Interest Stacks

The Mecha Genre, and Why it Matters

May 25 2022, 5:49 PM | Updated Jan 12, 6:24 PM
The mecha genre is specific to the anime medium, for the reason that what once started from an interesting concept, over the decades and the various artistic interpretations it had gone through, did managed to reach it's full development and thematic recognition.

It's origin can be traced way back to the end of World War 2, and the notion of the general populace at the time, that the technological breakthroughs, and their further usage to help and safeguard mankind are the way that we should develop as a species, so that's when the bipedal metal giants were born - a figures with humane limbs and features, that are controlled by a person and which allows them to wield this overwhelming power in service of a greater good.

In this interest stack, I've presented the ways in this genre had changed, and the specific shows which had major impact upon the development of the mecha as a concept, and the ways it had branched out of the established norm for this genre exploring a broad spectrum of themes. The order of the shows is in chronological order, since that way the slight alterations and changes can be presented in more simple and efficient manner.
Kidou Senshi Gundam
TV, 1979, 43 eps Me:- Author:8
The introduction of Mobile Suit Gundam in 1979 gives the beginning of a massive franchise, whose impact is groundbreaking, for the mecha as a genre, as well as the anime medium as a whole.

It should be noted that the mecha genre from it's inception, until the late 70's , was mostly associated with supernatural robots, fighting various alien menaces in episodic way, and were mostly considered a children's type of shows. A major narrative improvement was Space Battleship Yamato, from 1974, which did introduced the aliens as humanoids, and presented the conflicts in much realistic, and grounded way, as well as being one of the first space operas, and the inception of Gundam does draws inspiration from this setting.

What Gundam presents us, is war between two factions of humans, both with their justified goals. having a colourful and likeable cast, worthy of our empathy. The brutality of war, it's futility and the mental and physical trauma that every person from both faction suffers, these are Mobile Suit Gundam's general themes as a show, and in the whole franchise.

This show is one of the few prototypes of anime media, aimed at young adults and focusing on it's serious narrative and complex political world building. It also presents us with the novel concept of having a cast of morally grey characters, from both sides of the warring factions.
Densetsu Kyojin Ideon
TV, 1980, 39 eps Me:- Author:7
Ideon is a show which in it's setting is a super robot type of show, for the fact that the titular mech does have powers that cannot be explained with the scientific knowledge of the presented world.

But, contrary to the earlier shows of the super robot genre, it's story revolves around the struggle of both humankind and an alien species to control this mysterious mechanical force, and the futility in that. In these series the mechanical humanoid is a being of it's own, lending it's powers, but never explaining it's goals and motives, which gives this being an aura of omnipotence, and exuding fear, to both it's allies and foes.

This show might be one of the first shows in which the supernatural mecha genre's narrative and story is much more revolved around the despair and sorrow of the humans and aliens, struggling to achieve this forbidden power, and the futility of their actions.
TV, 1982, 36 eps Me:- Author:8
After the massive success of Gundam, the space operas with mecha elements were quite popular. One of the more interesting and progressive spins of the setting was SDF Macross, or just Macross.

The series's focus leans much more on the character dynamic, and their romantic relationships, as well as the significance of the music, as something that represents our culture and our understanding of life as a whole.

In this series, the humankind is facing an humanoid alien species, which was physically and mentally modified to be the perfect soldiers and warriors, but along the path they had lost their understanding of society, culture and all these complex and interpersonal relationships between them. On the other side, the humans are way less prepared for the battles ahead, their technologies are less effective, but they do rely on their wit and they are led by their morale, and strong will.

So in a way, the show presents us the allegory that a person, or nation, solely focused on military progress and prowess does not exist fully, and do leads to their moral and societal downfall.

Macross, as a standalone show which sprawled it's own franchise, is one of the very influential mecha series, which did defined that you can craft interesting and gripping sci-fi setting, and mix in it action, romance and drama, within which you can add in a subtle social commentary about the human condition and the ways our society works and the importance of the cultural bonds which did unites as as a species.

Soukou Kihei Votoms

Armored Trooper Votoms

Soukou Kihei Votoms
TV, 1983, 52 eps Me:- Author:8
Votoms, along with Macross and Gundam are the three most influential mecha series from the 80's, and for a good reason - all of these shows were fresh, progressive and did felt innovative to the genre as a whole. While we talked about the appeal of the other two, the strong points in Votoms is it's well-crafted hard sci-fi approach to it's narrative and setting, exploring the mental state of a soldier, who has seen for himself the horrors of wars in his military life.

While in the other mecha series, the themes of clashing ideologies is one of the main topics, in Votoms the sole survival and perseverance of the small cast is it's main topic, as well as the concept of a "perfect soldier", and how imperfect it is. The pent up stress and the trauma that our main protagonist is being haunted from follows him through his life, and constantly reminds him on the path he'd taken.

As well as that, the show also presents us one of the most believable mecha designs to this day - the bulky and solid steel husks, with their simple, scope like visors and practical weapon/limb designs do reminds us more of a bipedal tank, driven by one person, rather than technologically miraculous mechanical equipment. The benefit from this peculiar design sure harks to the overall theme of this show, it's cruel, realistic and gritty portrayal of our world, in almost post-apocalyptical hues, based off cruelty and shrewed political decisions, a place in which one can indeed feel the solitude in his existence.
Macross: Do You Remember Love?
Movie, 1984, 1 ep Me:- Author:6
This movie, which canonically should be a retelling of Macross, with some alterations in it's plot and conclusions, presents us the original story, or more so it's pivotal points.

The significance of this movie is that it manages to present what Macross as a franchise is all about, having gorgeous and impressive animation sequences that have stood the test of time.

As well as that, both the original series and the movie does feature the titular idol character Lynn Minmei, which by herself is interesting and charming character, and more importantly, her popularity at the time was one of the sole reasons that idol anime exists and is a thing nowadays.

The success of the movie proved that Macross as a whole is a solid and praised show for a reason, hence why there are still new Macross series that are being aired, even nowadays.
Top wo Nerae! Gunbuster
OVA, 1988, 6 eps Me:- Author:8
Gunbuster marks the beginning of alot of things - at it's heart it is a mecha show, but instead of focusing on the grand narrative, it is a story about the internal struggles that the cast had to pass. The self-reflective, scared and indecisive main character is a trope we've seen, but here the struggles she has are more or less aimed at herself, rather than an external opposition. Also it's important to note that a female lead in the time was something rare, especially for a mecha show.

Another beginning that these series marks is the directorial debut of Hideaki Anno, a person who has very important role in the evolution of the mecha genre or the anime medium as a whole. His first series, albeit simplified, does carries alot of his ideas, which he'll later explore and expand upon in other shows.

