Why Mecha Anime Has Been DECLINING And Losing Its Appeal Since The 2010’s

mecha anime popularity declining
Written by Theo J Ellis

The last time I spoke about Mecha anime a few years back, the mecha fanboys lost their minds. And cried a river of tears large enough to impress Justin Timberlake, the “cry me a river” man himself.

Here’s what I said in a nutshell that blew the internet up: This Is Why Mecha Anime Is Hated (And Why It’s Not A Great Genre)

Aside from certain points this isn’t a new opinion and hardly an unconventional one.

  • YouTubers have talked about it.
  • websites have talked about it.
  • forums have talked about it….

But not many are brave enough to say it out loud because they fear “fans” will smash their keyboards with the intention to hate, belittle, criticize, and dogpile them for speaking on their beloved Mecha.

Twitter is a cesspool for that shit so it’s not surprising.

 

The fall of Mecha

YouTube video

In a 14+ minute video on the topic of Mecha, Gigguk talks about the fall of Mecha and elaborates on WHY that’s the case.

I shared this video in the last post I did on Mecha. Nobody seems to cry about the video though or the points being laid out.

Well let’s talk more about the fall of Mecha, its lack of popularity, and why Mecha anime has declined since the 2010’s in particular.

Here’s a list in no ranking order.

 

1. Isekai – the new, shiny object

There’s a reason why I added images from Sword Art Online and No Game No Life: these anime started the Isekai trend in the 2010’s.

Of course Sword Art Online is really what kicked it off (statistically speaking), and made the genre cool among the young audience, which then scaled up. But No Game No Life’s success around the same time helped a lot.

It’s no accident that these two anime, especially No Game No Life only having 1 season and a movie, are so successful a decade later and considered OG’S of sorts.

2012 – SAO‘s release date.

Isekai has become the NEW Shounen in a way and the majority of anime fans are voting not just with their money, but with their time and attention as far as Isekai anime goes.

It doesn’t matter that the genre doesn’t pump out the greatest masterpieces of all time, only that the genre has become so entertaining that MECHA isn’t interesting in comparison in the last decade.

Actions speak louder than words.

And with the continued domination of Isekai in the 2010’s with later anime like:

  • Kono Subarashii (2016).
  • Re:Zero (2016).
  • Overlord (2015).
  • Tensei Slime (2018).
  • Shield Hero (2019).
  • Mushoku Tensei (2021).

And the MANY anime I haven’t bothered to mention, Mecha as a genre and the anime that were pumped out in the 2010’s don’t compare. Especially when talking about ENTERTAINMENT value.

What teenager or anime fan in their 20’s (the youngest and biggest drivers of anime) would watch Mecha instead of Isekai like the one’s mentioned or just Isekai in general?

It’s a rhetorical question obviously. They wouldn’t and don’t. And the decline of Mecha since the 2010’s shows this if only partially.

Related: Looking For Isekai Anime? Then Don’;t Miss These 26+ Shows!

 

2. Riding the coattails of old successes

Gundam is a CLASSIC in the anime industry, not just the Mecha genre by itself. In fact Gundam is such a classic and so important to the industry that there IS no anime industry today without it.

During the 1970’s and 80’s in particular the Mecha genre was basically the Shounen before Shounen. It was dominant, popular, famous, and mega successful.

This continued into the 1990’s with anime like Neon Genesis Evangelion and other anime I won’t get into.

The 2000’s produced Code Geass, Gurren Lagann, Eureka Seven, and so much more. But that’s where the industry starts to decline while being too reliant on past successes.

That doesn’t mean Mecha as a genre is dead because that’s false and inaccurate to say. BUT there’s no denying that the best Mecha since the 2010’s…. Are older Mecha from the past.

YouTube video

Apart from anime like:

  • Darling In The Franxx, which kinda flopped as a Mecha.
  • SSSS.Gridman.
  • Aldnoah Zero.
  • Guilty Crown.

Or others, there haven’t been too many Mecha in the 2010’s that are both brand new and that did equally as well as Shounen or Isekai in the grand scheme of things.

Not like the 2000’s (Code Geass, Gurren Lagann, Eureka Seven). The drop in quality and interest has been obvious if you ignore ongoing franchises like FMP, Gundam, and things of that nature.

Anime like Eighty-Six are refreshing for that reason because it’s solid and brings so much potential to the genre again.

The genre is stable, but interest has dropped a lot.

Relevant: How Anime Has Radically Evolved In The Past 58+ Years

 

3. The domination of SHOUNEN

People can get mad at this all they like, but let’s focus on the truth. The truth is SHOUNEN is the #1 anime genre (if you wanna call it that) in the anime industry.

Shounen has been dominating for a long time, even during the time Mecha was still doing well as far as new anime and output in the 2000’s.

Once the door to the 2010’s opened up Mecha has been left in the dust not just by Shounen, the OG, but Isekai, the new cool kid who’s killing it as far as time and attention.

You have older anime still dominating like:

  • Dragon Ball franchise.
  • One Piece.
  • Inuyasha (still going).
  • Naruto.

But you also have NEW Shounen dominating like:

  • My Hero Academia.
  • Demon Slayer.
  • Jujutsu Kaisen.
  • Black Clover.
  • Spy x Family.

And so many others not worth mentioning and waffling on about.

What NEW stuff does Mecha have in comparison these days aside from Eighty-Six?

Shounen is what people are focused on most (the youngest fans especially), and it’s more stimulating than Mecha because of the hype, energy, superpowers, comedy, and other aspects that make Shounen so known and loved.

Even if cliche at times.

The sales and numbers don’t lie either. It just is what it is.

 

Conclusion:

In the end it comes down to this:

  • The domination of genres like Shounen and Isekai.
  • The youngest fans aren’t as interested.
  • Mediocre mecha anime (new one’s) since 2010’s.
  • Mecha being carried by older shows.
  • New Mecha anime not hitting the same like they used to.

That doesn’t Mecha is a joke of a genre, it doesn’t mean Mecha anime are trash, and it doesn’t mean I don’t like Mecha. Some of my favorite anime are Mecha, actually.

Code Geass, Full Metal Panic, Magic Knight Rayearth, and so on. But facts ae facts.

Mecha still has potential and there’s no reason the genre can’t shine again with a little innovation, effort, and creativity.

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