Mecha is an integral part of manga and anime. From Gundam to Evangelion, here are the greatest mecha anime ever made.
One of the oldest and most diverse anime genres is mecha. Oftentimes this genre has been used to tell stories about war, in which kids barely out of their teens are barely holding on in a world where every day may be their last.
Mecha is one of the oldest, most popular, and most varied of all anime genres.
In an animated world with hundreds of possible shows to watch, it can be overwhelming to figure out how to go about watching them all. In this list, we’ve picked out 40 of the best mecha anime of all time, so new viewers have a place to begin, and more seasoned ones can feel superior for having seen them all or figure out what to watch next.
1. Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch
As of 2010, the Holy Empire of Britannia is becoming a dominant military nation, beginning with the conquest of Japan. Since Area 11 was renamed after it was swiftly defeated, Japan has seen significant resistance against the tyrants in its quest to reclaim independence.
Britannian student Lelouch Lamperouge, unfortunately, is caught in the crossfire between the Britannian and Area 11 rebel forces. A mysterious girl named C.C., however, provides Geass, the “Power of Kings,” to assist him in escaping.
Lelouch, realizing the potential of his newfound “power of absolute obedience,” embarks on a perilous journey as Zero, a masked vigilante who leads a merciless onslaught against Britannia to get revenge once and for all.
Code Geass doesn’t have a particularly notable or unique story. It’s actually pretty straightforward and even a little cliche, but that’s exactly why the series is so well-done–even a barebones storyline is handled in a refreshing, new way that grabs the viewer’s attention. A story like this has enough twists and turns for you to never lose interest.
The characters in this series are quite diverse. While some are very plain and one-dimensional, others have an amazing level of complexity that makes them seem very life-like.
A very human character, Lelouch is filled with emotions, opinions, a unique point of view, and a number of very serious flaws that make him easy to relate to and sympathize with. Character-wise, he is one of the most complex in the series, and he feels real, despite his supernatural powers and genius intellect.
2. Neon Genesis Evangelion
Twenty years after the Second Impact, the world faces a new threat: monstrous celestial beings called “Angels” invade Tokyo-3 one by one. Despite their most advanced munitions and military tactics, mankind is unable to defend itself against the Angels.
NERV, an organization led by the cold Gendou Ikari, is humankind’s only hope for salvation. NERV uses giant humanoid robots known as Evangelions to combat the Angels with state-of-the-art weapons and protective barriers known as Absolute Terror Fields.
As a 14-year-old, Shinji Ikari, Gendou’s son, returns to Tokyo-3 after being abandoned by his father. Having lost his mother and suffered emotional neglect at the hands of his father, Shinji has been battling his deeply buried trauma for years.
Shinji is terrified of opening up to another until he meets Misato Katsuragi, 29, a high-ranking NERV officer who shows him maternal kindness he had never known before.
Shinji is forced into action by a devastating attack from Angels, as Gendou reveals the true reason for inviting him back to Tokyo-3: Shinji is the only child capable of smoothly piloting Evangelion Unit-01, a robot that syncs with his biometrics.
Shinji defends Tokyo-3 against the angelic threat despite the psychological trauma brought on by piloting an Evangelion, unaware of the plans of his father.
Among the highlights of the series are the characters. Evangelion delves into the minds and motivations of its characters, showing exactly what motivates them, and it’s what makes them one of anime’s most recognizable and wonderful characters.
3. Koukaku Kidoutai
The city of Niihama has become a technologically advanced metropolis in 2029. As a result of great advancements in cybernetics, its citizens can have their limbs replaced with robotic parts. Due to the shift toward globalization, the city’s Public Security Section 9 is responsible for combating corruption, terrorism, and other dangerous threats.
Major Motoko Kusanagi of Section 9 is assigned to a case involving a mysterious hacker known only as “Puppet Master,” who leaves a trail of victims whose memories have been erased. The Puppet Master, like many others in this futuristic world, has a robotic body that gives them incredible power.
While Motoko and her subordinates pursue the enigmatic criminal’s trail, other parties-including Section 6-become involved, forcing Motoko to confront the complexities of the case. When Motoko contemplates the meaning of her own life and other philosophical questions, it soon becomes apparent that the one who will provide her with the answers is the Puppet Master themself.
