Why are Voltron and Power Rangers more mainstream and popular in the West than Gundam and Evangelion?

The place to discuss anything relating to anime or manga.
WildeHopps_Shipper
Posts: 42
Joined: Sat Oct 28, 2017 5:57 am

Why are Voltron and Power Rangers more mainstream and popular in the West than Gundam and Evangelion?

Post by WildeHopps_Shipper » Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:02 am

I noticed how Gundam and Evangelion are incredibly niche and unknown to most Western audiences except for the most hardcore otaku. But Power Rangers with the Megazord and Voltron are much more popular, mainstream, and widespread all across the West. So why is that? Why are Voltron and Power Rangers more mainstream and widespread in the West than Gundam or Evangelion?

If I were to hazard a guess, it's that Power Rangers and Voltron are for young children, while Gundam and Evangelion are instead aimed at adults. And anything aimed at children is bound to have much more mainstream appeal than anything aimed at adults.

User avatar
Seto Kaiba
Posts: 1360
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:18 pm
Contact:

Re: Why are Voltron and Power Rangers more mainstream and popular in the West than Gundam and Evangelion?

Post by Seto Kaiba » Fri Jan 18, 2019 11:30 am

WildeHopps_Shipper wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:02 am
I noticed how Gundam and Evangelion are incredibly niche and unknown to most Western audiences except for the most hardcore otaku.
lolwut. That might've been true about twenty years ago... but both Gundam and Evangelion have been fairly well-known mainstream anime properties in the west ever since they aired on Cartoon Network as part of its Toonami and/or [adult swim] programming blocks in the early 2000s.

Gundam did a brisk trade on Toonami, though the UC titles were less well-received than AU titles like New Mobile Report Gundam Wing, Mobile Fighter G Gundam, and Mobile Suit Gundam SEED. The season Cartoon Network picked up Gundam Wing was when Toonami grew the beard and became Cartoon Network's can't-miss programming block. It did well enough to set the direction for subsequent seasons with more and more serious anime programming until Cartoon Network decided to displace the most mature content to [adult swim]'s lineup. Neon Genesis Evangelion was already fairly well-known in the west before it ever aired on [adult swim]. I remember Evangelion being widely discussed in school well before it ever aired on [adult swim], much as Dragon Ball Z was the talk of grade school.


WildeHopps_Shipper wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:02 am
But Power Rangers with the Megazord and Voltron are much more popular, mainstream, and widespread all across the West. So why is that? Why are Voltron and Power Rangers more mainstream and widespread in the West than Gundam or Evangelion?
Voltron? Surely you jest. That series was a largely forgotten piece of 80's esoterica until Netflix rescued the franchise in 2016 with Voltron: Legendary Defender. Most people aren't even aware Voltron had more material than just the adaptation of Beast King GoLion.

Power Rangers established itself as a mainstream children's show by essentially never going off the air. The sheer profusion of super sentai shows Japan churns out with monotonous regularity ensured that Saban (and now Hasbro) never wanted for new material to adapt. It was dirt cheap to produce too, since adapting it only really required voiceovers and a modest amount of new footage with few special effects, so it was also a consistently profitable enterprise.

The most ubiquitous robot title in the west is almost certainly Transformers, though... for much the same reason. That parents identify most any robot as a transformer is a it's-funny-because-it's-true joke that almost every mecha anime fan has experienced firsthand at some point.


WildeHopps_Shipper wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:02 am
And anything aimed at children is bound to have much more mainstream appeal than anything aimed at adults.
Tell that to George R.R. Martin... Game of Thrones is about as mainstream as it gets.

The biggest mainstream appeal, however, comes from titles that have cross-demographic appeal like Harry Potter.
The Macross Mecha Manual
Yes, we're working on updates...

WildeHopps_Shipper
Posts: 42
Joined: Sat Oct 28, 2017 5:57 am

Re: Why are Voltron and Power Rangers more mainstream and popular in the West than Gundam and Evangelion?

Post by WildeHopps_Shipper » Fri Jan 18, 2019 3:08 pm

Seto Kaiba wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 11:30 am
WildeHopps_Shipper wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:02 am
I noticed how Gundam and Evangelion are incredibly niche and unknown to most Western audiences except for the most hardcore otaku.
lolwut. That might've been true about twenty years ago... but both Gundam and Evangelion have been fairly well-known mainstream anime properties in the west ever since they aired on Cartoon Network as part of its Toonami and/or [adult swim] programming blocks in the early 2000s.

Gundam did a brisk trade on Toonami, though the UC titles were less well-received than AU titles like New Mobile Report Gundam Wing, Mobile Fighter G Gundam, and Mobile Suit Gundam SEED. The season Cartoon Network picked up Gundam Wing was when Toonami grew the beard and became Cartoon Network's can't-miss programming block. It did well enough to set the direction for subsequent seasons with more and more serious anime programming until Cartoon Network decided to displace the most mature content to [adult swim]'s lineup. Neon Genesis Evangelion was already fairly well-known in the west before it ever aired on [adult swim]. I remember Evangelion being widely discussed in school well before it ever aired on [adult swim], much as Dragon Ball Z was the talk of grade school.


WildeHopps_Shipper wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:02 am
But Power Rangers with the Megazord and Voltron are much more popular, mainstream, and widespread all across the West. So why is that? Why are Voltron and Power Rangers more mainstream and widespread in the West than Gundam or Evangelion?
Voltron? Surely you jest. That series was a largely forgotten piece of 80's esoterica until Netflix rescued the franchise in 2016 with Voltron: Legendary Defender. Most people aren't even aware Voltron had more material than just the adaptation of Beast King GoLion.