As for the show itself, it has the perfect balance of hope and hopelessness, of melancholy and motivation, and most importantly, it has a lot of heart poured into it. It's a story about the emotional turmoil of the cast, as well as their perseverance to rise to the occasion and fight with all their will, despite the odds.

On a side of side notes, this is the first anime series to feature juggle physics for their cast, which is an interesting trivia.
Kikou Ryohei Mellowlink
OVA, 1988, 12 eps Me:- Author:8
Mellowlink is a side story from the Votoms franchise, and just like it's original take, it portrays the life and struggles of a soldier with a lust for righteous vengeance, amidst the constant and never ending wars that this world is plagued from.

As a departure from the previous mecha entries, in this one we're not following in the trails of a mecha pilot, but quite the contrary, a foot soldier, with specialized equipment to take down mechs, which is an interesting twist on the well known formula. The armaments of our main character and the attention to their detail is astounding, as their strategical usage is paramount to the survival of our protagonist, who is always unevenly matched against the odds of the battle.

Even if this show is a side story from a bigger franchise, it feels detached in any way to the main plot line of the original series and cast, for which it can be watched as a single series.
Dragon's Heaven
OVA, 1988, 1 ep Me:- Author:6
Dragon's Heaven is an interesting case - more of a passion project rather than well defined and written story, it tells the story of a post-apocalyptic world, and a scavenger who founds a mech, from bygone eras. It's narrative is nothing spectacular, but I do believe the show's merit is it's artistic presentation and the ingenuity and lengths that the production staff went to make this project existent in the first place.

The bleached, rough and rustic designs of the world, enveloped by sandstorms and sun-burnt hills gives off the feeling that you're watching a grainy mirage, moving on it's own, and painted with warm, and soft pastel colours. It's no secret that the aesthetics of this work were influenced by Moebius, a french comic artist, famous for his untypical science fiction worlds, and the world of this short show can just so be part of them.

This show's significance to the genre stems from the fact that while, in of itself the show has mecha setting ingrained in it's narrative, it's artistic flare strays away from any other shows of it's time, making it this special, in some ways, financially failed artistic experiment of a work, which does has it's rich artistic merits.

I strongly believe that the individualistic and purely passion projects are the ones that pushes the boundaries of what we consider anime or, generally speaking, entertainment media, for which they hold tremendous importance, to both the viewer and the creator.

Kidou Senshi Gundam: Gyakushuu no Char

Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack

Kidou Senshi Gundam: Gyakushuu no Char
Movie, 1988, 1 ep Me:- Author:9
This movie signifies the turning point, and most likely, the spiritual conclusion of the Universal Century's timeline in the Gundam franchise, which generally means, the canon of the series. I do say it's spiritual for the fact that there are other series on the timeline, after this one, but in a way they don't hold the same spark and does feel as they do their own thing, rather than adding up on the existing works.

This was the first full length movie from the Gundam franchise, as we exclude the condensed 3 movies, retelling the story of the series from 1979, and for this reason, the expectations were high. While it is not generally agreed upon, I do believe this movie was the perfect conclusion of the conflicts between the Federation and Zeon, that has sprawled over 3 shows and other small OVA's, as well as the perpetual struggle on ideological and emotional level between Char Aznable and Amuro Ray, both people with radically different worldviews and aspirations, and both right in their own way.

I do believe that their rivalry is one of the pivotal point of the franchise, and the fact that you can both disagree or agree with their points with solid reasoning just goes to show the well crafted world and setting, existing within the ideological duality of the two nations. Gundam as a franchise was never about proving who's wrong or right, that's up to the viewer to decide, but the point of the show is about showing the human tragedy on a personal level, which all sprawls from the wars and their futility as a whole.

The importance of this movie is that it seals and concludes one of the most intense rivalries within the Gundam franchise, delivering us a conclusion that is both emotionally moving and worth pondering upon.

Kidou Senshi Gundam 0080: Pocket no Naka no Sensou

Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket

Kidou Senshi Gundam 0080: Pocket no Naka no Sensou
OVA, 1989, 6 eps Me:- Author:10
To mark the 10th anniversary of the Gundam franchise, Sunrise decided to gift their fans with their first ever OVA series, focused on the Universal Century. This time though, the show is not set on showing us the endless battlefields of a hardened crew, not the intricate and shrewd politics that plagues the both factions, but rather, a relatively peaceful colony on the outskirts of the conflict, in which we have our protagonist, who is just a child.

The focus in these series is to show us how this whole conflict looks from the viewpoint of this beforementioned child, who finds the whole mechs and their interesting and menacing guns very "cool", in the naive way every child does.

But, suffice to say, Gundam as a franchise, despite showing in detailed and intricate fashion the way the mechas work, and how fascinating as a machines they are, never glamorized them or depicted the war as something exciting. It can be said as a franchise, that Gundam's messages of anti-war are loud and clear, and always reflected in the suffering thoughts of the crew and the protagonist that we follow, even though in of itself, it's a show about a war.

The importance in these series lies in the fact that the narrative that we follow is one that displays and subtly criticizes the people who percieve Gundam as a show about fascinating mechs and glorious combats between them, who looks at the surface but never realizes the honest critique towards the wars in our world and their tragic outcomes, and that never tries to honestly empathize with the sorrows and traumas that this series tries to share with us, for all these years.

Kidou Keisatsu Patlabor: On Television

Patlabor: The Mobile Police - The TV Series

Kidou Keisatsu Patlabor: On Television
TV, 1989, 47 eps Me:- Author:8
Patlabor, as a franchise, holds a very interesting place among the mech shows - it's a show, that follows the hard sci-fi route, and tries to explain the way these machines work and are efficiently implemented in their current society, while at the same time being a slice of life cop show, with both it's lighthearted and serious moments.

The show never shies away from exploring the main cast's personalities and quirks, and by that, giving us much more clear insight of how humanity might be feeling if we actually employ bipedal mechs into our police forces. As well as that, the show never tries to glamorize these machines, but quite contrary, it does shows how technology never stops to improve itself, and how we should try to understand the reasons behind them, and accept them as something normal.

In fact, this show's undertones are focused much more on how we as a society might find reason to implement and use technology like this in our lives, and the natural outcomes of a change like this, which does makes it an interesting platform on which we can contemplate on our own place in one such society, bound so deeply and dependant on technology and it's inevitable progress, for both good or bad, this the future will show.
Magic Knight Rayearth
TV, 1994, 20 eps Me:- Author:6
The mecha genre as a whole is one that is much oftenly aimed at the male, and young adults demographic, much oftenly depicting wars and armed conflicts. But that's where Magic Knight Rayearth comes, to mix things up - in it's core, this show is in the genre of magical girls, featuring titular vividly coloured team of friends, with their own titular transformation scenes and party dynamic, tropes that are well used and established within this genre, but then again, there are mechs.

