The term mecha (メカ meka) may refer to both scientific ideas and science fiction genres that center on giant robots or machines controlled by people. Mechas are typically depicted as humanoid mobile robots.
These machines vary greatly in size and shape, but are distinguished from vehicles by their humanoid or biomorphic appearance and size—bigger than a human. Different subgenres exist, with varying connotations of realism. The concept of Super Robot and Real Robot are two such examples found in Japanese anime. The term may also refer to real world piloted humanoid or non-humanoid robotic platforms, either currently in existence or still on the drawing board (i.e. at the planning or design stage). Alternatively, in the original Japanese context of the word, "mecha" may refer to mobile machinery/vehicles (including aircraft) in general, manned or otherwise.
The word "mecha" (メカ meka) is an abbreviation, first used in Japanese, of the word "mechanical". In Japanese, mecha encompasses all mechanical objects, including cars, guns, computers, and other devices, and the term "robot" (ロボット robotto) or "giant robot" is used to distinguish limbed vehicles from other mechanical devices. Outside of this usage, it has become associated with large humanoid machines with limbs or other biological characteristics. Mechs differ from robots in that they are piloted from a cockpit, typically located in the chest or head of the mech.
While the distinction is often hazy, mecha typically does not refer to form-fitting powered armor such as Iron Man's suit. They are usually much larger than the wearer, like Iron Man's enemy the Iron Monger, or the mobile suits depicted in the Gundam series.
In most cases, mecha are depicted as fighting machines, whose appeal comes from the combination of potent weaponry with a more stylish combat technique than a mere vehicle. Often, they are the primary means of combat, with conflicts sometimes being decided through gladiatorial matches. Other works represent mecha as one component of an integrated military force, supported by and fighting alongside tanks, fighter aircraft, and infantry, functioning as a mechanical cavalry. The applications often highlight the theoretical usefulness of such a device, combining a tank's resilience and firepower with infantry's ability to cross unstable terrain and a high degree of customization. In some continuities, special scenarios are constructed to make mecha more viable than current-day status. For example, in Gundam the fictional Minovsky particle inhibits the use of radar, making long-range ballistic strikes impractical, thus favouring relatively close range warfare of Mobile Suits.
However, some stories, such as the manga/anime series Patlabor and the American wargame BattleTech universe, also encompass mecha used for civilian purposes such as heavy construction work, police functions or firefighting. Mecha also see roles as transporters, recreation, advanced hazmat suits and other R and D applications.
Mecha have been used in fantasy settings, for example in the anime series Aura Battler Dunbine, The Vision of Escaflowne, Panzer World Galient and Maze. In those cases, the mecha designs are usually based on some alternative or "lost" science-fiction technology from ancient times. In case of anime series Zoids, the machines resemble dinosaurs and animals, and have been shown to evolve from native metallic organisms.
The 1868 Edward S. Ellis novel The Steam Man of the Prairies featured a steam-powered, back piloted, mechanical man. The 1880 Jules Verne novel La Maison à vapeur (The Steam House) featured a steam-powered, piloted, mechanical elephant. One of the first appearances of such machines in modern literature was the tripods of H. G. Wells' famous The War of the Worlds (1897). The novel does not contain a fully detailed description of the tripods' (or "fighting-machine", as they are known in the novel) mode of locomotion, however it is hinted at: "Can you imagine a milking stool tilted and bowled violently along the ground? That was the impression those instant flashes gave. But instead of a milking stool imagine it a great body of machinery on a tripod stand."
Ōgon Bat, a kamishibai that debuted in 1931 (later adapted into an anime in 1967), featured the first piloted humanoid giant robot, Dai Ningen Tanku (大人間タンク), but as an enemy rather than a protagonist. The first humanoid giant robot piloted by the protagonist appeared in the manga Nuclear Power Android (原子力人造人間 Gensiryokuzinzōningen) in 1948. The manga and anime Tetsujin 28-Go, introduced in 1956, featured a robot, Tetsujin, that was controlled externally by an operator via remote control. The manga and anime Astro Boy, introduced in 1952, with its humanoid robot protagonist, was a key influence on the development of the giant robot genre in Japan. The first anime featuring a giant mecha being piloted by the protagonist from within a cockpit was the Super Robot show Mazinger Z, written by Go Nagai and introduced in 1972.
