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The term may refer to both
scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions about the universe."... modern science is a discovery as well as an invention. ...

scientific
ideas and
science-fiction File:Imagination 195808.jpg, Space exploration, as predicted in August 1958 by the science fiction magazine ''Imagination (magazine), Imagination'' Science fiction (sometimes shortened to sci-fi or SF) is a genre of speculative fiction which typ ...
genre Genre () is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) with socially-agreed-upon conventions developed over time. In popular usage, it normally describes a Category of being, category of literature, m ...

genre
s that center on giant robots or machines (mechs) controlled by people. Mechas are typically depicted as humanoid walking vehicles. The term was first used in Japanese (''meka'') after shortening the English loanword or , but the meaning in Japanese is more inclusive, and "robot" (''robotto'') or "giant robot" is the narrower term. These machines vary greatly in size and shape, but are distinguished from
vehicle A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine that transports people or cargo. Vehicles include wagons, bicycles, motor vehicles (motorcycles, cars, trucks, buses), railed vehicles (trains, trams), watercraft (ships, boats), amphibious vehicles ...

vehicle
s by their
humanoid A humanoid (; from English ''human'' and ''-oid In linguistics, a suffix (sometimes termed postfix ) is an affix which is placed after the Stem (linguistics), stem of a word. Common examples are case endings, which indicate the grammatical ...

humanoid
or
biomorphic Biomorphism models artistic design elements on patterns in nature, naturally occurring patterns or shapes reminiscent of nature and living organisms. Taken to its extreme it attempts to force naturally occurring shapes onto functional devices. Hi ...
appearance and size—bigger than a human. Different
subgenres Genre () is any form or type of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning among Subject (philosophy), entities or Organization, groups through the use of sufficien ...
exist, with varying connotations of realism. The concept of
Super Robot Mecha anime and manga, known in Japan as and , are anime is Traditional animation, hand-drawn and computer animation originating from Japan. In Japan and in Japanese, (a term derived from the English language, English word ''animation'') d ...
and
Real Robot Mecha anime and manga, known in Japan as and , are anime is Traditional animation, hand-drawn and computer animation originating from Japan. In Japan and in Japanese, (a term derived from the English language, English word ''animation'') d ...
are two such examples found in Japanese
anime is hand-drawn and computer animation " technique Computer animation is the process used for digitally generating animated images. The more general term computer-generated imagery Computer-generated imagery (CGI) is the application of ...

anime
and
manga Manga (Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat ...

manga
. 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.


Characteristics

The word is an abbreviation, first used in
Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat = Imperial Seal of J ...
, of the word "
mechanical Mechanical may refer to: Machine * Mechanical system A machine is any physical system with ordered structural and functional properties. It may represent human-made or naturally occurring device molecular machine that uses Power (physics), p ...
". In Japanese, mecha encompasses all mechanical objects, including
cars A car (or automobile) is a wheeled motor vehicle Electric bicycles parked in Yangzhou's main street, Wenchang Lu. They are a very common way of transport in this city, in some areas almost outnumbering regular bicycles A motor vehicle, also k ...

cars
,
guns A gun is a ranged weapon . English longbowmen figure prominently in the foreground at right where they drive away the French crossbow A crossbow is a ranged weapon using an elastic launching device similar to a bow; it consists of a b ...
,
computers A computer is a machine that can be programmed to Execution (computing), carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can perform generic sets of operations known as Computer program, programs. These p ...

computers
, and other devices, and the term 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. Mechas differ from robots in that they are piloted from a
cockpit A cockpit or flight deck is the area, usually near the front of an aircraft An aircraft is a vehicle or machine that is able to fly Flies are insect Insects or Insecta (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belon ...

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 A powered exoskeleton (also known as power armor, powered armor, powered suit, cybernetic suit, cybernetic armor, exosuit, hardsuit, or exoframe) is a wearable mobile machine that is powered by a system of electric motors, pneumatics, levers, hydr ...
such as
Iron Man Iron Man is a superhero A superhero or superheroine is a stock character that possesses abilities beyond those of ordinary people, who typically uses his or her powers to help the world become a better place, or is dedicated to protecting ...
's suit. They are usually much larger than the wearer, like Iron Man's enemy the
Iron Monger Iron Monger is an alias used by several fictional characters, supervillain A supervillain or supercriminal is a variant of the villainous stock character Stock (also capital stock) is all of the shares into which ownership of a corp ...
, or the mobile suits depicted in the ''
Gundam is a Japanese military fictionMilitary fiction is a genre of fiction, focusing on military activities, such as war, battle A battle is an occurrence of combat in warfare between opposing military units of any number or size. A war usual ...
'' 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
gladiatorial matches
. Other works represent mecha as one component of an integrated
military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, or par ...

military
force, supported by and fighting alongside
tank A tank is an armored fighting vehicle An armoured fighting vehicle (AFV) is an armed combat vehicle protected by armour, generally combining operational mobility with offensive and defensive capabilities. AFVs can be wheeled or tra ...

tank
s,
fighter aircraft Fighter aircraft are fixed-wing A fixed-wing aircraft is a heavier-than-air flying machine, such as an airplane An airplane or aeroplane (informally plane) is a fixed-wing aircraft that is propelled forward by thrust from a jet en ...

fighter aircraft
, and
infantry at the Battle of the Somme The Battle of the Somme, also known as the Somme offensive, was a battle of the First World War fought by the armies of the British Empire and French Third Republic against the German Empire. It took place bet ...

