What is mecha in anime and other Japanese media? This post will explain everything!
Mecha is a term used outside of Japan to categorize media that uses robotics. Inside of Japan they use the terms robot anime (ロボットアニメ) and robot manga (ロボット漫画). These robotics can either be massive, unrealistic designs as seen in Power Rangers and Mobile Suit Gundam, or they can be smaller, more plausible robots.
This genre has also boosted the popularity of mecha scale models. These are much different than anime figures most know about. Many of these must be assembled piece by piece, and some require painting.
The term itself originated in Japan in a way. Mecha was a shortened version of mechanical, but it covered all mechanical things not just robotics. Additionally, Japan spelled it Meka using katakana (メカ). If you use Mecha in Japan with a ch like chocolate (めちゃ), it means something else entirely. You may come across the other mecha in anime when characters say something to the effect of mecha mecha kawaii (めちゃ めちゃ かわいい) meaning really really cute.
And that’s all you need to know about Mecha! If someone else ask “What is Mecha?” make sure you direct them here! You can find more information on Japanese subculture terms just like this in my growing Otaku Encyclopedia.