Early uses of mech-like machines in the United States include Kimball Kinnison's battle suit in E. E. "Doc" Smith's Lensman novel Galactic Patrol (1950), the Mobile Infantry battle suits in Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers (1958), and the film The King and the Mockingbird (first released in 1952).
In Japan, "robot anime" (known as "mecha anime" outside Japan) is one of the oldest genres in anime. Robot anime is often tied in with toy manufacturers. Large franchises such as Zoids and Gundam have hundreds of different model kits.
The size of mecha can vary according to the story and concepts involved. Some of them may not be considerably taller than a tank (Armored Trooper Votoms, Megazone 23, Code Geass), some may be a few stories tall (Gundam, Escaflowne, Bismark, Gurren Lagann), others can be as tall as a skyscraper (Space Runaway Ideon, Genesis of Aquarion, Neon Genesis Evangelion), some are big enough to contain an entire city (Macross), some the size of a planet (Diebuster), galaxies (Getter Robo, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann), or even as large as universes (Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Lagann-hen, Demonbane).
The first giant robot seen was Mitsuteru Yokoyama's 1956 manga Tetsujin 28-go. However, it wasn't until the advent of Go Nagai's Mazinger Z that the genre was established. Mazinger Z innovated by adding the inclusion of futuristic weapons, and the concept of being able to pilot from a cockpit (rather than via remote control, in the case of Tetsujin). According to Go Nagai:
I wanted to create something different, and I thought it would be interesting to have a robot that you could drive, like a car.
Mazinger Z featured giant robots which were "piloted by means of a small flying car and command center that docked inside the head." It was also a pioneer in die-cast metal toys 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.
Robot/mecha anime and manga differ vastly in storytelling and animation quality from title to title, and content ranges all the way from children's shows to ones intended for an older teen or adult audience.
Some robot mecha are capable of transformation (Macross and Zeta Gundam) or combining to form even bigger ones (Beast King GoLion and Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann). Go Nagai is also often credited with inventing this in 1974 with the television series Getter Robo.
Not all mecha need be completely mechanical. Some have biological components with which to interface with their pilots, and some are partially biological themselves, such as in Neon Genesis Evangelion, Eureka Seven, and Zoids.
Mecha based on anime have seen extreme cultural reception across the world. The personification of this popularity can be seen as 1:1 size Mazinger Z, Tetsujin, and Gundam statues built across the world.
Mecha are often featured in computer and console video games. Because of their size and fictional power, mecha are quite popular subjects for games, both tabletop and electronic. They have been featured in video games since the 1980s, particularly in vehicular combat and shooter games, including Sesame Japan's side-scrolling shooter game Vastar in 1983, various Gundam games such as Mobile Suit Gundam: Last Shooting in 1984 and Z-Gundam: Hot Scramble in 1986, the run and gun shooters Hover Attack in 1984 and Thexder in 1985, and Arsys Software's 3D role-playing shooters WiBArm in 1986 and Star Cruiser in 1988. Historically mecha-based games have been more popular in Japan than in other countries.
There are a few real prototypes of mecha-like vehicles. Currently almost all of these are highly specialized or just for concept purpose, and as such may not see mass production.
In the Western world, there are few examples of mecha, however, several machines have been constructed by both companies and private figures. Timberjack, a subsidiary of John Deere, built a practical hexapod walking harvester.
Anime International Company, Inc. (Japanese: 株式会社アニメインターナショナルカンパニー, Hepburn: Kabushiki-gaisha Anime Intānashonaru Kanpanī), often abbreviated as AIC, is a Japanese animation studio with headquarters in Nerima, Tokyo, Japan.Another Century's Episode
Another Century's Episode (アナザーセンチュリーズエピソード, Anazā Senchurīzu Episōdo), abbreviated as A.C.E., is a mecha action video game developed by FromSoftware and published by Banpresto. It was released for the PlayStation 2 in Japan on January 27, 2005.
