The color red has been a favorite of mine for some time now since I was 7 or 8, I think. Sure, you probably like blue or black or something, but those colors are sooo popular, it's blasť these days to even talk about them. In anime, however, red has had an exciting and historic career. Just to be sure that we're on the same level, "akai" is a Japanese word for red. On the off chance that you haven't yet noticed, I'd also like to tell you that Cornell's color is red, that when you're eating in RPU, beware of those Big Red Commandos that might come through the windows with nerve gas at any moment, and that you should have your escape plans well thought out in advance.
Let's start with the "akai mobile suit", operated by the most infamous and coolest of all the classic bad guys, Char Aznable. Japanese children of the 70s would hide under the kotatsu whenever they heard the good guys wail out that the akai mobile suit had entered the fray. Cobra, a classic gray-area-morals hero [from the anime of the same name, not the enemy of G.I. Joe, in this case -Ed.], wears red, and he has a cool arm gun (actually, he reminds me of Rock Man, better known in the U.S. as Mega Man). Then there's Gatchaman (G-Force) and the red phoenix ship that they flew around in. Lupin the 3rd is usually sporting a red vest when not in disguise, and Akazukin Chacha wears a little red riding hood. Tekkaman Blade is red, and so is Emeraldas's blimp (if you recall, from Galaxy Express 999). Emeraldas has a revival set of OAVs coming out this year. Another super-classic, Space Battleship Yamato (shame on you if you don't know the U.S. TV title [Starblazers]) has red in the uniforms of the command-line officers of the Yamato (and of course, the main character is in that group). When you think about it, how much red clothing do you see on people who you meet as you're walking down the street? Not much, but that didn't keep Muscleman from wearing red shorts. Vash the Stampede, a much more modern main character, wears a bright red overcoat in his show, Trigun. Perhaps one of the more famous red articles of clothing to U.S. anime fans is the red hat which begins the relationship between Kasuga and Ayukawa in KOR.
Enough of clothing, though, and back to mecha, where all the real power is. Enter Getta Robo -- this elite combat machine had 3 forms (and many TV series), and the number 1 form is red. I first saw Getta Robo G as a child in the early 80s, for it was aired in the U.S. as Starvengers. I recently learned that Starvengers and its four companion shows that made up Force Five were only really played on TV in New England. Which explains why almost no one else in CJAS seems to remember it. Now they're making Change Getta Robo (and using a trick of kanji and pronunciation to also call it New Getta Robo). Change GR is so fast and dependent upon the older shows that it's incredibly confusing without translation, but I really enjoyed it because of the nostalgic feeling I got from it.
Anyway, Akito's aestivalis in Nadesico is pink, which is close enough for me, and of course, Evangelion Unit 2 is red, and so is Asuka's plug suit and her panties and err, oops. Ahem. Miyazaki's opus, Porco Rosso, is about a pig and his red aircraft. Hmm... saying it that way doesn't do it justice, oh well. We've seen the inside of Red Noah in Nadia, and we'll see the red exterior later on. In FY, the Suzaku's color is red (it being a phoenix and all), and so all of the seishi have red characters written on their bodies. Now here, I'm going to digress and say that the Seiryuu seishi are just way, way too powerful. Nakago can basically take all of them at once; certainly, he can kill them off if he were to single them out. Another Seiryuu dude will later on almost succeed in killing 5 of them at the same time; it's really sad how underpowered the good guys are. After I saw the ending, though, I found it interesting to think about Nakago's motives and actions. You should pay attention to him now, because it turns out that he's one of those bad guys that's just really messed up. Nakago is worth a lot more discussion time than most all of the other characters. It's a real shame that his past and motives aren't revealed until the very end of the anime series.
A very influential anime in both Japan and the U.S. was Akira. The poster of Kaneda with a red jacket on his red motorcycle is likely the world's most famous anime picture. So you can see that red has been a decidedly prominent and important color in anime. Now to end with, I'll come full circle back to feared red mecha with Dilandau's "akai guymelef" from Escaflowne. I think that next year's T-shirt should be printed with red ink instead of black.