

The series begins in a desert on the colony planet Deloyer, where the remains of a destroyed robot are resting as a red-haired woman is standing in front of it. The woman hallucinates what appears to be a group of armed soldiers alongside the robot in a non-destroyed state. A man named Rocky appears, leading to the woman running into his embrace where she cries tears of joy. After this, the series flashes back to an earlier time, in order to explain the circumstances leading up to the first episode.

Malcontents on the Deloyer colony agitate for the independence of their world from the Earth Federation. In an unexpected coup, the elected Governor declares martial law and sets himself up as absolute dictator. With the approval of the Federation, he rules the planet with an iron fist. In reaction, a ragtag group (including the governor's estranged son) rises in open rebellion, using a powerful prototype Combat Armor: the Dougram. Their goal is the end of the dictatorship and total independence from the Federation's influence.

The story follows the actions of the guerilla freedom fighters known as "The Deloyer 7." The war is fought across the planet Deloyer as the Federation vigorously pursues the rebels. The series is noted for its realistic use of not just the combat armors and support vehicles, but also military tactics. The series also followed a wide range of characters and political intrigue, with many shady characters switching sides throughout the series.

Crinn Cashim is the show's main character. Son of Governor Donan Cashim, he becomes trained in piloting the Soltic Roundfacer by Jacky Zaltsev, a Federation Ace, because of his father's political connections. When his father appears to be overthrown by a coup led by Colonel Von Stein, he pilots a Roundfacer while Federation forces battle Garcia's forces. He is stunned to learn that his father has actually sided with Von Stein in a secret plan, and eventually becomes angry at his father's forces in how they deal with the rebellion following the coup. Following a meeting with Dr. David Samalin, who introduces him to a combat armor he has designed, the Dougram, Cashim and his friends form The Fang of the Sun and join the rebellion against the Federation.


Does this sound manga-ish to you? There are no Japanese names, the names used in the show would fall even right in the way names are in Battletech. Heck, you even got a character named Von Stein. Unlike other anime mecha shows, Dougram does not feature flying robots. Every thing is grounded, and the mechs are supported by conventional arms --- infantry, tanks, helicopters and the like. Even if its on another world, its not a futuristic world, rather down to earth and gritty. The show emphasizes not on the power of the robots, but smart military tactics.

Anime doesn't do classic space military science fiction like Star Wars?

https://en.wikipedia...Galactic_Heroes






Star Wars isn't "classic" space military science fiction, it is something well out of the ordinary --- its rich and reeks with orientalisms, heavy influences from samurai movies and wuxia (martial arts) fiction.

Edited by Anjian, 19 March 2018 - 05:24 AM.


#7 The Basilisk

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Posted 19 March 2018 - 07:29 AM

View PostAnjian, on 19 March 2018 - 05:06 AM, said:


You certainly have a very wrong and very limited idea of anime mecha.

Because what you just said is EXACTLY what Dougram is all about.

There is nothing mangaish or animeish about Fang of the Sun Dougram.

https://en.wikipedia...the_Sun_Dougram




Does this sound manga-ish to you? There are no Japanese names, the names used in the show would fall even right in the way names are in Battletech. Heck, you even got a character named Von Stein. Unlike other anime mecha shows, Dougram does not feature flying robots. Every thing is grounded, and the mechs are supported by conventional arms --- infantry, tanks, helicopters and the like. Even if its on another world, its not a futuristic world, rather down to earth and gritty. The show emphasizes not on the power of the robots, but smart military tactics.

Anime doesn't do classic space military science fiction like Star Wars?

https://en.wikipedia...Galactic_Heroes






Star Wars isn't "classic" space military science fiction, it is something well out of the ordinary --- its rich and reeks with orientalisms, heavy influences from samurai movies and wuxia (martial arts) fiction.


I get the impression you are willingly trying to missunderstand me to pick a fight.

I'm just saying Battletech is Battletech not mecha animee.
Sorting Battletech under MECHA is like saying SciFi in general is just a side arm of the fantasy genre.
That is a bit too cheap and easy.

The only connection it has with anything is that some dudes took the imagos of some bots they found cool and removed the animee from it and formed their own SciFi universe around it.

The Battletech Universe itself is based on a impressively large number of novels and shortstorys
See there is no animee in Battletech exzept the 13 embarrassing episodes of cartoon that aired from Fox broadcasting company in 1994.