Power Rangers established itself as a mainstream children's show by essentially never going off the air. The sheer profusion of super sentai shows Japan churns out with monotonous regularity ensured that Saban (and now Hasbro) never wanted for new material to adapt. It was dirt cheap to produce too, since adapting it only really required voiceovers and a modest amount of new footage with few special effects, so it was also a consistently profitable enterprise.

The most ubiquitous robot title in the west is almost certainly Transformers, though... for much the same reason. That parents identify most any robot as a transformer is a it's-funny-because-it's-true joke that almost every mecha anime fan has experienced firsthand at some point.


WildeHopps_Shipper wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:02 am
And anything aimed at children is bound to have much more mainstream appeal than anything aimed at adults.
Tell that to George R.R. Martin... Game of Thrones is about as mainstream as it gets.

The biggest mainstream appeal, however, comes from titles that have cross-demographic appeal like Harry Potter.
You talk as if Gundam and Evangelion were, and continue to be to this day, much more preferable shows than Voltron and Power Rangers.

User avatar
Seto Kaiba
Posts: 1360
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:18 pm
Contact:

Re: Why are Voltron and Power Rangers more mainstream and popular in the West than Gundam and Evangelion?

Post by Seto Kaiba » Fri Jan 18, 2019 4:31 pm

WildeHopps_Shipper wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 3:08 pm
You talk as if Gundam and Evangelion were, and continue to be to this day, much more preferable shows than Voltron and Power Rangers.
My point is that your underlying premise...
Gundam and Evangelion are incredibly niche and unknown to most Western audiences except for the most hardcore otaku.
... is demonstrably false.

The Gundam and Evangelion franchises may not have the same level of name recognition as a children's show like Power Rangers that's been on the air for twenty-five consecutive seasons with number twenty-six in the offing, they are far from being "incredibly niche" or so obscure that only "the most hardcore otaku" would know about them. That's just displaying some incredible ignorance.

FFS, Cartoon Network is currently carrying two Gundam shows... Unicorn RE:0096 and Iron-Blooded Orphans. In the past, they've carried eight others: Gundam Wing, G Gundam, Gundam SEED, Mobile Suit Gundam, Char's Counterattack, 08th MS Team, Stardust Memory and War in the Pocket which were in no small part responsible for the expansion of anime on cable TV in the early 00's and the establishment of Toonami and [adult swim]. (Awareness of Gundam may also be helped a bit by one showing up rather prominently in Ready Player One.)

Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of the best-known, most mainstream anime titles in the west. It's considered one of the standard "must watch" titles for people new to the medium. The announcement that Netflix obtained a license to the series was carried in regular news outlets like Forbes, CNet, and Newsweek... not just hobby press or enthusiast sites like Nerdist and ScreenRant.
The Macross Mecha Manual
Yes, we're working on updates...

User avatar
Amion
Posts: 2167
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:43 pm

Re: Why are Voltron and Power Rangers more mainstream and popular in the West than Gundam and Evangelion?

Post by Amion » Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:51 pm

Aaaand yet, some family of mine, who are even willing to watch disgustingly animated shows like Black Clover, refuse to so much as try a Gundam show, and even feel like their intelligence is insulted for being asked. So go figure. There is a definite hatred for mecha in all the areas of anime fandom I frequent. Save here.

So I would say mecha itself is indeed niche. The utter lack of mecha shows each season should say something.
They don't know the power of a balanced vision.

User avatar
Seto Kaiba
Posts: 1360
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:18 pm
Contact:

Re: Why are Voltron and Power Rangers more mainstream and popular in the West than Gundam and Evangelion?

Post by Seto Kaiba » Fri Jan 18, 2019 9:07 pm

Amion wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:51 pm
There is a definite hatred for mecha in all the areas of anime fandom I frequent. Save here.
That may be an atypical situation on your part. The usual list of recommendations given to people new to the medium includes several mecha titles like Macross, Gundam, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Eureka Seven, Code Geass, etc.

Usually when anime hobbyists are averse to mecha it's because they've stereotyped it as one of those little kid's shows with super robots like Voltron or Power Rangers, and/or a merchandise-driven show like Transformers. It usually doesn't sink in immediately that there's more sophisticated storytelling available than that. (Some folks have a mild aversion to Gundam just because UC Gundam is so relentlessly grim that it gets depressing.)


Amion wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:51 pm
The utter lack of mecha shows each season should say something.
... they're a good deal more common than you give them credit for being.

Putting aside that there's basically a new Gundam show every year, if not more than one, there are usually a couple from other franchises or original titles every year. This season, Tatsunoko's got a new original mecha show airing right now called The Price of Smiles. I finished watching the third episode on Crunchyroll less than half an hour ago. It's got kind of a Macross by way of Full Metal Panic! sort of vibe with a space-medieval sort of setting.
The Macross Mecha Manual
Yes, we're working on updates...

False Prophet
Posts: 795
Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2015 7:40 am

Re: Why are Voltron and Power Rangers more mainstream and popular in the West than Gundam and Evangelion?

Post by False Prophet » Sun Jan 20, 2019 9:39 am

Well, mecha shows surely are not as popular as they once were, but I do think that within the next decade we will see a resurgence of mecha anime.

Now, on the topic of "hatred" that the fandom seems to have to mecha anime, I would say that most fans don't mind them, but it's the "snobs" that do, and that gives people the aforementioned impression. You know, Anitubers, Podcasters, and the like. I was actually quite surprised when I first listened to MAHQ's "Gundamn"--not many anime podcasts I had heard before that genuinely said good things about mecha anime.

Henyo
Posts: 656
Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2014 10:24 am
Location: Hidden Tramo Village

Re: Why are Voltron and Power Rangers more mainstream and popular in the West than Gundam and Evangelion?

