Whether I was consciously aware of what anime “was” or not, for about as long as I’ve liked Japanese cartoons I’ve been a fan of giant robots. On a more intellectual level they can be used to represent so many things and tell so many stories, but on a simpler level they’re just big and awesome and I am never against that. But when I look at giant robot fans as a whole, my perception of the fandom is this uncompromising group which laments the fact that the shows today are not the shows of yesterday. Of course not all robot fans are like this, and it could very well just be a loud minority, but there is this persistent message that for them, mecha will never satisfy them again unless it does a complete 180 and goes back to the 80s or the 90s or whenever they think mecha shows achieved their pinnacle.
Out of those loud, complaint-prone fans, I feel that the prime example is hardcore fans of the Universal Century timeline from the Gundam series, i.e. the timeline that comprises the original Amuro Ray vs Char Aznable series from 1979 and all of its true sequels. If you’ve ever attended a “History of Gundam” panel at an anime convention or gone on mecha forums or even /m/ on 4chan you’re bound to see these guys, who will express their strong opinion that Gundam Wing or Gundam SEED as inferior to their beloved UC shows. And it’s perfectly okay to like UC more than alternate timelines, but the point at which it gets unreasonable, and the point where I start to get annoyed by the hardcore UC contingency is when they start to villainize the non-UC series and assign traits to them that they don’t really have, or that are so unfair that not even their preferred series could hold up under that kind of scrutiny. One of my favorites is the idea that Gundam was ruined when it began to pander to fangirls, but Gundam has always held a certain appeal for females, just not in the way mecha fans might prefer.
While I don’t think it’s wrong to have standards or even extremely high standards, I feel like it gets to a point where these really hardcore giant robot fans will never be satisfied, first because the industry will never be at the point it was when it produced these shows that mecha fans loved, and second because even it it did, a lot of fans don’t actually know what they like or why, and will try to find these scapegoats. Or if a mecha show manages to do well, it won’t be for the reasons they’d like.
Does anyone else feel this way about giant robot fans? Is this merely an image I’ve built up because I focus on mecha a lot and see these fans a lot more? Please tell me if you disagree, or at least what your view of the giant robot fandom is like.