Metal Monsters: Mechs From Gundam to Pacific Rim

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Metal Monsters: Mechs From Gundam to Pacific Rim

Mechs have a longer history than you might think.

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'Mech is a contraction of Battlemech. Mecha is the generic term for piloted robots. Jeez, you even mention Mechwarrior in the article...

"For these purists, the first real mechs surfaced with a little known manga called Mazinga Z in 1972. Never heard of it? I wouldn't be surprised."

I FRIGGING LOVE MAZINGER Z.

So not only does this Article misspell Mazinger Z but it dismisses Mazinger Z as not influential to the Mecha anime genre? I'm going to have to dispute that. Gundam started the Real Robot genre which has its own tropes and ideas, but to dismiss Mazinger Z and the 7 years worth of Super Robot mecha between it and Gundam is cockeyed and wrong.

Mazinger Z did not receive only "moderate popularity" in Japan. If it had it wouldn't have made Go Nagai the godfather of all Mecha anime. It wouldn't have catapulted Ichiro Mizuki's career to becoming the Big Brother of all mecha anime openings. It wouldn't have single-handedly created the character archetypes and story tropes in use to this day. If it wasn't popular it wouldn't have gotten 2 sequels, a manga re-imagining, and two different anime remakes? Mazinger Z's manga and anime coined everything from the hotblooded teenage mecha pilot to monster of the week episodes to mid-season upgrades to changing openings. Mazinger Z's most iconic weapon, the Rocket Punch, is still arguably the most famous Japanese mecha weapon of all. Starting the history of mecha from Gundam is just wrong. By casually mentioning in passing how it split the Real Robot genre from the Super Robot genre is to ignore that the Super Robot Genre was started by Mazinger Z.

Tetsujin 28 surely deserves credit for the first Giant Robot and kudos to the article's kudos, but it completely ignores Go Nagai. That's like talking about Pixar without ever mentioning Disney, or doing a history of Video games while completely ignoring Nintendo. If you're going to talk about the origins of mecha anime, even in passing, credit should be given where it is due.

Omnicrom:
So not only does this Article misspell Mazinger Z but it dismisses Mazinger Z as not influential to the Mecha anime genre? I'm going to have to dispute that. Gundam started the Real Robot genre which has its own tropes and ideas, but to dismiss Mazinger Z and the 7 years worth of Super Robot mecha between it and Gundam is cockeyed and wrong.

Mazinger Z did not receive only "moderate popularity" in Japan. If it had it wouldn't have made Go Nagai the godfather of all Mecha anime. It wouldn't have catapulted Ichiro Mizuki's career to becoming the Big Brother of all mecha anime openings. It wouldn't have single-handedly created the character archetypes and story tropes in use to this day. If it wasn't popular it wouldn't have gotten 2 sequels, a manga re-imagining, and two different anime remakes? Mazinger Z's manga and anime coined everything from the hotblooded teenage mecha pilot to monster of the week episodes to mid-season upgrades to changing openings. Mazinger Z's most iconic weapon, the Rocket Punch, is still arguably the most famous Japanese mecha weapon of all. Starting the history of mecha from Gundam is just wrong. By casually mentioning in passing how it split the Real Robot genre from the Super Robot genre is to ignore that the Super Robot Genre was started by Mazinger Z.

Tetsujin 28 surely deserves credit for the first Giant Robot and kudos to the article's kudos, but it completely ignores Go Nagai. That's like talking about Pixar without ever mentioning Disney, or doing a history of Video games while completely ignoring Nintendo. If you're going to talk about the origins of mecha anime, even in passing, credit should be given where it is due.

I completely agree with this.

And "moderate popularity" is simply wrong. I would call it more of a smash hit. Oh the copycats it spawned. Including another one of my favorite mecha of all time, Getter Robo. Which is the great granddaddy of combining mecha.

The Battletech Universe alone could take up this entire article...

JPArbiter:
The Battletech Universe alone could take up this entire article...

I know right! I had a hard time squeezing what I thought were the most important franchises into it. I'm sorry if you're favourite game didn't make it in, I had to cut entire sections on Armored core and Total Annihilation!

RatherDull:

I completely agree with this.

And "moderate popularity" is simply wrong. I would call it more of a smash hit. Oh the copycats it spawned. Including another one of my favorite mecha of all time, Getter Robo. Which is the great granddaddy of combining mecha.

