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Why are teenage immature war-inexperienced pilots a common archetype in mecha anime?

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  • Why are teenage immature war-inexperienced pilots a common archetype in mecha anime?

    Most of the protagonists of mecha anime such as Amuro (Mobile suit Gundam), Camille (Z Gundam), Judau (ZZ Gundam), Hikaru (Macross), Shinji (Neon Genesis Evangelion), Hibiki Tokai (Vandread), etc are all young, teenage, military-inexperienced, but very skilled and sometimes cocky/brash (Shinji excepted) newbies who never piloted a war mecha until the start of the anime. Kamille only piloted civilian mechas before the start of Z Gundam.
    All of these mentioned pilots are quite immature, angsty and headstrong.

    Age factor:
    Amuro Ray- 16 years old
    Kamille Bidan- 17 years old
    Judau Ashtu- 16 years old
    Hikaru Ichijyo- 16 years old
    Hibiki Tokai- 16 years old
    Shinj Ikari- 14 years old

    Experience factor:
    None of those characters have prior military experience at the beginning of each anime.

    It is also interesting to note that most of them have hijacked a mecha or took it without authorization. Shinji was given authorization by his daddy to use the mecha, so he didn't hijack it.

    Speaking of youth and angst, Those guys remind me of Spider-Man, which was created to attract young teenage boys who can relate to him.
    Last edited by Kalimutan; 01-15-2007, 10:31 AM. Reason: minor edits

  • #16
    It dawns on me that anime is generally pretty weak when it comes to sexuality. It's either nonexistent or porn for the most part, think of all those harem shows where the guy is bizarrely allergic to girls. So, having a mecha pilot who's not even old enough to drink yet (in most countries at least) is a convenient way to ignore the whole sex thing.
    "There is no greater sorrow than to recall happiness in times of misery."

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    • #17
      umm not in blue gender, there are lots of sexual content, and the pilot its quite young, not a teenager, but young, and dont forget Gundam Seed, the part were Kira and Flay do it, you dont see, but they did it that stirred the hell in japan, it was everywhere, blah blah blah why they did it, blah blah blah how they allow that blah blah blah. quite ironic, but that its the sad truth, ppl its double face, they say that porn its bad, that pornografic content its bad, but in the rea, they might be even fetishist sado masoquism ppl that whip themselves or do more sick stuff, you never know.

      but yeah.. generally like Karis say, there its not much Porn in Anime, so does it with liquour, and to limit this they use a Teenager, good point there Karis, in that way they avoid a lot of critics, the stupid ones, but a true otaku weights all and measures a serie by his plot, not the sex on it, straying from the conversation if we come to that, im a Hentai Maniac, but i dont see all the hentai Anime, there are ones Worthless, but others are good with good story and Hentai and Animations, like Lingerie Office and all, the same might happen with mecha anime, it might have all the elements, a mecha, a teenager piloting it, but in the end it might turn in a bad serie depending of the way it develops its plot.

      Humans normally only use 30% of their potential in strength,Hokuto Shin Ken its about mastering the other 70%!
      Desu no Tameni, Sieg Desu!!!
      "Corporations Privatize the Riches and Socialize the Poverty" Evo Morales

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      • #18
        Hmm, never actually saw Gundam Seed or Blue Gender but I'll take your word for it I'm wondering if it's actually dealt with realistically though, or if it falls into the fan service category. For example I just finished watching Kannaduki no Miko and the whole thing seemed like an excuse for girl on girl action. Although if it's going to be mindless cheesecake that's the type I'll rather enjoy at least, heh heh... Anyway given how many mecha shows there've been over the years, at least a couple are bound to be halfway intelligent regarding relationships but those are the exceptions that prove the rule I fear.
        "There is no greater sorrow than to recall happiness in times of misery."

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        • #19
          You are also forgetting one another factor...the artists'/producers' influences, inspirations, and "role-models"...

          Most of the artists, writers, and producers of contemporary mecha series derive inspiration from the founding fathers of Mecha Anime. So we have to travel back to the early 60's and see how they did it back then.

          You have to know about people like Tadao Nagahama. I believe a lot of the latter-day Mecha artists and writers were inspired by his ideas. To cut this long story short, for instance, someone here comments that one of the Gundam characters, a young inexperienced mecha pilot was created as a "role model" for young male kids to imitate being a mecha pilot...yet was bothered because the character was "wimpy" and "cried". Well, if you knew about the plot of most of Nagahama's stories, they were "Romantic Trilogies", and they tended to have Shakespearean-type epic storylines...which indeed included kids who lost their fathers to some great war, and you see them "weeping like a girl" simply because it's the reality when a male child has no "role model" while growing up, then they imbibe "unnatural traits" in them. Modern day writers and artists of Mecha anime use this device as a "nod" to pioneers like Nagahama, to show the "human" side of things, to show that they are "in agreement" with the classic style. The protagonists use their superhuman abilities to combat evil forces, yet deep inside they are still children at heart. Heck in Voltes V, you have a KID who flies a mecha.

          So I think one of the reasons has to be influence by pioneering mecha creators in Japanese anime history. I'm not saying all that you said was wrong, I just think this angle can be added as a factor on why most mecha series producers insist on using adolescents and/or kids as mecha pilots.

          KULAS

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Amani
            I hate Ikari Shinji because he's such a wus (although it's understandable since he's a 14-year-old), but nobody grinds my gears as much as Soryu Asuka (Langley). I hate her so much I think I enjoyed
            Spoiler
            watching her die (or did she? ) in EoE
            Ah yes. I actually cheered when
            Spoiler
            Shinji finally grew a pair and decided to choke a bitch.

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            • #21
              Well what kind of person are you guys expecting? flashbacks arent really good since the story is fixed and you need a lot of brains to plot correctly all the older guys past so that it all fits correctly, just look at what they did to vader in star wars, they created a whiny bitch anakin. would you rather prefer a book with only a ending than a one with only a beginning?

              With teenagers, they got a clean slate to work with, with older guys they need to make all past look exactly right to reflect the guy he was today. try writing a book yourself, then you will know how hard it is to create a guys past. you can add stuff or situations that change a guys life dramatically can can adapt the ending to fit it, that can only be achieved with a clean slate, and as stated before, plot twist and attitude changes, that makes good movies since you cant predict what will happen next.

              As for shinn and kira, they just ran out of ideas, so why dont u go to sunrise studios and apply for creative director? so you guys can create a whole new gundam series that isnt a copycat, and hope that it sells well.

              well it wont, since there are thousands of char plots, critics and people will criticize you for copying others ideas. so they have to stick to their own route, as to stand out unique amongst others


              AT1 still rocks after 2 yrs, give your support by buying AT2

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              • #22
                The reason why young teens are the architype is because thats the target market of animes & mangas...

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                • #23
                  I think its that way because wars are not fought by the old, but the young. It interesting as well to see a young man grow with the weight of the world on his shoulders
                  They took down my beloved sig

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                  • #24
                    Makes for a better story. Easier for the audience to sympathize with a character who mirrors how they would react if thrown into a warzone.

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