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Best Mecha Anime

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Brave Bang Bravern

If the success of the Transformers movies is to be believed, people love watching robots fight each other. Anime has been providing these epic over-the-top action stories since Gigantor (Tetsujin 28-go) was released back in 1963.


Some historic mecha anime continue to inspire the genre to this day; meanwhile, newer shows try to innovate with new forms of storytelling and action. Mecha anime are not going anywhere anytime soon thanks to these fantastic shows, regardless of the genre’s contemporary popularity or presence. For people looking to dip their toes into this universe, here are some of the best mecha anime to start with.

Best Winter 2024 Mecha Anime

The Winter 2024 season has plenty of good anime in its lineup. Solo Leveling is the quarter’s biggest name, and the manhwa adaptation has been a fun ride so far. Classroom of the Elite, Mashle, Delicious in Dungeon, The Dangers in My Heart, Kingdom, and A Sign of Affection are also pretty great, and they cover quite a few genres and themes.

Unsurprisingly, the season has far fewer mecha anime than fantasy, isekai, romance, or action shows; however, Winter 2024 has more options than most seasons. Metallic Rouge features mecha-like transformation, although the show is more classic sci-fi than a member of its subgenre. Synduality: Noir Part 2 is a decent continuation that has been building up momentum. Both of those shows might be able to scratch someone’s itch for robots, but they are not the season’s best mecha anime.

Brave Bang Bravern!

Brave Bang Bravern!

MyAnimeList Score
7.22

Japanese Title
Yuuki Bakuhatsu Bang Bravern

Release Date
January 11, 2024

Studio
CygamesPictures

Number of Episodes
12

Synduality: Noir is good, but its small mecha designs might not hit the mark with every long-time fan of the genre; that said, the show is worth a watch. In comparison, Brave Bang Bravern! is more of a traditional mecha story, albeit one that is also unabashedly bizarre. On the surface, this series appears to be a fairly by-the-number representative, at least when the plot is broken down into its basic elements. During an international military exercise revolving around human-controlled mecha, the soldiers are attacked by highly advanced enemies with seemingly alien origins. While on the verge of total annihilation, Isami Ao suddenly finds himself staring at a colorful, massive, and talkative robot named Bravern. Despite his vocal reservations, Isami agrees to enter Bravern, forming a partnership that pushes back the enemies. In hindsight, this attack represented the start of a war that would push humanity to its brink and force them to rely on a Super Robot they do not understand.

Also, Bravern’s dialogue mostly consists of innuendos that would not be out of place in an erotica novel. Meanwhile, Isami seems to be constantly in the middle of a panic attack.

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Brave Bang Bravern! is the definition of weird, and it almost ventures into parody territory at times. The anime essentially takes a “serious” military mecha setting and throws a ’80s Super Robot into the mix, creating a peculiar whole that suffers from some tonal whiplash but is still constantly entertaining. Funny as the show can be, Brave Bang Bravern! is not a pure comedy either, and most episodes feature quite a lot of action. Winter 2024 is so overflowing with great action anime that a few series have fallen by the wayside, and CygamesPictures’ anime is one of the latter. The animation is impressive, and the fights are well-choreographed and fun. In terms of characters, Bravern completely steals every scene, and the robot is complemented by a range of likable-enough humans. Isami comes across as a punchline in the first few episodes, but he does grow into his new role well. Lewis Smith is one of the better examples of an American character in an anime, and he is arguably more interesting than Isami. Lulu, a girl with mysterious origins, can be polarizing as her introduction is somewhat off-putting, but she is fine too.

Now, on to the best mecha anime ever…

28 Magic Knight Rayearth

MyAnimeList: 7.46 (Season 1)

ruen god magic knight rayearth

Magic Knight Rayearth

Release Date
October 17, 1994

Studio
Tokyo Movie Shinsha

Number of Episodes
49

Based On
Manga

Creator
Clamp

Streaming Service(s)
Amazon Prime Video , Crunchyroll , Funimation , Tubi

Magic Knight Rayearth is an isekai, magical girl, and mecha anime. A series that combines so many different ingredients should be a chaotic mess, but this ’90s cult classic somehow makes it work. The show is held together by its three female protagonists, all of whom have strong and well-defined personalities that allow them to grow throughout the story.