Heh my first thought was "What about Getter Robo?!" Didn't that make Super Robots popular? Setting the stage for The Brave Series, Super Sentai and Gundam Creator Yoshiyuki Tomino's own Zambot 3?

I mean seriously, I love Gundam... but there is WAY more to Mecha than just Gundam... hell the amount to which this article under-represented Macross is practically criminal! Most of Battletechs original Mech Designs were flat out stolen from Macross and Fang of the Sun Dougram, without those two series's would Battletech and hence Mechwarrior ever have become a thing? Geez man...

Steven Bogos:

JPArbiter:
The Battletech Universe alone could take up this entire article...

I know right! I had a hard time squeezing what I thought were the most important franchises into it. I'm sorry if you're favourite game didn't make it in, I had to cut entire sections on Armored core and Total Annihilation!

but you DID get my favorite. hell it is why I do ourbattletech.coms podcast on the game :P

Omnicrom:
snip

Hi! Thanks for your feedback. I'm sorry you feel this way. I didn't mean to dismiss Mazinger Z entirely - I only claimed it had moderate popularity when you compare it to such an insanely popular franchise as Gundam. The anime origins were meant to only serve as an intro to the meat and potatoes of this feature - which is mechs in videogames. I understand how influential Mazinger Z has been, I could have written a whole article on it, but in the end, the word count is my taskmaster. I do see your point and have slightly altered this paragraph as to not seem so dismissive.

Thanks again for reading!

Steven Bogos:

Omnicrom:
snip

Hi! Thanks for your feedback. I'm sorry you feel this way. I didn't mean to dismiss Mazinger Z entirely - I only claimed it had moderate popularity when you compare it to such an insanely popular franchise as Gundam. The anime origins were meant to only serve as an intro to the meat and potatoes of this feature - which is mechs in videogames. I understand how influential Mazinger Z has been, I could have written a whole article on it, but in the end, the word count is my taskmaster. I do see your point and have slightly altered this paragraph as to not seem so dismissive.

Thanks again for reading!

Fair enough, when you're taking on a topic THIS huge you're bound to step on some toes.

PedroSteckecilo:
[quote="RatherDull" post="6.821709.19861164"]
snip

Thanks for your feedback! It's great to see you guys so passionate about mecha anime, and I really appreciate feedback like this to help me in the future. As I told the poster above, the anime origins were only meant to serve as an intro. I understand the popularity and influence of anime like Getter Robo and Macross, but in the end I ultimately decided to dedicate the short section I had allocated to anime influences to Gundam, as I feel that Gundam is such a huge, gigantic franchise that pretty much everyone immediately associates with mechs. It's also the father of the "real robot" subgere of mechs, which is what most mech videogames use. It's hard to cram the entire history of mech video games, movies, and anime into 1,500 words while still having an interesting narrative!

Again, i'm sorry I couldn't go more in depth on mecha anime! I hope you enjoyed the rest of the feature, and Thanks again for reading.

Good read, thanks. I've never really been into the western mechs (never played Steel Batallion, hardly touched Mechwarrior. Hell, I never really liked Transformers (for shame, I know)), but it's nice to read how they came about. Now if you'll excuse me, I'll go watch Gundam Unicorn and play Armored Core. :)

I don't know how popular Mazinger Z was in the US but I can assure you it's still fondly remembered by even non-geeks as one of the most classic cartoons of our youth in south america, right there with he-man, robotech, and the ninja turtles

"Right now, all eyes are on Respawn Entertainment's Titanfall, a multiplayer-only title revolving around combat between free-running pilots, and agile mech suits called Titans."

But will the free-running pilots have access to 3D Maneuver Gear to take down a Titan? *Cue Attack on Titan Them song*

twm1709:
I don't know how popular Mazinger Z was in the US but I can assure you it's still fondly remembered by even non-geeks as one of the most classic cartoons of our youth in south america, right there with he-man, robotech, and the ninja turtles

It did get a us release as Tranzor Z, though I don't really have any details about how much was adapted or if there were any cuts.

I'd be surprised if they threw in Megas for the game as DLC or something

Now with all this talk of Mecha lets not forget truly the greatest mecha ever created... Tequila Gundam... and Zebra Gundam...

imageimage

Because that's totally not racist...<.<

Sacman:
Now with all this talk of Mecha lets not forget truly the greatest mecha ever created... Tequila Gundam... and Zebra Gundam...