Another Century's Episode is a fast-paced action title featuring characters, mecha, and story elements from nine famous Japanese anime. However, while Super Robot Wars is known for combining super robots, like Mazinger Z, and real robots, like Mobile Suit Gundam, Another Century's Episode exclusively focuses on real robots (later games, however, have included one to two Super Robot series in their casts).Armored Core
Armored Core is a mecha-based video game series developed by the firm FromSoftware for the PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and mobile phone platforms. Armored Core games are third-person shooters in which the player pilots a large mechanical unit that is itself called an "Armored Core". Armored Core: Verdict Day is the fifteenth and latest title in the series, being released worldwide on September 2013. The series' initial game came out in 1997.Combat Mecha Xabungle
Combat Mecha Xabungle (Japanese: 戦闘メカ ザブングル, Hepburn: Sentō Meka Zabunguru) is a mecha anime television series created by Sunrise and directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino. It was broadcast on the Nagoya TV and TV Asahi networks weekly from February 6, 1982, to January 29, 1983. Promotional toys were produced by Clover. There was also a compilation movie made called Xabungle Graffiti, which included new footage and a different ending to the series. The anime series is licensed by Maiden Japan. It is currently streaming on Hidive, and it was released on an SDBD set on December 18, 2018.Go Nagai
Kiyoshi Nagai (永井潔, Nagai Kiyoshi, born September 6, 1945 in Wajima, Ishikawa), better known by the pen name Go Nagai (永井 豪, Nagai Gō), is a Japanese manga artist and a prolific author of science fiction, fantasy, horror and erotica. He made his professional debut in 1967 with Meakashi Polikichi, but is best known for creating Cutie Honey, Devilman, and Mazinger Z. He also pioneered the ecchi genre with Harenchi Gakuen. He is credited with creating the Super Robot genre and for designing the first mecha robots piloted by a user from within a cockpit with Mazinger Z. In 2005, he became a Character Design professor at the Osaka University of Arts. Since 2009, he is a member of Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize's nominating committee.HTC ThunderBolt
The HTC ThunderBolt (ADR6400L) was the first 4G LTE smartphone on the Verizon Wireless network. It is a CDMA/LTE variant of the HTC Desire HD. It was first announced at CES on January 6, 2011.
In addition to 4G service, the ThunderBolt is the first Verizon phone to support simultaneous voice/data over 3G without the help of Wi-Fi.Knights of Sidonia
Knights of Sidonia (Japanese: シドニアの騎士, Hepburn: Shidonia no Kishi) is a space opera and mecha manga series by Tsutomu Nihei, serialized by Kodansha in their magazine Afternoon between April 2009 and September 2015, localized in English by Vertical. An anime television series adaptation, produced by Polygon Pictures, aired between April and June 2014 and a second season aired between April and June 2015.Mecha-Streisand
"Mecha-Streisand" is the twelfth and penultimate episode of the first season of the American animated television series South Park. It originally aired on Comedy Central in the United States on February 18, 1998. In the episode, Barbra Streisand obtains the Diamond of Panthios from Stan, Cartman, Kyle and Kenny, and transforms into a giant mechanical dinosaur called Mecha-Streisand. She is ultimately defeated by The Cure frontman Robert Smith, who himself transforms into a giant moth monster.
The episode was written by series co-creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone along with writer Philip Stark, and was directed by Parker. "Mecha-Streisand" parodies numerous popular Kaiju films and features portrayals of actor Sidney Poitier and film critic Leonard Maltin.
According to Nielsen ratings, "Mecha-Streisand" was seen by 5.4 million viewers, a record high viewership for a South Park episode at the time. Streisand herself was critical of the series and her role in "Mecha-Streisand", although Leonard Maltin was complimentary about his portrayal.Mecha (tea)
Mecha (芽茶) is a type of green tea. The name of mecha derives from the early leaf buds needed to make this special green tea. Mecha is harvested in spring and made as rolled leaf teas that are graded somewhere between Gyokuro and Sencha in quality. Mecha are made from a collection of leaf buds and tips of the early crops.Mecha anime and manga
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. The genre is broken down into two subcategories; "super robot", featuring super-sized, implausible robots, and "real robot", where robots are governed by realistic physics and technological limitations.