While initially quite comedic, Magic Knight Rayearth is not afraid to get dark or serious if the narrative calls for it. Now, as good as it is, this series does not focus too heavily on its mecha element, and the fight sequences are fine but nothing too special.

27 Gargantia On The Verdurous Planet

MyAnimeList: 7.45

Gargantia On The Verdurous Planet anime

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet

Japanese Title
Suisei no Gargantia

Release Date
April 7, 2013

Studio
Production I.G

Number of Episodes
13

Based On
Manga

Creator
Wataru Mitogawa

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet envisions a future where humanity has abandoned a dying Earth and taken to the skies. Once among the stars, humans formed an alliance that brainwashed its soldiers to focus exclusively on fighting an alien threat. One day, Ledo, a soldier, crashes onto Earth and discovers that the water-covered planet still has life on it. As he meets the locals, Ledo begins to question his programming.

An ambitious sci-fi anime with sporadic action sequences, Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet‘s highlight is its world-building. Ledo is also a great and grounded protagonist, one who adapts realistically to the revelations he experiences.

26 Star Driver

MyAnimeList: 7.19

Star Driver anime mecha, characters and mecha fight

Star Driver

Japanese Title
Star Driver: Kagayaki no Takuto

Release Date
October 3, 2010

Studio
Bones

Number of Episodes
25

Star Driver finds a rhythm in its first episode and adheres to it for nearly the entirety of its run; basically, if the first few chapters do not land with a viewer, then they can probably move on to something else.

On an island that is home to stylish mecha known as Cybodies that can only be used in a unique realm outside of reality, a secret organization strives to destroy the last shrine maiden’s seal so they can use these powerful machines anywhere they like. Luckily for the maiden, Takuto Tsunashi arrives just in time to act as her carefree knight.

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Star Driver mainly consists of Takuto fighting members of this organization, with most episodes following this formula with little to no deviation. While this can grow repetitive, the show’s fantastic animation, killer soundtrack, and likable main characters help stave off boredom.

25 Fafner

MyAnimeList: 7.26

fafner anime mecha

Fafner

Japanese Title
Soukyuu no Fafner

Release Date
July 5, 2004

Studio
Xebec

Number of Episodes
52

Streaming Service(s)
Funimation

Fafner is a surprisingly long anime that debuted in 2004 and has gone on to produce sequel seasons and even a collection of movies. Set decades after aliens invaded and destroyed Japan, Fafner follows a group of teenagers tasked with piloting giant robots to fight off these threats, all the while they are supported by their families.

The latter’s inclusion helps set this story apart from many other mecha shows since the anime devotes a significant amount of time to exploring the relationship between the pilots and their parents, and these dynamics are generally depicted in a more positive light than in something like Neon Genesis Evangelion.

24 Space Runaway Ideon

MyAnimeList: 7.05

Space Runaway Ideon

Space Runaway Ideon

Japanese Title
Densetsu Kyojin Ideon

Release Date
May 8, 1980

Studio
Nippon Sunrise

Number of Episodes
39

Debuting in 1980, Space Runaway Ideon fell into obscurity after completing its run with 1982’s The Ideon: Be Invoked movie. This super robot anime revolves around humanity’s conflict with an alien race known as the Buff Clan, a meeting that happens on the planet Solo. This world holds a powerful energy source that people will do anything to get their hands on.

Space Runaway Ideon strikes a grim and dark tone early on and seldom lets up after that point. As more than 40 years have passed since the series aired, this ’80s anime is unavoidably dated in many ways, but its story and themes hold up well. The movie is also great.

23 SSSS.Gridman

MyAnimeList: 7.12

SSSS GRIDMAN anime characters

SSSS.Gridman

Release Date
October 7, 2018

Studio
Trigger

Number of Episodes
12

SSSS.Gridman tends to be polarizing, as the anime’s appeal comes down to one of its central antagonists: Akane Shinjou. Not only does this character hog the limelight, but she also goes through the most significant arc in the story while also driving the plot forward. If she fails to click with someone, then SSSS.Gridman will likely fall flat. However, the reverse also holds true.

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Trigger anime pits the eponymous mecha against a plethora of creative kaiju in epic battles. Naturally, these fights all have brilliant animation and music. Although a bit slow at first, the story blossoms during the season’s second half as it begins to dive into its main antagonist; that said, the protagonist is basically an empty vessel.