Post by Henyo » Sun Jan 20, 2019 10:03 am

my mother actually watched a fair amount of Mecha animes. let's see..
Dancouga, Votoms(Almost all of it in fact. she only missed out on the non Chirico OVAs) Exiled from Paradise
and just last year, i managed to make her watch Evangelion Rebuild 1.

my approach is sometimes to just pop in an episode and just ask if she want to watch more.(that of course messes with my DL schedule for shows.)
i think that's the problem with the younger fans when it comes to the mecha genre. or other genres in general. they only want to watch what's hot and most talked about per season. it's like they HAVE to do so just to be called a true anime fan. and boy do i heating that line.
MOOK: ITS A YURI FANBOY!

User avatar
Kuruni
Posts: 3002
Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2006 12:43 am
Location: sitting next to a yandere loli
Contact:

Re: Why are Voltron and Power Rangers more mainstream and popular in the West than Gundam and Evangelion?

Post by Kuruni » Sun Jan 20, 2019 10:41 am

False Prophet wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 9:39 am
[...]I do think that within the next decade we will see a resurgence of mecha anime.[...]
Yup, Zi-O feature a Time Mazine mecha. It in't anime, but it has Decade :mrgreen: .
My girlfriend was a loli.

User avatar
MythSearcher
Posts: 1239
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2013 4:36 pm

Re: Why are Voltron and Power Rangers more mainstream and popular in the West than Gundam and Evangelion?

Post by MythSearcher » Mon Jan 21, 2019 12:17 am

False Prophet wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 9:39 am
Well, mecha shows surely are not as popular as they once were, but I do think that within the next decade we will see a resurgence of mecha anime.
Not optimistic about that.

Overall the giant robot genre(both real and super) isn't doing very good in Japan, where all these originated.

Gundam was being viewed as the ultimate otaku show and only the most hard core otakus will admit watching it seriously. (I mean, even primary kids are saying this in interviews, while admiting and watching in secret are two different things, obviously they still have some viewing rates from younger audiences)

Most of the revenue Gundam is making is also quite otaku oriented. You can see the product lines being heavily UC oriented and price of a lot of new products are not really aimed at kids.

Bandai is fully aware of the problem about 25-30 years ago. They kept wanting to make a kids show(or at least shows suitable for kids) way back before V Gundam. (And yes, Tomino completely broke their wish by pretending V Gundam to be a kids show)
With some success and failures during the years, which luckily garnered other demographics, Bandai still wanted to do a kids show.
The reasoning is simple, kids usually kept to their favourite show even when they entered adulthood, when they are making more money, and will have the economical means to buy the more expensive products like Metal Build series.

The strategy is sound and has been working for the past 30 years.
The problem is the gap between shows that kids liked have not been stamping out as quick as Bandai would have liked.
Also, Bandai might not have noticed, shallow enough kids shows can't keep them from buying products after they entered adulthood. (The Gundam shows with most revenue seems to be coming from shows that attracted secondary school students instead of primary)
Gundam Build series seems to be the latest show Bandai is using as a kids show, which is doing relatively well. (Considering they are also doing advertisement for older series at the same time.)

On the other hand, other robot shows are not really doing as well as in the 80's and 90's.
The ultimate otaku love confession to giant robot show, Knights and Magic, is completely ruined by whatever reason behind the anime production.(The pace is just strange compared to the novel and manga)
Although number of anime aired each season is much more now, number of robot anime didn't keep the same increased rate, so the rate of robot anime is dropped. (e.g. 1 out of 10 is more than 1 out of 30)

The reasoning is also simple. Back in the 90's, character figure isn't that advanced in technology. You simply don't get as many products you have now, you have to build garage kit models, which is harder than simple snap fit robot models like Bandai produced.
Mid to late 90's, the technology sky rocketed, PVC character figures that you can just buy and place at home became the norm, and the bad news is, the same technology cannot really be applied to robots to have the same effect.
The overall market is becoming more instant result, people are less willing to spend time to build models when you can simply pay for completed products, but completed robots are much more expensive than characters.
The level of details required are simply different, and the sheer mass of material used and number of parts are also vastly different if you just take a normal girl figure vs product like GFF, Busou Shinki or AGP series.
You also get girl models from Kotobukiya like the Frame arms girls, D-Style and Megami Device(And the revival of the Busou Shinki series) So you don't really need to stick to robots even if you are willing to build models. Mecha girls are also obviously more attractive to a lot of otakus.(No offense, I'm also one of them, thus my GFF GP03S+Weapon system is replaced with AGP GP03S girl+Weapon system)
Eventhough Bandai is slow to adapt to the trend, they also tried (You get the Super Fumina and MD Sarah).

Considering most anime are product oriented, companies are more inclined to produce anime that are more likely to sell products, and unless you are a meta-franchise like Gundam, you don't look for results 10 years after the show, but immediate results. They sell whatever character products for a few months or in the case of an accidental great hit, a few years, then forget about it unless they think a sequel is really worth it.
Robot Genre just isn't getting enough revenue warranting many shows, especially with the decreasing interest in products, more shows in a short period only means less products sold and less revenue.

User avatar
Kuruni
Posts: 3002
Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2006 12:43 am
Location: sitting next to a yandere loli
Contact:

Re: Why are Voltron and Power Rangers more mainstream and popular in the West than Gundam and Evangelion?

Post by Kuruni » Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:01 am

And on certain SRW community, it's consensus that Bandai is doing better at it. Comparing MD Sarah to Super Fumina and the improvment should be obvious even if it isn't as good as Kotobukiya's.

I for one, still waiting for MS Girls animate series (or Sun-Musume anime) :mrgreen: .
My girlfriend was a loli.

