Top 10 Best Mecha & Robot Anime of All-Time

By checking out the Top 10 Best Mecha and Robot Anime of All Time on this list, you’ll be able to fully grasp the genre’s extensive history. Tracing all the way back to the beginning, robots and mecha are intertwined with the history of manga and anime itself. On an International scale, mecha and giant robots have become synonymous with Japanese culture, manga, and anime. For anyone who likes watching anime, it’s worth delving deeper into its background, and giving a chance to all the titles you see here.

Top 10 Best Mecha and Robot Anime of all time

10. The Big O

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The Big-O is a unique case among anime and the mecha genre. Big action-packed fights are not the story’s focus, there are no young teens dealing with high school drama, and you won’t find any degenerate fan service here. This story lends itself to a blend of pulp noir, cyber sci-fi, and detective mystery. Each of the characters feels distinct and memorable, along with prominent personalities.

Taking place in Paradigm City, the lead hero Roger Smith is a negotiator who slowly discovers the secrets of the ruling Paradigm Corporation and the city’s past regarding a mysterious event that destroyed the outside world.

Originally developed to generate profit with a toy line, the anime eventually combined multiple genres and retro-themed styles to form a show that crossed the world of Japanese anime and American comic books. It balances a fine line between mecha and mystery and deserves to be on every fan’s watchlist.

Top 10 Best Mecha and Robot Anime of all time

9. Bubblegum Crisis

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The Bubblegum Crisis anime broke new ground by introducing four young women as the protagonists in a mercenary group called the Knight Sabers. With their identities hidden, they wear robotic exoskeleton armored suits on missions for their clients. Set in a dark Mega Tokyo of the future that appears to be heavily influenced by the Cyberpunk movies of America. In this world, Tokyo has been split in two by an earthquake, and the most powerful entity is a megacorporation known as Genom. Genom produces Boomers, artificial cybernetic life forms used for labor and in service to humanity.

Technology is never perfect, and Boomers sometimes malfunction or get used by evil individuals to cause crime and mayhem. The AD Police (who later get a spin-off prequel series) is the primary force that deals with illegal Boomer activity, but the Knight Sabers quickly get caught up in a significant plot that brings them against Genom.

This series proved dark, edgy, and dramatic as it dealt with the lives and relationships of the main characters; Sylia, Linna, Nene, and Priss. The technology and action of the show were detailed and attractive, along with original rock ‘n roll pop music. Bubblegum Crisis, unfortunately, ended without a conclusion due to the legal disputes between the two animation studios involved with the series. On a positive note, the series was finally completed with the release of Bubblegum Crash.

Top 10 Best Mecha and Robot Anime of all time

8. The Vision of Escaflowne

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The Vision of Escaflowne is one of the first anime stories that focused on blending mecha with the fantasy genre. Romance drives the story between the main characters Hitomi, a high school female athlete, and Van, the teenage prince of Fenalia. Soon, Hitomi meets Allan, an Asturian knight who also becomes a romantic interest for Hitomi.

This anime brings plots and events familiar to fans of medieval stories featuring politics, romance, and action. Hitomi is caught between two romantic interests and an epic war between kingdoms. Her character is unique and complex, as she is strong-willed and deals with difficult decisions pressured by violence and tragedy.

The retro art style is beautifully made, complete with fantastic animated sequences. Themes dealing with subjects such as war and loss are handled seriously and thoughtfully. Action is not the focus of this series, but there are intense battles. Fights among humans are contrasted by fights between gigantic mecha that resemble knights. However, the series is not fast-paced and chooses to linger on dramatic moments. If you’re looking for an anime that develops complex characters and a thickening plot, this is the anime for you.

Top 10 Best Mecha and Robot Anime of all time

7. Ghost in the Shell

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Masamune Shirow’s Ghost in the Shell has spanned decades of manga, OAVs, tv series, and a feature film. There’s plenty to enjoy here, and audiences can dive as deep into the world of Ghost in the Shell as they want. The anime’s standout achievement is the feature film which remains in the upper echelon of traditional cel-animation movies that truly display the passion and art of the medium.

