But no, walking tanks are no dumber than scaled-up power armor.
They actually are. Because if you have the magitech and the disregard for real life physics going for you, why would you not want to make a highly mobile suit that can be used in a whole load of situations? Walking tanks are just big slow targets that dont do anything better than normal tanks, aside from being bigger targets. Their usability pretty much ends with being a siege breaker that draws a load of fire. Whereas a scaled up power armor has far more utility going for them.
However, I don't accept the premise that because neither would work in real life, rule of cool trumps everything and the most ludicrous concepts are suddenly just fine. First off, "cool" is different for everyone. Second, I think the walking tank style feels more practical. That feeling of practicality makes it significantly more believable (and therefore cooler) to me.
Well thats your opinion and you are definitely entitled to it. There's no use arguing about taste in that regard.
It's not narrow-minded. It's just personal taste. I don't like it when mechs look and behave like big people wearing fancy power armor. I don't like it when 100-foot mechs twirl around with swords and handheld guns. I don't like it when mechs transform into jets. I can't suspend my disbelief that much. I think it looks stupid and I don't enjoy watching it. You do? Great. Good for you. Just because someone doesn't like what you like doesn't mean that person is narrow-minded. It is in fact perfectly possible for rational, open-minded people to dislike your precious anime mechs.
This is what bugs me so much and I see every 'eastern mech style hater' use this argument about 'hurr twirling around with swords'. And it pretty much always comes down to 'I have seen very little about the subject but have already made up my mind about it'. Broad generalizations. I'm calling you narrow/close minded because of that. Yes, that's an assumption on my part, but I've been in so many of these arguments and 99% of the time its exactly that.
Besides 'eastern mechs' in itself is exactly one of those broad generalizations that doesn't work. The mobile suits in 08th ms team had a lot of weight to them and relatively little mobility when you compare them to something far more fancy like an average suit out of Gundam 00 or Seed. And the mechs in Break Blade feel far more like heavy knights, no verniers or beam rifles or anything. They are wacking away at each other with swords and claws (among those gas powered guns) and they feel incredibly heavy due to the excellent animation. On the otherside you have super robots like gunbuster etc that demolish armies and fleets with a stellar amount of beams and super attacks.
There is a huge amount of variatie in mechs there that you can't simply put under a single label. It's kind of a waste that you just write everything off as 'too stupid', and don't bother looking for the stuff that might be up your alley because of your narrow minded view on the topic.
Considering the narrative and combat design was written around them...
It wasn't, though! This is one of the interesting things about Gundam.
I think part of it is anime in a lot of cases holds onto the Japanese cultural ideal that the individual can play a pivotal role in warfare. The lone samurai/mobile suit pilot can turn the tide of battle. Therefore their protagonist machines have the weaponry and prowess to win the whole conflict by itself. Much of that chivalric romanticism was beaten out of western culture by events such as the Great War hence most western mechs are more a cog in the combined arms war machine feel.
And this too - Gundam was actually a big step away from this.
Battuta is very correct on this.
The original gundam was pretty much the first in the 'real' robot genre, in that the gundam was in fact just a cog in the machine. The RX78-2 didn't single handedly win the war for the federation. Hell, Amuro wasn't even the top scoring ace. What won the war for the Federation was their vast resources and their large airfleet and space navy. The Federation actually only started producing mobile suits of their own very late into the one year war. They were turning the tide before that with Type-61 tanks and **** like tin cods and manta rays.
It's not like all the super robot shows that were airing back then, where a single 'samurai' super robot was protecting the earth from all the dangers alone.
Anyway, StarSlayer is pretty correct about the whole samurai thing though. While it doesn't necessarily always relate to gundam (hell, most of the characters in gundam arent even japanese to begin with), it is definitely a theme you see in a whole bunch of mecha shows.