Mecha is one of the oldest anime genres around. And the fact is – if it weren’t for Mecha, the industry wouldn’t have made it this far.
So we can say that much about the Mecha genre, historically.
Speaking of history…
“Mecha” has been around since the late 1800’s. But during that time it was never an “anime”, let alone a Manga. But the idea of a “humanoid” robot did exist.
The first Mecha anime came to life in 1967 after being adapted into an anime series.
Later on (1980’s) we’ve had shows like Gundam, then Neon Genesis Evangelion which helped “boost” the genres popularity.
After all – Neon Genesis Evangelion is legendary for its success.
Since the 2000’s we’ve had Code Geass and Full Metal Panic. Followed by Gurren Lagann, Eureka Seven and Darling In The Franxx.
But things have changed. Mecha isn’t what it used to be, and there’s a couple of reasons why.
Let’s talk about that!
This Is Why Mecha Is Hated And Disregarded:
1. Mecha is a BORING genre
I can’t remember the last time someone recommended a “Mecha” anime for me to watch. Not EVER.
Can you? And if so – how many times were you “impressed” by what you saw?
Did it really blow you off your chair?
If you were born in the 90’s or 2000’s, chances are you dropped most of the Mecha shows you’ve watched.
It’s just not a fun genre to get into.
There’s a good reason why: mecha is boring and stale like moldy bread.
It’s been this way since anime shows like Gurren Lagann have aired.
- It’s hard to make “Mecha” interesting beyond the robots and the typical themes you see.
- It’s NOT as interesting as cooler genres like Shounen, Supernatural or even romance.
- Teenagers (the main target audience of anime) don’t care about Mecha.
- They’re more interested in Shounen and comedy.
- And it takes A LOT of hard work to produce a “quality” Mecha series.
- Bigger budgets are necessary compared to something more simple like “slice of life”.
All of those things make “Mecha” a boring genre, in general.
Other than shows which have managed to keep Mecha alive these days, like:
- Full Metal Panic.
- Darling In The Franxx.
- SSSS Gridman.
- Gurren Lagann.
- Code Geass.
- And others I won’t mention…
The Mecha genre is DEAD. Teenagers AND young adults aren’t “too” hyped about it for a reason.
I say that as someone who’s a part of that group, and someone who’s a BIG fan of Full Metal Panic.
And a big fan of Code Geass and a few others I mentioned.
2. Times have changed
The modern day version of “Mecha” looks more like Gurren Lagann. And as one of the BIGGEST Mecha series we’ve seen, not to mention the most popular, it’s no surprise.
Gurren Lagann is influential, produced by the same studio behind Neon Genesis Evangelion.
Mecha shows like Gundam are a thing of the past. Times have changed.
- Gurren Lagann evolved instead of sticking to the “traditional” style of Mecha.
- And that’s why it’s probably the “coolest” Mecha anime, ever. Even non-fans can enjoy it.
Other Mecha of the past, and most in the present didn’t evolve with the times. And so – they’ve either become obsolete, or no one cares.
The same way most don’t care about the genre.
Darling In The Franxx, whether you agree with it or not, is another Mecha that’s managed to keep the genre alive and evolve with the times.
It might have stolen ideas from other Mecha in a way that’s blatant and enough to make you cringe, but it doesn’t change the facts.
And then there’s SSSS Gridman. Another mecha from 2018 that’s evolved with the times, as well.
This anime was received well, even if it’s not to the level of a “Code Geass” or Neon Genesis Evangelion.
That leads to my next point…
3. There aren’t many “masterpieces” or quality Mecha series
Code Geass is an exception, because it’s still alive and kicking to this day. And of course – it’s considered a masterpiece in the anime INDUSTRY, not just in the “Mecha” genre.
It’s basically the Mecha version of “Death Note”. That’s why it’s so successful, interesting and clever with the way it handles itself.
And Full Metal Panic is the ONLY Mecha series that’s managed to keep the genre alive, with multiple seasons for more than a decade.
It’s the most consistent Mecha anime, and it’s considered “great” among the sea of average Mecha shows.
Other than that, you have:
- Gurren Lagann.
- Eureka Seven.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion.
- Darling In The Franxx.
With the rest by 2019 standards being “debatable” in terms of quality (or mainstream success).
Mecha anime aren’t THAT popular or “successful”
You can’t point to many of them. Especially not the kind of successful Mecha shows that are universally accepted as “masterpieces” or “great” at the least.
There’s not a lot of creativity going on in this genre. Creators reuse the same ideas, and even when they have good ideas – bringing them to fruition takes more work for a Mecha anime.
You can blame it on studios, their budgets, or the changing times. But “something” is standing in the way.
So until the Mecha genre is “reinvented” as a whole, the genre will continue to be:
- A little boring.
- And unpopular with teenagers (especially).
So the hate (which is an exaggeration) won’t fade out anytime soon.
But who knows what the future holds for the Mecha genre.
I’m the Founder of Anime Motivation.
The 1st anime I watched was Dragon Ball Z. Followed by Claymore, Inuyasha, Attack On Titan, and the rest as they say is “history”.