The neo-noir sci-fi world of Ghost in the Shell is set in a cyberpunk Japan during 2029. Motoko Kusanagi, aka the Major, is a cyborg public security agent and the squad leader of a specialized group known as section 9. The story revolves around a hacker who’s blurring the barrier between being a human and a cyborg.

The 1995 Ghost in the Shell movie is part of a dying breed of beautiful anime crafted with the passion of artists who understand the magic of hand-drawn animation. CGI integration is minimal and only used when necessary, while the rest of the movie is captivating and engrossing. Ghost and the Shell will stand the test of time and must be seen by anyone who appreciates anime and animation.

Top 10 Best Mecha and Robot Anime of all time

6. Patlabor

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Straight from the 80s, Patlabor envisioned a time in the early 2000s when mecha was created to assist with the human workforce. These mecha were called labor and evolved from construction machines into piloted robots used by the police force.

This series creates the foundation for a tone and setting that has been sadly lost and forgotten due to modern anime trends. Instead of overly bright art styles filled with numerous waifus and socially awkward boys, Patlabor aims to tell a real human story of adults in the police force.

Watching this series depicts one of the most realistic slice-of-life stories about a world where giant robot machines are part of everyday society. It’s great to see realistic characters who have serious and comedic stories without any of the unnecessary fan service and teen angst found in the majority of anime in the 2020s.

Top 10 Best Mecha and Robot Anime of all time

5. Machine Robo

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Machine Robo is an under-appreciated series that made its mark two years before the Transformers and was created by Popy, a division of Bandai. It started with the promotion of a toy line of robots that transform into vehicles set in futuristic sci-fi earth with fantasy elements. The Machine Robos are aliens from the Romulus system that survived the destruction of their world and made it to earth, while the survivors mutated into evil monstrosities.

As soon as the toy line was exported to Tonka in the USA as GoBots and Rock Lords, original American animation tv shows followed. GoBots entertained kids and adults with family-friendly charm akin to most cartoon shows in the 80s and 90s. In Japan, the series was recreated as Machine Robo: Revenge of Cronos and took place in a fantasy-inspired world on the planet of Cronos.

The main protagonists, Rom and Leina Stol, are from the robot race that inhabits the planet along with other sentient robots that have a more machine-like appearance that can transform into vehicles. Watching this anime foretells the eventual popularity of Japanese RPG anime and video games that merge sci-fi and fantasy.

There are plenty of other races, creatures, enemies, and characters that keep this series interesting and unique. The fighting, action, and transformation sequences are also animated with an incredible level of detail that will keep you appreciating retro art styles.

Top 10 Best Mecha and Robot Anime of all time

4. Macross

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The Macross series is nothing short of legendary in the history of anime. Known as Robotech in America during the early 80s, this series has seen several generations of beloved stories full of drama and sci-fi epicness. Two of the other standout series are Macross II and Macross Plus, both which carry the same powerful themes of love and war to new levels.

In the first series, an alien spaceship brimming with advanced technology crashes on earth. After reverse-engineering the alien technology for 10 years, the military organization U.N. Spacey forms to protect the world from possible alien invasion. From there, conflict begins as a war-like race known as the Zentradi attack the human race, threatening extinction.

Macross sets the standard for mecha anime that revolves around a romantic love story. The main protagonist Hikaru Ichijyo is a stunt pilot who hates killing but gets forced into joining the war against the Zentradi.

During his journey, he meets Lynn Minmay, a pop idol singer, and together they help put an end to the war. Macross rises above the rest by concentrating its themes on how love, culture, and music can be solutions to war by bringing peace and understanding between feuding races.