This show is also one of the first, more mainstream mecha series in which the setting is purely fantasy, and neither soft not hard fantasy, which by itself is a novelty. The setting and beats of the show feels more alike to an rpg series rather than mecha ones.

The feminine appeal of this show is also underlined by the fact that the art and design is made by CLAMP, which are a group of female writers, mostly focused on writing stories aimed at young girls or women.

The way in this show matters in the long run of things is the fact that the mecha genre, by this time, had reached a new evolutional standpoint - it was not a niche on which you could depict stories strictly about wars, but stories with much wider appeal, in both the female and male demography.

Shinseiki Evangelion

Neon Genesis Evangelion

Shinseiki Evangelion
TV, 1995, 26 eps Me:- Author:10
Now, all the mecha shows in this list, more or less had added up to the inception of this one.

The fact that the mecha genre, starting with Gundam, focused on telling serious narratives about the human condition and our mental states in times of war had directly influenced Evangelion, for the sole fact that it's audience is certainly adult. The fact that the creator of Evangelion, Hideaki Anno, is an avid Gundam fan had certainly pushed his preferences on this topic and influenced him creatively.

The story he weaved in Eva is certainly much more bold and avant-garde in any possible sense, stretching the boundaries of the complexity that a mecha show can depict, to a point that not much, if any series can match it even to this day.

The show's narrative and cast were directly influenced by Anno's current mental state, in which he tried to depict fragments of his personal thoughts, fears and anxieties, which does gives us, as a viewer this very raw and personal experience for us to explore, and relate to. Some of us might detest and try to avoid relating to this story, others can find comfort into delving deeper and deeper into it, by this way looking for our own mental reflection, it all varies from person to person.

There are certain similarities between his directorial debut, Gunbuster, and Evangelion, but in the same way, the tone and the conclusion of both series is different, which can be correlated to Anno's mental state at the moment of their making. While he had relative optimism and tried to hark to it, in Evangelion the emotions are much more melancholic, tragic and self-deprecating.

The influence of this show and the impact it had made on the whole anime medium is something that is hard to explain fully. This is a show, that wasn't based on any existing source material, and it's success was something unheard of it's time, which paved the way for much more original works to be animated. No longer the studios had to rely on previous popularity, just so they can proceed to animate a show - all you needed was a good, fresh idea, interesting and bold execution, and passionate staff to back you up, which did boosted immensely the creative drives on the industry.

The deeply psychological insight that the show is seeped in was the stepping stone for the so called psychological genre of shows, delving on such themes. Evangelion was the pioneer in this field, but the many, many others that followed and are being made to this day, in a way owe the existence of their niche to the incredible popularity of Evangelion, being a proof that you can craft a serious, complex and dealing with the human psyche and condition show, which is successful despite it's very peculiar themes.

As well as that, the serious and self-reflective nature of this show lead to polarizing effects, some fans thought of Evangelion as a creative masterpiece, and work of art, others were angered and insulted by the arrogance and the show's pretentious nature, which in fact lead to death threats towards Anno. One thing was evident though, even if contrasting, the show's presence and legacy was one that had, and always does sparks interest and controversy among the people, which is why it still holds it's status as a rite of passage for the anime fans.

Tenkuu no Escaflowne

The Vision of Escaflowne

Tenkuu no Escaflowne
TV, 1996, 26 eps Me:- Author:8
The mecha shows, after the cultural impact that Evangelion had caused, more or less started to branch out in even more and untypical directions.

One such case is Escaflowne - produced by Sunrise, it was an interesting take on the fantasy mecha genre, but unlike Magic Knight Rayearth, it tried to balance it's appeal equally towards the male and female demography, creating one peculiar show.

The character design and it's overall narrative did leaned towards the female watchers, featuring slender, handsome cast, more atypical to a shoujo, while in the same way the themes of war, and it's corruption to the people involved in it, which is staple of the mecha genre. The world depicted in this show is full of fantastical, but then again grounded within it's politics, and constantly warring for control kingdoms.

Special attention must be given to the way that the fantastical mechs had incorporated fighting styles, used in our medieval history, which means that the duels that we see are not decided by pulse rifles, plasma cannons or beam sabers, but in a more knightly fashion, wielding their melee weaponry with mastery, and animated with fascinating detail.

In Escaflowne, there is also place for romance, for our main heroine does have feelings for two pilots, both of which representing polar opposite - while Vans is brash and decisive, Allen is subtle and delicate, and the sincere but rough personality of one is contrasted by the refined but concealed manners of the other.

Kidou Senkan Nadesico

Martian Successor Nadesico

Kidou Senkan Nadesico
TV, 1996, 26 eps Me:- Author:8
Nadesico as a show holds alot of influences in it, and not only ones from the mecha genre. It's overall concept of it does feels like a classical space opera, on a first glance, but as the shows goes on, in manages cleverly unveil itself, layer by layer until it shows it's true self.

It has the cast dynamics of Space Battleship Yamato, it has the strategic and intense feeling of the battles as Gundam, it does depicts it's character lives as in Macross, both showing them on the battlefield and on their days off. At the same way it does makes an interesting inside comparisons and commentary on the differences between the super robot and real robot genre, and all these various references and nods to the other shows, on which this one was build upon, can be very entertaining watch for both new and veteran mecha fans.

While in the beginning the show likes to appear lighthearted and straight up goofy, later on the story doesn't feel scared to shy away from serious, and straight up horrifying consequences, There are moments in which this ragtag, colourful cast has to fight for it's life and existence, and while doing so, has to take responsibility for their actions and live with the consequences of their actions.

This show on paper sounds like something that wouldn't work, a serious story, told in not so serious way and being depicted as full of references and nods to the show in the past, while being by itself this very fresh and interesting take on the mecha genre.
TV, 1998, 25 eps Me:- Author:6
Gasaraki as a show is one that certainly holds it's psychological roots, raised high. These series does depict the human condition, amidst war, surrounded by politics, and entangled within the esoteric and supernatural.

In the same time, it's setting is grounded within the realism of 21 century, in both political and military sense, for the fact that it depicts the Japanese military, testing a prototype of mecha amidst the countless Middle eastern conflicts, despite their legal inability to participate in wars openly, which is directly correlated to our current reality. The political commentary doesn't stops there, as in the show there are opened discussions about Japan, breaching this point of international law and becoming armed and independent country, with it's own army in their control, which is a controversial topic right from the end of World War 2.

But despite the clearly political and realistic undertones in this work, there's also the more supernatural take of people, reincarnated from different eras, who do know each other and seek one another, even though they cannot initially realize this.

