Ripped from the headlines... of the future!
— Native Jovian, who was totally lying when he said that.
The real robot genre is a type of Mecha Show
in which Humongous Mecha
are used in a rational and consistent manner
. Though it largely features Real Robots
, this is not a requirement of the genre — as long as the mecha are treated more like machines than superheroes
, it's part of the real robot genre, regardless of the exact capabilities of the mecha in question. Mecha in the real robot genre are largely treated as tools more than anything else, and as such leave the stage open for more plot- and character-driven stories than the more action-oriented Super Robot Genre
. As such, the real robot genre frequently focuses on World Building
and long, complex storylines
, up to and including inventing new areas of science
the use of (otherwise unrealistic) humongous mecha.
Characters in the real robot genre, unlike their Super Robot Genre
counterparts, are often ordinary people without any special powers or unique abilities. Not that "ordinary" necessarily means "mundane" — for every main character that's an Ordinary High-School Student
, there's one that's a highly decorated Ace Pilot
— but they're unlikely to be The Chosen One
or otherwise have their position Because Destiny Says So
. The scale of a real robot genre story often tends to be more local than the super robot genre, as well — instead of Saving the World
from an existential threat, they'll be fighting a comparatively mundane war against an enemy nation.
Given that mecha are almost exclusively portrayed as weapons, real robot stories are often set During the War
. Real robot genre works generally lean toward the more cynical end of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism
, so expect both good people and bad to die suddenly
, possibly gruesomely
, and with no regard to their importance in the story
. This is generally to hammer home the idea that War Is Hell
The real robot genre is a subtrope of Military Science-Fiction
. See also Super Robot Genre
, a generally Lighter and Softer
take on the giant robot series.
Anime & Manga
- Mobile Suit Gundam is the Trope Maker, featuring Humongous Mecha as weapons in a war between the Earth Federation and the Principality of Zeon, and focusing on characterization and plot in the dramatic war setting rather than relying on a more action-oriented Monster of the Week format typical of the mecha genre up until that point.
- Patlabor is notable for being a real robot genre show not set During the War — instead it's about a special mecha-equipped police unit, the eponymous Patlabors being "Patrol Labors".
- Code Geass has a solid Real Robot setting where its small Knightmare Frames are originally used in a way that is halfway between modern entries in the Gundam series and Armored Trooper VOTOMS. During the second season, a rapidly-accelerating Lensman Arms Race takes place, which means that the two most advanced Knightmare Frames end up being head and shoulders above anything else by the finale.
- The Ghost in the Shell franchise isn't strictly a Mecha Show but it treats its mecha in as hard a manner as it treats cybernetics, featuring conventionally-piloted Spider Tanks, AI-controlled Mini Mecha, and exoskeleton-style Powered Armor.
- Mecha in Combat Mecha Xabungle, with exception of few models (like the Xabungle), are actually working machine used for digging mineral. However, the savage Wild West-ish setting mean every mech are also armed with weapon.
- Super Dimension Fortress Macross and its various sequels, spinoffs, and related material, all feature Transforming Mecha in place of Cool Planes and/or Space Fighters.
- The BattleTech universe and its MechWarrior games. The BattleMechs are simply robots and their pilots simply humans. BattleMechs are akin to modern tanks in being kings of the battlefield, but like modern tanks they are still under threat from armored vehicles and infantry; lone infantry troopers have been shown taking down a BattleMech with nothing more than a grappel rod and demo charge.
- Warmachine has warjacks which are massed produced by the various nations and bonded to the minds of the warcasters that use them.
- Mobile Frame Zero's mobile frames are mass manufactured, comparatively small, piloted by professional soldiers or mercenaries in the fluff, and are (thanks to the units being Built with LEGO pieces) appropriately chunky most of the time.
- Hawken focuses on an Forever War between two Mega Corps for the precious resources of a planet colony that has been infested with some sort of virus that turns everything it touches into cybernetic material. Despite being in the future, nearly all the mecha are not cutting edge - most are either outdated, re-purposed mining or transport vehicles, or made from scrap, and it shows in the designs, which are ugly, bulky, and not too aerodynamic.
- The Front Mission series of games. War machines there include tanks and 'copters as well as robots, most of which are camouflage painted and equipped with bigger versions of infantry or armor weapons. Pilots can swap parts in and out as they wish, but their skill lists generally tend in a certain direction for each pilot in order to create a balanced team. Also, the mecha of this series see heavy use in construction and civil engineering as well.
- Steel Battalion features the player character as a combat pilot of a "VT" (Vertical Tank), complete with an enormous custom controller with enough joysticks, pedals, and buttons to represent an actual mecha cockpit.
- Chromehounds, which puts the player in the pilot seat of a Walking Tank type mecha, fighting for one of three fictional countries in an Alternate History eastern Europe.