In the Pacific Rim live action movies (2013 - 2018) they feature human manned mecha "robots". Before this, there were many others live actions / animated series featuring this, Evangelion (1995) , Robotech (1985) , Macross (1982), Star Wars (1983 - 1980 , dont recall seeing any of them in the 1977 movie) , Gundam (1979) , etc.

But which was the first story to feature a human manned mecha "robot"?

  • 4
    Would you consider the powered armor from Starship Troopers (1959) to be a mech? Or are you requiring that the mech be much larger than human size as a parameter? Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 15:47
  • 1
    Seconding @VBartilucci, but perhaps rewording: Is there a difference between mecha and powered armor?
    – gowenfawr
    Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 16:11
  • 9
    Is there a reason this doesn't answer the question? (Is it missing something you're looking for..?): en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mecha#Early_history
    – wcullen
    Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 16:42
  • One of the Sinbad ones from the 70's ;)
    – Pelinore
    Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 23:14
  • Technically, The trojan horse could count...
    – dna
    Commented Mar 7, 2019 at 15:51

1 Answer 1


Looking at the Wikipedia entry for mecha (as suggested by wcullen in a comment above - remember to upvote that comment), we find mention of Edward S. Ellis' 1868 story The Steam Man of the Prairies. Quoting from the novel's Wikipedia entry:

Ethan Hopkins and Mickey McSquizzle—a "Yankee" and an "Irishman"—encounter a colossal, steam-powered man in the American prairies. This steam-man was constructed by Johnny Brainerd, a teenaged boy, who uses the steam-man to carry him in a carriage on various adventures.

The steam man seems to fit all the requirements of a mecha, and given the age of the story, it is very likely to be the first.

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