May 16, 2013

Mecha series -- a heuristic?

Generally I don't care for mecha series, which is why Suisei no Gargantia was a pleasant surprise. There have been mecha series I liked, but in general it's not a genre I go for.

It just now occurred to me that there may be a simple heuristic for sorting the good from the bad: If the name of the mecha appears in the title of the series, then it probably sucks.

My issue is that in the generic crap mecha series, it's the mecha which is the star, the focus, of the story telling. The series is probably wish-fulfilment for young guys who think it would be awesome to be the pilot of a giant war machine. And thus it's likely to dispense with things like "telling a good story about interesting and complex characters".

And if the series title includes the name of the mecha, then that's what they're telling the story about. Myself, I find mechas as such to be silly and boring. I don't mind if they're around, though, as long as they don't get in the way.

UPDATE: As a heuristic it isn't perfect: I did enjoy Vandread. But then, as the old joke goes, if a heuristic was never wrong it would be an algorithm.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Entertainment at 03:43 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
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1 A fitting example that quickly comes to my mind is Code Geass. It has mecha, but as seasoning, not the entree. Some of the manga adaptations even remove the mecha.

Posted by: gaiaswill at May 16, 2013 04:06 PM (OmaL4)

2 Er, cannot edit? Double post, sorry.

Mecha in Code Geass are called Nightmare Frames.

Posted by: gaiaswill at May 16, 2013 04:07 PM (OmaL4)

3 Only Pixy can edit a comment after it's been posted. I don't even have that ability.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at May 16, 2013 07:30 PM (+rSRq)

4 Maybe that's why I tend to like Macross over Gundam series? Haha.  Though Macross is a more of a story driven romance with singing and war, oh and some mechas pop up.

We do tend to see this type of thing pop up in other series.  When the "selling point" of a series takes over the series, at the cost of story and character.   There are shows with good stories and fanservice.  There are shows that are very good at fanservice.  And there are too many shows that just slap fanservice in to break up the story and annoy everyone.

Mecha series are just more marketable than tits shows, haha.

Posted by: sqa at May 16, 2013 07:35 PM (KuPSx)

5 I'm really not a fan of mecha series either.  The only series I've enjoyed in recent memory is Gurren Lagann, which is kind of an odd case in that the titular mecha does appear in the series, but the one from the full series title ("Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann") doesn't show up until the last few episodes.  Also, it is a very character-driven story with lots of development.  It does run very much on the Rule of Cool with increasingly huge robots doing battle IN SPACE! but it manages to keep a good balance of that and great characterization.

Posted by: MeganeNeko at May 16, 2013 09:37 PM (RXa2b)


On the opposite side, the Mecha name doesn't appear in the title of "MUV-LUV Alternative: Total Eclipse" but on the other hand, it's an utterly horrible show.  I wrote up a review of this two-season train wreck, which is currently in my drafts.  I'd post it but my computer died so all the pictures are trapped on an inaccessible hard drive.

Although one could make the case that it's a titty show as well. (The reason I'm holding out for the pics.)

Posted by: Mauser at May 17, 2013 01:36 AM (cZPoz)

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