In a way, this show does depicts in a very realistic ways how could mechs be used in military campaigns in our day and age, and why would they matter as a unit. The somber, devoid of any excessive movements mecha battles, full of radio static, aiming within the visors and using their terrain to any advantage they may have does reminds us of Votoms, but it's more psychological and existential approach to it's characters and their development within the story are a thing of itself.
Change!! Getter Robo: Sekai Saigo no Hi
OVA, 1998, 13 eps Me:- Author:4
Getter Robo as a franchise is all about that over-the-top super robot experience - fantastical mecha which can morph and uses the power of it's pilots to amp itself up, is able to shoot beams out of thin air, and does has the power to split apart meteorites and other things of similar magnitude. This show feels very close to what the mecha shows of the 60's were conceptually, but with the twist that the narrative is not purely episodic, but instead, it's linear.

The writing and the plot in these series were never their strong point, but in them the high-octane action spectacle and the flashy devastation speaks for itself. So in a way, this is one very super robot franchise, presenting to this decade of fans, what this genre is all about.

An interesting point throughout the series is that, the mecha itself is presented as this omnipresent machine, which usually bares misfortune and straight up death to it's cast. The powers of this mechanical behemoths are driving it's initially not very sane cast to even newer depths, fueling their desire to fight and win to even bolder magnitudes. But even so, none of them backs out of using it, and quite oftenly fuels their zeal and determination to kill and destroy everything that is threat to them with renewed, and mad vigor.
Blue Gender
TV, 1999, 26 eps Me:- Author:8
Usually in the mecha shows, the existence of these monolithic machines, the emotions that they give off are empowering - wielding these mechanical beings does evoke feelings of grandness, vastness and detachment from the usual situations which would normally seem threatening. And even so, the core of this show is a survival horror/thriller, despite the fact that it features the titular mecha elements, which makes it particularly interesting case.

The show's setting is the post-apocalyptic future in which the humanity had succumbed it's reign of the Earth to unknown alien species, which seeks to annihilate and devour the last remaining of our human species. In these circumstances, we meet our protagonist, who was about to killed in his cryogenic sleep, but is saved by a military patrol, which marks his journey through the ruined and struggling remains of humankind along this broken world.

Even though, in shows like this, the usual focus of the narrative lies in analyzing and exterminating the alien species, and restoring humankind's former existence, in this series the focus is much more wide-spread, broad and psychological.

The remnants of the humankind are being looked down and considered a nuisance by the military, extra mouths to feed and protect, that cannot offer immediate assistance with their skills - gone are the times of the altruism and the simple but strong desire to help those who are hurt or in need. The countless seen and suffered hardships and tragedies had hardened the survived military corps's minds and hearts, making them cold, calculative and considering the rational survival their top priority, instead of trying to appease to what their sense of humans desires of them to do.

There is a mental rift between the overzealous military regiments and the scattered, struggling civilians, and just between them, remains our main character of the series. He is a person from the past, accustomed to the reality of life in our current everyday, and cannot accept or agree with the world he currently witnesses, and is in denial to the ruthless methods of the military patrol that saved him.

But then again, to exist you need to survive, so in a way, exploring his psychological state throughout the series is certainly one of this work's highlights. As well as that, the exploration of this new, militaristic society, devoid of feelings such as camaraderie, empathy, love and affection is in a way, exploring the human psyche in a critical, crucial low - despite all their decisions, based on logic and being constructively right, you cannot help but feel how devoid of humanity the humankind can be, and how cold and meaningless of an existence we can lead if we ignore our emotional drives, and discard our empathy.

Chikyuu Bouei Kigyou Dai-Guard

Dai-Guard: Terrestrial Defense Corp.

Chikyuu Bouei Kigyou Dai-Guard
TV, 1999, 26 eps Me:- Author:8
At this point, the super robot genre had persisted for this long, that the people who watched it at their youth, became adults and started considering their place in life, and their family situations.

Dai-Guard, being the satire of a show, manages to relate to the juvenile excitement and translate it yet again, while in the same way, it manages to tell it's sincere tale of three adults, with their internal conflicts, struggles and contemplations.

Surprisingly for it's super robot genre, the show manages to feel very relatable to the sitations and lives of the people it presents, this is not a show in which everything revolves around giant robots, punching everything and making things work, but rather, it's about assessing what's important and what's not in your life, why sometimes we delude ourselves while trying to be true to ourselves.

There's also the slight jabs at the Japanese work ethics and bureaucracy, which are an interesting nod to the perceived demographic of this show. The fact that an insurance company had bought out a super robot, which was being in use from the past, but nowadays is just a flamboyant relic, nowadays being used as a mascot in their PR campaigns just goes to show how materialistic and lightly we are to consider something that is part of our everyday environment, and that had lost it's real relevance.

But in the same way, when the alien invaders emerge again, humanity's first line of defense becomes this beforementioned junk of a mecha, as well as three employees from the insurance company, who do have a piloting degree from their college days.

This show is an interesting satire, which can be entertaining, lighthearted and relatable at the same time, but it's relevance to the mecha genre is symbolic - emerging as a pastime for children, but slowly incorporating adult and philosophical ideas, the mecha as a concept, over the time, matured over again, for being able to be a platform on which the fanbase could be commented and actually encouraged to respect the things they liked in their past, and why they should cherish this thought.
The Big O
TV, 1999, 26 eps Me:- Author:7
Mecha shows in general, doesn't fit at all with the mysterious, veiled and subdued noir aesthetics, which relies on the introspection, subtlety and inherent melancholy that this peculiar style provides. And yet again, the existence of this show just so proves the opposite.

The Big O is, on prima vista, a super robot show - we have our protagonist, who is deemed as "Negotiator", who dispenses his own sense of justice with his titular, art deco steampunk mecha in Paradigm city. But the closer we look, the lesser everything looks exemplary, as the city's name ironically nods - in this city, all of the people at some point had suffered from or still suffers from mass amnesia, and for as long as they remember, had lived in a dome-shaped cities. They all go on, don't their menial, everyday chores, without thinking of the past or the future, all they consider is their everyday life, and no one really worries themselves with unnecessary thoughts, concerning their life or existence beyond the obvious.

At the same time, there are few people among the populace, which realizes the nihilism in this way of living and tries to rally the others into realizing what they are missing, even resorting to use violence. Naturally, our main protagonist, who sees himself as the protector of the stability and tranquility of this city, intercept and disposes the oppositions, but he is slowly realizing that something doesn't add up, and the resistance might have a valid point to prove.

Narratively, the story does has it's nuances and complexities, but in the same way they're perfectly complimented by the well thought out cinematography, combined with the exotic and intricate mecha designs. Also, the smooth and somber jazz performances manages to blend in perfectly with the dim fog of the dark streets of Paradigm city, accenting the elegance and solitude that this series is seeped in.