Star Wars isn't "classic" space military science fiction, it is something well out of the ordinary --- its rich and reeks with orientalisms, heavy influences from samurai movies and wuxia (martial arts) fiction.

Sure that is the point where I just nod, smile and turn away slowly.
I can not recite the exact wording but I think Lucas was asked about the "orientalisms" and if his contact to Akira Kurosawa somehow influenced the making of Starwars and he answered somewhat down the lines that if anything he wanted to give some kind of exotic impression and to western viewers oriental looks where somewhat exotic.
And from Kurosawa he learned that more complicated is not always better.
Sometimes black and white painting where you can distinguish good and bad from each other with one look is no sign of primitivity but rather a stylistic tool.
I do not think that such basic stylistic resources are unique for samurei movies, or medival knight movies or cowboy (if anything than starwars is exactly that, a cowboy or pirates movie) or pirates or anything else.
If you want to search for antetypes for Starwars go for Buck Rodgers, or Flash Gordon or something.

Edited by The Basilisk, 19 March 2018 - 07:37 AM.


#8 Anjian

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Posted 19 March 2018 - 06:26 PM

The media itself is not my concern. I am commenting about the general look, theme and style of Battletech. The concept of amoral human factions fighting each other with giant robots isn't unique or original to Battletech. Its been created from anime previously. Also there are too many coincidences and similarities in Dougram and Battletech, and I say, if you have bothered to rip off not just one but all of its designs, you are likely to have watched the series. Things like head shots, legging, torso shots, joint arms with infantry, and the very idea of a half naked mechwarrior sweating in his cockpit wearing a targeting monocle, all came out from this series.



Dougram exists only as a one run TV series, though lengthy, and Battletech as a decades long running franchise, with plenty of literature behind it that would grow eventually, resulting in BT being far more extensive and complex, growing into a true franchise, and along the way, developing its own stylistic identity as BT developed its own mechs that are unique to the franchise, though the Dougram styling influences would remain. BT mechs over the years are constantly influenced by outside media, just as you go from one new artist to another. and each may have viewed their own anime and scifi series that would influence their art.

I am not referring as orientalisms in the style and simplicity of Star Wars, but concepts like the Force, the manner of sword fighting, the Jedi, are heavily Eastern inspired, the Force being similar to the Chi, Ki or Qi, for example. Master (sifu or shishou) teaching apprentice the arts and mastering your Qi, meditating and being one with the universe is a common theme of martial arts movies. The Jedi is half Samurai, half Shaolin Monk (Samurai aren't a religious order nor monks). Wuxia story has the Shaolin Temple attacked by Imperial forces on the orders of the Qin Emperor because they were teaching rebels martial arts and harboring these rebels.

Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, and '30s Scifi pulp fiction, like the Lensman series, Captain Future, etc,. lack these elements.

Edited by Anjian, 19 March 2018 - 07:33 PM.


#9 Anjian

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Posted 19 March 2018 - 07:09 PM

The "Wolverines" get their butts kicked in badly here.



The "Battlemasters" show up.




"Griffins" takes on "Crabs".




All out battle.


Edited by Anjian, 19 March 2018 - 07:17 PM.


#10 Rogue Jedi

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Posted 20 March 2018 - 12:49 PM

View PostThe Basilisk, on 19 March 2018 - 02:16 AM, said:

When Robotech, the BATTLETECH precursor, was born its main goal was to do away with all the sparkly prepubescent girly wiggle and singing and creating a western style post apocalyptic rust and dust scenario where big stompy mechs could be exactly that.

Robotech is not a precurser to Battletech, Battledroids (the first edition of Battletech, later convinced to rename to Battletech by George Lucas) was released in 1984, Robotech was released in 1985, how can a precurser to something have came along a year later?

the only association between the 2 is that they both licenced some Mecha used in some Japanise cartoons (then due to a dispute as to who owned the rights Battletech agreed to stop using those versions of the artwork)

sorry I just felt the need to correct that inaccuracy

#11 Anjian

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Posted 20 March 2018 - 07:20 PM

View PostRogue Jedi, on 20 March 2018 - 12:49 PM, said:

Robotech is not a precurser to Battletech, Battledroids (the first edition of Battletech, later convinced to rename to Battletech by George Lucas) was released in 1984, Robotech was released in 1985, how can a precurser to something have came along a year later?

the only association between the 2 is that they both licenced some Mecha used in some Japanise cartoons (then due to a dispute as to who owned the rights Battletech agreed to stop using those versions of the artwork)

sorry I just felt the need to correct that inaccuracy


That's another inaccuracy, as they never licensed any mecha designs from the cartoons. They were just ripped of outright. But the Japanese creators of shows like Dougram has no interest in the US market, and anime creators are often just ripping off each other anyway, since the time Mazinger Z became super popular. This process of copying, then modifying and improving over each other is why there are so many robot shows in Japanese TV, even if many look too alike from each other.