22 Knights Of Sidonia

MyAnimeList: 7.64 (Season 1)

Knights Of Sidonia anime mecha

Knights of Sidonia

Japanese Title
Sidonia no Kishi

Release Date
April 11, 2014

Studio
Polygon Pictures

Based On
Manga

Creator
Tsutomu Nihei

Number of Episodes
24

Debuting as the first Netflix original anime, Knights of Sidonia came with an entry barrier due to its platform exclusivity and its 3D CG animation. The latter tends to be a hard sell for most people, but this art style is a good fit for a sci-fi mecha anime set in the harsh coldness of space. Knights of Sidonia tells a rather conventional story in most ways, as it follows an outcast who has a talent for an antiquated brand of mecha that proves to be the most dependable line of defense against an alien threat. Naturally, this leads to plenty of awesome fight sequences.

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As entertaining as this part of the narrative is, Knights of Sidonia builds most of its intrigue through its exploration of humanity’s development. Earth’s remnants have established roots on an asteroid, crafting a colony built on incredible technological achievements and a fragile power imbalance.

21 Giant Robo The Animation: The Day The Earth Stood Still

MyAnimeList: 7.79 (Season 1)

Giant Robo The Animation The Day The Earth Stood Still

Giant Robo the Animation: The Day the Earth Stood Still

Japanese Title
Giant Robo the Animation: Chikyuu ga Seishi Suru Hi

Release Date
July 23, 1992

Studio
Phoenix Entertainment

Number of Episodes
7

Giant Robo the Animation is a slightly unusual mecha anime recommendation since, despite its name, the eponymous Giant Robo takes a backseat for lengthy stretches of the OVA series. The anime envisions a world redefined by a fantastical power source and a secret decade-long conflict between the evil Big Fire and heroic Experts of Justice. The latter consists of Earth’s greatest warriors and a boy who can control the titular mecha.

Even if it treats Giant Robo as a special attraction, this anime is still a classic in the mecha genre. Featuring high production value along with generally great characters and world-building, Giant Robo the Animation hits the mark on nearly every level. The anime also improves as it goes along, culminating in an unforgettable final OVA episode.

20 Getter Robo: Armageddon

MyAnimeList: 7.74

getter robo armageddon

Getter Robo: Armageddon

Japanese Title
Change!! Getter Robo: Sekai Saigo no Hi

Release Date
August 25, 1998

Studio
Brain’s Base, Studio OX

Number of Episodes
13

Super Robot stories typically combine mecha with superpowers (or mythical origins), and Getter Robo pioneered the sub-genre. Debuting as an anime and manga in 1974, the original show is influential and important, but it can be difficult to revisit in this day and age. Thankfully, Getter Robo has gotten a few OVA series that are more accessible to modern viewers. Newcomers looking to get into the franchise should start with 2004’s New Getter Robo.

That said, Getter Robo: Armageddon is too awesome to not get a mention here. This anime revolves around humanity’s battle against the Invaders, an alien threat that can assume a wide array of forms. With Earth reduced to essentially a wasteland, the Getter team roams the apocalypse in search of enemies to fight. Getter Robo: Armageddon opens with three fantastic episodes before losing its way for a while due to a change in director; however, the series picks up steam towards the end and produces some fantastic battle sequences.

19 The Big O

MyAnimeList: 7.53

The Big O anime

The Big O

Release Date
October 13, 1999

Studio
Sunrise

Number of Episodes
26

Based On
Manga

Creator
Hitoshi Ariga

The Big O is one of those rare anime that found a bigger audience in Western nations than in Japan. It is also not difficult to see why: the show’s neo-noir aesthetic and cool protagonist were perfect for a decade that had already spawned Batman: The Animated Series​​​​​​.

A giant robot mecha anime, The Big 0 takes place in a city with a population of amnesiacs. While these people have pressed on for decades without knowledge of their shared history, they exist in a metropolis with no future, one that has a tendency to serve as the playground for battles between massive robots. Roger Smith can typically be found in one of these mecha.