Though it never really finds an answer to the question “What makes us human?” it comes close. It doesn’t really beat the audience over the head with its philosophical, existentialist, and technical talk. In a film about big questions, many of these issues are handled in subtle ways that keep the pace moving while still making the audience think.
Motoko is the star of this movie and is the only character who changes over the course of the film, even though all the characters have interesting aspects. Throughout the entire film, she struggles with losing her humanity due to being a cyborg, and everything culminates in a masterful finale that just leaves you in awe.
4. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
Simon and Kamina grew up in a deep, underground village, hidden from the surface. The free-spirited Kamina is determined to make a name for himself, while Simon is a timid youngster with no real ambitions. During an excavation, Simon stumbles upon what he believes to be a mysterious object, but it turns out it is an ancient artifact of war they are calling Lagann.
Simon and Kamina fight off a surprise attack from the surface with help from Yoko Littner, a hot-blooded redhead who wields a massive gun and roams the skies above.
After the battle, the sky is now visible, prompting Simon and Kamina to embark on a journey with Yoko to explore the wastelands below. Soon, they will join the fight against the “Beastmen,” humanoid creatures who terrorize the remnants of humanity with powerful robots called “Gunmen.”
Despite challenges and setbacks, the trio battles alongside other survivors to reclaim the surface while slowly unraveling a galaxy-sized mystery.
Gurren Lagann is simply breathtaking. It is an endlessly thrilling journey from humble beginnings to the most fantastic of endings—an absolute must-see. Throughout the series, there are so many memorable moments, lines, and ideas that they imprint themselves into your very soul.
Although Tengen Toppa has an amazing story, it is not about the story. This isn’t a logical progression, strategy, conflict of interests, world-building, sci-fi exploration, or any of the other ideas in it. It’s about the deconstruction of them all. Aspects of the show arouse and reinforce the viewer’s zeal for this cause.
5. Darling in the FranXX
In a distant future, humans have been driven to near extinction by giant beasts known as Klaxosaurs, forcing the survivors to take refuge in massive fortress cities called Plantations. In this world, children are raised to pilot giant robots called FranXX – the only weapon effective against the Klaxosaurs – in pairs.
Having been bred for the sole purpose of piloting these machines, these children are ignorant of the outside world and can only prove their existence by defending their species.
After failing an aptitude test, Hiro, an aspiring FranXX pilot, lost motivation and self-confidence. Hiro skips his class’ graduation ceremony in order to retreat to a forest lake, where he meets a mysterious girl with two horns sprouting from her head. Her codename is Zero Two, which is believed to belong to an infamous FranXX pilot known as the “Partner Killer.”
A sudden attack by Klaxosaurs shakes the Plantation before Hiro can digest the encounter. After engaging the creature in the FranXX, Zero Two suffers heavy damage in the skirmish and crashes near Hiro. Upon finding her partner deceased, Zero Two invites Hiro to pilot the mecha with her, and the duo defeats the Klaxosaur with ease.
A new partner has given Hiro a chance at redemption, but at what price?
Overall, this is a really enjoyable series with its main strong points being its unique premise, story, characters, battle scenes, animation, and its take on a number of both new and existing themes.
6. Guilty Crown
The year is 2039 in Japan. In the ten years since the outbreak of the “Apocalypse Virus,” a tragedy solemnly referred to as “Lost Christmas,” the nation has fallen under the control of GHQ, an independent military force dedicated to restoring order. Gai Tsutsugami’s Funeral Parlor acts as a guerilla group, offering the only resistance to GHQ’s brutal despotism.
A member of Funeral Parlor, Inori Yuzuriha, stumbles upon the weak and unsociable Shuu Ouma during a crucial operation, leading to Shuu acquiring the “Power of Kings”-an ability capable of bringing to life the manifestations of an individual’s personality, or “voids.” Unwillingly entangled in the fight against GHQ, Shuu must learn to control his newfound strength to help take back Japan.