Edited by Anjian, 20 March 2018 - 07:21 PM.


#12 Rogue Jedi

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Posted 20 March 2018 - 10:48 PM

View PostAnjian, on 20 March 2018 - 07:20 PM, said:


That's another inaccuracy, as they never licensed any mecha designs from the cartoons. They were just ripped of outright. But the Japanese creators of shows like Dougram has no interest in the US market, and anime creators are often just ripping off each other anyway, since the time Mazinger Z became super popular. This process of copying, then modifying and improving over each other is why there are so many robot shows in Japanese TV, even if many look too alike from each other.


while it is true that most of the Battletech deisgns are origional Mechs and some may have been directly inspired by Japanise mecha designs they definately started with some licensed Mecha designs

Fasa (creators of Battletech) licensed the designs for some Mecha from Twentith Century Imports, then Harmony Gold (creators of Robotech) licensed those same Mechs from someone else, and due to uncertainty over who owned the western distribution rights Battletech agreed to stop using the disputed Mech designs (and decided not to use any others they had licensed) in an out of court settlement, and they became known as the unseen.

do a google search for "battletech unseen" and you can find dozens of sources for that.

#13 IIXxXII

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Posted 23 April 2018 - 02:19 PM

Once sex robots became a reality.

All of that other robot stuff became obsolete.

Posted Image

#14 Karl Carver

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Posted 06 October 2021 - 09:41 PM

View PostAnjian, on 19 March 2018 - 03:52 AM, said:

Battletech only offers the geographic difference of origin in terms of its mecha subgenre, but Battletech truly falls right into the post Gundam or Third Era of Mecha where everything became dark, faction war themed and realistic. Macross is pretty unique for its idol approach, but no other mecha series since then has done that so Macross can be considered an exception to the mecha trend.

Battletech is heavily influenced by Fang of the Sun Dougram in its quality, atmosphere, settings, and Dougram is almost like a Battletech-Mechwarrior story. Battletech has zero in relation to Macross in spirit, but everything in Dougram is. Furthermore, a good number of mechs from Dougram were ripped off into Battletech, like the Roundfacers into the Griffin, and Dougram itself as the Shadowhawk. Everything about the rule-look of Battletech, such as glass cockpits and the chest heavy blocky designs, all came from Dougram. Dougram itself was followed by Armored Trooper Votoms, which in turn inspired Heavy Gear in the West. What BT does is take the otherwise simple Dougram concept into a far more comprehensive universe that are teeming with planets, history and mecha.

This scene and diorama isn't really based on Battletech but on Dougram, portrays not a Griffin but a Roundfacer, a Soltic H8.

Posted Image


Another aspect of the Gundam era of mecha are European colonial types (Zeon etc,.) which we also see in Dougram and other mecha anime, and which we also see plenty in Battletech. Gundam, Dougram, Votoms, and the anime of these era aren't filled with sexy girls either, and it should be noted that Gundam series also started the trend which we now refer to as GoT type of storytelling where we love to kill off main characters one by one. In fact many mecha shows are just outright bloody, particularly when you consider its teenagers, some of whom are girls, that are getting killed there. In Gundam, you can't get anymore serious when you have an entire space colony dumped into a populated city on Earth.


The 4th Era of Mecha, starting with Neon Genesis Evangelion is when things are taken to the next level. We have gone beyond politics, but now into religion, philosophy, metaphysics, and cosmology. Where in the first era of Mecha (Mazinger Z), foes are like mechanical kaiju, in the second era (Gundam) its another human faction, in the third era (Evangelion), the foes are now quasi religious, beings that are angelic, mythical, and god-like, and their attacks on humankind can seemingly be like apocalyptic judgement, and our robots, our technology stand in the way of this divine judgement. There is simply no Western precedent to this subgenre of mecha.


I have that one

Posted Image





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