Mark Simmons (
Thu, 15 Jun 2000 13:45:51 -0700

Andrew Dynon asks,

> Something I was discussing with the guy at my anime store the other day:
> The early 90s saw the revitalisation of super robots - do you think in a
> few years' time a "real robot" renaissance will happen as people who grew
> up watching the 80s shows join the ranks of creators?

  Nope. Two reasons:

* Anime made by grown-up fans tends to be lame and derivative, just like
comics made by second- and third-generation comics fans. The only
interesting robot anime is being done by people who made the _original_ '70s
and '80s shows, like Imagawa and Tomino (check the credits for Giant Robo,
Gaogaigar, et al - all veterans). Even if kids who watched '80s real robot
shows grew up and did their own homages, you'd be more likely to see crap
like Ehrgeiz than a genuine "renaissance."

  You could cite, say Shoji Kawamori and the Gainax gang as
counter-examples. Kawamori started off as a mega Gundam fan, then made the
pro jump with Macross and has matured into a great artist (cf Escaflowne,
Kenji's Spring). But Macross was just a couple of years after Gundam, so
Kawamori was more of a participant in the first wave than a second-gen

* Second, the real robot genre is played out. After Votoms, Patlabor, et al,
what's left to do with the concept? Anything you do is just going to look
like a ripoff of an earlier show. The Gundam saga, on the other hand, seems
to have more a multifaceted and enduring appeal, with more juice left to
squeeze. Maybe it's more honest to do these homages under the Gundam name,
acknowleding the source and then being spurred to do push the envelope a bit
rather than doing a Brand X knockoff like Dragonar or Ehrgeiz.

  Seriously, what could possibly be done with the real robot genre that
hasn't already been done better fifteen years ago? I'm open to
suggestions... :-)

-- Mark

  P.S. I'd cite Brain Powered as the one truly original take on the real
robot concept of the last few years... not just doing the "organic mecha"
thing, but making them actual characters, whose own intergenerational
conflict parallels that of the human cast.

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