-snippage-

Because that's totally not racist...<.<

Shit no, Nether Gundam is where it's at.

image

It's still amazing to me that G Gundam was actually quite good. :D

twm1709:
I don't know how popular Mazinger Z was in the US but I can assure you it's still fondly remembered by even non-geeks as one of the most classic cartoons of our youth in south america, right there with he-man, robotech, and the ninja turtles

Yeah, Mazinger Z was a huge hit in Europe and South America, and Grendizer was similarly big in the Arab speaking world.

Ooooh yeah, we're ripping you some new ones for this article. My particular contribution will be over this sentence:

When it comes to mechs in videogames, no developer has greater love affair with the metal monsters than Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima.

The developers with the biggest love for Mecha is this little bunch right here:

image

Banpresto, formerly the videogame-making portion of Bandai (who makes toys and all those Gundam models), who merged with Namco a while back. The guys who make this little series right here:

Yes, that is Gundams fighting alongside Mazinger Z, Getter Robo, Evangelion, Macross, Virtual On, GaoGaiGar, and about a couple dozen giant robot series' you probably never heard of.

Yes, that's more Gundam fighting alongside Mazinger Z, Macross, The Big O, Code Geass, Eureka Seven, Gurren Lagann, and about a dozen more giant robot series' you probably never heard of.

Yes, that's even more Gundam and Mazinger with GaoGaiGar, Nadesico, Tekkaman Blade (see also Tatsunoko vs Capcom), and motherfraggin' VOLTRON (actually Hundred Beast King Golion, the show made into Voltron, but still!), with about a half dozen series you actually might have known about, because every single one of the ones in this particular game actually was brought over to the West.

That's how much Banpresto loves Giant Robots. They make a game, and can put other people's Mechs in them. In fact, when they were first asking to put Evangelion into their series, Hideki Anno himself told Gainax to say yes.

The series in question is of course the Super Robot Wars series. Think a cross between Final Fantasy Tactics and Super Smash Bros, with Giant Mechs as the theme instead of Nintendo.

How big are they? Well, in most games of the series, they usually add a couple of new heroes and villains that aren't part of an anime series, to provide a viewpoint character and a Big Bad to cap the whole thing off. Well, they made so many games that they found out that they could make a Super Robot Wars series using only their original characters.


And that got an anime.


Two of them, in fact (and an OAV).

Omnicrom:

twm1709:
I don't know how popular Mazinger Z was in the US but I can assure you it's still fondly remembered by even non-geeks as one of the most classic cartoons of our youth in south america, right there with he-man, robotech, and the ninja turtles

Yeah, Mazinger Z was a huge hit in Europe and South America, and Grendizer was similarly big in the Arab speaking world.

Grendizer was pretty big in Italy too, as far as I've heard.

In fact, when they later brought Mazinger Z over, it's hero Kouji was dismissed as a copy of Duke's partner in Grendizer, named Alcor in the Italian dub (For those of you not in the know, "Alcor" is Kouji. Mazinger Z was made first).

I hate to nit-pick because I appreciate what you've written but I can't help but be a bit disappointed when an article goes back to the origin of Mechs without mentioning one of the quintessential forefathers and that is: Starship Troopers.

I'm pretty sure giant robots were the last thing Heinlein wanted to make an impact on with this book but he did; where do you think the 'Mobile' part of 'Mobile Suit Gundam' comes from? It's referenced when Space Marines are brought up but not enough recognition is given IMO when it comes to mechs.

SAMAS:
Snip

Hi there!

Thanks for your feedback. Unfortunately, when writing my article there was a lot of stuff I had to cut. I ended up going with what I deemed was the most popular, highest quality, and/or most influential series and games. I'm sorry Banpresto didn't make it in, it does look like they really do have a big love affair with mechs! I chose the Metal Gear series because of Kojima's prominence in the gaming industry.

Nouw:
Snip

Thanks for your feedback! I won't argue with you on this one, I loved the hell out of Starship Troopers (the books and the movies), but I decided to only go into detail on the anime side of things, since mechs and anime have a very longstanding relationship. I very briefly mentioned some western mech movies, but again, it's hard to cover EVERYTHING when you have limited words to work with!

Thanks!

Steven Bogos:

Nouw:
Snip

Thanks for your feedback! I won't argue with you on this one, I loved the hell out of Starship Troopers (the books and the movies), but I decided to only go into detail on the anime side of things, since mechs and anime have a very longstanding relationship. I very briefly mentioned some western mech movies, but again, it's hard to cover EVERYTHING when you have limited words to work with!

