Are you looking for new anime and come across the term “mecha” but don’t know what it means? We’ll tell you where it comes from and how to use it.
What Mecha Means: Robots
The term “mecha” or “mech” is derived from Japanese and means “robot”. In entertainment, “mecha” refers to a category of manga and anime that feature robots in battle. In this context, “mecha” productions overlap with genres ranging from comedy and action to drama.
Origin of Mecha
The term “mecha” was originally derived from ancient Greek, where “mechos” means “means” or “possibility.” In modern Japanese, “mecha” refers to robot-like, humanoid, insectoid, or avianoid machines. Due to its use in manga and anime, the term “mecha” is only associated with them in English.
While the first robot stories began to take shape in the 1940s, the “mecha” genre did not emerge as a distinct category of manga and anime until the 1970s. The science fiction stories of the previous decades centered around robots became more concrete, and transformations and merchandise became more complex.
The popularity of “mecha” waxed and waned in the years that followed. Early works like the “Gundam” world of the 1980s were replaced by genre greats like “Patlabor 1,” “Saber Rider and the Starsheriffs,” and “Neon Genesis Evangelion.” Today, the “mecha” genre continues in anime such as “DARLING in the FRANXX.”
Themes of Mecha Manga and Anime
Robots play a central role in “mecha” manga and anime. In most cases, a distinction can be made between so-called super robots, which are oversized and equipped with equally exaggerated abilities, and more realistic ones. The latter are more oriented to normal physical laws and technical possibilities.
The plot of “mecha” productions revolves around the robots. These represent independent characters, serve more as equipment or take on other functions. In general, however, it usually boils down to a classic battle of good versus evil.
Examples of the Mecha Genre
Here are a few examples of “mecha” manga and anime:
- Code Geass
- Neon Genesis Evangelion
- Full Metal Panic!
- Ghost in the Shell