Misconceptions people have about mecha anime.
So I'm a big fan of mecha anime and have watched quite a few series, new and old. Regardless of if its exceptionally well written sci-fi or just over the top action with bright explosions, its my cup of tea. Sadly the genre is one of the least popular right now, even in japan we don't see as many mecha series being produced each year as we once used to. Even so we have seen a handful of newer series become really popular even amongst people that say they don't even like the mecha genre, for example Code Geass and Gurren Lagann to mention a couple. I personally think that these two examples are good series and all... I just don't see how people can claim they like them but not other anime. Its not like they are unique in any way, shape to be honest.
But there is a reason behind it I have figured out. Namely that people think they know what mecha anime is all about and based on those misconceptions they write it of as something they don't like. Then, somehow, they actually get around to watching one and end up loving it. In my previous two examples an explanation could be that people heard mention of Code Geass being made by well known manga group CLAMP (which is incorrect. CLAMP only designed the characters) and therefore gave it a shot, probably with a lot of skepticism and low expectations in mind, and ended up liking it. Same thing with Gurren Lagann. It was made by Gainax, a company well know name even to people that don't watch mecha anime, and they saw a few images of the character Yoko from the anime and watched a few episodes and got hooked.
So my conclusion, simple as it may be, is that people think mecha anime is one way, and when they finally give a series a try they end up liking it because they don't have any expectations. We have seen this with other series like Evangelion, The Big-O and several waves of Gundam series. They all got a lot of people watching... but nothing else in the genre once they were done, just because the misconceptions made them think they found that unique mecha anime that was different and so much better written, animated and produced compared to everything else available. Well, I watch all mecha anime I can get my hands on and I know this to be untrue. Same thing with statements I hear all the time like "I really hate mecha anime, but Eureka Seven did focus on the characters instead of the robots so I loved it" Well, if you go back 40-30 years this statement would make sense, but after the first Gundam anime came out in 1979, its expected that you need to have well written characters in a mecha anime if you want to tell a story at all. And even if all you want to have in it is action, you need strong characters with strong personalities (even if thy are otherwise flat) to keep people interested.
So my point with all this is probably that I just find it sad that people found one or two series they liked in the genre, but are still to afraid to bother watching more mecha anime. It means a lot of great series are being overlooked by people that would probably love them. So in a feeble attempt to remedy this, at the least amongst the A4 readers that happen to stumble upon this thread, I'm going to give a short list of example shows to watch based on some of those mecha anime people might have watched already.
Godannar: Has good action, gatai and explosions on par with Gurren Lagann, but with much better characters. The strongest point of the series story is how different types of relationships are explored through the different characters. Also has the fan service thing going if you are into that.
Gunbuster and Diebuster: Gainax first super robot anime. Without this, no Gurren Lagann. If you liked the epic space battles in Gurren Lagann, Gunbuster does it quite differently, but probably more epic. And well, the final scene is the only anime that actually had me shed tears. Watch the anime to find out why.
GaoGaiGar: Although there are almost no parts of this series that can be said to be original, it does everything better then most other similar series. Each episode build upon the previous to be better and better. Strong characters, great action and it just builds and builds to be better with each episode.
Code Geass and Eureka Seven:
Overman King Gainer: This is the show that Eureka Seven stole all their ideas from. Like all of them. Characters are really similar, the story is about a group of rebels fleeing from government oppressors, mecha being partly organic and they even use similar green light to make the robots fly. I like OKG better is all.
Full Metal Panic: I guess people have heard about this, but still worth mentioning. Not a lot of direct similarities, but FMP has a great mix of action drama and comedy. Sometimes blending all three and other times focusing on one exclusively to great effect.
Gundam: Seriously, give Gundam a try. I would recommend starting with Turn-A Gundam for a great story, lots of drama and interesting characters as its the most unique and story heavy Gundam series. And for something with more action, Either Gundam X or Gundam 00. I could also lump in Macross here, either Macross Plus or Frontier. Any one of these can be seen without watching anything else in their respective franchise beforehand.
Soukyuu no Fafner: Dead Aggressor: The only thing I will recommend here. Feels almost like a remake of Evangelion, and its much more enjoyable for someone like me who felt Evangelion was mediocre. I wont go into why, I talked about it in countless threads before. Fafner is really similar in many ways but much better. Has a better main character, similar dangerous villains but without the hollow thought of possible depth and symbolism and the overall production value with story and animation is potent.
So... anyone else here that feel the same way I do. Maybe you are one of those that never really gave mecha a fair chance. Discuss!