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 , also known as ''Patlabor'' (a portmanteau A portmanteau (, ) or portmanteau word (from "Portmanteau (luggage), portmanteau") is a Blend word, blend of words
'' and the American wargame ''
BattleTech ''BattleTech'' is a wargaming and military science fiction franchise launched by FASA Corporation in 1984, acquired by WizKids in 2001, which was in turn acquired by Topps in 2003; and published since 2007 by Catalyst Game Labs. The tradem ...
''
universe The universe ( la, universus) is all of space and time and their contents, including planets, stars, galaxy, galaxies, and all other forms of matter and energy. The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological description of the development ...
, also encompass mecha used for civilian purposes, such as heavy construction work,
police The police are a constituted body of persons A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason Reason is the capacity of consciously applying logic by Logical consequence, drawing con ...

police
functions, or
firefighting Firefighting is the act of attempting to prevent the spread of and extinguish significant unwanted fire BBQ. Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material in the exothermic chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various r ...

firefighting
. Mecha also have roles as transporters, recreation, advanced
hazmat suit A hazmat suit (Dangerous goods, hazardous materials suit) is a piece of personal protective equipment that consists of an permeation, impermeable whole-body garment worn as protection against hazardous materials. Such suits are often combined with ...

hazmat suit
s, and other
research and development Research and development (R&D, R+D), known in Europe as research and technological development (RTD), is the set of innovative activities undertaken by corporations or governments in developing new services or products and improving existing o ...
applications. Mecha have been used in fantasy settings, for example in the anime series ''
Aura Battler Dunbine is an anime television series created by Yoshiyuki Tomino and produced by Sotsu and Sunrise (company), Sunrise. ''Dunbine'' is set in Byston Well, a parallel world that resembles the countryside of medieval Europe with kingdoms ruled by monar ...
'', ''
The Vision of Escaflowne is a 26- episode Japanese anime is Traditional animation, hand-drawn and computer animation originating from Japan. In Japan and in Japanese, (a term derived from the English language, English word ''animation'') describes all ani ...
'', '' Panzer World Galient'', and ''
Maze A maze is a path or collection of paths, typically from an entrance to a goal. The word is used to refer both to branching tour puzzles through which the solver must find a route, and to simpler non-branching ("unicursal") patterns that lead ...
''. 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 , or simply , is a Japanese science fiction Science fiction (sometimes shortened to sci-fi or SF) is a of which typically deals with and futuristic concepts such as advanced and , , , , and . It has been called the " of ", and it ofte ...
'', the machines resemble dinosaurs and animals, and have been shown to
evolve
evolve
from native metallic organisms. A chicken walker is a
fictional Fiction is any creative workA creative work is a manifestation of creative effort including fine artwork (sculpture Sculpture is the branch of the visual arts that operates in three dimensions. It is one of the plastic arts. Durable sculp ...
type of bipedal
robot A robot is a machine—especially one programmable by a computer—capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically. A robot can be guided by an external control device, or the control may be embedded within. Robots may be ...

robot
or mecha, distinguished by its rear-facing
knee joint In humans and other primates, the knee joins the thigh with the human leg, leg and consists of two joints: one between the femur and tibia (tibiofemoral joint), and one between the femur and patella (patellofemoral joint). It is the largest joint ...
. This type of articulation resembles a
bird Birds are a group of s constituting the Aves , characterised by s, toothless beaked jaws, the of eggs, a high rate, a four-chambered , and a strong yet lightweight . Birds live worldwide and range in size from the to the . There ar ...

bird
's legs, hence the name. However, birds actually have forward-facing knees; they are
digitigrade In terrestrial vertebrate Vertebrates () comprise all species of animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), biological kingdom Animalia. With few exceptions, animals Heter ...
, and what most call the "knee" is actually the ankle.


Early history

The 1868
Edward S. Ellis Edward Sylvester Ellis (April 11, 1840 – June 20, 1916) was an American author who was born in Ohio Ohio is a U.S. state, state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern region of the United States. Of the List of states and territor ...
novel ''
The Steam Man of the Prairies ''The Steam Man of the Prairies'' by Edward S. Ellis was the first U.S. science fiction dime novel and archetype of the Frank Reade series. It is one of the earliest examples of the so-called "Edisonade" genre. Ellis was a prolific 19th-century aut ...
'' featured a steam-powered, back-piloted, mechanical man. The 1880
Jules Verne Jules Gabriel Verne (;''Longman Pronunciation Dictionary''. ; 8 February 1828 – 24 March 1905) was a French novelist, poet, and playwright. His collaboration with the publisher Pierre-Jules Hetzel led to the creation of the ''Voyages extraord ...

