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Comic Book / Mech Cadet Yu

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Stanford Yu and Buddy
Mech Cadet Yu is a comic series by Greg Pak. It was first published as the one-shot Los Robos in the comics anthology Shattered, then was adapted into a full series by Boom! Studios. It ran for 12 issues with another release in omnibu format for 3 volumes. The series' concept was influenced by Iron Giant and Mazinger Z.

Years ago, Boy Scout Skip Tanaka was out hiking in the dessert when a Humongous Mecha descended from outer space and formed an unbreakable bond with him. The two would become world-renowned heroes, fighting off numerous alien threats. They began the Sky Corps, a program that trains talented youths so that the best of the best can go to the mountain where Skip's Robo Mech first arrived, where new Robos arrive once a year to bond with the cadets.

Enter Stanford Yu, a Chinese American youth who unfortunately is not a Sky Corps Cadet. He's a janitor there along with his mother. He can only watch the Robos arrive from a distance as he bikes home after a long day's work. That is until a Robo winds up damaged and off course, and lands on his route back home. When Yu tries to guide the Robo towards the mountain, he winds up bonding with it. As there's no known way to break the connection between a Robo and pilot, Yu must attend the Sky Corps academy as a Cadet and learn to defend the planet.


This series provides examples of:

  • Academic Alpha Bitch: Park, the top student to enter the Cadet program. She insults Yu for admiring the ceremony because he's "hired help" as a member of the cleaning staff and is confident he will never be a Cadet.
  • Alien Invasion: The Sharg eventually return and it's a textbook example of feral aliens attempting to take over.
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Hero Force One is routinely injected with more aggressive programming between missions, which puts it in extreme pain while it's being installed. Even Cadet Park doesn't want it hurt in such a manner.
  • Bond Creature: The Mecha Robos.
  • Child Prodigy: Most of the students must be these because there's a specific window of opportunity to bond with the Robos based on age. Robos whose first pilots die are sometimes then given new adult pilots.
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  • Colony Drop: The Sharg are approaching Earth with enormous meteors, carrying thousands of their species on its surface. The plan is to wipe out humanity with asteroid impacts and then the Sharg aboard will colonize the planet.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Hero Force One, the first artificial Robo built by humans, is painted black and has a menacing, jagged design. However, it is not inherently evil, and is typically cooperative if not for General Park torturing it between missions to become more aggressive.
  • Falling into the Cockpit: A variation where the Robot is both sentient and can be piloted. Yu "falls in" by being in the right place at the right time to form a bond.
  • Gender Flip: Cadet Park became a girl in the Boom series, whether as the character was a boy in the original Los Robos comic.
  • Genre Savvy: Skip not only knows that there's no point in trying to separate Yu and his mech, Buddy, he's also confident that Yu was chosen for a reason.
  • Humongous Mecha: Again, the Robos.
  • Kaiju: The Sharg are a fairly straight example, resembling enormous crabs.
  • Last-Name Basis: Standard procedure at the Sky Corps Academy.
  • Mechanical Lifeforms: All the Robos are alive, and while they require pilots in battle, they can function okay on their own and piloting one is more akin to guiding it. Even the human-made Robo Hero Force One appears to be sentient when a pilot isn't operating it.
  • Power Trio: Excluding Skip Tanaka's Robo, Mechs arrive in sets of three.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Hero Force Two, the second man-made Robo, is so massive that it must be powered by the cores of other robos. This requires tearing out those robos's "hearts" to install in HF-2, killing them in the process.
  • Reality Ensues: The aftermath of Yu and the cadets fighting a sudden Sharg attack, despite that they're still in training and haven't been ordered to this fight, is that they get demoted and reassigned to non-combatant roles. They also have to clean up the carcasses of the Sharg left in the area after their battle.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Skip is the only person who encourages Yu and reassures him that he can keep up.
  • Tank-Tread Mecha: Mama Tank is a mecha that has tank treads in place of its legs. It lost both legs in battle, and none of the replacement legs took (mechs in this series are alive), so it was fitted with treads and assigned to the Support Corps.
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: Nobody knows where the Robos come from, who builds them, or why they are aiding humanity. Their unknown origins made humans initially reluctant to rely on them for defense, as they suspected the Robos could be a trap. However, they've moved to nearly completely relying on them as the war turned more desperate.
  • Would Be Rude to Say "Genocide": This is part of the gambit behind building Hero Force Two. The top leadership of the Sky Corps still doesn't trust the Robos, and expect their current alliance to dissolve the moment the Sharg are no longer a threat. So they plan to kill two birds with one stone: kill all the alien Robos by extracting their cores to install in Hero Force Two, then use Two's sheer might to wipe out all the incoming Sharg.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The Sharg are more than willing to target the Sky Corps academy, which is full of young trainees. They even intentionally leave their eggs in the area in the hopes they'll be brought in.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: In a darker story, the military being wary of the benevolent robots who come to help defend the world with no strings attached and making plans to wipe them out would have been the right call. However, in everything but country of origin this is a traditional Super Robot work, so their fears are unfounded.

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