There is something about the Mecha subgenre that makes it feel like it was designed to be a part of an anime. It’s hard to deny that the most memorable robots in anime have enthralled children and adults alike for decades.
However, which shows have had a lasting impact on our culture? Are there too many explosions in the best mecha anime?
If you’re a fan of science fiction, you’ll love mecha.
That being said, if you’d like to further hone your mecha knowledge, I’ve compiled this list of the best resources available.
20. Hoshi no Koe (Voices of a Distant Star)
What better way to begin my list than to talk about a 2002 Makoto Shinkai film that has been underappreciated?
However, despite Shinkai’s well-known use of an extraordinarily realistic (but more vibrant) aesthetic, his films have always included romance as well as science fiction, fantasy, or space themes.
Aliens and a space mission abound in Voices of a Distant Star, taking the sci-fi element a step further while still pitting two loves against the insurmountable odds of time and distance.
Emotion and the painful(yet important) feeling of longing are at the heart of this work, as they are in all Shinkai.
It’s also worth noting that he did all of the work on this film, save for the music.
If you want to observe the early stages of one of today’s most recognized anime filmmakers, here is the place to start.
19. Appleseed (2004)
To be clear, I’m thinking of the film from 2004. And there are two additional films, released in 2007 and 2015, that follow the original.
But not the Appleseed OVA from 1998, which is also called Appleseed.
However, when I first saw the CGI-animated 2004 film Appleseed, I was enthralled. In Appleseed, there were various-sized robots, futuristic cities, beautiful female characters, and even an adequate dubbed version of the film
To be fair, it does appear a little dated these days. However, if you watch the three Appleseed films sequentially, you can see how CGI/3D animation has improved.
While there are some romantic overtones in the trilogy, the focus is clearly on the fantastic mecha designs and the accompanying noisy gunfights and explosions.
When I mention that Aldnoah is one of my favorites, let me be crystal clear.
The number zero indicates that I enjoy both the spring and fall seasons.
Even the second season, which many fans despise for sullying the first’s achievements.
Aldnoah, look at this.
In some ways, Zero resembles Shingeki no Kyojin, yet it’s also not.
Fans will be desperate for the following episode after watching the first episode of both shows.
On YouTube, the end of Episode 1 has received a lot of attention. Hiroyuki Sawano composed the music for them as well.
Aldnoah, despite the second season’s events, is still worth a watch.
Zero. While Inaho Kaizuka isn’t the best MC, the mecha battles are entertaining.
If nothing else, keep an eye on Slaine Troyard’s progress.
17. Kidou Keisatsu Patlabor (Patlabor: The Mobile Police)
It’s time for younger anime lovers to discover Patlabor: The Mobile Police, an underrated classic.
It serves as a timely reminder of the power of a well-rounded cast in elevating a project.
After a seven-episode OVA in 1988, the story continued with a 47-episode TV series and two spectacular films starring legends like Mamoru Oshii and Satoshi Kon. The series ended in 2002.
As a slice of life comedy with mecha, the show has a certain charm.
This, on the other hand, is not a Gundam. The robots here aren’t advanced machines that can wipe out entire cities in a single day.
Patlabor’s robots, on the other hand, are more functional. Ones that you can envision existing in the real world at some point in the future.
Because, after all, it’s a robot war between cops and industrial robots.
16. Koukyoushihen Eureka Seven (Eureka Seven)
At least for me, the multi-award-winning Spring 2005 series was a surprise. The anime I expected to be a generic boy-meets-girl story with mecha elements turned out to be completely different.
Yes, there are a lot of romantic components in it. In addition to its excellent animation, the 50-episode anime is also well-written.
For Eureka Seven AO, I wish I could say the same, but it was just okay.
But truly, the first series is outstanding. Renton Thurston’s growth as a character intrigues me since he’s more than simply another awkward adolescent who discovers he has some sort of supernatural ability.
It’s also fantastic in terms of animation and music.
Even though Studio Bones’ mecha combat are few and few between, they’re nevertheless a sight to behold.
15. Koukaku Kidoutai (Ghost in the Shell)
Yes, I am not the iconic upper half of the Ghost in the Shell. Before you grab your pitchfork, I’d want to explain.
Here, I’m speaking solely to the 1995 picture and not to the full series.
In other words, I’m just saying that the first film in the series isn’t as good as the others in terms of mecha animation.