Thanks!

I completely understand and to be honest this is more of a misinformation thing rather than a genuine slip-up; it'd be a never-ending article if you mentioned all mechs xD. I'm also very impressed with your willingness to take criticism and respond to people in this thread, good on 'ya.

Very nice article but I just have to be a jackass because that is what a person does when they do not see their favourite X series mentioned in a list right, right?!

HEAVY GEAR! Unlike Battletech which suffered from legal battles with outright ripping off Japanese mech designs, DP9 managed to do it with a world and mech designs iconically unique enough to never have to fear legal repercussions from whomever it was that held the legal rights to Votom.

Unfortunately it looks like the new Heavy Gear game may never see the light of day, cannot blame anyone for not investing as we essentially wanted a single player game and not a dime-a-dozen F2P game that pops up every other day.

GundamSentinel:
Good read, thanks. I've never really been into the western mechs (never played Steel Batallion, hardly touched Mechwarrior. Hell, I never really liked Transformers (for shame, I know)), but it's nice to read how they came about. Now if you'll excuse me, I'll go watch Gundam Unicorn and play Armored Core. :)

Great article.
If it's a game with Mechs, I will most certainly play the hell out of it, and even enjoy it! Be it Western or Japanese, but the best imho, has elements of both, like Armored Core or Hawken.

There are some amazing games out there. There's a few that come to mind:

PC:
Mechwarrior Series
Hawken
Strike Suit Zero (mecha in spaaaaaceeeee) (Mech is designed by some Japanese chap who had his hands in Macross suit designs as well. East meet West is great :)).

PS3/XBOX360:
Armored Core Series

PS3 exclusives:
Gundam Extreme VS(import)
Macross 30 (import, a bit impossible to play without a guide)

PSP (my favorites):
Any game made by Artdink (Gundam, Macross)

Currently playing a rather shoddy Warriors style of game on the PS3 (Gundam Breaker), which is fun but lacking in terms of Gundam variety (man, they need to release Gundam Extreme VS: Full Boost already).

Can't wait for Armored Core V: Verdict Day, which looks amazing!!! :D

cainx10a:

GundamSentinel:
Good read, thanks. I've never really been into the western mechs (never played Steel Batallion, hardly touched Mechwarrior. Hell, I never really liked Transformers (for shame, I know)), but it's nice to read how they came about. Now if you'll excuse me, I'll go watch Gundam Unicorn and play Armored Core. :)

Great article.
If it's a game with Mechs, I will most certainly play the hell out of it, and even enjoy it! Be it Western or Japanese, but the best imho, has elements of both, like Armored Core or Hawken.

There are some amazing games out there. There's a few that come to mind:

PC:
Mechwarrior Series
Hawken
Strike Suit Zero (mecha in spaaaaaceeeee) (Mech is designed by some Japanese chap who had his hands in Macross suit designs as well. East meet West is great :)).

PS3/XBOX360:
Armored Core Series

PS3 exclusives:
Gundam Extreme VS(import)
Macross 30 (import, a bit impossible to play without a guide)

PSP (my favorites):
Any game made by Artdink (Gundam, Macross)

Currently playing a rather shoddy Warriors style of game on the PS3 (Gundam Breaker), which is fun but lacking in terms of Gundam variety (man, they need to release Gundam Extreme VS: Full Boost already).

Can't wait for Armored Core V: Verdict Day, which looks amazing!!! :D

I still curse the Japanese for keeping all the best games to themselves. Why won't they let me play Another Century's Episode? Instead I'll have to do with crap like Dynasty Warriors Gundam and Gundam Crossfire (even those, I might add, can be hard to come by here, and even then very expensive).

Didn't get Armored Core V, didn't like the changes they made from For Answer.

*Sees that Armored Core V is now ridiculously cheap and immediately orders it*

Looks I might try it after all. :)

I can't believe nobody has mentioned this yet: Activision did nothing to "invent" Mechwarrior, FASA did that with their tabletop games. The Mechwarrior videogames were licensed from the tabletop games, they were not an original property.

I really enjoyed this but no mention for front mission or virtua on? Really?

Virtua on was ahead of its time for pvp and had a great selection of mechs. Frontmission was x com with mechs and was amazing.