Jules Verne
novel '' The Steam House'' (''La Maison à vapeur'') featured a steam-powered, piloted, mechanical elephant. One of the first appearances of such machines in modern literature was the
tripod using a surveyor's tripod A tripod is a portable three-legged frame or stand, used as a platform for supporting the weight In science and engineering, the weight of an object is the force acting on the object due to gravity. Some standard ...
(or "fighting-machine", as they are known in the novel) of
H. G. Wells Herbert George Wells"Wells, H. G."
Revised 18 May 2015. ''The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction'' (sf-ency ...

H. G. Wells
' famous ''
The War of the Worlds ''The War of the Worlds'' is a science fiction File:Imagination 195808.jpg, Space exploration, as predicted in August 1958 by the science fiction magazine ''Imagination (magazine), Imagination'' Science fiction (sometimes shortened to sci- ...
'' (1897). The novel does not contain a fully detailed description of the tripods' mode of
locomotion Locomotion means the act or ability of an entity or person to transport or move oneself from place to place. Locomotion or Loco-Motion may refer to: Motion * Motion (physics) *Specific types of motion ** Animal locomotion *** Terrestrial locomoti ...
, but 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 is a form of Japanese street theater and storytelling Storytelling describes the social and cultural activity of sharing stories, sometimes with improvisation, theatre, theatrics or embellishment. Every culture has its own stories or narrat ...

kamishibai
'' that debuted in 1931 (later adapted into an anime in 1967), featured the first piloted humanoid giant robot, , means Giant , is the Japanese title of
The Master Mystery ''The Master Mystery'' is a 1918 American Mystery film, mystery silent film, silent serial film told in 15 installments. The film was directed by Harry Grossman and Burton L. King and written by Arthur B. Reeve and Charles Logue. The film stars Har ...
(1919), and the Japanese name of the
Powered exoskeleton A powered exoskeleton (also known as power armor, powered armor, powered suit, cybernetic suit, cybernetic armor, exosuit, hardsuit, or exoframe) is a wearable mobile machine that is powered by a system of electric motors, pneumatics, levers, hydr ...
appearing in the film.It was a general Japanese phrase meaning "humanoid tank" too.
but as an enemy rather than a protagonist. In 1934, Gajo Sakamoto launched on a metal creature that becomes a battle machine. The first humanoid giant robot piloted by the protagonist appeared in the manga in 1948. The manga and anime ''
Tetsujin 28-Go is a 1956 manga written and illustrated by Mitsuteru Yokoyama, who also created ''Giant Robo''. The series centers on the adventures of a young boy named Shotaro Kaneda, who controls a giant robot named Tetsujin 28, built by his late f ...
'', introduced in 1956, featured a robot, Tetsujin, that was controlled externally by an operator by remote control. The manga and anime ''
Astro Boy ''Astro Boy'', known in Japan by its original name , is a Japanese manga Manga (Japanese: 漫画 ) are comics a Media (communication), medium used to express ideas with images, often combined with text or other visual information ...
'', 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 Mecha anime and manga, known in Japan as and , are anime is Traditional animation, hand-drawn and computer animation originating from Japan. In Japan and in Japanese, (a term derived from the English language, English word ''animation'') d ...
show ''
Mazinger Z is a Japanese super robot manga series written and illustrated by Go Nagai. The first manga version was serialized in Shueisha's ''Weekly Shōnen Jump'' from October 1972 to August 1973, and it later continued in Kodansha ''TV Magazine'' fro ...
'', written by
Go Nagai , better known by the pen name , is a Japanese manga artist Manga (Japanese: 漫画 ) are comics a Media (communication), medium used to express ideas with images, often combined with text or other visual information. It typically ...
and introduced in 1972. ''Mazinger Z'' introduced the notion of mecha as pilotable war machines, rather than remote-controlled robots. Nagai later introduced the concept of ''gattai'' ("combination"), where several modules slot together to form a
super robot Mecha anime and manga, known in Japan as and , are anime is Traditional animation, hand-drawn and computer animation originating from Japan. In Japan and in Japanese, (a term derived from the English language, English word ''animation'') d ...
, with ''
Getter Robot A getter is a deposit of reactive material that is placed inside a vacuum system, for the purpose of completing and maintaining the vacuum. When gas molecules strike the getter material, they combine with it chemically or by absorption. Thus the ...
'' (1974 debut). An early use of mech-like machines outside Japan is found in "The Invisible Empire", a ''Federal Men'''s story arc by
Jerry Siegel Jerome Siegel (; October 17, 1914 – January 28, 1996)Roger Stern. ''Superman: Sunday Classics: 1939–1943'' DC Comics/Kitchen Sink Press, Inc./Sterling Publishing; 2006 was an American comic book writer. His famous creation was Superman, which ...
and
Joe Shuster Joseph Shuster (; July 10, 1914 – July 30, 1992) was a Canadian-American comic book artist best known for co-creating the DC Comics character Superman, with writer Jerry Siegel, in Action Comics 1, ''Action Comics'' #1 (cover-dated June 1938). ...