As far as anime movies go, Ghost in the Shell is one of the best. A philosophical and investigative film, it’s also.
I can’t dispute that Motoko Kusanagi is a fantastic character, cyborg or not.
14. Chou Denji Machine Voltes V (Super Electromagnetic Machine Voltes V)
Is seeing Voltes V above Ghost in the Shell a betrayal?
Occasionally, a show’s success can be attributed to a combination of nostalgia and childish amazement.
In many ways, Voltes V resembles a priceless national asset. My country has a generation of children (and their irritated parents) who saw this on local television every night.
The animation is simple, and the result is obvious.
However, it was a hit with the kids and a hit with me.
The five good guys coming together to form a giant robot was an awesome visual treat.
As if that weren’t enough, Voltes V is a symbol of democracy, hope, and rebellion in my country, making it the most sociopolitically significant anime.
13. Macross F (Macross Frontier)
Unlike other anime series, Macross has a unique scale, story, and audience.
I didn’t anticipate singing, music, and space combat to make for such a great mix.
Macross stands as a monument to the power of anime narrative. But if you’re short on time, I recommend checking out Frontier.
What Macross Frontier is really about is Alto Saotome and his friends Sheryl Nome and Ranka Lee teaming together to defeat an extraterrestrial danger in the style of a classic space opera.
Masterful direction by Shoji Kawamori ensures that the mecha combat and character development all contribute to what makes Macross F special.
12. Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
See? Another Ghost in the Shell entry made the cut, mainly because of the mecha awesomeness it offers.
Except for the lifeless CGI sequel SAC 2045, the Stand Alone Complex series explores the relationship between humans and machines, as well as the social ills of a dystopian society.
In comparison to other mecha shows, this one doesn’t have quite as much going on in terms of action. Though it’s 2D and 3D, Production IG’s animation and sound design will endure the test of time. As well as the fact that it possesses.
If you enjoyed Psycho-Pass, you’ll enjoy SAC.
Without Stand Alone Complex, the former would not exist or have had the success it has.
Gridman’s eleventh appearance on this list
On my list of mecha series, Gridman is the newest.
Why, therefore, did it come so close to making the top ten?
As an original animation, no one could predict where it would go.
Second, it evoked a sense of mystery while exhibiting tokusatsu-style mecha action, feeling both new and familiar at the same time.
A real bummer.
Gridman was underappreciated and underappreciated. Is the beginning’s admittedly low-key fanservice to blame? Perhaps.
Many anime fans, however, prefer to be introduced to their favorite characters with robots and pretty girls.
On top of all that, there’s suspense, unique visual effects (courtesy of Studio Trigger), and a story that only gets better toward the end.
10. Full Metal Panic!
The Full Metal Panic! series has undergone a number of transitions, from Studio Gonzo to Kyoto Animation to Xebec for its unexpected reappearance in 2018.
If you enjoy romantic comedies, you’ll enjoy this.
It’s a full-on panic! The military and mecha backdrop doesn’t detract from the comedy’s strength, despite its unconventional appearance.
The Fumoffu series is unquestionably the most beloved by fans (for good reason). The first season, on the other hand, is a safe bet.
In addition, you’ll finally learn the identity of Bonta-kun. Which you’ve probably seen in fan-made anime videos and goods stores.
9. Magic Knight Rayearth
Magic Knight Rayearth may be a name unfamiliar to you, and that’s understandable.
In spite of my age, this is a very great mecha show for a wide audience—and not just me.
Magic Knight Rayearth was a game-changer for local anime TV shows in my country. With a trio of ladies at the forefront, this show was different from the typical shounen or mecha.
They were more than just love interests or sidekicks. Everyone at my school adored Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu, and we all had our favorite Magic Knights.
Magic Knight Rayearth, on the other hand, demonstrated that mecha can blend with other genres, such as shoujo and fantasy. Here, you’ll find unique mecha designs that you won’t find anyplace else.
8. Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans
For those wondering why Gundam has not been mentioned, it is because its best works deserve to be so highly regarded in this ranking.
Iron-Blooded Orphans, on the other hand, doesn’t feel like a Gundam. No prior knowledge of the previous shows is required to enjoy this one.
A large portion of humanity has colonized Mars in IBO’s future.
As long as Earth is still dominated by humans, there is a problem: governmental negligence is widespread.