On TV Star fleet (think it was x bomber in Japan)

and Voltron were the first mech shows that got me excited. I think there will be lots of people in there 30s who cannot watch that vid without nostalgia...

At-Ats are a given so excluded naturally.

Owyn_Merrilin:
I can't believe nobody has mentioned this yet: Activision did nothing to "invent" Mechwarrior, FASA did that with their tabletop games. The Mechwarrior videogames were licensed from the tabletop games, they were not an original property.

Hey there! Thanks for the feedback. I do actually say this in the article:

"But MechWarrior is actually based on the BattleTech series of tabletop games, launched in 1984"

Sorry if you missed that when you first read the article!

GundamSentinel:

cainx10a:

GundamSentinel:
Good read, thanks. I've never really been into the western mechs (never played Steel Batallion, hardly touched Mechwarrior. Hell, I never really liked Transformers (for shame, I know)), but it's nice to read how they came about. Now if you'll excuse me, I'll go watch Gundam Unicorn and play Armored Core. :)

Great article.
If it's a game with Mechs, I will most certainly play the hell out of it, and even enjoy it! Be it Western or Japanese, but the best imho, has elements of both, like Armored Core or Hawken.

There are some amazing games out there. There's a few that come to mind:

PC:
Mechwarrior Series
Hawken
Strike Suit Zero (mecha in spaaaaaceeeee) (Mech is designed by some Japanese chap who had his hands in Macross suit designs as well. East meet West is great :)).

PS3/XBOX360:
Armored Core Series

PS3 exclusives:
Gundam Extreme VS(import)
Macross 30 (import, a bit impossible to play without a guide)

PSP (my favorites):
Any game made by Artdink (Gundam, Macross)

Currently playing a rather shoddy Warriors style of game on the PS3 (Gundam Breaker), which is fun but lacking in terms of Gundam variety (man, they need to release Gundam Extreme VS: Full Boost already).

Can't wait for Armored Core V: Verdict Day, which looks amazing!!! :D

I still curse the Japanese for keeping all the best games to themselves. Why won't they let me play Another Century's Episode? Instead I'll have to do with crap like Dynasty Warriors Gundam and Gundam Crossfire (even those, I might add, can be hard to come by here, and even then very expensive).

Didn't get Armored Core V, didn't like the changes they made from For Answer.

*Sees that Armored Core V is now ridiculously cheap and immediately orders it*

Looks I might try it after all. :)

That's why I love my PS3 at the moment, thanks to its lack of region lock.
Just import the games bro.

Gundam extreme Vs itself is $40, and you don't need any knowledge in Japanese to enjoy it.

For ACE: R, there is an excellent translation guide (by Mwulf, this guy is awesome) out there. But the game itself is not all that great, it uses a very silly mechanism where you have to build up tension, by attacking your enemies with your range (your primary weapon, example: Zeta would use it's beam rifle) and melee attacks (sword). Tension builds up at a very sluggish rate, then you can say fire your Arm grenades for a little amount of Tension. It's very annoying to say the least. :)

Crossfire was a rushed game. The developers released a new game call Gundam Senki. Used the same engine (minus the bugs), a better storyline and it's a very high on replay value action game. Probably the Gundam action game for the PS3(if you ignore Artdink's PSP games).

So yeah, if you need to import a Gundam game, go for Gundam Extreme Vs. (It's only $40 :D) (of course, I'm ignoring shipping).

cainx10a:

Crossfire was a rushed game. The developers released a new game call Gundam Senki. Used the same engine (minus the bugs), a better storyline and it's a very high on replay value action game. Probably the Gundam action game for the PS3(if you ignore Artdink's PSP games).

I actually really liked crossfire! How did I not know this game existed before?

Need this now.

RatherDull:

cainx10a:

Crossfire was a rushed game. The developers released a new game call Gundam Senki. Used the same engine (minus the bugs), a better storyline and it's a very high on replay value action game. Probably the Gundam action game for the PS3(if you ignore Artdink's PSP games).

I actually really liked crossfire! How did I not know this game existed before?

Need this now.

http://www.play-asia.com/paOS-13-71-bp-49-en-70-3wd2.html

I forgot to mention it's an import (and a pretty cheap too $45). But like Gundam extreme vs, the menus can be navigated easily since they are in English.

You might miss some story elements but you get the gist of it even without understanding too much Japanese. Also, there's a MWULF translation guide for this game, so expect a high quality translation guide that even covers the story elements in each mission.

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