Joe Shuster
(serialized 1936 in
New Comics ''Adventure Comics'' is an American comic book series published by DC Comics from 1938 to 1983 and revived from 2009 to 2011. In its first era, the series ran for 503 issues (472 of those after the title changed from ''New Adventure Comics''), m ...
#8–10). Other examples include the Mexican comic ''Invictus'' Leonel Guillermo Prieto e Victaleno León, by Brazilian comic ''Audaz, o demolidor'', by Álvaro "Aruom" Moura and (1938–1949), inspired by ''Invictus'', created for the supplement ''A Gazetinha'' from the newspaper ''A Gazeta'', Kimball Kinnison's battle suit in E. E. "Doc" Smith's ''
Lensman The ''Lensman'' series is a series of science fiction File:Imagination 195808.jpg, Space exploration, as predicted in August 1958 in the science fiction magazine ''Imagination (magazine), Imagination.'' Science fiction (sometimes shortened t ...
'' novel ''
Galactic Patrol The Galactic Patrol was an intergalactic organization in the '' Lensman'' science fiction File:Imagination 195808.jpg, Space exploration, as predicted in August 1958 in the science fiction magazine ''Imagination (magazine), Imagination.'' Scien ...
'' (1950), the French animated film '' The King and the Mockingbird'' (first released 1952),''Le Roi et l'Oiseau'' de Paul Grimault (1980)
– commentary
and Robert Heinlein's waldo in his 1942 short story, " Waldo" and the Mobile Infantry battle suits in ''
Starship Troopers ''Starship Troopers'' is a military science fiction novel by American writer Robert A. Heinlein. Written in a few weeks in reaction to the U.S. Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty#Negotiations, suspending nuclear tests, the story was first publish ...
'' (1958). A transforming mech can transform between a standard vehicle (such as a fighter plane or transport truck) and a fighting mecha robot. This concept of transforming mecha was pioneered by Japanese mecha designer Shōji Kawamori in the early 1980s, when he created the
Diaclone is a toyline by Takara Toys launched in 1980. It consisted of transforming vehicles and robots piloted by miniature, magnet-shoed figures spun off from the prior Microman was a science fiction File:Imagination 195808.jpg, Space explorati ...
toy line in 1980 and then the ''
Macross is a Japanese science fiction File:Imagination 195808.jpg, Space exploration, as predicted in August 1958 by the science fiction magazine ''Imagination (magazine), Imagination'' Science fiction (sometimes shortened to sci-fi or SF) is a gen ...
'' anime franchise in 1982. In North America, the ''Macross'' franchise was adapted into the ''
Robotech ''Robotech'' is a science fiction Science fiction (sometimes shortened to sci-fi or SF) is a of which typically deals with and futuristic concepts such as advanced and , , , , and . It has been called the " of ", and it often explores ...
'' franchise in 1985, and then the Diaclone toy line was adapted into the ''
Transformers ''Transformers'' is a produced by American toy company and Japanese toy company . It follows the battles of sentient, living autonomous robots, often the s and the s, who can transform into other forms, such as vehicles and animals. The franc ...

Transformers
'' franchise in 1986. Some of Kawamori's most iconic transforming mecha designs include the
VF-1 Valkyrie In the fictional '' Macross'' Japanese anime series and its English adaptation '' Robotech'', the first mass-produced transforming aerospace fighter mecha is called the VF-1 Valkyrie. The VF-1 Valkyrie is referred to as a '' variable fighter'' ...
from the ''Macross'' and ''Robotech'' franchises, and
Optimus Prime Optimus Prime, , is a fictional Character (arts), character created by the ''Transformers'' franchise. He is a Cybertronian, a fictional extraterrestrial species of sentient self-configuring modular robotic lifeforms (e.g.: cars and other objec ...

Optimus Prime
(called Convoy in Japan) from the ''Transformers'' and ''Diaclone'' franchises.


Genres


Anime and manga

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 ''
Gundam is a Japanese military fictionMilitary fiction is a genre of fiction, focusing on military activities, such as war, battle A battle is an occurrence of combat in warfare between opposing military units of any number or size. A war usual ...
'', ''
Macross is a Japanese science fiction File:Imagination 195808.jpg, Space exploration, as predicted in August 1958 by the science fiction magazine ''Imagination (magazine), Imagination'' Science fiction (sometimes shortened to sci-fi or SF) is a gen ...
'', ''
Transformers ''Transformers'' is a produced by American toy company and Japanese toy company . It follows the battles of sentient, living autonomous robots, often the s and the s, who can transform into other forms, such as vehicles and animals. The franc ...