False Prophet
Posts: 795
Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2015 7:40 am

Re: Why are Voltron and Power Rangers more mainstream and popular in the West than Gundam and Evangelion?

Post by False Prophet » Mon Jan 21, 2019 7:59 am

MythSearcher wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 12:17 am
Not optimistic about that.

Overall the giant robot genre(both real and super) isn't doing very good in Japan, where all these originated.

Gundam was being viewed as the ultimate otaku show and only the most hard core otakus will admit watching it seriously. (I mean, even primary kids are saying this in interviews, while admiting and watching in secret are two different things, obviously they still have some viewing rates from younger audiences)

Most of the revenue Gundam is making is also quite otaku oriented. You can see the product lines being heavily UC oriented and price of a lot of new products are not really aimed at kids.

Bandai is fully aware of the problem about 25-30 years ago. They kept wanting to make a kids show(or at least shows suitable for kids) way back before V Gundam. (And yes, Tomino completely broke their wish by pretending V Gundam to be a kids show)
With some success and failures during the years, which luckily garnered other demographics, Bandai still wanted to do a kids show.
The reasoning is simple, kids usually kept to their favourite show even when they entered adulthood, when they are making more money, and will have the economical means to buy the more expensive products like Metal Build series.

The strategy is sound and has been working for the past 30 years.
The problem is the gap between shows that kids liked have not been stamping out as quick as Bandai would have liked.
Also, Bandai might not have noticed, shallow enough kids shows can't keep them from buying products after they entered adulthood. (The Gundam shows with most revenue seems to be coming from shows that attracted secondary school students instead of primary)
Gundam Build series seems to be the latest show Bandai is using as a kids show, which is doing relatively well. (Considering they are also doing advertisement for older series at the same time.)

On the other hand, other robot shows are not really doing as well as in the 80's and 90's.
The ultimate otaku love confession to giant robot show, Knights and Magic, is completely ruined by whatever reason behind the anime production.(The pace is just strange compared to the novel and manga)
Although number of anime aired each season is much more now, number of robot anime didn't keep the same increased rate, so the rate of robot anime is dropped. (e.g. 1 out of 10 is more than 1 out of 30)

The reasoning is also simple. Back in the 90's, character figure isn't that advanced in technology. You simply don't get as many products you have now, you have to build garage kit models, which is harder than simple snap fit robot models like Bandai produced.
Mid to late 90's, the technology sky rocketed, PVC character figures that you can just buy and place at home became the norm, and the bad news is, the same technology cannot really be applied to robots to have the same effect.
The overall market is becoming more instant result, people are less willing to spend time to build models when you can simply pay for completed products, but completed robots are much more expensive than characters.
The level of details required are simply different, and the sheer mass of material used and number of parts are also vastly different if you just take a normal girl figure vs product like GFF, Busou Shinki or AGP series.
You also get girl models from Kotobukiya like the Frame arms girls, D-Style and Megami Device(And the revival of the Busou Shinki series) So you don't really need to stick to robots even if you are willing to build models. Mecha girls are also obviously more attractive to a lot of otakus.(No offense, I'm also one of them, thus my GFF GP03S+Weapon system is replaced with AGP GP03S girl+Weapon system)
Eventhough Bandai is slow to adapt to the trend, they also tried (You get the Super Fumina and MD Sarah).

Considering most anime are product oriented, companies are more inclined to produce anime that are more likely to sell products, and unless you are a meta-franchise like Gundam, you don't look for results 10 years after the show, but immediate results. They sell whatever character products for a few months or in the case of an accidental great hit, a few years, then forget about it unless they think a sequel is really worth it.
Robot Genre just isn't getting enough revenue warranting many shows, especially with the decreasing interest in products, more shows in a short period only means less products sold and less revenue.
Well, it's not that you're wrong, but I do think your analysis is kind of pessimistic. Looking at the recent track records of companies other than Bandai, they seem to have an idea about how to re-orient their mecha product lines to fit consumer's demands. Now, whether will these changes being transferred to actual mecha anime, much less a good mecha anime, is an unpredictable matter, but it's my personal opinion that some companies will be able to depend on their mecha product lines for a while more to wait for the resurgence.

(Also, this might be my misgivings only, but I do have this strange feeling of repetitiveness when looking at mecha musume. It seems to me that the designs have been a bit derivative and dependent on the template set forth by Shimada Fumikane and Busou Shinki--after all, weren't Frame Arms Girls and Megami Devices born from the failure of Busou Shinki?)

Now, which studio can we expect that will make a show to save mecha anime--yes, I know the idea is ridiculous, but it's fun to speculate. Sunrise and Satelight are busy with their plans for Gundam and Macross respectively. Trigger did do something for the genre with Franxx and Gridman last year, but from what I have seen, the crowds of these two shows have and will not stick around for mecha.

False Prophet
Posts: 795
Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2015 7:40 am

Re: Why are Voltron and Power Rangers more mainstream and popular in the West than Gundam and Evangelion?

Post by False Prophet » Mon Jan 21, 2019 8:10 am

When talking about hardcore Otaku, Gundam, and mecha anime, it suddenly makes me think about how the establishment of personal "databases" divided the Otaku crowd before and after Gundam was aired--I remember reading a book on this topic in Japan. Basically, those who first came from the original run of Gundam could well be Wikpedia writers had the thing existed then, and they identified themselves as such unlike their predecessors.

But, how much appeal is competent world-building in anime today? Yes, I know that cross-demographic appeal is important, but anyone here have any idea on how to make people actually focus on the robots, the technology, and the sci-fi aspects of the shows in general?