18 Promare

MyAnimeList: 7.92

Promare anime mecha fight

Promare

Release Date
May 24, 2019

Director
Hiroyuki Imaishi

Studio
Trigger

Streaming Service(s)
Max

Promare is unfiltered Studio Trigger goodness. The 2019 movie envisions a world split by discrimination against a group known as the “Burnish,” and two people from opposite walks of life have to come together when the fate of the planet is on the line.

“Hype” is the name of the game here, as Promare delivers a full-frontal assault to people’s eyes and ears. Just to be clear, that is a positive thing. Boasting unsurprisingly stellar animation and music, Promare is a blast of energy that throws out some awesome mecha fights alongside its colorful characters and decent world-building.

17 Bokurano

MyAnimeList: 7.61

Bokurano anime characters

Bokurano

Release Date
April 9, 2007

Studio
Gonzo

Number of Episodes
24

Based On
Manga

Creator
Mohiro Kitoh

Bokurano is a “realistic” mecha anime, in the sense that it tries to depict the world’s reaction to massive battles involving monsters and robots in as grounded a way as possible. In this universe, children must pilot a mecha to protect the Earth from deadly creatures. The catch? They will die.

Bokurano is dark, frustrating, and sporadically brilliant. The anime has a few issues that stop it from achieving full greatness, mainly that most of the characters lack depth, but the anime’s high points more than justify sitting through its weaker moments.

16 The King Of Braves GaoGaiGar

MyAnimeList: 7.84

The King Of Braves GaoGaiGar anime

The King of Braves GaoGaiGar

Japanese Title
Yuusha-Ou GaoGaiGar

Release Date
February 1, 1997

Studio
Sunrise

Number of Episodes
49

The Brave franchise was Sunrise and Takara’s attempt at crafting a replacement for Transformers as the franchise’s popularity dwindled during the ’90s. Split into eight shows, each of which takes place in separate timelines, Brave didn’t hit a home run until its very last incarnation, The King of Braves GaoGaiGar. Following a child sent to Earth courtesy of a mecha lion, GaoGaiGar finds the protagonist and a group of other heroes protecting the planet from an alien invasion.

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Epic action defines this anime, and while the show starts off quite episodic, GaoGaiGar adopts a serial narrative structure as it goes on, becoming all the better for it. The anime produced a decent spin-off dubbed Betterman and a fantastic sequel OVA series called The King of Braves GaoGaiGar Final.

15 FLCL

MyAnimeList: 8.03 (Season 1)

FLCL anime mecha

FLCL

Release Date
April 26, 2000

Studio
Gainax, Production I.G, Signal.MD, Production GoodBook, Nut, Revoroot, MontBlanc Pictures, Akatsuki

Number of Episodes
24

Streaming Service(s)
Hulu , Max

A fever dream of an anime, FLCL can be described as a wide array of things. A surreal comedy packed with philosophical ideas, the anime is an avant-garde masterpiece that requires multiple viewings to fully comprehend; conversely, some might describe the show as pretentious or more style than substance.

Regardless of whether someone loves, hates, or feels indifferent to the 2000 OVA series and its more polarizing successors, FLCL is ultimately one of the most important mecha anime of all time. What other show has robots coming out of the protagonist’s forehead?

Unfortunately, FLCL‘s sequels have struggled to capture the original’s magic.

14 The Vision Of Escaflowne

MyAnimeList: 7.67

the three main characters of the anime together in artwork for the show with their swords and mechs

The Vision of Escaflowne

Japanese Title
Tenkuu no Escaflowne

Release Date
April 2, 1996

Studio
Sunrise

Number of Episodes
26

Based On
Manga

Creator
Shōji Kawamori

Streaming Service(s)
Funimation

The Vision of Escaflowne takes inspiration from multiple genres to create a familiar but unique experience. Blending fantasy, romance, and mecha action, the isekai anime centers around Hitomi, a girl with a unique power to predict the future, who is taken to the fantasy world of Gaea by Van, a king. Once there, she becomes embroiled in a tense conflict that will determine the planet’s fate. This war involves Van using a powerful mecha called Escaflowne.

Airing during the 1990s, The Vision of Escaflowne is rightfully regarded as a cult classic, and the show has aged reasonably well. While impressive for its time period, the anime’s animation and art style are naturally antiquated by today’s standards; that said, the series is still pleasant to the eyes. More importantly, the story is timeless.