Transformers
'', and ''
Zoids , or simply , is a Japanese science fiction Science fiction (sometimes shortened to sci-fi or SF) is a of which typically deals with and futuristic concepts such as advanced and , , , , and . It has been called the " of ", and it ofte ...
'' 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 is a Japanese military science fiction mecha anime series that has undergone several incarnations. The original 1983 television series was created by Ryosuke Takahashi and Sunrise (company), Sunrise, featuring mechanical designs b ...
'', ''
Megazone 23 is a four-part Japanese cyberpunkJapanese cyberpunk refers to cyberpunk fiction produced in Japan. There are two distinct subgenres of Japanese cyberpunk: live-action Japanese cyberpunk films, and cyberpunk manga and anime works. Japanese c ...
'', ''
Code Geass , often referred to simply as ''Code Geass'', is a Japanese anime is hand-drawn and computer animation " technique Computer animation is the process used for digitally generating animated images. The more gene ...
''), some may be a few stories tall (''
Gundam is a Japanese military fictionMilitary fiction is a genre of fiction, focusing on military activities, such as war, battle A battle is an occurrence of combat in warfare between opposing military units of any number or size. A war usual ...
'', ''
Escaflowne is a 26-episode Japanese anime television series created by Shōji Kawamori, produced by Sunrise (company), Sunrise Studios and directed by Kazuki Akane. It premiered in Japan on April 2, 1996 on TV Tokyo, and the final episode aired on Se ...
'', '' Bismark'', ''
Gurren Lagann ''Gurren Lagann'', known in Japan as , is a Japanese mecha anime is Traditional animation, hand-drawn and computer animation originating from Japan. In Japan and in Japanese, (a term derived from the English language, English wor ...
''), others can be as tall as a
skyscraper A skyscraper is a tall continuously habitable building having multiple floors. Modern sources currently define skyscrapers as being at least 100 metres or 150 metres in height, though there is no universally accepted definition. Skyscrapers ar ...

skyscraper
(''
Space Runaway Ideon is a 1980 anime is Traditional animation, hand-drawn and computer animation originating from Japan. In Japan and in Japanese, (a term derived from the English language, English word ''animation'') describes all animated works, regard ...
'', ''
Genesis of Aquarion is an anime is Traditional animation, hand-drawn and computer animation originating from Japan. In Japan and in Japanese, (a term derived from the English language, English word ''animation'') describes all animated works, regardless ...
'', ''
Neon Genesis Evangelion is a Japanese mecha anime The term may refer to both Science, scientific ideas and science fiction genres that center on giant robots or machines (mechs) controlled by people. Mechas are typically depicted as humanoid mobile robots. ...
''), some are big enough to contain an entire city (''
Macross is a Japanese science fiction File:Imagination 195808.jpg, Space exploration, as predicted in August 1958 by the science fiction magazine ''Imagination (magazine), Imagination'' Science fiction (sometimes shortened to sci-fi or SF) is a gen ...
''), some the size of a planet (''
Diebuster ''Diebuster'', also known as and ''Gunbuster 2'', is a six-episode original video animation series directed by Kazuya Tsurumaki, written by Yōji Enokido and animated by Gainax. It was created to commemorate the studio's 20th anniversary in 2 ...
''), galaxies (''
Getter Robo is a Super Robot manga Manga (Japanese: 漫画 ) are comics a Media (communication), medium used to express ideas with images, often combined with text or other visual information. It typically the form of a sequence of Panel ...
'', ''
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann ''Gurren Lagann'', known in Japan as , is a Japanese mecha anime, mecha anime television series animated by Gainax and co-produced by Aniplex and Konami. It ran for 27 episodes on TV Tokyo between April and September 2007. It was directed ...
''), or even as large as universes ('' Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Lagann-hen'', '' Demonbane'', ''Transformers: Alternity''). The first giant robots seen were in the 1948 manga and Mitsuteru Yokoyama's 1956 manga ''
Tetsujin 28-go is a 1956 manga written and illustrated by Mitsuteru Yokoyama, who also created ''Giant Robo''. The series centers on the adventures of a young boy named Shotaro Kaneda, who controls a giant robot named Tetsujin 28, built by his late f ...
''. However, it wasn't until the advent of
Go Nagai , better known by the pen name , is a Japanese manga artist Manga (Japanese: 漫画 ) are comics a Media (communication), medium used to express ideas with images, often combined with text or other visual information. It typically ...
's ''
Mazinger Z is a Japanese super robot manga series written and illustrated by Go Nagai. The first manga version was serialized in Shueisha's ''Weekly Shōnen Jump'' from October 1972 to August 1973, and it later continued in Kodansha ''TV Magazine'' fro ...
'' 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: ''Mazinger Z'' featured giant robots that 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 {{nihongo, Chogokin, 超合金, Chōgōkin, Chō: ''Super'', gōkin: ''alloy'', Sometimes spelled either Chougokin or Cho-gokin is a fictitious material which first appeared in Go Nagai , better known by the pen name , is a Japanese manga artist ...
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 from children's shows to ones intended for an older teen or adult audience. Some of the first mecha featured in manga and anime were
super robot Mecha anime and manga, known in Japan as and , are anime is Traditional animation, hand-drawn and computer animation originating from Japan. In Japan and in Japanese, (a term derived from the English language, English word ''animation'') d ...
s. The super robot genre features
superhero A superhero or superheroine is a stock character that possesses Superpower (ability), ''superpowers'', abilities beyond those of ordinary people, and fits the role of the hero, typically using his or her powers to help the World peace, world b ...

superhero
-like giant robots that are often one-of-a-kind and the product of an ancient civilization, aliens or a . These robots are usually piloted by Japanese
teenager Adolescence ()''Macmillan Dictionary for Students'' Macmillan, Pan Ltd. (1981), page 14, 456. Retrieved July 15, 2010. is a transitional stage of physical and psychological Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology in ...

