Super Robot

The Super Robot anime shows are usually named after the title robot (Mazinger Z, Getter Robo, Combattler V, etc.), and tend to use a "monster of the week" format in that the villains introduce a single antagonist at the beginning of the episode that the heroes usually defeat by its end. While some have leveled criticisms at the super robot shows for having this format, a vast number of series, both Japanese and abroad, engage in exactly the same plot structure, introducing minor antagonists while slightly developing the main struggle between the chief protagonists and the major villains. In the 70s, with a common episode count around 50 to 52 episodes for many series, more if especially popular, a more minor chief conflict would be resolved at the end of the first 'season', around episode 26, with another developing directly afterwards and leading, in the final episodes of the series, to the ultimate confrontation with the chiefest of antagonists. This remains a trend in anime and, despite what casual critics of super robot shows might claim, is not unique to the super robot genre.

Antagonists tended to come from either outer space or ancient civilizations, with common elements being a monstrous appearance or an entirely strange, occasionally even beautiful, one. Many foes employed robot or cyborg henchmen, whom they often sent against the heroes in their robot. The goals of these antagonists varied, although many were megalomaniacal or outright genocidal in their ambitions.

In the 1980s the Real Robot genre spawned by the Gundam films and the popular Space Battleship Yamato-style space opera films enjoyed a comparatively brief dominance upon trends of the mecha anime in Japan, and new Super Robot shows were less frequent for a time as space opera and militaristic mecha became popular. However, in the 1990s a renaissance in the Super Robot genre occurred, due at least in part to the economic problems of Japan which led many TV stations to rerun numerous series popular in the 70s. Of course this included classic super robot series, which renewed the public's interest in them and spawned rejuvenation of the Yuusha series. All these may have had some influence upon subsequent anime series and OVAs like Giant Robo which combined the basic concept of Super Robot shows with storylines rife with attempts at profundity and occasionally philosophical or political messages.

Many remakes and updates of old Super Robot shows, such as Getter Robo Armageddon, Tetsujin-28, and Mazinkaiser and others were produced, sometimes using complex plots while others remained with simple "Good vs. Evil" stories. Super robot shows were not the only ones to receive this attention however, as so many classic series enjoyed a resurgence in popularity due to the reruns leading to a new generation of fans now directly familiar with the material.

Inevitably, there are some types of mecha that are difficult to classify as either a real robot or a super robot. Some of these include the Aura Battlers from Aura Battler Dunbine or the Evangelion units from Neon Genesis Evangelion, which follow the general motif of real robots, but their origin and abilities are more like the typical super robot (though Evangelions are technically cyborgs). The Mortar Headds from Five Star Stories are unique artifacts, treated like individual works of art by the fictional society present in the story, and their power often borderlines on super robot. However, their intricate engineering and the motif of their weaponry is often scientifically explained by series creator Mamoru Nagano which makes them very real robot-esque in other ways.

Mecha which employ both Super Robot and Real Robot principles are referred to as Hybrid Robots; since the production of Evangelion, this approach has gained some popularity and developed into its own niche, as evidenced by shows such as Brain Powerd, RahXephon, Overman King Gainer and Zegapain. Nevertheless, several pure Super Robot series have been produced in modern times, such as Gear Fighter Dendoh, Gravion and Godannar. The 2007 anime Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is notable for featuring 1970s-inspired Super Robot protagonists (Spirals) in conflict with Evangelion-inspired Hybrid Robot antagonists (Anti-Spirals) in the second half of the series.

Read more about Super Robot:  Merchandise, Super Robots Outside of Japan

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Famous quotes containing the word robot:

    Let’s start with the three fundamental Rules of Robotics.... We have: one, a robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. Two, a robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. And three, a robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
    Isaac Asimov (1920–1992)