Not to be confused with Macha.
Mecha are typically GIANT ROBOTS normally operated by bags of flesh. Thought to have originated in Greek myth with Talos, but it's the Japanese that revitalized the concept. They needed something to fight off Godzilla and company.
They come in two types: Real Robot and Super Robot. Where "Real" involves mechs which are ostensibly realistic in operation, (see Battletech, Mechwarrior) "Super" are built to kick reason to the curb and do the impossible. The super type predates the real type by about 10 years or so, first popularized by Go Nagai's manga, Mazinger Z in the early '70s, whereas the Real variety has its roots in the now-prolific Gundam franchise, which started at the dawn of the '80s.
This topic can be further discussed at /m/.
Usually seen in the following sizes:
- Power Armour. This fits over the body of the pilot. Size dependent on the species of whoever's wearing it.
- Small. About the size of a car or SUV. Appleseed presents these nicely. Warmachine warjacks usually scale into about this size. Also see Dreadnoughts
- Medium. About the size of a smaller building (15 to 25 meters). See generic Gundam or Macross mechs. ASs from Full Metal Panic and Warmachine warjacks can be this big. A Reaver Titan fits into the higher end of this category.
- Large. Size of a 20 story building. Think Eva Units from Neon Genesis Evangelion, Jaegers from Pacific Rim.
- Huge. Stuff north of 200 meters and rising. The largest Titans fit the bill nicely. Also the three tallest experimental units in Supreme Commander or Battle Macross (~1200 meters) which dwarf both Titans or any real man-made structures. Protoculture is a hell of a drug.
- XBOX HUEG. Anything larger than Huge would go here. From moon-sized to the size where you can toss planets and and even galaxies with ease. Examples includes Unicron from the Transformers, Mata-Nui from Bionicle, and the titular Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (
It actually is about the size of our sun. The misconseption comes from the fact that the final battle was happening in super spiral universe, where everything is powered by emotions. So basiccaly if the heroes thought that this battle would decide the fate of entire galaxies, they fought on galaxies. The size of mecha is proved when antispiral mecha is shown to have an earth sized planet on it's head which could not be seen if mechas were truly galaxy-sizedThe databooks have confirmed it's size to be 10 million light years tall, one hundred times the size of the Milky Way).
Then there are various sub-types:
- Mechanized. Typical giant robot made from metal.
- Flesh. They are usually called "bio mecha" and are made of fleshy bits. See Eureka 7 or Neon Genesis Evangelion. Or Attack on Titan, kinda. Not Tyranid Bio-titans, however, due to lack of pilots.
- Will powered. Mechs powered by raw fighting or other such fiery emotion. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is the go-to example. Sometimes present in Code Geass. Some Gundams, especially those with Pychoframes. Could theoretically fit the bill for Eldar Titans and Wraithlords, and on the same note Warjacks. This type is more often implied than directly stated. More likely to be of the super variety.
- Combiners. These mechs are composed of various other mechs. See Power Rangers and Voltron. See ALSO GaoGaiGar. Also more likely to be of the super variety.
- Transformers. Mechs that have two or more forms they can switch between. See Macross and (durr)
Transformers[Transformers are sentient robots, not mecha. They have passengers, not pilots.] for examples. Can be of either the super variety or the real variety.
Mecha in tabletop games are usually implemented as vehicles with fluff about arms and legs. A reskin of Steve Jackson's Ogre describes it as a giant robot, but the rules are no different than when it was a giant tank. Some games have the fluff baked-in so strongly it's hard to think of their mecha as mere tanks-with-arms.
- Battletech by FASA (now by Catalyst Game Labs) , the ur-example of tabletop giant robot wargaming.
- Robotech RPG by Palladium Books. Famous for introducing the idea of MDC, hit-points used only by mecha that are different from the SDC hit-points used by people, and having handguns(!) that could switch between SDC/MDC. Palladium lost the rights to Robotech which means the license has now been handed out to two different companies starting in Summer 2019.
- Mechaton by Vincent Baker. Build unwieldy monstrosities out of LEGO blocks, pit them against each other.
- Mekton by R. Talsorian. Absolutely
batshitawesome RPG that goes all the way up to Demonbane levels of crazy.
- Heavy Gear by Dream Pod 9. They're supposed to be exosuits, but might as well be midget-mecha.
- Jovian Chronicles also by Dream Pod 9. Where Heavy Gear operates more like the anime VOTOMS, Jovian Chronicles is their attempt at Gundam (specifically Zeta Gundam). Was originally a Mekton setting.
- Battle Century G by Gimmick Man. Tabletop RPG that focuses on cinematic feel with a tension gauge, which gives everyone bonuses to offense, essentially turning the game into rocket tag as the fight goes on.
- Strike Legion includes "frames" as part of its quest to be every soft science fiction cliche at once.