teenager
s via
voice command Speech recognition is an interdisciplinary Interdisciplinarity or interdisciplinary studies involves the combination of two or more academic discipline An academic discipline or academic field is a subdivision of knowledge that is Educa ...
or neural uplink, and are often powered by mystical or exotic energy sources. The later real robot genre features robots that do not have mythical superpowers, but rather use largely conventional, albeit futuristic weapons and power sources, and are often mass-produced on a large scale for use in wars. The real robot genre also tends to feature more complex characters with moral conflicts and personal problems. The genre is therefore aimed primarily at young adults instead of children. ''Mobile Suit Gundam'' (1979) is largely considered the first series to introduce the real robot concept and, along with ''The Super Dimension Fortress Macross'' (1982), would form the basis of what people would later call real robot anime.10 commandments of Real robot, Gundam Sentinel introduction, Gundam workshop, Format ACG Some robot mecha are capable of transformation (''Macross'' and ''Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, Zeta Gundam'') or combining to form even bigger ones (''Beast King GoLion'' and ''Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann''), the latter called ''gattai''.
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is often credited with inventing this in 1974 with the television series ''
Getter Robo is a Super Robot manga Manga (Japanese: 漫画 ) are comics a Media (communication), medium used to express ideas with images, often combined with text or other visual information. It typically the form of a sequence of Panel ...
''. Not all mecha need to 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 is a Japanese mecha anime The term may refer to both Science, scientific ideas and science fiction genres that center on giant robots or machines (mechs) controlled by people. Mechas are typically depicted as humanoid mobile robots. ...
'', ''Eureka Seven'', and ''
Zoids , or simply , is a Japanese science fiction Science fiction (sometimes shortened to sci-fi or SF) is a of which typically deals with and futuristic concepts such as advanced and , , , , and . It has been called the " of ", and it ofte ...
''. ''Attack on Titan'' creator Hajime Isayama draws particular inspiration from the mecha visual novel ''Muv-Luv'' with its use of "pilots" controlling larger humanoid apparatus. Mecha based on anime have seen extreme cultural reception across the world. The personification of this popularity can be seen as 1:1-sized ''Mazinger Z'', Tetsujin, and Gundam statues built across the world.


Film

* In the Godzilla (franchise), Godzilla franchise the monster Mechagodzilla created by Toho is an Alien Monster that first appeared in the 1974 film ''Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla'' and re-appeared in ''Godzilla vs. Kong''. *The ''Star Wars'' multimedia franchise features several Walker (Star Wars), walker types, such as the world-famous AT-AT and AT-ST. * The film ''Robot Jox'' is based around gladiatorial combat between giant mecha. * In the 1986 film ''Aliens (film), Aliens'', Ripley uses a Caterpillar P-5000 Work Loader to fight the alien Queen. * ''Sentinel 2099'', a 1995 film, features a 40 foot tall walking tank called a Sentinel unit. They are used to combat an alien race known as the Zisk. *In the 1999 film Wild Wild West, Dr. Loveless attempts to use an 8 story tall, steam-powered, walking spider to conquer a post-American Civil War, Civil War United States. * In ''The Matrix Revolutions'', List of minor characters in the Matrix series#Captain Mifune, Captain Mifune leads the human defense of Zion, piloting open-cockpit mecha called APUs, against invading Sentinels. * In James Cameron's 2009 film ''Avatar (2009 film), Avatar'', mecha called Amplified Mobility Platforms (AMPs) are used as instruments of war. * In Shane Acker's 2009 animated film ''9 (2009 animated film), 9'', giant walking war machines called Steel Behemoths were created by the Fabrication Machine to destroy all life on Earth. * A heavily weaponized powered exoskeleton that envelops the operator is featured in the 2009 film ''District 9'', and aptly named the ''Exo-suit''. * Guillermo del Toro's 2013 film ''Pacific Rim (film), Pacific Rim'' focuses on a war between humans who pilot massive mechas known as ''Jaegers'' and Kaiju monsters that emerge from the Pacific Ocean. * In ''The Amazing Spider-Man 2'', the Rhino (comics), Rhino uses a one-person mecha suit that possesses super strength and defense. * In the film ''Iron Man (2008 film), Iron Man'', the
Iron Monger Iron Monger is an alias used by several fictional characters, supervillain A supervillain or supercriminal is a variant of the villainous stock character Stock (also capital stock) is all of the shares into which ownership of a corp ...
, a powered exoskeleton suit operated by Obadiah Stane, is another example of mecha. * In the final scenes of ''The Lego Movie'', the main protagonist Emmet creates a giant construction mech made of yellow Lego pieces which he pilots to fight in the final battle against Lord Business' forces. * In ''Avengers: Age of Ultron'' Iron Man uses a mecha named the Hulkbuster to fight the Hulk. *In the 2001 film ''A.I. Artificial Intelligence, AI: Artificial Intelligence'' by Steven Spielberg, the term mecha refers to an advanced humanoid robot species featured in the film.


