10 Basic Mistakes Mecha Anime Protagonists Keep Making

It’s pretty awesome to pilot a giant robot. At least, that’s what people might think from the outside. Longtime mecha anime fans know otherwise. The pressure to stay alive is enough, and there have been plenty of protagonists who have resisted that pressure in the past.

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Unfortunately, there is no guide to help mecha anime protagonists with all the obvious mistakes they keep making. Many mecha anime protagonists make basic mistakes during their respective series. It can be irritating for fans to see their favorite protagonists make the same mistakes others have made before.

ten Enter a Mecha that is not theirs


Amuro Ray Cockpit

Almost all mecha protagonists become pilots by accident. They weren’t part of the military and are usually just normal kids. If their house is attacked, the protagonists will run away until they find a giant mech. These mechs, conveniently, let anyone pilot it. This leads to the protagonist discovering his skills with the mecha, and he is recruited to become the lead pilot. This only causes them problems down the line. Usually it would be better if they saw the mecha and kept running.

9 Not respecting authority


Noa Luminous slaps Amuro Ray

Most mecha series take place in a world where the protagonist is part of some form of organization. Sometimes it’s a resistance force, other times it’s an army. The protagonist tends to be a stranger to this group and has no idea what rules this group abides by. This inevitably gets them in trouble and they tend to annoy the wrong person. From there, they can be punished. For example, they may be forced to sleep in solitary confinement for a few days, or beaten as Kamille did in the Zeta Gundam series.


8 Believing that everything can be resolved peacefully


Kamille Bidan says violence is not right

A common trope in mecha anime is when young pilots start to believe that all the fighting they do is pointless. Embarking on a new life of pacifism is common and a fair conclusion to reach, but they come to that conclusion way too late.

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These pacifists beg the other side to try to stop the fighting. At this point it is usually too late. Pacifists tend to forget how many lives they took, even if those lives were enemy soldiers.


seven They rely heavily on natural piloting skills


Macross

Some mecha protagonists recognize their lack of skill and spend hours training to make up for it. Even if these characters exist, they are rare. More often than not, the pilot’s natural skill is considered more than enough to survive on the battlefield.

This natural skill, combined with one of the strongest mechas in all skirmishes, can get them through. However, if that’s all they rely on, then they’re helpless whenever someone with superior training comes along. All they can do is get a lucky escape and fight another day.


6 They think they can do it all on their own


Cast Of Zoids: New Century

One thing that doesn’t come naturally to most mecha protagonists is accepting help. Many of them are gifted children who own a powerful robot. Unfortunately, these protagonists assume they can handle everything on their own.

No war has ever been won by one person, and ultimately most of the protagonists are humbled. Some protagonists are shocked when they learn that their own allies don’t always need them. A bit like in Mobile Suit Gundam, when Amuro had his Gundam taken away.


5 They always side with the underdogs


Mecha Anime Protagonists

It’s no fun watching a protagonist defeat their enemies with the help of their strongest allies and army. In fact, it’s more like bullying. However, the mecha protagonists always seem to have their backs to the wall. It could be when they side with the Earth Federation forces at a time when Zeon is tearing the colonies apart.

Or, when working with the latest organization that opposes aliens trying to destroy Earth. Most mecha protagonists can’t help but work with the underdogs and be Earth’s last line of defense. It is true that it is respectable.


4 They used to be hot-blooded


gurren lagann

Shonen anime has nothing on mecha anime when it comes to the protagonists being passionate about what they do. This is especially true when it comes to super robot series. There, the protagonists are constantly excited about their fights. It can be a bit awkward for everyone else too.

Passionate protagonists like this often fight mindlessly, relying on their fighting instincts in combat rather than actual advice from tacticians. Fortunately, this tends to work in their favor, but it would help if they didn’t act first and think later.




3 They keep making enemies of masked guys


Making enemies of masked guys is more of a Gundam-specific problem, although some mecha anime like to pay homage to this trope. In the world of Gundamthere’s almost always a guy with a mask waiting for a young mecha pilot to become his rival – like Zechs Merquise or Char Aznable.

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This character is usually one of the most motivated and talented pilots on the other side. They are likely to give the protagonist the first fight where they are outmatched. It would really be best to avoid characters like this, but the shows need a major rival to lead.


2 They fall in love with the enemy


mecha anime

It seems to be a trendy theme that some mecha protagonists fall in love with someone on the opposite side. This is often seen in Gundam, with characters like Amuro Ray and Kamille Bidan falling in love with soldiers working in the Zeon and Titans forces. It is also present in Macross, where Maximillian Jenius fell in love with Millia of the Zentraedi. These stories can lead someone to the moral side. More often than not, they have tragic endings that break the heart of the protagonist.


1 They leave before the job is done


Frequently, some of the best pilots of a given era choose to quit and continue living normal lives. They disappear, instead of continuing to drive or move up the organizational ladder to start running things. When this happens, the organization they are part of becomes corrupt or collapses.

Because they didn’t stay to continue watching over it, things only get worse. It’s probably not their responsibility. But, since they chose to continue piloting the mech that wasn’t theirs, they could stick around to take care of things.

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