Also, on the topic of Voltron, anyone here notice that the fans of that shows seem to be more into the pairings instead of the actual machines? It is so much worse than the RWBY fandom, and reminds me no little of Franxx.

Henyo
Posts: 656
Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2014 10:24 am
Location: Hidden Tramo Village

Re: Why are Voltron and Power Rangers more mainstream and popular in the West than Gundam and Evangelion?

Post by Henyo » Mon Jan 21, 2019 10:42 am

False Prophet wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 8:10 am
When talking about hardcore Otaku, Gundam, and mecha anime, it suddenly makes me think about how the establishment of personal "databases" divided the Otaku crowd before and after Gundam was aired--I remember reading a book on this topic in Japan. Basically, those who first came from the original run of Gundam could well be Wikpedia writers had the thing existed then, and they identified themselves as such unlike their predecessors.

But, how much appeal is competent world-building in anime today? Yes, I know that cross-demographic appeal is important, but anyone here have any idea on how to make people actually focus on the robots, the technology, and the sci-fi aspects of the shows in general?

Also, on the topic of Voltron, anyone here notice that the fans of that shows seem to be more into the pairings instead of the actual machines? It is so much worse than the RWBY fandom, and reminds me no little of Franxx.
on anime originals? it's an even split if you ask me. there are some that just do the bare minimum(which can be mistaken for light novel adaptaions) and there are some that do what has been done but in a competent manner. Planet With is a good example of the latter.
although, the scifi aspects remained basic. the mecha is just a means and it's technical specs aren't shown much in the show.


on Voltron: from what i gathered most of them rabid shippers are on tumblr. that's the weird things though. why DO they focus on just shipping? i've been watching anime since the 90s and yet i never had the urge to prioritize making love stories about characters(hetero or what have you) even now when i want to write a yuri story it never becomes the priority.
MOOK: ITS A YURI FANBOY!

User avatar
MythSearcher
Posts: 1239
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2013 4:36 pm

Re: Why are Voltron and Power Rangers more mainstream and popular in the West than Gundam and Evangelion?

Post by MythSearcher » Mon Jan 21, 2019 12:58 pm

Kuruni wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:01 am
And on certain SRW community, it's consensus that Bandai is doing better at it. Comparing MD Sarah to Super Fumina and the improvment should be obvious even if it isn't as good as Kotobukiya's.
I object to that idea. Bandai isn't even trying that hard. I mean, look at the almost dead AGP line-up, and with only 2 girls as the base of many models (Mostly Yukina, I can't even remember the name of the other blonde girl) and almost no long hair parts, not even pony tails or twin tails. (I do admit I like long hair better, I had waist length hair myself back in my University days and only kept it short now because my hair line receeded pretty quickly with all the weight and tying, and also my uncles are all bald so genetics are getting me. I need Sandalore, can't find stuff with it around my local stores.)

Kotobukiya had a wide line up and much better facial design in most of them.

Bandai did the Fumina swim suit model but that is kind of a failure commercially not because it didn't sell but because the price is too high for mass-production and selling at that price(but any price higher wouldn't sell that much).
The semi-transparent skin layer on top of red to give a more human skin tone is a great idea(developed likely from the transparent parts of MG Unicorn Gundam), but that also caused a lot of production problems and quality failures with batches of defective parts they had to throw away. (mainly due to the heat expansion rate differential)
I for one, still waiting for MS Girls animate series (or Sun-Musume anime) :mrgreen: .
Yeah, that'd be great, not very likely to happen given the treatment of the AGP series and merely 2 MS girls illustration books published all these year.
False Prophet wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 7:59 am

Well, it's not that you're wrong, but I do think your analysis is kind of pessimistic. Looking at the recent track records of companies other than Bandai, they seem to have an idea about how to re-orient their mecha product lines to fit consumer's demands. Now, whether will these changes being transferred to actual mecha anime, much less a good mecha anime, is an unpredictable matter, but it's my personal opinion that some companies will be able to depend on their mecha product lines for a while more to wait for the resurgence.

(Also, this might be my misgivings only, but I do have this strange feeling of repetitiveness when looking at mecha musume. It seems to me that the designs have been a bit derivative and dependent on the template set forth by Shimada Fumikane and Busou Shinki--after all, weren't Frame Arms Girls and Megami Devices born from the failure of Busou Shinki?)

Now, which studio can we expect that will make a show to save mecha anime--yes, I know the idea is ridiculous, but it's fun to speculate. Sunrise and Satelight are busy with their plans for Gundam and Macross respectively. Trigger did do something for the genre with Franxx and Gridman last year, but from what I have seen, the crowds of these two shows have and will not stick around for mecha.
Frame Arms Girls is designed by Humikane (Yes, he spells his own name with an H, not an F), so they look like Busou Shinki designed by him. The gadgets and mechanisms are completely different though.
Busou Shinki's failure mainly lies in the different designs from different designers being too different and odd looking when placed together, which is already quite prominent at the first 2 series, the angel and demon can be mixed, but you cannot really mix parts of angel and cat for example and have it look good. They are also sold mainly as a completed product and you only put parts together, with the same base body. So you get artists who draw a more deformed style(Like Blade's Cat and Dog look shorter in the illustrations) but can't be recreated with the same base. The games of Busou Shinki are also awful. I can't really think of a reason other than not putting the efforts to complete the game, why they just can't let me control the units directly and can only set up extremely roughly what they will be doing at the 3 different distances and look at them fight for 10 rounds that is just boring.
Similar custom your own unit games are out there for decades, Front Mission and Armoured Cores are doing a great job. Even if they want to stick to the world settings that the Shinkis are sentient, at least make a proper AI and let us see some real time action fights and not turn based.
The PSP game was a bit better(You can finally control the units) but is already too late of an installment and completely removed the relationship of the actual merchandise with the game.(I mean, I bought almost all the first 12 series+Specials, and don't get to use the codes in the PSP game to obtain the units at all)
Even the current Gacha oriented mobile app game Alice Gear Aegis is a better game than any from the Busou Shinki franchise.

