The term Gundam is synonymous with anime. Beginnings in the years 1979 Gundam mobile suit, the concept of piloted robots with incredible powers ushered in a new and exciting genre – one that continues to exist today.
Yet evolution had to take place before its creation. It started with mech-based manga and anime. Unlike the real science that Gundam is based on, mechas are giant robots. They are either self-aware machines or mystical machines controlled by others. Needless to say, Japanese and American TVs were filled with these beings before the first Gundam.
ten Gigantor (1963) inaugurated one of the first mechas
Released in Japan in 1963, Tetsujin 28-go, known in the US market as Gigantic, was the first giant robot anime. However, this was not the first manga super robot. This credit goes to the years 1948 Android powered by atomic.
Always, Gigantic is a big thing literally and figuratively. The story of a 12-year-old boy and his remote-controlled “Iron Man”, the series is the second anime to be released in North America. In addition, in 1966 he inspired the cartoon Hanna-Barbera Frankenstein Jr.
9 Astroganger (1972) is the first color anime super robot
It took almost a decade before another super robot appeared on the anime scene: the 1972s Astroganger Z. Although the concept of the boy and his robot is similar to Gigantic, other major differences move it into another category.
For example, Astroganger is a robot made of living metal. He’s also sensitive, so he talks and thinks and feels pain. On the manufacturing side, Astroganger Z became the first super robot show to be in color.
8 Mazinger Z (1972) introduced the concept of a piloted robot
Known as Tranzor Z in the USA, Mazinger Z is the first real anime mecha. It is also considered a prototype for future Gundams. The reason is that Mazinger Z only becomes active when it merges with its human pilot.
This is Koji Kabuto, the grandson of the man who created the robot using the Super Alloy of Japanium. To engage with Mazinger, the boy flies a hovercraft in his head. From there, he controls his strength, flight, and additional abilities. Not only was Mazinger Z hugely popular in its original run, but it also spawned eight sequels.
7 Getter Robo (1974) introduced the concept of transforming robots
The American public knows how to transform robots from Voltron. In the best-known version, five members of the Lion Force merge to create the giant Defender of the Universe. In another, fifteen land, sea and air vehicles form another version of the mecha.
Neither would have happened without the years 1974 Getter Robo. In this anime, three pilots fly jet units called the Eagle, Bear, and Jaguar. The Getter alloys they are made of allow them to form three different combinations of mecha, depending on current needs.
6 Steel Jeeg (1975) presents a giant robot with interchangeable parts
In the 1980s, Ruby-Spears Productions released Centurions: Power Xtreme. Based on a popular line of action figures, the series focuses on three soldiers who battle evil on land, sea and in the air. They are supplied in interchangeable parts via a molecular transport system.
Steel jeeg has a similar concept. Here, the interchangeable parts of the robot are delivered by the Big Shooter Jet. These are requested by the mecha pilot, Hiroshi Shiba. He’s a former racing driver who becomes a cyborg after being fatally injured. Through his connections, the young man controls the actions of Steel Jeeg.
5 Brave Raideen (1975) is a protector of a lost continent
Despite having tropes similar to other super robots, there is a lot of history linked to Courageous Raideen. It is the first anime mecha to be based on myth instead of science as it resurfaced after the Demon Empire awoke to conquer Earth. It is also revealed that Raideen transforms into a rocket when needed.
To Japanese robot collectors, Raideen probably sounds familiar. He is part of the mecha trio known as Shogun Warriors. Gundam fans should also take a closer look Courageous Raideen: it’s done by Yoshiyuki Tomino – the man who co-created Mobile Suit Gundam.
4 UFO Warrior Daiapolon (1976) is one of the earliest wearable Mecha anime
1976 is a huge year for the mechs. Eight animated series aired on Japanese television networks during this period. One of them was UFO Daiapolon warrior. In some ways it set precedents for future super robot programs, but it still had a few basic mecha tropes.
The main protagonist is 16-year-old Takeshi, a boy who creates a football team in his American orphanage. He learns that he is the child of an alien queen and has energetic powers to summon underground UFOs. Piloted by Takeshi and two of his teammates, they form UFO Warrior. However, using a Key Energy device in his chest, the young man grows up to the point that he can wear the robot’s shell like armor – thus, a precursor to Gundam.
3 Blocker Gundan 4 Machine Blaster (1976) Four robots transform into a ring of fire
So far, super-robots are made up of a single mechanical being. Blaster machine changed that. Using the seemingly standard scenario of an alien invasion, this time an advanced race under the ocean, Professor Yuri creates four super robots. These are piloted by a quartet of young men led by Ishida.
Separately, the Machine Blaster Corps has its own weapons. However, when combined, they create a ring of fire that cuts off all enemies. Unfortunately, Blaster machine couldn’t resist the other mecha shows introduced in 1976,
2 Robo Combattler V (1976) was part of the American Shogun Warriors toy line
Like Raideen, the protagonist of the mecha in Robot fighter V is also part of the American Shogun Warriors range. Although the toy crossed the Pacific, the anime did not. Nonetheless, its popularity makes it a show to watch.
The first part of the Romance Super Robot trilogy, Robot fighter V involves the alien invasion of Earth (naturally) by a race with biomechanical slave beasts. It’s up to the combat team, four men and one woman, to fight the Campbell Empire in their individual and combined vehicles. In the end, it looks like a certain Defender of the Universe that was introduced in the 1980s.
1 In Groizer X (1976), The Mecha is a first transformer
Groizer X is somewhat unique in the mecha anime. While not as popular as other super robot shows, the mechanical star has appeared in various mecha animation shows and movies. In addition, in other places around the world, Groizer X is considered part of the Mazinger series.
As usual, a race of aliens intends to conquer Earth. Coming out of their hidden arctic base, they capture a scientist, Dr. Yan, who is tasked with building them a transformable robot, Groizer X. The mecha escapes with Yan’s daughter and lands in Japan. She and the robot are saved by Jo Kaisaka, who takes control of Grozier to defeat the aliens.
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