There are literally hundred of anime that feature mechs. For those unfamiliar with the term, Mecha, also known as mechs, is a broad genre of walking vehicles which are usually controlled by a pilot. The size of mechas can vary according to the story and concepts involved. The mecha genre is one of the oldest genres in anime, and is still alive & strong well into the new millennium. Join us as Japan Cinema counts down the absolute Top 10 Mecha Anime of all time:
40 years ago, something happened that wiped the memories of everyone in it. Unfortunately, the people of Paradigm City were very busy before then, making giant robots and monsters. The beauty of The Big O is in the storytelling: the individual plots are reminiscent of a noir detective’s adventures, but with a weird sci-fi twist. Many individual episodes are interesting enough, but it’s hard not to wish they formed a more coherent, finished, whole. As it is, the series has enormous potential which lands it at the number 10 slot.
Die Buster the Movie, mixes large chunks of the second OVA series with a few altered or newly-animated scenes to create a truncated take on Nono’s story. The overall goal of the film is accomplished by showcasing two cool storylines and fans of the original to the new fans of the anime series can definitely enjoy. Mech fans don’t despair, since when the Gunbuster is finally truly unveiled (you don’t even get to see it until halfway thorugh and then only for a short period) the real treat begins and it becomes one of the coolest moment in 80’s , 90’s, or even current anime mech scenes/battles.
RahXephon was at first dismissed by some as a clone of Neon Genesis Evangelion with it the similar idea of a protagonist reluctant to use the giant mecha RahXephon to fight otherworldly invaders. Those who watched the show realised thats where the similarities end. RahXephon features a creative storyline: a world in which music plays a key role in human events. Music literally shapes the world as a whole and when two races collide. Visually, it’s gorgeous with very fluid animation. The character and mech designs are phenomenal, with great color usage that’s thematically relevant. Rahxephon is actually a difficult anime to explain. I can say that it’s somewhat of a love story as well as a tale of apocalypse, with a large cast of characters. But still, I can promise that if ever there was a giant robo anime to come close to the success of Neon Genesis Evangelion, Rahxephon is it.
Escaflowne is a science-fiction fantasy epic set in a world that’s a cross between Medieval Europe and the Asian/Middle Eastern regions. It is a story of an ordinary girl named Hitomi who travels to another world and finds herself its possible savior. It’s got a heartfelt story with some action thrown into the mix as well as a bit of comic relief thanks to Merle. In short, this is a great anime series, certainly one that winds up in a lot of those “must-see” and “classic anime” lists. It’s also a fully-contained work in itself, the vision of a director which throughout its 26 episodes keeps you on your toes constantly and just when you thought you knew what or who was behind it all, another great twist puts everything in context. You won’t be disappointed.
Gurren Lagann is one of the best anime shows I have seen in a while. It goes way over the top and enjoys doing it. It is a show that unapologetically pushes the boundaries of absurdity, and makes it seem not so absurd. Gurren Lagann is a fantastic addition to the super robot anime genre. It speaks to you, especially all you guys out there, in a way no other anime seems to do. The fight scenes are beyond comparison, the story line is fantastic, and everything is… too great, really. Overall I’d recommend this series to those who like giant mechas, bikini wearing babes, and epic battles screaming with energy.
I am not a huge fan of the style of drawing used in this series. Far too many cartoons these days are regressing to this simplictic, childish style of animation. The stories, however, are good enough to help overlook this and the type humor in the show would likely not work as well with more realistic artwork. I grew up watching the original Transformers cartoon and have watched many of the subsequent cartoons that have followed. This one is the first one that mixes the old series and puts a new twist on the characters. This series has plenty of action which reminds me of the original 1980s Tranformers series. Transformers as a whole lands in the middle of the list for being an undeniable classic.
The backdrop for the ensuing Macross story which delves deeper than just two pilots trying to out-perform each other both in the air, and on the ground trying to obtain the affections of their former friend, Myung, who is now the producer for a virtual music idol. Many have called this the anime Top Gun, and I guess it sort of is, except for the whole part about the cybernetic pop star who becomes sentient and tries to slay our two male protagonists out of burning desire. It was codirected by the Cowboy Bebop director Shinichiro Watanabe and it has some of the same themes. Much of the plot hinges on characters confronting their pasts, which are unveiled bit by bit, like the layers of an onion. Story is very deep and thoughtful, quite engaging even for older audience because of its mature theme. The soundtrack to this anime consists of techno style to classical style music, and does exceptional job setting the mood. Great stuff all around.
A spaceship crashes onto a small island and the world comes together trying to figure out how to restore it; aliens come after the ship and intergalactic hell breaks loose, leading us on a space-epic of whose emotional detail and energy Tolstoy or Hugo would definitely have approved. You’ve got a rising pop chanteuse, the boys who love her, the prissy administrator who’ll charm you later, the fighter jocks, the Star Search moments… Ah, it’s grand. The best thing about Robotech is, the music. Each scene, chacter literally had its own score. Each alien had its own theme, Carl Macek and the music director got it right–whenever someone sits down to WATCH something, the MUSIC has to be as intense as the show itself. This whole franchise is handled beautifully and lands itself in the top 3.
I’ve seen all of Zeta Gundam, Char’s Counterattack, 08th MS Team, Gundam F91, and some other Gundam series from different universes since then. This is a great action show, most episodes having at least one decent-length combat sequence, and some having multiple. The action is top-notch; not quite as flashy as can be found now, fifteen years after it Gundam 0083 began, but even so there is enough highly-detailed action to please nearly anyone. The animation is very high quality, with awesome mechanical designs. The actions great with large mobile suit battles and Gundam Vs. Gundam action. The stories pretty good with one or two cool twists,it has a little bit of romance a lot of action, and it foreshadows some of the events of Zeta Gundam. Gundam should be the standard in Mecha anime and should be a good start to those who are looking to get into the genre.
Neon Genesis Evangelion starts out simple enough. A story about a boy named Shinji Ikari coming to a futuristic city and using giant robot-like Evas (Unit-01 himself) to fend off the invading enemies called Angels. While the layers of psychology, philosophy, and symbolism would crush most shows under their own weight and seeming pretentiousness, Anno handles them with adeptness and acute direction. He skillfully weaves them into the story to the point where everything makes complete sense in relation to the characters and storyline. In fact, if you really take time to analyze the story, the characters, and the relationship between the dialogue and visuals with the psychological, philosophical, and symbolic meanings, you’ll see this series does indeed have more depth than almost all others that have attempted to tackle similar subjects. Overall, almost nothing in the sub was quite as bad as it was in the dub version. The battles were better, the characters were better, and the overall mood of the series was better. This is the pinnacle of Mecha anime for this writer. I recommend this to almost anyone I meet. This is why this iconic anime steals the top spot!
There you have it! If you have been looking to get into this classic genre, this should be your starting point. I hope you have enjoyed this list and feel free to sound off with your thoughts and opinions, or your own list, in the comments section!