Busou Shinki's failure is a mixture of bad marketing, raising prices of manufacturing in China, poor coordination control. (Actually, the only units that looked like their illustrations are the Humikane ones, since they probably had modelers specialized to do so and the base body was built to match his designs.)

Frame Arms Girls is instead built on top of the Frame Arms series, which is already established its own reputation and it is more of a model series and not completed figures, and the parts are designed to be better suited together and doesn't look too odd even if you just buy 2 different models and mix and match parts. They seem to be doing a revival of Busou Shinki in the ZOINKS line, but you can hardly hope they will do something as big again.(with games and manga adaptation rolling out)

Mecha shows basically had their prime time with girls. (Reconfirmed with this season's Gridman) Both Evangelion and Nadesico was not really famous because of its robots, but their female characters, both have way more products of girls than robots(Evangelion's Rei figures are pretty much at least triple of all of the mecha added together, even when figure price was still really high back in mid to late 90's). Actually, even Gegege no Kitaro garnered a lot more views with its 6th Neko Musume. So go Moe and go Sexy, that is the sad way to survive the current anime trend from the past 2 seasons. Of course you still need to do it right, when no body is expecting you to have these kind of characters in the show. Which, is the hard part, because it seems like most people already assumed cute girls will appear in all anime, and Gridman and Kitaro succeeded in that they are new seasons of shows that didn't really have that kind of impactful character designs.
The reason is pretty much the same as I have said up there. Character products(I actually hate using this term because in Japan, they included robots as character products, but you know what I mean) are easier to produce than robot products and are more popular in the otaku culture because they don't have to spend time building it.(So you don't get a full closet and shelf of boxes of models waiting to be built while you kept buying new ones)

Humikane actually explained why mecha musume aren't as many as, say, cat girls. He said it takes about 5 times the time to draw the mecha parts, but you don't get 5 times the money/salary to do so. Similar can be applied to all manufacturing and mecha designs and anime production when drawing mecha. It is simply harder to produce, so unless someone find a different way of doing it (No, 3D modeling isn't the way, it actually takes more time and effort to build the 3D models and it only works on long shows), you won't suddenly get tons of mecha anime produced in a single season.
Last edited by MythSearcher on Mon Jan 21, 2019 8:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Seto Kaiba
Posts: 1360
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:18 pm
Contact:

Re: Why are Voltron and Power Rangers more mainstream and popular in the West than Gundam and Evangelion?

Post by Seto Kaiba » Mon Jan 21, 2019 7:41 pm

False Prophet wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 9:39 am
Well, mecha shows surely are not as popular as they once were, but I do think that within the next decade we will see a resurgence of mecha anime.
TBH, I think the main reason that mecha anime has become less prevalent than it was during its heyday in the 80's and the early-to-mid 90's is there's almost no innovation going on in the genre anymore.

In a way, mecha anime is a victim of its own early success. Sunrise's Gundam franchise was so popular and so successful in its early years that it quickly became the default image of mecha anime. Because Sunrise stuck to its original formula so religiously in its first couple sequels and met with immediate success in the process, the mecha genre's biggest name developed as a borderline stagnant property with a nearly pathological aversion to innovation and change. When the most successful name in the genre is making bank by avoiding doing anything creative, that started to stagnate the rest of the genre because the impetus to innovate was gone. It was easier to get a project approved if it was "like Gundam but" rather than trying to do anything original or risky with it. Now that the Gundam franchise is the 500 pound gorilla of the genre and is making bank on badly-written continuity porn, glorified toy commercials, and the occasional hal-fassed attempt to do something slightly different via AU stories, there's little interest in the genre from people who could do something original with the genre because they know their work is just going to get buried by Gundam.

Many of the auteurs and visionary creators who established the mecha genre have retired and they haven't been replaced because the creative freedom of the genre has been strangled by Gundam.

If mecha anime is going to stage a comeback, we need some of those auteurs and visionaries who are willing to challenge Gundam for dominance of its own turf and are persuasive enough to get serious backing behind their ideas even if it means having to fight for it like Yoshyuki Tomino and Shoji Kawamori had to do back in the day. If we never get that creative spirit back, then we're doomed to an eternity of Gundam selling us the same f*cking show every year and the only change being what we're calling the space nazis this time.

For now, those auteurs and visionaries are gravitating towards shonen titles because that's where they have the most creative freedom.




Henyo wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 10:42 am
on Voltron: from what i gathered most of them rabid shippers are on tumblr. that's the weird things though. why DO they focus on just shipping? i've been watching anime since the 90s and yet i never had the urge to prioritize making love stories about characters(hetero or what have you) even now when i want to write a yuri story it never becomes the priority.
When you get well-written, well-developed characters some folks just can't resist focusing on their love lives.

Shippers are one way to know that you've got some good character drama going on.
The Macross Mecha Manual
Yes, we're working on updates...

User avatar
MythSearcher
Posts: 1239
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2013 4:36 pm

Re: Why are Voltron and Power Rangers more mainstream and popular in the West than Gundam and Evangelion?

Post by MythSearcher » Mon Jan 21, 2019 9:34 pm

Seto Kaiba wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 7:41 pm
TBH, I think the main reason that mecha anime has become less prevalent than it was during its heyday in the 80's and the early-to-mid 90's is there's almost no innovation going on in the genre anymore.
That and/or the so called innovation just appeared weird.