An action-packed story follows the story of a young high school student who is dragged into a war, possessing a unique ability that will help him unravel the mystery of the GHQ, Funeral Parlor, and Lost Christmas. He will learn, however, that the truth comes at a much greater cost than he ever imagined.
There is no attempt to cram everything into one episode; rather, the story is told piece by piece. Every episode introduces us to new characters and develops the ones we’ve already met. Throughout this anime, the characters are fleshed out well, and they’re all likable.
They use some cliches here and there, but that’s exactly what makes this anime awesome. It’s familiar, so you don’t have trouble digesting the story.
The Republic of San Magnolia claims to have no casualties in their ongoing war with the Giadian Empire, but that is just propaganda. Silver-haired Alba of the Republic’s eighty-five sectors reside behind protective walls, while those of different appearance reside in a secret eighty-sixth faction.
The Eighty-Six, also known as the Handlers in the military, are forced to battle the Empire’s independent Legion under the command of the Republican Handlers.
Vladilena Milizé has been assigned to the Spearhead squadron in place of their previous Handler. Her determination to fight against their inhumane behavior continues despite being shunned by her peers. Shinei Nouzen is the Spearhead squadron’s captain.
The only survivor in every squadron he’s served in, he insists on carrying the names and wishes of his fallen comrades. Will the meeting of these young souls from two different worlds ignite the spark that lights their paths to salvation, or will they burn themselves in the flames of despair?
Characters come to understand the meaning of living, surviving, and fighting through the war itself. However, the story of 86 goes much deeper than just a frontline war. Their society has unimaginable secrets hidden behind closed doors.
It depicts the brutality of war, racism, and oppression in such a way that you cannot help but become enthralled with the characters and story. 86 makes us understand what life really is like for its characters, as it captures the feeling and reality of war. When war breaks out, you can see how it can change a world and its people.
8. Koukyoushihen Eureka Seven
There lives a 14-year-old boy named Renton Thurston in Bellforest, a backwater town. In the hope of finding some adventure to brighten up his mundane life, he intends to move away and join the mercenary group Gekkostate.
Due to his grandfather’s insistence that he should become a mechanic like him and the weight of his deceased father’s legacy, Renton’s only thrill comes from riding the Trapar wave particles dispersed throughout the air, an activity similar to surfing.
An unknown object crashes through Renton’s garage, which turns out to be the Nirvash typeZERO—a robot capable of riding the Trapar waves. Nirvash’s pilot is a young girl named Eureka, a member of the Gekkostate, who requests a tune-up for Nirvash.
Their meeting marks the beginning of Renton’s involvement with the Gekkostate when he takes off with Eureka as the co-pilot of the Nirvash.
The story is really one of the greatest strengths of this anime. The plotline is really complex and deep. This anime follows one main plotline throughout. A more interesting aspect of the plot is how it is explored from various points of view and from different angles. This enhances the understanding of the plot.
As the story unfolds, you will have the opportunity to learn more about the characters’ pasts. The plot offers no boredom since the characters constantly change and adapt, especially on an emotional level. This anime is a fun and emotional ride with surprising complexity and thematic resonance.
Sixth-grader Naota Nandaba lives in a city where nothing seems to ever happen. In the aftermath of his brother Tasuku leaving town to play baseball in America, Naota looks after everything Tasuku left behind, from his top bunk bed to his ex-girlfriend Mamimi Samejima, who hasn’t stopped clinging to him since Tasuku left.
Naota’s first encounter with Haruko Haruhara, a pink-haired psychopath riding a Vespa and holding a bass guitar, leaves him with tire tracks on his back and a giant horn on his head, takes Naota by surprise and changes his mundane existence forever.
The only thing Naota wants is some peace and quiet, but when Haruko moves in at his parents’ home, he finds himself in the most epic battle for supremacy ever fought on Earth-and perhaps even in the universe.
FLCL is about as literary an anime series as you can get. Though fast-paced, the story beautifully presents a theme of growing into maturity, accompanied by stunning visuals.
A good balance is struck between humor and seriousness in this series. You will laugh, think, be pumped up, its aesthetics will impress you, it tells an eloquent story with an ideal mix of science fiction and reality, and it does everything a good story should do.