The fact that this show is, in it's inception, filled with conceptual duality and contradictions on paper, but manages to be this very evocative and stylish experience just goes to prove how universal the mecha as a concept can be, and there there aren't any narrative limits to the stories that they can be a part of.
Argento Soma
TV, 2000, 25 eps Me:- Author:7
Argento Soma is a show that is an interesting blend of hard sci-fi mecha series and a supernatural twist. This series are not afraid to take creative risks and dives along the way, making it's whole runtime contains in itself a hint of mystery, one that the cast are trying to explain and contemplate upon using science and philosophy.

The main character in this works is one that is not quite typical for the mecha genre as a whole, but is one that makes good sense, considering the show's date of origin. In the period of the 2000's the mecha anime protagonist had taken quite the turn by your classical hotheaded and virtuous personalities. This story however presents us a person who is cynical, hopeless, and driven by rage and anguish a thirst for revenge that consumes his whole psyche.

This work's story beats is one that it could be seen from simillar shows from around these years, it's like the philosophical and thematic narrative of Eva, mixed with the supernatural but gritty fight choreography of Gasaraki, bringing in much more the battle synnergy between the separate mech pilots, who are well trained millitary units on their own. In the same sense, it also does have it's enigmatic and emotional hooks, which does works well to present the story with artistry and nuance.
Brigadoon: Marin to Melan
TV, 2000, 26 eps Me:- Author:8
The 2000's was a time of experiments, and trials and errors for the anime industry. A lot of new, strange and exotic shows appeared, some managed to carve it's specific niche within the fandom, others didn't.

One of this forgotten shows, is Brigadoon, and there is a good reason why it is an obscure show. It's art and aesthetics in general sense feels very mild, rounded, more akin to a work from the shoujo genre, but it's actual plot, and the brutal, well choreographed fights of the cyborgs (which has titular designs, more akin to mecha) does gives us a whiplash at the beforementioned sweet and adorable designs.

But the clash doesn't really end there, the story that this show has to say starts and feels, very lighthearted, even comedic, and in a way the whole structure of the show feels very shoujo-esque, a girl finds a magical guardian that helps her out and over the time, they do get along better, but that's where the fairy tales end - we do understand that the series is actually a dystopian sci-fi, and all the previous ideas that we had about this show slowly starts to crash down and fall, burdening our innocent and naive main characters with thoughts and responsibilities that no one should be able to handle.

And in this duality, remains the problem of this show, finding a genre and demography for itself - it gives us the impression that it's a children's show, but one usually realizes that it isn't one at all, when you're already invested in it. A lot of shows of this exact period had a crisis of identity, and in Brigadoon's case, it didn't knew if it wanted to be a mahou shoujo or a mecha series, so it ended up becoming both.
TV, 2002, 26 eps Me:- Author:8
After the post-Evangelion period, a lot of shows were being influenced by it's success and themes in which are explored in it. But none show comes closer to that RahXephon, a show about a young and conflicting pilot, facing unknown alien threats along with his titular mecha. There are more similarities that could be pointed out, which for a long time branded RahXephon as an "Eva copy". At a first glance, yes, this assumption is easy to be made, but to say that means to diminish the artistic creativity that this show has in it.

This is a series that does explores it's themes through the design and the avant-garde presentation, rather than it's writing solely. The colour palettes and the bold, dream-like mecha armaments gives this series a feeling of mirage, that meshes in the bounds of our understanding of the world, but it shouldn't exist in the first place.

As boldly underlined by the various metaphors, one of the show's main themes is the topic of finding yourself, amidst the chaos of the world that surrounds you, around the crushing expectations of others, silently demanding that you'd do as you're perceived, and within of your own mental projection onto yourself, and the world as a whole. But even if one is not interested into delving into the internal struggles of the main cast, I do believe that even watching the show alone for it's artistic symbolism can feel inspirational.

Hoshi no Koe

Voices of a Distant Star

Hoshi no Koe
OVA, 2002, 1 ep Me:- Author:5
This short episode, without context, may seem as an interesting watch, but not much more. But knowing it's origin, and the way it was made, can make us realize how much the anime industry relies upon personal passion projects, and how they can push the media as a whole into expanding it's horizons even further.

This short story focuses on the feelings of solitude and isolation one could experience from being in space, separated from the person they love and everything that defined them as a person in the first place. At the beginning they were keeping in touch with mails, but the further one strays into space, the longer they take to receive the next mail, and more and more their feelings for one another feels like they didn't happen in this world that they both share, that it was someone else's life, and that they didn't even exist on the same plane.

While the story and animation alone are nothing that exceptional, the delivery of this simple, but the touching delivery of the story is what separates this from the mediocrity of some other works, and this alone improves on every aspect that the piece has as a whole.

It's created from one person, alone, a person who worked for Falcom, a game studio that is famous for it's Trails and Ys series. His work there was the background environmental design of the videos, and while this seems like a simple task, one of the respectable points in this exact videos is the particular feeling of nostalgia and melancholy that exudes from them. He did used the lessons he had learned well, and his first personal project was this exact short animated episode, as he and his wife were the only two voice actors of this piece.

His name is Makoto Shinkai, and nowadays he might be one of the most famous anime directors currently, being responsible for movies like 5cm per second, Garden of words, and Your name, all movies that are artistic and and cinematographic masterpieces, and surely, in them you can see his craft in using the detailed background art as an evocative and emotional conveyor, which is something of a signature style for his whole career.

But before we even consider him as the renowned artist he currently is, we need to understand that he could never be whenever he is now, if he hadn't released this small personal project of his, a project that never had such a refined polish, but always had a burning desire to share the story within it.
Full Metal Panic!
TV, 2002, 24 eps Me:- Author:6
One of the many deviations in which the mecha genre branched on was this show, Full Metal Panic. It is an interesting blend of the slice of life, romantic comedies that had started to gain massive traction over these years, with the classic militaristic mecha series from the past.

While it's execution as narrative is nothing spectacular by itself, a big part of it's appeal was how it tried to appease both the older mecha fans, and the newer fans of this media, who were more accustomed to the more cute, and relaxed stories involving school setting and the anxieties that the cast has during it's school studies. The clash of the both styles is vividly shown for comedy's sake, and how the battle-hardened mecha pilot, who has the skills to overwhelm his opponents with his suit, has troubles understanding the other students at all, filling out his homework or interacting as a normal student in any possible social school activity.

The gap between the styles and generations is oftenly bridged, and this series proves this point, as well as alot more others. Respecting the appeal of the shows of before and adding up on it just goes to show one's understanding of the anime media as a whole, and how sometimes even the most insane ideas, if tackled properly, can provide entertainment for the viewers.
Samurai 7
TV, 2004, 26 eps Me:- Author:8
The symbolism in the real mecha in a way had always correlated to the idea of the idealized samurai - both figures are willing to stand in and fight for the things they do believe that are right, no matter the opposition and consequences, are ascetic in their beliefs, and are warriors at heart, but never forget their humanity and empathy towards the others.