Aina Bernstein, a young Kudelia, intends to remedy this situation by paying a visit to Earth. To do so, she must first make it through the journey, which has only a few but extremely harsh action segments.
Promare, a 2019 anime original film, is the most recent addition to my list.
This is not necessarily a brand-new concept.
If you’re familiar with Studio Trigger’s high-octane series Kill la Kill and Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, you’ll recognize the team behind this new project.
In this sense, it is the long-lost sibling of those two series, albeit a far better one.
At first glance, it appears as if Promare was designed to be fashionable and vivid.
Although the CGI isn’t perfect (which detracts from the overall excitement), the developers’ enthusiasm and drive shine through in Promare.
6. Sidonia no Kishi (Knights of Sidonia)
Knights of Sidonia is a sleeper mecha hit from the last generation, with a third season on the way.
Was there room for another manga like Shingeki no Kyojin in a time when the community already had one?
Yes, there are considerable changes between Sidonia no Kishi and Attack on Titan.
However, they both succeed in making the audience feel forlorn. It’s as if the good guys’ efforts and sacrifices will never lead to victory – to a life free of violence and bloodshed.
Check watch the first and second seasons of Knights of Sidonia if you want to see 3D/CG mechs done well.
The scope, accompanying score, and sound design of the game’s fights will astound you.
5. Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn
When it debuted in 2010, Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn breathed new life into the 1980s brand by bringing it to a new audience.
In honor of Sunrise’s 30th anniversary as a mecha-related studio, this was a special project.
Hiroyuki Sawano, a popular composer, was on the team, thus you can expect god-tier combat music.
As an OVA, each of its seven episodes clocks in at an hour long. There are seven parts to it, just as in a movie.
Even if you haven’t seen any of the earlier Gundam films, this one features some of the best mecha battles ever.
I think even non-mecha aficionados should see it at least once for its morally nuanced, politically rich epic.
4. Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin
As it turns out, my top five includes not one but two Gundam-themed entries.
That’s how important Gundam has been to the mecha genre..
As opposed to Unicorn, The Origin made its debut in 2015, making it a more recent creation. However, it’s an OVA with six feature-length episodes, much like the last one.
An excellent 3D/CGI is uncommon in anime, and this one is no exception. Only the mecha elements of the Origin may have been 3D/CGI, but I’m just nitpicking.
The first episode’s opening scene has no problem enticing you. In terms of its action sequences, this is also true.
Its political and emotional prowess are undeniable, like any great Gundam enterprise.
3. Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch
No mention of Pizza Girl or Mr. Lelouch Lamperouge, I’m sure, has piqued the curiosity of many.
So, there you have it.
Code Geass is the only entry here that has received both critical praise and widespread recognition.
An accomplishment in and of itself: not all anime series receive the attention they deserve.
If you haven’t already seen it, I strongly advise you to do so in order to adequately prepare yourself. If you’ve already watched it, give it a second look.
You can’t miss out on the emotional highs that Code Geass provides. After the second season, it’s even more enjoyable. Have fun with the sleight-of-hand and melodrama.
Sunrise is well known for its Gundams, but this is its most impressive mecha.
2. Neon Genesis Evangelion + The End of Evangelion
My second-place finisher is the series that propelled Studio Gainax to lasting acclaim.
It doesn’t matter if you believe this is overpriced or if you think it should have been my number one.
The Eva Units of Shinji, Asuka, and Rei are the most well-known anime robots after the Gundams.
At times, their design is awe-inspiring, strange, and even a little disturbing.
This is the one to watch if you’re looking for a mecha movie that’s also filled with emotion and heartbreak.
It’s a philosophical and psychological masterpiece that altered the perception of anime among critics both inside and outside of Japan.
1. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
I hope NGE fans aren’t offended by my choice of number one.
This is an anime series with more than 25 episodes, so you know it’s legit.
As a mecha fan, why is this show my favorite?
I’m reminded of why I fell in love with the genre in the first place when I saw Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: It’s crazy, exhilarating, and filled with color.
The aesthetics and mind-boggling scenes of Gurren Lagann, however, aren’t the only things that make it a must-see.
An excellent mix of comedy, action, adventure, and philosophical questions is also present.
Unlike NGE, it’s not as heavy-handed in the final department, but it’s also better suited for younger viewers.
People of all ages are awestruck by Mecha’s ability to excite their imaginations. And Gurren Lagann, I feel, is the finest at it in my opinion.