There are a few weird shows from time to time, just that their innovation isn't really what suits the audience. (Or simply because they innovated for innovation's sake and not really trying to care if they show is good or not.)

That being said, we still have Full Metal Panic, which is kinda innovative in that it can give such a realistic world settings yet still give us super powered robots.

Also, the early to mid 90's robot show surge is likely a byproduct of the anime dark age, which was after the 1989 Tsutomu Miyasaki incident.(No, not Hayao Miyasaki) and before Evangelion.
Most of the anime are targetted to Children instead to avoid being labelled as aimed for Otakus, and therefore we get a lot of robot shows which are easily deemed as kids show by adults.
Braves series and Eltran series are products of the time.(Braves series survived past Eva era.)
If mecha anime is going to stage a comeback, we need some of those auteurs and visionaries who are willing to challenge Gundam for dominance of its own turf and are persuasive enough to get serious backing behind their ideas even if it means having to fight for it like Yoshyuki Tomino and Shoji Kawamori had to do back in the day. If we never get that creative spirit back, then we're doomed to an eternity of Gundam selling us the same f*cking show every year and the only change being what we're calling the space nazis this time.

For now, those auteurs and visionaries are gravitating towards shonen titles because that's where they have the most creative freedom.

Actually, Tomino was the one who used the "Like X but..." tactic. Gundam used the "Like Space Battleship Yamato but with robots" concept. He basically scammed his way to get funding, even after Gundam. (Famous for doing so also in Ideon and Dunbine, which ultimately led to the bankrupcy of Clover, the original sponsor of Gundam)

False Prophet
Posts: 795
Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2015 7:40 am

Re: Why are Voltron and Power Rangers more mainstream and popular in the West than Gundam and Evangelion?

Post by False Prophet » Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:16 am

Seto Kaiba wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 7:41 pm
If mecha anime is going to stage a comeback, we need some of those auteurs and visionaries who are willing to challenge Gundam for dominance of its own turf and are persuasive enough to get serious backing behind their ideas even if it means having to fight for it like Yoshyuki Tomino and Shoji Kawamori had to do back in the day. If we never get that creative spirit back, then we're doomed to an eternity of Gundam selling us the same f*cking show every year and the only change being what we're calling the space nazis this time.

For now, those auteurs and visionaries are gravitating towards shonen titles because that's where they have the most creative freedom.
Not to disparage Tomino or Kawamori, but is it just me or does it really feels like these two creators are best when they built up from the templates they previously established, instead of going all out for new things? The idea specifically rings true with Tomino. I haven't watched much of George Lucas, but maybe both him and Tomino need assistants with firm hands to keep them in line.

(Actually, screw that. Where do we find competent assistants AND executives nowadays, with Delta and all?)

Anyway, I do think that anime as a whole is going through a "re-branding" stage. Studios are being forced to change themselves because of the marketplace's pressure, yes, but they are also becoming more aware of their shortcomings. The years to follow probably won't be very exciting for mecha anime and anime for general, not like the experimental 80s and 90s, but there is also a good chance for some polished and at least competent shows to be made.

Say, MythSearcher, since you talked about how different artists create a problem for old Busou Shinki, so does that means Konami hiring different designers for the reboot was a bad move?

(Also, I noticed that there have been some mecha musume figures that were designed by a few artists which had been drawing mecha musume as a hobby for a long time, like this Good Smile Figma designed by this guy. I think this other guy (or is it this guy) also has a few of them. How does it really work then? Were these design drawn by the artists first and then the companies contacted them, or were they made-by-order?

User avatar
Seto Kaiba
Posts: 1360
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:18 pm
Contact:

Re: Why are Voltron and Power Rangers more mainstream and popular in the West than Gundam and Evangelion?

Post by Seto Kaiba » Tue Jan 22, 2019 11:13 am

MythSearcher wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 9:34 pm
That and/or the so called innovation just appeared weird.
Appearing weird isn't necessarily a dealbreaker as long as it's presented in a compelling manner... e.g. Mamoru Nagano's Five Star Stories. His style is VERY strange, but the series is lauded for it in no small part due to how distinctive it is.

MythSearcher wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 9:34 pm
That being said, we still have Full Metal Panic, which is kinda innovative in that it can give such a realistic world settings yet still give us super powered robots.
To be honest, I don't consider Full Metal Panic! to be innovative given that its mechanism for explaining the modern day setting (well, modern when it started... about twenty years in the past now) with futuristic tech like giant robots and AIs is an almost totally unexplained macguffin that is essentially a more passive-aggressive take on Star Trek: Enterprise's temporal cold war.

MythSearcher wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 9:34 pm
Actually, Tomino was the one who used the "Like X but..." tactic. Gundam used the "Like Space Battleship Yamato but with robots" concept. He basically scammed his way to get funding, even after Gundam. (Famous for doing so also in Ideon and Dunbine, which ultimately led to the bankrupcy of Clover, the original sponsor of Gundam)
I'm not sure that Yoshiyuki Tomino's use of "Like X but..." counts, given that it was at best a half-truth to get the sponsors onboard when they weren't convinced that anime was a viable format for serious SF. He was vindicated there, at least once Gundam pulled a Star Trek and took off in reruns.

I'd heard that the problem with Dunbine was that Clover signed onto the series without reviewing the final designs and then discovered they'd bought a license to a model/toy casting nightmare.



False Prophet wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:16 am
Not to disparage Tomino or Kawamori, but is it just me or does it really feels like these two creators are best when they built up from the templates they previously established, instead of going all out for new things? The idea specifically rings true with Tomino. I haven't watched much of George Lucas, but maybe both him and Tomino need assistants with firm hands to keep them in line.
Honestly, I'd disagree... I think the problem is more in the audience.