So in a way, a mixture of these two iconic worlds on the canvas of the anime medium does sounds like a project that can be very interesting, and Samurai 7 manages to deliver. On top of everything, the script of this show is based on the world renown cinematic masterpiece "Shichinin no Samurai" from 1954, a movie that made tremendous impact on both Japanese and Western understandings of how a movie can be psychological study, well-choreographed action, as well as to be honest criticism on the time period and the never changing human nature.

Deriving from this movie's source material, the show does tell the same story, albeit with a few alterations. The basis is there, thought, a village that is constantly oppressed by marauding ronin, or masterless samurai, looks for help to fight on the bandits, but all they could offer is food and shelter, as a pay. While in both places, this basis is kept the same, in the anime series we do have a dystopian sci-fi world, still torn by constant internal wars and conflicts, waged by mechas and the giant fortress-battleships ships that supports them.

The opposition of these marauding behemoths are none other, than 7 samurai, armed with their trusty swords, and nothing else, and this is one of the main point of ideological confrontation within this show. In search for power, in the past wars, almost all of the samurai decided to sacrifice their human bodies in order for their minds to be implanted within the metal husks of a mechas, by this way, attaining monstrous, raw power, but in the process, willingly losing their connection to humanity and any shred of empathy.

This alone is the tragedy of war, and of all who participate in it, in the process of fighting, you do dehumanize and lose your sense of connection to that which is human, until you stop to see worth in it all, in yourself or in the meaning of existence as a whole. This is one of the truths that is explored in the real robot genre, and one which painfully reflects our reality, as well as our history.

Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion

Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch
TV, 2006, 25 eps Me:- Author:7
Code Geass is an interesting show, in that it's thematically a real mecha show, with a certain supernatural twist, which does happens to take place in a high school. Written and directed by Sunrise studios, which is a veteran when it comes to real robot shows, did decided to blend in their art the character design from CLAMP, in a ways for the show to feel more refreshing and appealing to both female and male demographics.

The well balanced blend between the settings and genres goes to show that you could really be creative with the genre. The interesting political bits about the world and it's situation in one conversation are smoothly followed by carefree school banter and bonding moments, which could lead to engaging internal reflection by our main character, the charismatic Lelouch.

He is one of the main ingredients for this show to work. Rarely in a show, the natural charisma and the leadership skills of a person are as eloquently shown as in here - the dedication to his goal and his smooth, machiavellian maneuvers within his friends, opponents and adversaries makes us feel he is the perfect leader, but the show likes to show is the cracks within his alter-ego, which does proves to us that he is just a human, with his flaws and weaknesses.

This show does marks the new age of the real robot genre - one in which the gritty design is replaced with stylish, and more elegant mecha aesthetics, there is room for comedy and more relaxed and easygoing moments along the ride. While the core of a mecha show is kept intact, it is overlayed with a lot of other, more trendy layers, ones that doesn't really diminish the value of the core, but that helps the genre to be presented to a wider audience.
ONA, 2006, 13 eps Me:- Author:6
This show is quite peculiar, it's a hard sci-fi series with a lot of social and political commentary, presented via the many character's viewpoints, and it's many forms. As well as that it's one very mature and grounded look at how the modern wars are fought on both the battlefields and on the political landscapes, with many feints, pretenses and taunts, which usually are never perceived by the common people.

The way that the story is slowly developed is through entries from a video journal, making the experience much more different than the standard show's pace. Our main protagonist is a war journalist, tasked with the work of to document and live within a special assignment unit, who do use prototype mecha weaponry. And yet, the story remains grounded and based on the real conflicts we have in our world, presenting the human's viewpoint in this war, the neverending fear, anxiety and suffering, knowing there's no safe place in their world.

The way the story is presented is almost like a documentary, with it's serious artstyle, and various camera angles. It's a story, presented in unique way and tackling topics that are point of concern for our current reality of our world. It's a story about the human factor within an inhuman experiences, the grief of wars and how degrading they are for the human mind and psyche.
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
TV, 2007, 27 eps Me:- Author:8
Gurren Lagann is one very special show, for a various amount of reasons. First of all, this show is a super robot one, but even so, it manages to receive the praises of fans from it's genre, recognition from the real robot fans, as well as the avid interest of non-mecha fans at the time, it was a show that somehow managed to unite the anime fandom around itself, proving once again that the mecha series are not an obscure niche, but a vehicle for powerful and impactful storytelling.

The show was made by the influence and in reference of alot of other series in the past, namely Ashita no Joe and Gunbuster, and many other more. As well as that, the show does have a ton of fresh and rarely explored ideas in it, making it a delightable watch for both veterans and newcomers.

But the things that did cemented it's position as a classic, were much different. The specific, bold and jaggedly-over exaggerated art style provides it with character, and individuality. The musical scores, being wild and experimental, just goes to show how much detail and passion was put into the project - the rap, a hip-hop beats complements the flamboyant brass arrangements, and totally contrast the epic and orchestral explosions, but despite the odd and volatile concoction, the OST manages to burn with it's own, loud flame.

The show's narrative also present us one interesting and compelling story, said in a straightforward manner. The flamboyant and bombastic moments manages to uplift us, while the darker, and more serious moments could make us rethink the way how we perceive the cast and their feelings.

Gurren Lagann might be one of the most influential super robot shows in existence, for the fact that it manages to combine it's bold bravado with relatable and understandable cast and narrative, and that it undoubted originality serves as an inspiration to both future content creators and aspiring newcomers in this medium. With it's loud and clear messages and feelings it manages to translate to us, the viewers, we can say that this show might have been the last great hurrah for the super robot genre.

Evangelion Movie 1: Jo

Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone

Evangelion Movie 1: Jo
Movie, 2007, 1 ep Me:- Author:7
The inclusion of this first movie from the so called "Rebuild of Evangeliion" is an important one, in a way it tried to retell and explain the main story of the iconic show, while changing a couple of important moments.

In a way the Rebuild movies shapes and retells the main story, as well as expands upon the ending and the aftermath of it, but while doing so they do alter along it's runtime the characters we knew from the original series, which could be either appreciated or frown upon, depending on who you ask. The original show's somber, sorrowful and contemplative ambience is downplayed, in favour of the bombastic, and grand fights. And in a way, it does feels as if the Rebuild does tries to mold in it's basis what Evangelion is and was, and present us different take, even if expanded upon, take.

The major factor in which the movies differ though, are in their creator's mindset. While Anno created the original show in a state of angst, anxiety and depression, while penning and planning this one, he'd overcame his past self and his despairs, and instead gave us a story in which he knew what he exactly wanted to do, and the conclusion he desires to have.

While I do believe that both of his takes , on the Rebuild and on the original series, has it's own merits and are worth of praise, I do believe that the series from the past cemented this franchise as symbolical for the whole anime medium, for the fact that it dared to do something no one had tried before, and that, while more fractured by shape, had much more emotional intensity and raw feelings and thoughts it wanted to convey to the viewers, in contrast to the Rebuild movies.

