If you follow my Twitter account you may know that in November of 2017 I travelled to London to attend the Japanese culture Festival Hyper Japan. While there I met up with a fellow anime fan named Ian Harper. Ian, along with his stepson Lewis hosts a fantastic podcast mentioned previously on this blog called the Retro Anime Podcast. His aim is to bring old school anime that people may not know about to a wider audience. The show has an interesting dynamic because he reviews much of the anime that he grew up watching while Lewis watches them for the first time without the nostalgia that Ian holds for them.
We got talking on Twitter after I listened to the first episode of RAP and noticed how similar our aims are in trying to introduce older shows to a wider audience.
I soon found that while both of our tastes are broad that we both share an intense love for the mecha genre and soon the seeds were sown for collaborating on a project. A project that became what I’m here to talk about in this post: the Retro Mecha Podcast!
We like big bots (and we cannot lie)
Mecha of course is short for “Mechanical” and while some people may argue this can be any piece of sci-fi or fantasy with a mechanical slant the term is usually used to describe works featuring robots and armoured suits, often of the “bigger than a house” variety.
The mecha genre is a vast one, however it is often unfairly represented in the west. The most oft repeated falsehood I hear is that “mecha shows are all the same”. Similarities can be found in any genre if you watch enough shows, OVAs and movies, however “mecha” as a whole is actually a varied and diverse genre within the medium that is yet to find much respect in the western world outside of die-hard fans.
The aim of the Retro Mecha Podcast is not only to review a lot of classic shows, OVAs and movies but also to try and give a bit of context as to where they fit into the evolution and history of the genre. Take for example the subject of our first episode Yoshiyuki Tomino’s Zambot 3. It is classified as a “super robot” show aimed at a younger audience yet it’s full of extremely dark and adult themes and contains many ideas and design elements that paved the way for Tomino’s own more realistic “real robot” show Mobile Suit Gundam a few years later. These are the kind of things we’ll be talking about with each show as well as giving our in-depth opinions on the series as a whole and rating them out of ten. Like the retrospective articles I currently write we will be aiming to cover not only whole series but entire franchises as well. If a series has movies, OVAs or more modern iterations we will cover those in a separate episode further down the line so we don’t burn ourselves out on one franchise.
It’s an ambitious undertaking to be sure but this is something we’ve both been passionate about for over half our lives and we’re excited to be promoting some golden oldies that often feel unjustly forgotten in this day and age.
In addition to our review of Zambot 3, our first episode will serve as a bit of an introduction to the two of us, our backgrounds and our journey with mecha anime in general. We’ll discuss how we got into anime and mecha as well as giving you a bit of insight into what we hope to achieve with future episodes.
So if you know your GoShoguns from your Golions (or if you don’t but would like to) then check us out this February. Hopefully you’ll be entertained and you might end up watching something you’ll love as a result.
Follow us on twitter: @RetroMecha
We’ll be announcing when every episode will drop there so keep your eyes peeled for future updates!
Also you can follow Ian’s original podcast at @retroanime (The Retro Anime Podcast) and the official twitter of this very blog at @animeheadsretro
If you’re looking forward to the show or have any questions let us know in the comments below!
I’ve watched some of Tomino’s works besides Gundam, but I haven’t dig into them too much. Definitely interested to hear about Zambot 3.
Well there’s certainly a lot to dig into with Zambot 3 that’s for sure. Despite being made when Super robot shows were in their infancy it avoids a few of the cliches and tropes associated with them and is genuinely good at subverting your expectations. It also completely deserves its reputation for having some quite shocking moments, I wasn’t quite prepared for where the story went and I already knew a couple of things about the show. We will be covering it in some depth but we’ll give fair warning before dropping any massive spoilers in case listeners haven’t watched it yet.