Both Yoshiyuki Tomino and Shoji Kawamori are famous for the franchises they created, but even within those the two of them tried quite hard to mix things up and take the story to new and different places. Tomino ran into a lot more problems there, since Gundam fans are so heavily entrenched and resistant to the idea of change. The ideas he was bringing weren't bad, but because Gundam evolved into a franchise where stories have to follow a very specific formula to be accepted at all, his ideas tended to get rejected out of hand like what ended up happening to G-Reco. Kawamori, on the other hand, had enormous success with it... to the extent that when Macross DOESN'T radically reinvent itself in each new iteration it feels somehow wrong. Mind you, Shoji Kawamori's also a guy who likes to experiment with other genres and genre-blending, so he screws around a lot outside of the mecha genre too. He's hit and miss because he experiments a lot, but when he hits he hits big... and when he misses he misses hard.

Kawamori's attitude is the kind we need if mecha is going to revive itself as a genre. They need to try to do new things with it, to take it to new and interesting places instead of the bog standard "war with space fascists" plot that has become the form letter script for giant robot shows in the wake of Gundam's success.

False Prophet wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:16 am
(Actually, screw that. Where do we find competent assistants AND executives nowadays, with Delta and all?)
Delta's problem was that the creative types got overruled by the committee... who were so enamored of the success Macross Frontier had had and wanted to make the lightning strike twice the Gundam way, via sticking religiously to formula.

Unsurprisingly, sticking religiously to formula for the sake of promoting the singer meant that the only remarkable part of the series was the music.

False Prophet wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:16 am
Anyway, I do think that anime as a whole is going through a "re-branding" stage. Studios are being forced to change themselves because of the marketplace's pressure, yes, but they are also becoming more aware of their shortcomings. The years to follow probably won't be very exciting for mecha anime and anime for general, not like the experimental 80s and 90s, but there is also a good chance for some polished and at least competent shows to be made.
We need that experimental spirit back, IMO, for anime to really progress as a medium.

Studios have become too enamored of the disposable project, a quick twelve episodes and instantly forgotten TV series adapted from a slice of life manga or romcom. They don't seem to want to work on anything with any real substance to it. It's not art anymore, it's just business.
The Macross Mecha Manual
Yes, we're working on updates...

False Prophet
Posts: 795
Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2015 7:40 am

Re: Why are Voltron and Power Rangers more mainstream and popular in the West than Gundam and Evangelion?

Post by False Prophet » Tue Jan 22, 2019 12:18 pm

Seto Kaiba wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 11:13 am
I'd heard that the problem with Dunbine was that Clover signed onto the series without reviewing the final designs and then discovered they'd bought a license to a model/toy casting nightmare.
How hard was it back in the 1980s to sculpt the machines fron Dunbine? Was there anything in particular hard to make into form, like the legs? I don't think they had the technology to make something like the Sirbine back then.
Seto Kaiba wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 11:13 am
Honestly, I'd disagree... I think the problem is more in the audience.

Both Yoshiyuki Tomino and Shoji Kawamori are famous for the franchises they created, but even within those the two of them tried quite hard to mix things up and take the story to new and different places. Tomino ran into a lot more problems there, since Gundam fans are so heavily entrenched and resistant to the idea of change. The ideas he was bringing weren't bad, but because Gundam evolved into a franchise where stories have to follow a very specific formula to be accepted at all, his ideas tended to get rejected out of hand like what ended up happening to G-Reco. Kawamori, on the other hand, had enormous success with it... to the extent that when Macross DOESN'T radically reinvent itself in each new iteration it feels somehow wrong. Mind you, Shoji Kawamori's also a guy who likes to experiment with other genres and genre-blending, so he screws around a lot outside of the mecha genre too. He's hit and miss because he experiments a lot, but when he hits he hits big... and when he misses he misses hard.

Kawamori's attitude is the kind we need if mecha is going to revive itself as a genre. They need to try to do new things with it, to take it to new and interesting places instead of the bog standard "war with space fascists" plot that has become the form letter script for giant robot shows in the wake of Gundam's success.
I don't really know... There is something that I have been wondering for a long times, ever since I started reading into Japanese creators in anime, game, etc.--How could some of them borrow ideas from other mediums and blend them together so seamlessly, while other couldn't. Tomino and Kawamori borrowed a lot of things (what makes them interesting is how far does their knowledge and reference extend to, unlike those shameless Isekai creators nowadays) and experiment around a lot, I like it, but to me it seems like they perform best when they stick to some common patterns to storytelling. I am not really sure why I think of this, but maybe because both of them have skills more likely to be found in traditional filmography, and doing so creates an environment for which they could play up these skills?
Seto Kaiba wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 11:13 am
We need that experimental spirit back, IMO, for anime to really progress as a medium.

Studios have become too enamored of the disposable project, a quick twelve episodes and instantly forgotten TV series adapted from a slice of life manga or romcom. They don't seem to want to work on anything with any real substance to it. It's not art anymore, it's just business.
Well, you know the common argument employed when this comes up--the biggest spenders like it this way, even when it's killing not just anime but other mediums too--I have had this ongoing discussion with some of my friends about whether we will have a good mecha VN anymore. The outlook is not so good, looking at how the Japanese market is overflowed with Moeblob and Nukige.

The problem probably is built into the system itself--Didn't Osamu Tezuka force Mushi Pro to make anime at a low price and redoubt the loss by selling merchandises? By now many studios are still living from paychecks to paychecks?

(Also, a little thing on the sideline: Are the people making Macross and Symphogear respectively two separate teams, or there are those who work for both? Symphogear lately have been under some heat for being too formulaic.)

Post Reply