Kidou Senshi Gundam 00

Mobile Suit Gundam 00

Kidou Senshi Gundam 00
TV, 2007, 25 eps Me:- Author:9
As a franchise, Gundam seems massive, and it is in a way, ever since 1979 there always were shows in production or being aired. In the same time, the topic and setting of every Gundam shows do vary in it's technological improvements and breakthroughs, giving us different and particular viewpoints on the human psyche amidst time of conflicts, adversity and hardships.

But then again, the world that is shown in Gundam 00 is shockingly grounded and realistic, almost mirroring our current political and historical reality. Amidst the strife between the nationalities the political blocks, an unknown force arises, comprised of 4 mechas, waging war on this rotten and full of deceit world, in the goal of ultimate peace. While both the Gundam pilots realize that their mission is impossible and futile, their personal convictions and decisions guide them through their task, while laying bare their mental and ideological beliefs for us as watchers to judge and evaluate. As much as every Gundam show, symbolism and ideological conflicts are always apparent, but in this show the main highlights is the main cast's morality, and the way and means they're willing to go to complete their personal vows.

In a way, the mecha pilots, as well as every person from the cast is scarred and hurt from the current setting's reality, from humanity's rampant strive for progress, domination and the unsatable desire to control. Everyone does tries to seek their own way in which they can fill the void, left from their grief, and sometimes, armed conflicts might be the only way one's point could be proven.
Bokura no
TV, 2007, 24 eps Me:- Author:-
Bokurano is a project, full of and inspired by the feelings of somber nihilism. In a way, it does present us a classical mecha story, in which the cast, comprised of small children, finds a mecha with supernatural abilities, which they use to defend mankind from other mysterious beings. The twist, however, is that once the mecha has been piloted, the person in it dies. So this show's does not present us the classical heroic tale, of fighting and overcoming adversity, but rather, a story in which our protagonists needs to sacrifice their own lives over the fate of mankind as we know it.

The story does focuses our attention to the humane aspect of the cast's lives, their everyday struggles, their scar from the past and their cherished desires for the future. First and foremost, they're young people, budding with life, and vigor, so the fact that everyone of them knows that their fate is sealed once they're marked to control the mecha, does brings a sense of futility and tragedy.

The show, rather than explaining and building upon the story, mostly deals with the existential dread and the psychological state of mind that the protagonists have to deal with. Some of them take this task as their duty, by trying to preserve as much of the life that they could, while others, being less stable in their mental state, use it to achieve their selfish goals. This moral ambiguity and sense of fatality is defining for this show and the experience it provides.

Bokurano is a show which does prove that the deeply psychological, twisted and provocative narrative wasn't a one time thing with Evangelion, it's existence does prove that this is a genre that can express and convey emotions that goes way beyond the initial idea of a mech. The machine here is not used as a symbol of hope and power, but rather, as an oppressive and grim presence, a metal husk that serves as a final guard, and executor of mankind.

Macross F

Macross Frontier

Macross F
TV, 2008, 25 eps Me:- Author:9
This show marks the return of the Macross franchise, as it presents us a story that is both fresh and standalone, but in the same way it is familiar to the fans of the older shows.

The themes of the franchise are being kept, as well as expanded upon - the space conflicts are well balanced with the romantic bits, there is a lot of very intense action and beautifully crafted slow, emotional and heartfelt moments.

The real craft of Frontier, in it's standing among the Macross franchise - in a way it serves as a new beginning for the viewers, knowledge from the previous series is not needed, but in the same way, the show is full of references every single anime and OVA prior to that, which makes it very satisfying watch for the veterans as well.

But as well as it's visuals, and well developed themes, the show's two singers and their singles managed to be extremely popular, which in fact was instrumental to their future career as singers to be success. The opening songs and the insert songs was personally sung by the voice actresses themselves, which both helped out for their characters to feel complete, and developed, and a legitimate part from this universe.

That notable fact just goes to prove how one well polished and high-quality product from one media, such as anime, can be accepted and evaluated highly from another media, such is the music. The fact that their musical talent was recognized was that they starred in a well known mecha franchise, such as Macross, and their songs were able to reach even broader demographic.
Mazinkaiser SKL
OVA, 2010, 3 eps Me:- Author:8
In theory, this show is a spin-off from the Mazinger franchise, but by the way it's presented and executed, it feels much closer to a Getter-Robo show.

Imagine a show, in which the hot-headed and hyperactive mecha pilots of a super robot show are having these characteristics amped to the max, and making them even less sane that the most of the Getter-Robo cast. As far as plot goes, it's being there just to give us a reason to see the psychotic prisoner duo in action, which happens to be our main protagonist. The burning desire of smash and cut everything that moves in his way of one, is rivaled only by the freezing and heartless nature of the other, looking forward to nothing else but to gun down anything that even considers looking towards him. The show feels like a lavish display of what a darker super robot show is, excessively violent and solely based on providing the most bombastic kind of excitement to it's audience.

Mazinkaiser SKL is one of the ways the super robot genre had branched, as well as presenting to the newer audience what this genre is about - the emphasis falls on the explosive excitement that the giant robots do provide, as a supernatural tools or even separate entities on their own, bringing forth carnage whenever they are.
Break Blade Movie 1: Kakusei no Toki
Movie, 2010, 1 ep Me:- Author:9
Break Blade, the movie compilation as a whole, is one of the most interesting addition to the genre in recent times - in a way, it is one unorthodox series, which thematically and stylistically gravitates towards the real robot shows, even if the setting on which this story is based feels close to a medieval fantasy as well.

Despite the fact the story could be found as 12 series, the movies are clearly the superior way to experience this story, for the simple fact that the pacing feels way more natural and fluid, which deems the series as not needed.

The setting and the plot of this story revolves about war, and the different ways that people perceive it - for some this is a step that must be taken from economical standpoint, for others it's political, and for third - ideological. At the same time, we can see the whole conflict from the view of the commanders, as well the regular soldiers's struggles and problems.

What does give this show a particular style and flavour is the fact that it is a real robot show that manages to bring the human tragedy and the brutality of the war, and the weight of the countless innocent lives that were lost in this futile conflict, all themes which forms the basis of Gundam as a franchise, but then again, here they are interpreted in a refreshing and new way.

Sidonia no Kishi

Knights of Sidonia

Sidonia no Kishi
TV, 2014, 12 eps Me:- Author:7
These series bear the titular style of Tsutomu Nihei, the author of Blame!, of a future, that is bleak and gritty, filled with mechanical horrors and organic nightmares, and in between them are the humans, trying to scrape by and survive in any way as they can.