Video games

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 game, vehicular combat and shooter games, including Sesame Japan's side-scrolling shooter game ''Vastar'' in 1983, various List of Gundam video games, ''Gundam'' games such as ''Mobile Suit Gundam: Last Shooting'' in 1984 and ''Kidō Senshi Z-Gundam: Hot Scramble, Z-Gundam: Hot Scramble'' in 1986, the run and gun (video game), run and gun shooters ''Shoot 'em up#Golden age and refinement (late 1970s to early 1980s), Hover Attack'' in 1984 and ''Thexder'' in 1985, and Arsys Software's 3D computer graphics, 3D role-playing shooters ''Wibarm, WiBArm'' in 1986 and ''Star Cruiser'' in 1988. Historically mecha-based games have been more popular in Japan than in other countries. * Metal Gear, ''Metal Gear'' series (1987 – 2018) by Hideo Kojima, includes mecha as part of its main premise. The series takes place during the modern day and near future, and the prototype nuclear-capable bipedal tanks called Metal Gear (weapon), Metal Gears are a recurring element. *A popular classic of mecha in games is the ''MechWarrior'' series (1989 – 2021) of video games, which takes place in the ''Battletech'' universe. *Intelligent Systems-developed and Nintendo-published games that feature mecha include ''Battle Clash'' (1992) and ''Metal Combat: Falcon's Revenge'' (1993), a single-player mecha-themed shooter series with real robot-style. All battles are fought with mechas called Standing Tanks (ST). *Square (video game company), Squaresoft-developed games that feature mecha include ''Front Mission'' (1995 – 2019), a turn-based tactical series of games with real robot-style mecha utilized by near future military forces. ''Xenogears'' (1998) also used mecha, called Gears, as a main aspect of the story, and the series continues the use of mecha with the Monolith Soft-developed ''Xenoblade Chronicles'' series (2010 – ). *''Armored Core'' (1997 – 2013) is a fast-paced action mecha series developed by FromSoftware, set in the distant post apocalyptic futures where mechas called "Armored Core" pilot by mercenaries are the dominant forces on the battlefield. Armored Core games have a wide selection in customizations with the first entry in the series Armored Core (video game) being as one of the early few 3D mecha games that introduced extensive customizations to the mechas in-game. *In ''StarCraft'' series (1998 – 2017)'','' two of the fictional races (Terran and Protoss) extensively use walkers. In the first game of the series, each faction had only one walker: Goliath (Terran) and Dragoon (Protoss). As of the latest release, in multiplayer games, Terrans have four different walkers (Viking, Thor, Hellbat, and Widow Mine,) while Protoss have three (Colossus, Stalker, and Immortal.) On the whole there are 18 different Terran walkers and 21 Protoss walkers across the entire franchise. *The Monolith Productions game ''Shogo: Mobile Armor Division'' (1998) blended mecha gameplay with that of traditional first-person shooter games. *''Heavy Gear 2'' (1999) offers a complex yet semi-realistic control system for its mecha in both terrain and outer space warfare. *In ''Zone of the Enders'' (2001 – 2012) by Hideo Kojima, real robots called LEVs exist alongside a more
super robot Mecha anime and manga, known in Japan as and , are anime is Traditional animation, hand-drawn and computer animation originating from Japan. In Japan and in Japanese, (a term derived from the English language, English word ''animation'') d ...
-like mecha type known as the Orbital Frame. *In ''Battlefield 2142'' (2006), mecha fight alongside conventional military units such as
infantry at the Battle of the Somme The Battle of the Somme, also known as the Somme offensive, was a battle of the First World War fought by the armies of the British Empire and French Third Republic against the German Empire. It took place bet ...

infantry
,
tank A tank is an armored fighting vehicle An armoured fighting vehicle (AFV) is an armed combat vehicle protected by armour, generally combining operational mobility with offensive and defensive capabilities. AFVs can be wheeled or tra ...

