Is the end of Neon Genesis Evangelion the end of giant robots in video games too?

Is the end of Neon Genesis Evangelion the end of giant robots in video games too?

With Evangelion: 3.0 + 1.0 Thrice Upon a Time, the saga created by Hideki Anno ends, but not only. With the end of Evangelion also ends the great ride of the giant robots that have so distinguished Japanese culture as to become practically a modern synonym. In Italy, thanks to the anime that in the 80s dominated the television schedules dedicated to the youngest, especially in the private televisions of the time, we were immediately particularly fascinated.

Contrary to what we are led to believe, this fundamental trend dates back to many years earlier: the love for automata, which later became robots and later mecha, was born in Japan even in the early 1930s, taking definitely formed in 1952 with the arrival of the Mighty Atom manga, known by us as Astroboy. The atomic boy that everyone knows or at least recognizes his iconic face, also represents the natural fascination of the land of the Rising Sun for our peninsula, given that his plot is not even so subtly inspired by Collodi's Pinocchio, that the Japanese designers they officially adapt the same year of birth as Astroboy, also 1952, through the homonymous book by Osamu Tezuka which will become anime twenty years later and also aired in our country.

So a spontaneous question arose : Does the end of Neon Genesis Evangelion mark the end for giant robots?

Computerized postwar

Tetsujin-28 has been broadcast in Italy since 1984 with the title SuperRobot 28 The first real giant robot arrives a few years after Mighty Atom, in 1956: it is the splendid Tetsujin- 28-Go by one of the most popular post-war mangaka, Mitsuteru Yokoyama. Tetsujin-28 will turn into an incredibly successful anime, tracing a groove from which all the others will emerge, from Mazinger-Z to Grendizer, from Patlabor to Super Dimensional Fortress Macross, from Golion to the very latest and exciting Evangelion.

Gundam deserves a separate speech, a saga that between the seventies and the eighties, will become an integral part of oriental pop culture. Paradoxically, Gundam will also be the only "robot" not to arrive in Italy: this happened due to a first "pirate" broadcast (without official rights) that annoyed the Japanese production company Sunrise so much to the point of depriving us of it. practically until 2004.

What sees the undisputed giant robots as protagonists is a huge production, which has generated gadgets, toys of all kinds, collector's fetishes, kits to assemble with crazy details still sold, and of course a myriad of video games.

For us it was pure entertainment, but for the Japanese it represented the quintessence of the homeland as they wanted it to be in those years: hyper-technological, united and winning. The union of the Japanese people, the importance of collaboration and the fundamental electronic factor is clearly visible above all in the robots that unite with each other creating an even bigger and invincible one, such as Gordian, Daltanius, but also Jeeg Robot D'steel with the peculiar launch of the components.

The latest Robots

Promare, the last great OAV dedicated to oversized robots? The end of Evangelion excites for its touching plot and, in hindsight, precisely because it closes this extraordinary cycle that has made several generations of children and adults dream and play. How many robots do you see around today? In Japan they built a giant Gundam, but new manga productions, anime format, dedicated to these invincible mechanical heroes are no longer seen.

A few years ago the good Gurren Lagann arrived, much more recent the interesting Promare, but nothing compared to the quantity of the past, and some would also have to complain about the quality. No matter how you think, in any case they are products that don't seem to have the same appeal as their ancestors. This situation also affects video games, which is the topic that interests us the most here. Do we have games with giant robots? Less and less, and as usual, independent developers put a piece of it.

XXL protagonists

The beauty of Armored Core's mecha design ... Where have the strategic Square as Front Mission gone ? What happened to those galvanizing follies like the imperfect, but at the same time wonderful Remote Control Dandy? For those who have forgotten, Remote Control Dandy was released on the first Sony console: the player was put in the shoes of a little boy who, through his PlayStation pad, had to command his huge Vordan watching him fight in the streets of the city. Even fighting games had their robotic variants, Capcom's Tech Romancer, Sega's Virtual On, the latter recently reappearing in the virtual arcades of the last Yakuza (we thought they were unplayable today but instead Oratorio Tangram is still a show!).

Nobody touches Hidetaka Miyazaki from From Software, but what happened to Armored Core? Isn't it a bit presumptuous to erase the company's past by endlessly declining Demon's Souls, and forgetting a series that is an integral part of PlayStation history?

It hurts to think that one of the latest Japanese software games dedicated to mech is the wonderful Chromehounds for Xbox360, an exclusive that was simply too far ahead of its time to be successful but which, with its persistent online companion, hinted at the future of the genre, a future that never really took shape.


The biggest, craziest and most expensive video game dedicated to giant robots? Naturally Capcom's Steel Battalion When it comes to Mech games, it is practically impossible not to mention the craziest ever made: Capcom's Steel Battalion, another exclusive with which Xbox has tried to please the oriental public without succeeding. It was equipped with a very expensive compulsory peripheral, but able to turn anyone's head around, for a gameplay that defining hardcore would be an understatement (if you died and did not press eject in time, the save would be canceled ... as is right so be it!).

And role-playing games? How wonderful was Xenogears (direct sequels, sorry, I'm not up to it), and what a treat was Xenoblade Chronicles? The affront was to remove the mechs in Chronicles 2, a choice that I will never really understand, but which in its small way demonstrates how the appeal of these battle contraptions has gradually faded away.

No less cerebral of Evangelion are Hideo Kojima's mechs, not the spectacular ones that appeared in Metal Gear Solid, but the undisputed protagonists of the two Zone of the Enders.

Western robots

The universe of Battletech created by FASA is a timeless classic, both in the videogame field and in the original board game field.The western parenthesis was undoubtedly less prolific than the eastern one, as was to be expected, but it gave us unforgettable pearls such as the Mechwarrior series, whose climax is represented by the second game developed by Activision. The series has recently returned to the limelight with a fifth game, but we are very far from the perfection of the very first.

Mechwarrior takes advantage of the Battletech game world, created by the American Fasa, recently re-proposed also in strategic format through the strategic namesake. For those who want, both Mechwarrior 5 and Battletech are available on GamePass, only on PC.

Titanfall 2, "Preparing for Titanfall" Perhaps because of the lower budget than the classic Triple A investments, but the focus on these products remains low anyway, exactly as was the one that welcomed the beautiful Titanfall 2 of which everyone is asking for a sequel, but it was enough to buy it at the right time to not give excuses to Electronic Arts and avoid subsequent prayers.

Consumer robotics

The Nintendo Labo kit with the Mech: great satisfaction despite the minimum gameplay All this is actually strange. Robotics can now also be made at home, there are kits to be assembled that allow the construction of extremely advanced automata, in Japanese schools robotics is a common subject and the Boston Dynamics videos are shared by millions of people. Yet there is no longer anyone willing to fulfill our dream of commanding a steel giant capable of restoring peace to the world and the universe. We all want to be Peter Ray and Aran Banjo, but no one is willing to make our dream come true anymore.

Goodbye Evangelion, you took everything away ...

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