The peculiar element in this work, is the inclusion of full 3D design on both the characters and the mechas, which is a difficult pill to swallow, considering how generations by mecha fans have been enjoying the lavish and expressive design that the 2D can provide. Despite it's art though, the story in this work manages to be interesting and gripping, presenting us one of the last remaining human ships, struggling to survive versus the otherworldly nightmares of space.

The mecha fights in this work feels a bit different - in a way they feel more detached, and strategical. While we're shown the actual fights and the chaos that persists through them, we're also following them from the commander's viewpoint, sending in hundreds of mechs to dispose the aliens. Through the flickering screen, we can see the countless dots, traveling in strict formations, just moments before dozens upon dozens of them goes red, signaling the pilot's final moments. This cold, and hollow presentation furthers down the idea how weak and helpless mankind is towards this eldritch threat, and it's desperation.
M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane
TV, 2014, 24 eps Me:- Author:7
M3 as a show, that is more like a psychological thriller, with a solid mystery setting. In it, we follow a team of mecha pilots on a mission to explore and discover the truth behind dark phenomenon, that covers the lands and spreads nothing but death. And while the task sounds straightforward, each of them founds out by themselves that the dark zones are not only harmful on the body, but on the psyche and mentality as well.

This show is one of the more interesting newer projects after the relative draught of revolutionary ideas after the early 2000's, which was in a way the golden age of the modern mecha shows. M3 is a show that is deals with the darkness within ourselves, and is not afraid to explore the themes concerning the human psyche and the complexity of the mind, under pressure. The theme of the past, and the fact that we sometimes decide to ignore it so we could move on, but the decisions we took proceeds to echos in our current lives, is an important message that is relatable to everyone, and is worth pondering upon.

These series just goes to prove that despite the dwindling popularity of the mecha genre starting from the late 2000's to nowadays, there are still original series which does like to break the norm of the general consensus that mecha series have to be action-heavy and to rely on well-defined tropes.

Kidou Senshi Gundam Thunderbolt

Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt

Kidou Senshi Gundam Thunderbolt
ONA, 2015, 4 eps Me:- Author:8
Over the time, the Gundam franchise was looking for ways to convey their stories to the newer generation, and for this reason multiple timelines were made, in a way to make the newer Gundam shows more approachable as a single entities, having their own separate niche as stories, which are not connected to the main timeline.

But in the same way, Sunrise never abandoned the expansion and exploration of the Universal century, by the form of movies and OVA series over the years and Gundam Thunderbolt is a work that proves that.

Despite it's few episodes, it manages to portray a story which is relatively straightforward, but in the same has a lot of subtle complexity and nuances in it. The themes of Gundam, about the internal and external struggles of humankind, from their personal perspectives as well as on a national/ideological level are presented within this conflict, but the way they're being tackled is quite novel.

We're presented with two protagonists from both Zeon and the Federation, and we can see their viewpoints, as well their aspirations and circumstances in which they participate in this war. The clash between both characters is shown in multiple ways, and one of the most distinct was the music that they listen to, and the fact that these musical tracks feels like an important part of their character portrait - the free style, indie jazz performance, the manic drum arrangement, and the passionate brass are in perfect opposition to the mellow but somber ballads and relaxed melodic pop tracks.

This show proves the fact that despite it's age, the Gundam franchise hasn't lost it's momentum, even if it clearly is not the genre defining giant of the past decades. The appreciation of the fans and the further exploration of the Universal Century does indeed presents the franchise's tenacity, as well as the fact that the dark, but emotional stories about the existential questions that haunts us in our darkest moments, within wartime or not, can always influence us and make us reconsider the way we look at our current world.
Darling in the FranXX
TV, 2018, 24 eps Me:- Author:5
This show in it's inception, presents us with a mixture of new and old, of well defined ideas within the mecha genre, but applied after a certain twist. Created in joint effort between A1 Pictures and Trigger, it holds the hot-blooded and action-filled artistic direction, titular for Trigger, but having the more grounded and well defined character design and storyboard, more common with A1 Pictures.

From it's first episodes one can see the influence that the show had taken from Neon Genesis Evangelion, but in the same way the character interactions and their relationships develop in novel and creative way, which does gives us a fresh look upon the older, and well-defined tropes that the mecha genre is considered to have.

This series are a clear example of how the mecha narrative is being integrated into the more modern and contemporary characterization of the cast. It also presents us somewhat of a classical, especially from Trigger's standpoint, conclusion and are one interesting example of how the mecha genre can be popularized again - the mechanical beings are not the focus itself, but rather, vessels to present us the grandeur of the setting, and to make us feel the emotional impact that the characters wants to express onto the world they are part of.

Uchuu Senkan Tiramisù

Space Battleship Tiramisu

Uchuu Senkan Tiramisù
TV, 2018, 13 eps Me:- Author:6
This show is a parody on the popular mecha franchises of the past, and in particular, Gundam and Macross. While we do know the narrative is never the focus in this genre, mostly for good, this short series manages to present to us all how all these novel and groundbreaking ideas of the early 80's had actually become well established tropes in the passage of time, and this can both be entertaining for the veterans, as well as the newer viewers, who've heard what the influential series of the past were all about.

In a roundabout way, parodying something does means that even mockingly, you're paying homage to the series you're referencing, so in a way we can say that this goes to show the undying influence and impact that the mecha genre had, and continues to have in our current days.


86 Eighty-Six

TV, 2021, 11 eps Me:- Author:9
As a breath of fresh air, this is a something that has so much to offer - intriguing dystopian setting, colorful and well balanced cast, well choreographed fights with emphasis on strategy as well as thought provoking social commentary about the human nature and our primal instincts in our final hours. While the depicted world is far more scientifically progressed, is in the same time close to our own - rooted in the old, dogmatized traditions which roots humankind to it's conservative development, one based on rigid rules of enforcement and made to inspire fear.

One of the well fleshed out concept is the moral ambiguity of most of the cast - on both sides of the factions and classes of citizens you can find exemplary, and despicable people. A large part of the story is presented by two viewpoints, showing the how the situations unfolds from both sides of the army, the commanders and the soldiers. Another major part of the show lies in it's well thought out discussions between the characters, about the depicted world order - one full of discrimination, of moral and social injustice, and one full of facades that hides the hideous nature of this county, which seems utopian, clean and happy.

Amidst the lavish fight scenes, the thrilling action and the intricate dialogues about the human morality, one can also find a lot of gripping stories connected with the human drama and the reality in which they are forced to live. A lot of their humble lives are relatable, and the motives for their actions are understandable, which is a solid foundation for their development.

As well as being a story about war, in it it is also discussed the topic of how one should spent and for what to devote their life for. The state of war is not a state of existence, but rather it's an insurmountable obstacle for all of humanity, but the fact that it exists doesn't mean we need to forget and discard our humanity, and empathy as a human beings. Without them, we are living dead.

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