Are they really making a comeback?
Back in March, we did a piece about the supposed slow death of Mecha Shows due to the genre being generally unfelt, especially in the Anime scene. One of the many reasons cited that attributed to this trend is the current style of many production studios when it comes to releasing new series, the cost of creating a mecha show, and the lack of a critical real-life issue in which many old mecha shows of the past golden ages commonly revolve around.
Now of course, at the end of it all, there was a glimmer of hope with numerous mecha projects being in the pipeline from known creators and is bound for release sometime later this year. Not much, or so we thought.
See, the thing with the Mecha Genre, or what most people love to think, is that it needs to serve as a metaphor to a real-life crisis, like what it did back then, with Super Robots and Real Robot shows commonly drawing themes from global-level conflicts such as World War or Nuclear threats. However, recently, or even in the past few years or so, Mecha has proved yet again that it does not really need to become a metaphor for anything major, and even the simplest of themes can be incorporated to this simple genre. One such example of a show that utilizes this concept is, of course, Studio Trigger and Cloverwork’s Darling in the FRANXX which uses dealing with Adolescence as one of its central themes, while borrowing some tropes from Evangelion (without going full Eva of course, because you don’t go full Eva). Now we’ve already done a piece about Darling in the FRANXX so we’re not gonna talk more about it, however, the show’s existence is proof that Mecha shows don’t need any global crisis to draw themes from and become relevant and even a simple slice of life show can receive a Mecha upgrade and be good, just like what’s been going on with Full Metal Panic!
Of course we can’t fully attribute the new sudden resurgence of Mecha Shows to DitF alone, given that the new FMP! has been in the works for quite some time now and AFTER 13 YEARS IT’S FINALLY HERE, Sunrise is still milking the hell out of the GBF franchise, and, well, yeah, those are most of what’s major that’s happening right now. However, we can’t deny that Mecha in itself is trying to push itself forward once again and that 2018 could very well become the start of another Golden Mecha age.
Aside from DitF, FMP! and GBF, the next few seasons in anime is an exciting time for Mecha fans with returning titles such as Code Geass, and a surprise reappearance of Macross, or to be more specific, Macross Delta which Kawamori himself hinted late last year. Of course, new titles are also on the way such as Juushinki Pandora but 2018 will mostly be about comebacks with Zoids churning out another series, Zoids Wild, and Sunrise back again with a new Gundam show, Mobile Suit Gundam NT. The final movie to the 4-part movie series of Hideaki Anno’s Evangelion is also expected to come out later this year BUUUUUT we’re not gonna expect on that becuase reasons.
Still, a lot of shows are in the pipeline up until next year, like Revisions, STARLY GIRLS -Episode Starsia-, Planet With, and more returning titles like Eureka Seven and Knights of Sidonia, and hell, a super robot show through the form of Ginga Jinpū Jinraiger because why not.
Although we’re still nowhere near a full comeback and seeing regular and proper Mecha shows per anime season, having a good number of projects in the pipeline of many studios that relate or are of the Mecha anime genre does bring a new wave of hope to the genre’s fans. Of course, we’re still yet to see if these shows really get to make an impact or not, but at this point, knowing that we have a ton of shows to look forward to is fine by me.