One thing that people who watch anime, manga or play games are unaware of are that robots and mecha are two different things. While they certainly can crossover, and often do, there are differences between them that make them separate things all together. I’m here to explain the differences that exist.

A Gloucester Knightmare Frame. Mecha.

A Gloucester Knightmare Frame. Mecha.

So, the first thing to go over is the definitions; what is a mecha and what is a robot? In truth, it really is simple. Mecha (which I would imagine is shortened from mechanical combat unit or something along those lines) are mechanical or organic machines that require piloting to function properly, assuming that piloting is possible and under normal circumstances. Some examples include Gunmen from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Knightmare Frames from Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion, and certain Zords from the Super Sentai (or Power Rangers) series.

Robots are programmed mechanical or organic machines that have purpose and often intelligence, but cannot transcend their programming under normal circumstances. Robots are a bit different because we can find examples include real life, such as assembly machines. Some examples from fiction include autonomous combat drones from GI Joe Sigma Six (yes, this was a thing) or the Mobile Dolls from Mobile Suit Gundam Wing.

Of course, things are not always that clear cut. Sure, mecha and robots are different but often times they cross. Evas from Evangelion are a good example that push that line; they’re organic machines that can actually go berserk and cause their pilots to lose control. However, the Evas actually fall under a new caveat: Mecha androids. However by the definition above of requiring piloting to function safely, assuming piloting is possible, Evas are mecha.

The OZ-02MD Virgo, programmed Mobile Doll. Robot.

The OZ-02MD Virgo, programmed Mobile Doll. Robot.

Honestly, I imagined that this would take longer to explain but it’s pretty simple if you go by these definitions. Of course these aren’t necessarily the only definitions out there. These are just the definitions that I have found that best fit the proper differences between Mecha and Robots.

That should about do it for Mecha versus Robots. I hope it helped. Next week I plan to discuss the differences between Androids and Robots, so be sure to tune in!

Image source 1,2,3

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