The History of Robot Anime

When we think of Japan, numerous things come to mind. We might consider samurai warriors, katana swords, sushi, or even cameras. However, one of the greatest products that Japan and Japanese culture have to offer the rest of the world is undoubtedly anime. Countless people across the globe have spent a lot of their free time enjoying one of the numerous examples of this art form. However, not many people are very acquainted with its long history and the road it has taken to becoming one of the most easily recognized Japanese products ever. However, one of the subgenres of anime has gained a lot of popularity over the years – robot anime.

The beginnings of anime

Unlike some other Japanese products, anime was inspired by American culture and fiction (especially science fiction) novels that arrived in Japan after WW2. In that period, television also established itself as a new medium full of potential, and it proved to be a platform for the development of this form of entertainment. One of the first examples of this sort is the show Tetsuwan Atom, also known as Astro Boy, which can be said to be one of the first most obvious examples of anime to be aired on television.

Anime in later stages

The first anime was targeted towards younger children, but the rapid development of industry and technology was also reflected in art, and the market for anime was expanded to elementary and high school students, as well as young adults in general. The producers saw the possibilities for further development, which has become even more lucrative with the invention of the Internet, so today we have witnessed anime being immensely popular all around the world, and the term itself being widely recognized.

What is different about robot anime?

First of all, it is not so easy to define robot anime, as there are some that make a distinction between robot anime and giant robot anime, based on what the size of the robots in question is. However, since there are numerous subgenres which can be very specific, and also due to the fact that there are not enough animes with regular-sized robots in order to create a subgenre of their own, all robot-themed animes will be considered together.

The history of robot anime

The rise in popularity of series about robots went hand in hand with the massive technological advancement and development in the Japanese industry. It can be said that it developed from the fascination of Japanese people with machines and technology, and we can certainly say that robot anime helped integrate technology better into everyday life. The first piece of art featuring robots was a 1956 manga Tetsujin 28-go, which was animated later. The genre was firmly established in 1972, with the release of Mazinger Z, and numerous other animes, like Danguard Ace and Brave Raideen, were released by the end of the decade. Two decades later, one of the most famous series of the genre was created: Neon Genesis Evangelion. In the Western world, robot anime was formally accepted and recognized in Guillermo del Toro’s 2013 film Pacific Rim.

Types of robots appearing in robot anime

Robots that appear in robot anime usually belong to one of the four types: sentient, remote-controlled, wearable, and piloted. Sentient ones have the ability to think, and sometimes even to feel emotion. Remote-controlled ones require external input from a human, while wearable ones are usually in the form of an exoskeleton that is worn by humans, and piloted robots mostly function as vehicles.

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