Egan Loo (eganloo@anime.net)
Sat, 29 Jan 2000 11:51:43 -0800


One reason you're getting so many different answers to your question is
that your definition of the term "mecha" is different from Japanese
speakers' definition.

To Japanese speakers, "mecha" is anything mechanical, period. It does not
mean advanced combat humanoid vehicles only. It can be advanced or
primitive, combat or civilian, humanoid or non-humanoid, and Japanese or
otherwise. Laputa's flaptors, Mach Go! Go! Go!/Speed Racer's Mach 5,
Yamato/Star Blazers' Yamato -- they're *all* considered mecha.

For that matter, Japanese speakers consider the vehicles and other
mechanical units in the British Thunderbirds and the American Star Wars to
be mecha. (Hey, nothing says Japanese people can't like mecha from other
countries. ^^)

Perhaps the word you are looking for is "Real Robot" -- that's the word
Japanese speakers use to contrast with Super Robot subgenre. In that case,
most people consider Gundam to be the turning point between Super Robot and
Real Robot subgenres in Japan. Some people think the first Gundam is the
first Real Robot series in Japan while other people think that the first
Gundam still straddles both the Super Robot and Real Robot subgenres, but
nevertheless most people agree that it kickstarted the Real Robot subgenre
that followed.

[Oh, hi folks again. ^^ Hopefully I can catch up with my e-mail and ML
replies this weekend. Well, hopefully. ^^;]

At 2:13 PM -0700 2000.1.28, Tabby wrote:
>While based on a giant robot anime, this list is firmly grounded in the
>Mecha genre(advanced combat vehicles), rather than the Super Robot
>genre(robot vehicle as superhero). Nearly everybody seems to make these
>distinctions, but I got to wondering tonight, did Tomino ((create)) this
>distinction between Super Robots and Mecha? Was there an anime before
>Gundam that established the difference, or is Gundam the sole grandfather
>of all serious sci-fi mecha shows? Most people on the list will think the
>answer is obvious, but I'm really curious to see if anybody can track the
>Mecha genre back further than MS Gundam(I, for one, can't).
>
>PS:Star Wars doen't count: it's not anime,. and it doesn't have any
>humanoid robots that serve as combat vehicles.

Egan Loo
eganloo@anime.net

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