BattleBots is a Real Life Tournament Anime

I’m just so glad that BattleBots on TV everyone. I seem to have a distinct history with almost everything I talk about on this blog. Especially battle bots, because I’ve loved this show for forever. There were so many nights as a child that my brother and I snuck out of our rooms at night to watch robots battle each other. I guess this just goes along with that Mecha Anime fandom and Last Samurai weebism that was common in the early 2000’s. (That film is kind of like the Otaku’s dream isn’t it?) But anyway, BattleBots. There is just something so special about it just being back in a new form that makes me incredibly happy. Especially with my even more weebified brain since first watching it long ago.

So what is Battlebots? Exactly what it says on the title. Robots battling each other in combat on a stage to either completely destroy the opponent or at worst, stopping the other robot from moving. Each battle lasts three minutes or less in length depending on when one or both robots stop functioning. Teams from all over the globe, some engineering some not, put together a robot contestant that weighs a maximum of 250 lbf with all sorts of designs and weapons. The vast level of creativity with designs and themes each team puts together for themselves and their robots is always exciting. Huge is a new robot from last year and it has giant wheels made out of plastic with a vertical spinner down it’s mid section. You wouldn’t think something like that would work, but yet it does.

Hannah Rucker, 13, works on DUCK!, a robot that has made it to the second round of competition on the “BattleBots” television series. (Hal Rucker)

Witch Doctor is at least a level an aesthetic level because of how the team dresses along with their robot. That personality of “we are from the undead” is pretty wonderful in terms of everything. That’s just where it starts though. So each team has a personality to them right? But they also play some interesting roles in my eyes. I know that this show is on network TV and can’t make teams villains, but there are definitely robot teams that can be defined as “villain” and “hero” in my eyes. Tomb Stone, for example, has a very villain mentality to have they drive and their leader thinks. Most robots that face them only last a few seconds before they are completely destroyed. There are quite a few robots out there that can be villains, but only Ray Billings and Tomb Stone can take that role into my eyes.

The main protagonist of each season is that group of MIT, other school undergrads, or any inexperienced people that need to climb up the ranks to prove themselves. That’s how my mind sees it anyway. BattleBots is a tournament and is filled with all sorts of people with different skill levels, driving abilities, and weapon technology from people all over the world. Each one has their own motivations to be there and find glory, but there is always going to be that amateur that wants to show all of these people they can do more then be young and inexperienced. I keep thinking about whether or not BattleBots can be something like Yu Yu Hakusho’s dark tournament in my eyes. Yeah, it works.

Before the tournament really happens and we don’t know the capability of the robots in hand, there is weeks of robot vs robot combat until each robot is pitted against four different opponents. So kind of like Dragon Ball’s old tournaments in a way. Why? Because the judges need to see how capable these robots are and to choose who makes their place into the tournament of the top sixteen. The battles themselves are varied in length and quality just like some tournament anime but still have a max time limit. Some match ups are just terrible because they are either the same kind of bot or are they were aligned terrible. Not to mention the ever possible threat of a robot just breaking down before it can do anything against the other bot. Some teams don’t have as much quality assurance as some others and it just happens. Just like some robots aren’t designed as well as others. Experimentation is good sometimes though.

So with all that, I really do think that BattleBots is anime or animesque just as much as some people consider Wrestling anime or animesque. There are just too many comparisons to be made here that I’m sure I haven’t brought up yet. Yes, it’s live action. Yes, it’s live action television. That doesn’t mean that the heart of anime isn’t in BattleBots. Stick around for some time in the future when I argue about how Iron Chef America could be considered anime as well. Next week, I plan on talking about Promare. I’m seeing it this Tuesday after all.


  1. Wow, I never even thought about that. I remember watching some episodes of the original show when I was a kid. It looked so cool. Wish I had mechanical skills in that field. It also makes you wonder if these engineers like mecha anime.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I hope so, too. Some of those contestants don’t strike me as such, but you never know. It would be awesome if there was a robotics creator who says they got into mecha anime like the Gundam franchise or EVA to name a few.

        Also, speaking of robotics, there’s a news story I heard months ago where Ghana had an all-female robot team that won the World Robofest Championship. I think you might like the story.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks! I thought it was a really neat article. I’ve had some thoughts about possibly making some stories like what an African mecha would be. No, it will not look like the Zebra Gundam which was a big sack of no.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thank you and I felt the same way from what I saw in G Gundam. I’ve had different ideas after seeing the movie Felicite with how they have robot traffic lights in the DRC and move around while moving their arms to give motorists the right of way. That was cool. What I’m thinking about are some helper robots or an African take on super robots, but I’ve still been debating things.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I used to watch it when it aired on dutch tv, nowadays I only can see some live matches they hold at come conventions, which is great fun but it’s usually not as spectacular bots as you see on tv with less hazards. I like the buzz-saw ones and the ones with a hammer mostly. A match betweeen to flippy bots I find a bit boring but usually the flippy bots go quite far.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Awww, that’s sad. I do want to see some robot action in real life at some point.

      I really do like the flipper bots though. Like, seeing robots fly out of the battle stage is completely amazing to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve watched that for years. I’d be happier with a little less hype and a little more action. I’d also like to see bots entirely controlled by AI and sensors. Things get interesting when you take human controllers out of the equation.

    After a while, I’ve seen so many bots that they all start to look the same. There’s a limited number of weapons you can use and pretty soon every hammer starts looking the same and every saw looks the same and every flippy bot looks the same.

    It would be cool to hold it in a deep quarry and view it remotely. That way you could use active ranged attacks like guns and rockets.

    Has anyone ever tried using a net and a harpoon?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do agree with you on some points. Change of location and environmental hazards would add quite a bit to the sterile battle box environment.

      Some one has used a trip net in a box once a couple years ago, but it’s something that was considered underhanded so the battle was repeated.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m a big fan of Robot Wars (which is the UK version). Watched it all the time as a kid and it even got a revival a couple of years back, though unfortunately it’s been cancelled again now.

    I don’t know if I’ve ever thought of any of the competitors as villains, I’ve certainly rooted for the underdogs and hoped they find a way to take down the more destructive opponents, but then Robot Wars has the ‘house robots’ who are just these impossible to beat monsters and they always play the bad guy. They’ll sit in the arena and if a competitor gets too close they’ll attack them. Not that that stops some competitors deliberatily taking them on.

    There’s just something really cool and admirable about seeing al the effort and creativity people put into their robots, before they get put in the arena to tear one another apart.

    Great post and thanks for giving me a glimpse into other versions of the show.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh dang, that aspect of invincible robots that appears sounds awesome. Instead, we get floor saws, controllable hammers, and some large moving screws.

      And thank you so much for reading. Robot Wars sounds interesting 😁.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Robot Wars also has the floor flipper, spikes, flame pit and the pit. They did try this smoke machine thing that would flood the floor for a few seconds, but that was only for one season. Do a google search for Sir Killalot, Matilda, Dead Metal and Sgt. Bash if you want to see the house robots.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m a fool, I can’t believe I didn’t know! I used to watch that with my dad all the time.

        haha yeah I’m awful about keeping up with that stuff…if it’s not on the front page of one of my subs then I’ll completely miss it

        Liked by 1 person

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