13 Patlabor: The Mobile Police

MyAnimeList: 7.68

Key art of Division 2 fomr Patlabor The Movie 2

Patlabor: The Mobile Police – The TV Series

Japanese Title
Kidou Keisatsu Patlabor: On Television

Release Date
October 11, 1989

Studio
Sunrise

Number of Episodes
47

Based On
Manga

Creator
Masami Yuki

Patlabor was a pretty big deal during the late ’80s and early ’90s, producing OVAs, TV series, and two very good, albeit very different movies. The franchise takes place in an alternate reality where work robots are commonplace, so naturally, there needs to be a task force designed to keep these technological entities in check. This division of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police has its own mechas called Patlabors.

Both the series and Patlabor: The Movie offer highly entertaining cases of the week-type storylines built upon a strong roster of characters. They hold up quite well, especially the feature film. Patlabor 2: The Movie is a different beast entirely, focusing far more on social and political themes. This entry was directed by Mamoru Oshii, who followed Patlabor 2: The Movie with Ghost in the Shell.

12 Gunbuster

MyAnimeList: 7.87 (Season 1)

gunbuster anime

Gunbuster

Japanese Title
Top wo Nerae! Gunbuster

Release Date
October 7, 1988

Studio
Gainax

Number of Episodes
12

Gunbuster was Hideaki Anno’s directorial debut, and the creator would follow up the anime with Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water and Neon Genesis Evangelion. Gunbuster traverses similar ground to NGE, albeit while also throwing in a parody to the Aim for the Ace! tennis manga.

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An OVA series, Gunbuster blends sci-fi robot action with multifaceted characters, intriguing social themes, and even slice of life elements. More importantly, it juggles all of these things well. The anime accomplishes a lot during its short runtime, and the story builds to an impeccable crescendo. Diebuster, the sequel, does not quite hit the same highs in terms of its story, but it is no slouch in the action and animation department.

11 Broken Blade

MyAnimeList: 7.63 (Movie 1)

Break Blade anime mecha fight

Broken Blade

Release Date
May 29, 2010

Studio
Production I.G, Xebec

Number of Episodes
6 OVAs/Movies

Based On
Manga

Creator
Yunosuke Yoshinaga

Consisting of six OVAs/movies, Break Blade takes the familiar concept of a hero piloting a mecha to protect a nation from a powerful invading force and adds a pleasant twist through the inclusion of a magic system. The anime also devotes a decent amount of time to developing the core relationships that define the story’s main characters and conflicts.

While that’s all well and good, the chief reason to watch Break Blade is its brilliant, visceral, and punishing battles. Each OVA features at least a handful of great mecha duels, ones that are beautifully animated and consistently captivating.

MyAnimeList: 7.60 (Season 1)

full metal panic invisible victory

Full Metal Panic

Release Date
January 8, 2002

Studio
Gonzo, Kyoto Animation, Xebec

Number of Episodes
49

Based On
Light Novel

Creator
Shoji Gatoh

Streaming Service(s)
Crunchyroll , Funimation , Hulu , Tubi

Full Metal Panic!‘s popularity has been somewhat inconsistent over the years. The original series and The Second Raid are well-regarded as 2000s mecha anime, but the 2017 movies and 2018’s Invisible Victory series went by mostly unnoticed. Taken as a whole, Full Metal Panic! is a fun entry-level action mecha anime serviced by two strong characters in Sousuke Sagara and Kaname Chidori.

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While its political and social themes are just fine, the series tends to deliver in the action department. Full Metal Panic! can even be pretty hilarious, particularly in the first season’s opening episodes and the Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu spin-off.

9 Armored Trooper Votoms

MyAnimeList: 7.70

Best Mecha Anime

Armored Trooper Votoms

Japanese Title
Soukou Kihei Votoms

Release Date
April 1, 1983

Studio
Sunrise

Number of Episodes
52

Streaming Service(s)
HIDIVE

Not many mecha anime have spawned into long-running series but Ryousuke Takahashi managed to do so with Armored Trooper Votoms. With the original released back in 1983, the show was the first real dive into the realistic mecha subgenre of anime. The plot focuses far more on the characters than on the wars happening as well giving it a much different focus than other mecha anime.

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