Mecha series cover a wide variety of genres, from comedy to drama, and the genre has expanded into other media, such as video game adaptations. Mecha has also contributed to the popularity of scale model robots.Mechagodzilla
Mechagodzilla (メカゴジラ, Mekagojira) is a mecha that first appeared in the 1974 film Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla as an extraterrestrial villain opposing Godzilla. In subsequent iterations, it is depicted as a man-made weapon designed to defend Japan from Godzilla. In all incarnations, Mechagodzilla appears as a robotic doppelgänger and arch-enemy of Godzilla, boasting a vast array of weaponry.Mega Shark Versus Mecha Shark
Mega Shark Versus Mecha Shark is a 2014 direct-to-video monster/disaster film produced by the Asylum. It was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on January 28, 2014. The film is a sequel to Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus and Mega Shark Versus Crocosaurus, and is the third installment in the Mega Shark film series. It is the directorial debut of Emile Edwin Smith and stars Christopher Judge and Elisabeth Röhm, with Debbie Gibson reprising her role as Emma MacNeil from the first film.Moe anthropomorphism
Moe anthropomorphism (萌え擬人化, moe gijinka) is a form of anthropomorphism in anime and manga where moe qualities are given to non-human beings, objects, concepts, or phenomena. In addition to moe features, moe anthropomorphisms are also characterized by their accessories, which serve to emphasize their original forms before anthropomorphosis. The characters here, usually in a kind of cosplay, are drawn to represent an inanimate object or popular consumer product. Part of the humor of this personification comes from the personality ascribed to the character (often satirical) and the sheer arbitrariness of characterizing a variety of machines, objects, and even physical places as cute.
This form of anthropomorphism is very common in otaku subcultures. With the exception of kemonomimi (which are human-like characters that have animal features), many moe anthropomorphizations started as dōjin efforts. At first many were the results of discussions on Japanese Internet forums such as 2channel or Futaba Channel. The trend spread out of dōjin circles as commercial anime and manga also prominently feature characters who are personifications of inanimate objects.Scooby-Doo! Mecha Mutt Menace
Scooby-Doo! Mecha Mutt Menace is a direct-to-DVD special based upon the Scooby-Doo Saturday morning cartoons, released on September 24, 2013 on the 13 Spooky Tales: Ruh-Roh Robot DVD.Shōji Kawamori
Shōji Kawamori (河森 正治, Kawamori Shōji, born February 20, 1960) is a Japanese anime creator and producer, screenwriter, visual artist, and mecha designer.Super Robot Wars
Super Robot Wars (スーパーロボット大戦, Sūpā Robotto Taisen) is a series of tactical role-playing video games produced by Banpresto, which is now a Japanese division of Bandai Namco Entertainment. Starting out as a spinoff of the Compati Hero Series, the main feature of the franchise is having a story that crosses over several popular mecha anime, manga and video games, allowing characters and mecha from different titles to team up or battle one another. The first game in the franchise was released for the Nintendo Game Boy on April 20, 1991. Later spawning numerous games that were released on various consoles and handhelds. Due to the nature of crossover games and licensing involved, only a few games have been released outside Japan, and in English (early English-language games only feature Banpresto's original characters and mecha, and a flagship installment were to never be released until 2016, with the English release of Super Robot Wars V in Southeast Asian countries). The franchise celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2016.Vehicle simulation game
Vehicle simulation games are a genre of video games which attempt to provide the player with a realistic interpretation of operating various kinds of vehicles. This includes automobiles, aircraft, watercraft, spacecraft, military vehicles, and a variety of other vehicles. The main challenge is to master driving and steering the vehicle from the perspective of the pilot or driver, with most games adding another challenge such as racing or fighting rival vehicles. Games are often divided based on realism, with some games including more realistic physics and challenges such as fuel management.
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