What's your definition of a mecha ?

What's on your mind?

Moderator: kosh

Post Reply
User avatar
Posts: 505
Joined: Mon Sep 06, 2004 6:14 pm
Location: Babylon Kingdom (well, France :þ)

What's your definition of a mecha ?

Post by Falk » Tue Nov 30, 2004 6:33 pm

Inspired by the "Mechas 20 years" topic, I wonder, what's your definition of a mecha ?

Cuz' in fact I wonder too. And I'm not sure I even have a clear and solid one.

Does that mean a (more or less) giant robot ?
The same but which is piloted by a human ? (or any other living creature)
Should it have limbs ? Or just a few ones ?

When I think of it, it 's as if I make (at least) 2 categories :
Robots being autonomous and moved by informatic (but maybe limited).
Mechas being piloted by someone.

A human shape may highly be cathegorized as a mecha, though if it has no legs it may not matter that much. Thinking about it, I think hands really have a lot to do with being a mecha or not, more than legs, or any other limb (though it's not mandatory, the macross superfortress has no hands AFAIK, but I consider it being a mecha).

The origin too I guess, if it's from Japan, it may be a mecha, if it's from anywhere else, it may be a robot (kinda stupid reasoning but hey :wink: ...)

Well globally, a lot of different parameters determine if yes or no I'll considere a robot as a mecha or a robot :wink:

User avatar
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 2819
Joined: Tue Feb 18, 2003 2:14 am
Location: Austin, TX

Post by Tachyon » Tue Nov 30, 2004 7:23 pm

An interesting topic. Defining terms is always tough as different people have different understandings. To give an example, try asking people what the word "peace" means. I've done that several times with groups of people over the years and the resulting conversations are never "peaceful." :wink:

But to get to your question, I've always gone by the definition of "mecha" I read in a fanzine at a small anime convention in California years ago. That is, mecha is short for "mechanical" and covers all kinds of machines. Thus, a handgun, starship, 6 inch tall robot and 50 foot tall piloted humanoid vehicle all count as mecha. This a very broad definition and some would argue it's too broad to be useful.

A lot of people use the term to mean giant robots but that seems vague to me. I large, high tech tank with a 3 man crew wouldn't be considered a robot but what if it's piloted by artificial intelligence? What if it still has the 3 man crew but there's a mechanical arm that unfolds to help with reloading its ammunition? The term "giant robot" can get fuzzy real fast. What about the aura battlers from Dunbine that are made of organic materials and the shells of really large animals? What about the guyver suits of Bio Booster Armor Guyver? They're tight-fitting suits of organic materials yet they were designed and built by someone.

As an anime fan, I approach conversation with 2 understanding of the word mecha. First and foremost - anything mechanical. Secondly, any machine that is larger than the average person with one or more movable limb. I keep a loose grasp on the terms because I know they won't apply to every conversation.
If you don't like the news then go make some of your own.

User avatar
Grebo Guru
Posts: 354
Joined: Mon Sep 06, 2004 4:50 pm
Location: Deep in the woods of Connecticut

Post by Grebo Guru » Wed Dec 01, 2004 4:52 pm

I like Tachyon's answer a lot!

A couple of things Id like to add... For one thing, I *think* that "mecha" is both singular and plural. Or, maybe it is only plural. Everytime I hear the phrase "a mecha" it doesn't sound right to me. But I might be crazy.

Really, in English, there is no actual official term for the classic Japanese giant piloted robot. The closest thing we have is the word "Mech," which I have issues with because it comes from Battletech buuuuut it is really the only choice.

When a person says "Mech," I think we always know exactly what they're talking about. When a person says "mecha" (or, unpleasant as it is to my ear, "a mecha"), the specific meaning is not fully there...

I think I'm rambling. Help...!

Posts: 126
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2004 7:06 pm

Post by Temjin » Thu Dec 02, 2004 8:17 am

heh, I usually just refering to them as robot when talking with people, but in my head I alway use mecha.

mmm, I don't know how to define mecha, I think it's more or less the same as robot. Mecha may be more toward the imaginary side.


Post by yuu_kajima » Wed Dec 15, 2004 3:57 pm

My definition of 'mecha' is some mechanized unit (in form of self moving object like tanks, armored personal carrier, something like that :? ). In modern those units evolve into form of robot, sooo..... "mecha" :D.

FSS is totally emo

Post by FSS is totally emo » Fri Dec 17, 2004 3:17 am

in terms of anime and manga, i say it is robots

User avatar
Grebo Guru
Posts: 354
Joined: Mon Sep 06, 2004 4:50 pm
Location: Deep in the woods of Connecticut

Post by Grebo Guru » Fri Dec 17, 2004 6:11 am

FSS is totally emo wrote:in terms of anime and manga, i say it is robots
By "robots," do you mean giant humanoid machines piloted by people, or do you mean any humanoid machine, or do you mean machines that act like people (C-3PO, etc), or do you mean something else?

FSS is totally emo

Post by FSS is totally emo » Sun Dec 19, 2004 7:52 pm

any humanoid (or sometimes animal/insect/etc shaped) machine

Sign of Haro

Post by Sign of Haro » Sat Dec 25, 2004 6:17 am

Gotta be a piloted machine for me. Otherwise I'd just call it a robot. Dunno why, I guess it's just the way I grew up watching anime >_>

(Unless of course it calls itself a robot, where there isn't much room for conflict :b)

Post Reply