Best Mecha Anime—Top 10
What Is Mecha Anime?
Mecha anime is a genre of Japanese cartoons that focuses on robots. The tone of mecha anime tends to be epic, with large-scale battles between robots, although the tone can range in seriousness from dramatic to quite comedic. Some mecha anime shows and films feature robots that are almost like super heroes (this sub-genre is known as super robot), and some feature robots that are piloted by, and therefore of secondary importance to, humans (a sub-genre known as real robot).
The Top 10 Mecha Anime
Here is my list of the top ten mecha anime shows and films, including some that number among the greatest masterpieces of the anime industry overall. If you have any shows or films to add, please write it in a comment, and I would love to check it out!
10. Full Metal Panic
I noticed recently that people are really forgetting about Full Metal Panic, which is a shame because it is a classic and a must-see for every mecha anime fan. It is simultaneously epic, funny, sad, and complex, with amazing battles that you can't miss.
Full Metal Panic is set in a parallel universe, at the end of the Cold War. Sousuke is an undercover anti-terrorist agent on a mission to protect Chidori, a Japanese schoolgirl. As part of his undercover role, he attends her school, where his military mindset leads to some misunderstandings.
If you need a break from mecha anime, you should check out the spinoff series, Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu. This spinoff focuses on the high school romance story line, cutting out the military and political aspect. Also worth watching, this spinoff is very ironic and self aware, playing off of anime stereotypes.
I came upon Blassreiter by chance. It showed up on MyAnimeList with a recommendation of 10/10, and when I watched the trailed I was amazed I had never heard of it. I decided to watch it, and it was really worth the time. Now I pass on the recommendation to you!
Blassreiter takes place in Germany ("blassreiter" means "pale rider" in German). There is an outbreak of a biomechanical plague that turns corpses into "mechanized monsters." These monsters can take over machines, and are being held at bay by the Xenogenesis Assault Team. There are several different story lines that intertwine throughout this series, and, like Full Metal Panic, I think that the storyline is one of the main draws of the show.
8. Asura Cryin'
The highlight of Asura Cryin' is not the storyline, but the mecha battles, which are honestly some of the best I have seen so far.
Tomoharu is the protagonist of this series. Three years before the show takes place, he was on an airplane with his best friend Misao. Tomoharu barely survives, but Misao does not, and now haunts Tomoharu. Tomoharu is now in high school, when he gets a mysterious trunk filled with secrets. Then the adventures begin—Tomoharu begins learning the secrets as people show up to try to take the trunk from him.
Asura Cryin' Trailer
7. Gurren Lagann
On my original top 10 list, I completely forgot to include Gurren Lagann (I included Casshern Sins instead), so I am indebted to the good people at Reddit for reminding me. This film definitely deserves a spot in the top 10 mecha anime series, as one of the most talked-about, watched, and highly-rated mecha anime out there. If you ever questioned whether you should watch it, the answer is an emphatic yes! Really I'd recommend it as a must-watch for any fan who likes great action sequences, an epic soundtrack, and a good story with unique animation.
The protagonists of Gurren Lagann grow up underground in a future time when humans have been forced beneath the surface by a villain named Lordgenome. They journey to the surface of the earth, where they meet new friends and take on Lordgenome and his allies.
And yes, this anime is epic!
Gurren Lagann Trailer
You have probably already seen or heard about Gundam Seed and Gundam Seed Destiny. This was my first mecha anime that really brought out the fan in me and inspired me to watch other series in the same genre.
Like almost all mecha anime shows, this one is set in the future, when humankind has divided into two races: the Naturals and the Coordinators. The Naturals are humans as we know them today, and the Coordinators are genetically-altered, living in outer space. They are at war, and the series follows Kira Yamato, a Coordinator, as he becomes involved in the war as well.
Gundam SEED Trailer
5. Macross Frontier
Along with Gundam, Macross Frontier is probably the second most well-known mecha series, so it is likely you have seen this. What I like the most about Macross Frontier are the mecha designs and the epic music.
This is one of many Macross series. This one tells the story of a colony fleet looking for a habitable planet. Three of the people on the ship form a love triangle that is the focus of the series: Alto Saotome, a pilot, Sheryl Nome, a famous pop singer, and Ranka Lee, an aspiring pop singer.
Macross Frontier AMV
Evangelion, in my opinion, is the mother of all mecha anime movies, and the most well-known anime in the world, including in the United States. There is talk about Hollywood turning it into a live action movie, which is exciting except for the fact that Hollywood will never do it justice.
This anime had such critical success and such a controversial ending that two subsequent movies were created, each containing an alternate ending. Shinji is the 14-year-old protagonist in a future world fifteen years after the Second Impact, a "meteor" that caused global reverberations. The world is littered with Angels, whose coming were predicted in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Human beings pilot Evangelions to fight the Angels, and Shinji's estranged father works with the Evangelions. Shinji gets sucked into the world of Evangelions and finds himself thrown into the fighting, but he also witnesses the huge emotional and human costs.
Evangelion 1.0 Movie Trailer
3. Gundam 00
This is the Gundam series that threw aliens into the Gundam universe for the first time. To be honest, it wasn't the smartest move in my opinion, because the story wasn't really polished. However, the animations, battles, character, and soundtrack are perfect and awesome to watch in HD. Take my advice and stick to the series, not the movie.
In the series, humans have depleted fossil fuels, and now power derives from controlling alternative energy sources. Three major power blocs control the new inexhaustible energy source, but since only the power blocs and their allies can use this power, constant warfare is taking place. A private military organization invents four machines called Gundams with the goal of world peace. However, a traitor from the military organization helps the power blocs build similar machines to resist the Gundam's efforts.
Gundam 00 Trailer
2. Code Geass
Code Geass is how you make perfect anime. Really, this series had everything from great start to shocking ending that I really didn't expect to happen.
In this series, the world is split into three superpowers: Britannia, the Chinese Federation, and the European Union. Britannia exiles Prince Lelouch to Japan, which Britannia then proceeds to take over. Lelouch has to take care of his blind sister during this time, and vows to take revenge on Britannia. During an attack Lelouch almost dies, but his life is saved by a girl who grants him his life along with a contract that gives him immense power, but also certain solitude. Thus equipped, Lelouch begins his quest for revenge.
Code Geass Trailer
1.Winner - Gundam Unicorn
The original video animation makes Gundam Unicorn the winner for mecha anime. The animation is freaking sick; I think it's the best out of all anime to date. It has a really great story that actually makes sense, and the details, sound, and cinematography are on another level.
A boy named Banagher Links meets a girl named Audrey who is on a mission to prevent Cardeas Vist from giving up the key to a box that could determine the fate of the world. On this journey, among other twists, Banagher inherits Unicorn Gundam, and embarks on an enthralling adventure.
Watch the AMW in HD - 1080p. It's really sick. A half of a year was spent on each episode, and the time and effort is apparent. The quality and detail of the animation was well worth the time.