Top 10 Best Mecha and Robot Anime of all time

3. Robot Romance Trilogy

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The Robot Romance Trilogy starts with Combattler V, followed by Voltes V, then Daimos, and launched an entire generation of big combining robots. Future Robot Daltanious is another series that follows in the romance trilogy’s footsteps, also being produced by Toei Animation. Even though this entry combines three different anime, they all hail from the same team from Toei and Sunrise animation studios. Tadao Nagaham is the director alongside Toei staff under the pseudonym Saburo Yatsude.

Combattler V is an exceptional mecha anime because it further pushed giant combining robots into popular anime culture. The show features five characters from entirely different walks of life brought together by the scientist who created the giant robot Combattler V.

Along with Combattler V, they are the sole protectors of earth against the invading alien race known as the Campbellians. As a team, the heroes sort out complex relationships, experience character development, and have an epic boss monster kaiju battle each episode. This is the first anime to include a total of 5 vehicles that combine into the giant robot warrior, Combattler V.

Voltes V continues the same formula as Combattler V but brings new characters, including a new giant robot. Voltes V gained new International heights of popularity thanks to thematic connections about rising up against dictatorship.

In the final installment, Future Robot Daltanious tells the story of humankind after being taken over by the Zaar Empire from the planet Akron. Humanity’s civilization is in chaos, and the main hero Kento uncovers a secret lab belonging to a scientist named Earl.

Earl is a Helian alien who sought refuge on earth after his planet was conquered by Zaar. He created the powerful humanoid robot Atlas, combining with a Helian fighter craft and a mecha lion Beralios to form Daltanious. Daltanious only required three combiners and was the first anime to have an animal-inspired component.

In each iteration of the romance trilogy, the main characters genuinely shine and bring their unique perspectives and strengths. The enemy monsters provide great battles, while the villains have depth. The romance robot trilogy is responsible for nearly all modern robot anime and fans who enjoy retro mecha stories that focus on teamwork and the lives of the characters involved.

Top 10 Best Mecha and Robot Anime of all time

2. Gundam

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Gundam is the progenitor of hard science fiction anime that features giant mecha suits used for political wars between human factions. These militaristic wars are often exacerbated by business affairs and have life-altering consequences that are tragic or regretful.

It also spanned the most intense interstellar human space battles with plenty of memorable characters. Humans are the primary race, but as the series evolves, so do the humans into NewTypes and Cyber NewTypes, along with discovering new races like the ELS, a techno-organic species.

The Gundam anime has a complex set of different timelines, so viewers can watch the series in the order it was released or research each timeline and watch them in their respective order.

Either way, the Gundam anime always bring tense human conflict and drama, with ample amounts of tech-crunching and tear-jerking mecha battles. Gundam contributes so much to the genre, both in the form of stories, gunpla model kits, and video games, and it seems like a new series is always being released.

Top 10 Best Mecha and Robot Anime of all time

1. The Transformers

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The Transformers belong in any list that mentions anime mecha. Featuring a race of giant alien robots from Cybertron, they adapted to earth by transforming into human-made vehicles to remain undetected and blend in. The cartoons feature constant action between Autobots and Decepticons, who are the main characters instead of the humans. Interestingly, this is still a rarity as most mecha anime focuses on human characters supported by mecha or sentient robots.

Created by Marvel Productions and Sunbow Productions in America, Toei Animation co-produced and animated the first three seasons before being fully transferred to the South Korean animation studio AKOM. There are multiple generations of characters and storylines to enjoy, from the original 80’s cartoon to the exclusive anime series and modern-day CGI iterations.

The Transformers is the only franchise to marginally surpass Gundam with a worldwide success that spans International comics, toys, cartoons, and movies. Now in a CGI style, Transformers still continues and provides more variety for fans. It’s forever a modern classic that’s now synonymous with toys and the never-ending battle between robot heroes and villains.

There are other series that deserve an honorable mention, such as Neon Genesis Evangelion, Voltron, Gunbuster, and Getter Robo. Countless other mecha and giant robot anime exist that share similarities with all the above-mentioned titles, so if you’re a fan of mecha, there’ll be countless series to watch for years to come.

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