tank
s, gunships, and Armored personnel carrier, APCs in the European Union's and Pan-Asian Coalition's military forces. *In ''Supreme Commander (video game), Supreme Commander'' (2007), all 3 factions utilize mechs, be they tanks, gunships, or true mechs. The player's Armored Command Unit is one such mech. *The ''Command & Conquer: Tiberian series'' franchise (1995 – 2012) features many mechanized walker units. In the last video game of this series, Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight, ''Command & Conquer 4'', walkers have gained such predominance that even command centers walk. (In the prior games, they were stationary buildings.) Titan, Wolverine, and Juggernaut are three of such units that have appeared in four ''Command & Conquer'' titles. *''League of Legends'' (2009), developed by Riot Games, include mecha as part of champion skins, designed as super robots (Mecha Malphite, Mecha Kha Zix, Mecha Aatrox, Mecha Zero Sion, etc.). *''Hawken (video game), Hawken'' (2012) is an online first person shooter in which pilots can choose from a variety of bipedal mechas, each having an intended specialization, to engage in free-for-all or team-based combat. Mechas have special abilities related to their role that, when activated, augment their weapon cooling, damage, defense, accuracy, mobility, stealth, or other characteristic to provide a temporary advantage. *''War Thunder'' (2012) during an April Fools event, players were able to control Mecha tanks that consisted of multiple tank turrets and other parts after destroying a certain number of vehicles in a battle. *In '' Titanfall (video game), Titanfall'' (2014) and ''Titanfall 2'' (2016) from Respawn Entertainment, mechas are heavily involved within gameplay and the story. *In ''War Robots'' (2014) from Russian developer Pixonic, players only can control mechas to fight each other in a 6v6 battlefield. *In ''Heroes of the Storm'' (2015), developed by Blizzard Entertainment, players can take control of the giant mecha, called "Triglav Protector", as a reward for winning objective on Volskaya Foundry battleground. The mecha is co-piloted by two different players, the first serving as a pilot, and the second serving as a gunner. Each player is given control to a different set of unique abilities. In January 2018 and June 2019, Blizzard created two "MechaStorm" events for ''Heroes of the Storm,'' featuring multiple mecha skins for a number of heroes, as well as other items for the Collection. A MechaStorm "anime video trailer" was also released, heavily inspired by series such as ''Mobile Suit Gundam,'' and ''
Neon Genesis Evangelion is a Japanese mecha anime The term may refer to both Science, scientific ideas and science fiction genres that center on giant robots or machines (mechs) controlled by people. Mechas are typically depicted as humanoid mobile robots. ...
.'' *''Overwatch (video game), Overwatch'' (2016), team shooter from Blizzard Entertainment, includes D.Va, a tank hero who pilots a mecha. Stylized as MEKA (Mobile Exo-Force of the Korean Army), D.Va's mecha provides her primary hero abilities as well as being a driver of her backstory in the game's lore. Wrecking Ball (Overwatch), Wrecking Ball is a tank-class quadrupedal mecha robot driven by a Genetic engineering, genetically engineered hamster named Hammond. The mecha is armed with automatic assault weapons known as the "quad cannons", and can be transformed into a high-speed "wrecking ball" equipped with a grappling hook. *''Kirby: Planet Robobot'' (2016) features extensive use of mecha suit known as the Robobot Armor to solve puzzles and fight enemies. Mecha resembling Kirby (character), Kirby with the ability to copy enemy abilities (known as ''Modes).'' *''Iron Harvest'' (2020) features many mechs piloted by multiple factions. It is set in the 1920+ alternate history universe Scythe (board game), Scythe, created by Jakub Różalski.


Tabletop games

*In the tabletop game ''Warhammer 40,000'', the forces use mecha of a variety of sizes and shapes. *Older American Tabletop games, ''Battletech'', uses hex-maps, miniatures & paper record sheets that allow players to use mecha in tactical situations and record realistic damage, while add RPG elements when desired.


Books

* The Mecha Samurai Empire series, ''Mecha Samurai Empire'' series by Peter Tieryas is about a world where the Japanese Empire rules over the United States of Japan with a variety of different mechas. Many of the pilots are trained at the Berkeley Military Academy and their primary enemies are the Nazis and their monstrous biomechs.


Real mecha

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. Most of these experimental projects were made and first presented in East Asia. *In 2012, Suidobashi Heavy Industry unveiled their prototype of a driveable mecha, the Kuratas. *On December 2016, Korean company Hankook Mirae posted a video featuring a test run of their bi-pedal prototype mecha METHOD-01, designed by Vitaly Bulgarov. *A machine called Land Walker was developed by Sakakibara Kikai with the intention of giving the impression of a bipedal mecha. *In 2018, Japanese engineer Masaaki Nagumo from Sakakibara Kikai completed construction of a functional bipedal mecha inspired by the ''
Gundam is a Japanese military fictionMilitary fiction is a genre of fiction, focusing on military activities, such as war, battle A battle is an occurrence of combat in warfare between opposing military units of any number or size. A war usual ...
'' franchise. The device, standing 8.5 meters tall and weighing about 7 tonnes, possesses fully functional arm and leg servos. In the Western world, there are few examples of mecha, however, several machines have been constructed by both companies and private figures. *In 2006, Timberjack, a subsidiary of John Deere, built a practical Hexapod (robotics), hexapod walking harvester. *In 2015, MegaBots Inc., Megabots Inc. completed the MKII "Iron Glory" before challenging Kuratas to a duel. In 2017 they completed the MKIII "Eagle Prime". *In 2017, Canadian engineering company, Furrion Exo-Bionics, unveiled Prosthesis: The Anti-Robot, invented by Jonathan Tippett, as the company's flagship prototype mech. It is a 3500 kg, 200 hp, electric powered, 4-legged, all-terrain walking mech intended for use in competitive sport. It is controlled by the human pilot inside via a full-body exo-skeletal interface. In 2020 it was awarded the Guinness World Record as "the world's largest tetrapod exoskeleton". * GE Beetle from 1961


See also

* BattleMech * Kuratas * MegaBots Inc., Megabots Inc. * Mobile robot *
Powered exoskeleton A powered exoskeleton (also known as power armor, powered armor, powered suit, cybernetic suit, cybernetic armor, exosuit, hardsuit, or exoframe) is a wearable mobile machine that is powered by a system of electric motors, pneumatics, levers, hydr ...
* ''Robot Romance Trilogy'' * Sentry gun * Walking vehicle


References


External links


Mecha Anime HQ
Extensive coverage on Gundams and other mecha.
Mecha Co.

Japanese Animation Guide: The History of Robot Anime
{{Authority control Mecha, Anime and manga terminology Emerging technologies Science fiction themes Science fiction weapons