Although FLCL completely succeeds in using animation as a visual medium for storytelling, it’s not all style over substance. FLCL sports an incredibly real and likable cast of characters.
10. Full Metal Panic!
A private military organization known as Mithril strives to eradicate the world’s terrorism and all threats to peace with cutting-edge weaponry and specialized personnel. “Whispered” are individuals with intuitive knowledge and the ability to construct powerful devices and machinery.
The seventeen-year-old Sousuke Sagara is a Mithril sergeant assigned to protect Whispered candidate Kaname Chidori. If he wants to keep her from falling into enemy hands, he needs to be as close to her as possible – that is, if he can safely blend in with their peers without revealing his true identity.
Despite being raised on a battlefield and having little experience with a typical high school student’s life, Sousuke must adapt to a normal school environment to protect Kaname. However, the enemy has already begun making its move, and Sousuke is about to discover that the adversary pursuing the Whispered girl may not be as unfamiliar as he imagined.
This anime series has a pretty good storyline. You can watch an intense battle scene involving a giant robot, futuristic technology, and then you can watch a good high school comedy.
It’s a series with a lot of changes between the two, and it works well because you get a mix of genres, from mecha to high school comedy at its best. It really makes the story interesting. Watch this series if you enjoy good action and high school humor.
Humanity realizes they are not alone after a mysterious spaceship crashes into Earth. In response to a possible threat from space, nations, and cultures unite under the banner of the United Nations, putting aside nationalism, conflicting interests, and cultural differences.
SDF-1 Macross is the new name given to the spacecraft when it is repurposed by UN forces. The SDF-1 Macross, acting on its own accord, destroys a squadron of Zentradi spaceships on its maiden voyage, igniting an intergalactic war.
Attempting to escape, the Macross attempts to launch itself into the Moon’s orbit; however, both the ship and the city it was in are teleported into the far reaches of space. Hikaru Ichijou, an acrobatic pilot with a free-spirited personality, and Minmay Lynn, a singer with big dreams, are caught up in this mess. The two of them, along with Macross’ crew, experience an epic journey filled with grief and tragedy, coming face-to-face with the cruelties of war along the way.
In Macross, Hikaru and his gang frequently let off steam in the city residing within the Macross itself. It is this small town that makes the series unique. While most shows, which might have civilian refugees aboard a ship, ignore them except when they riot, Macross places equal emphasis on them.
After so much time spent aboard the ship, they have to adapt and eventually get used to living in an artificial city that incidentally ended up in the bowels of the ship.
Thousands of worlds have been created by humans, each born from the unique imagination of the creator. Southa Mizushino is a high school student who aspires to become a creator by writing and illustrating his own light novel.
He is temporarily transported into a fight scene when he watches anime for inspiration. He realizes something is amiss when he returns to the real world: Selesia Yupitilia, the anime’s headstrong heroine, has somehow returned with him.
Within a short time, other fictional characters appear in the world, bringing their hopes and scars with them. The streets of Japan are now crowded with a princely knight, a magical girl, a ruthless brawler, and more.
The most mysterious one is a woman dressed in full military regalia, named Gunpuku no Himegimi, who knows more than she should about the creators’ world. In spite of this, no one knows her true name or where she comes from.
As Souta and Selesia continue to investigate these unnatural events, Meteora Österreich, a calm and composed librarian NPC, joins them. There are powerful forces at play, blurring the once clear line between reality and imagination, leading to a fateful meeting between creators and their creations.
The dialogue in this show is almost always necessary because it’s slowly but surely feeding us more important information about the world or exploring the themes via the characters interacting with each other and their stories in some way. Almost never is a scene remotely wasted.
These characters are great not just because of their personalities but far more so because of who they are and their relationships that make them stand out.
Humanity was once able to teleport to Mars following the discovery of a hypergate on the Moon. They discovered technology that was far more advanced than that of their home planet, which they named “Aldnoah.”.
After this discovery, the Vers Empire of Mars was founded, and a war was declared against the “Terrans” remaining on Earth. In the event, a battle on the moon-later dubbed “Heaven’s Fall”-sparked an explosion that destroyed the moon and led to an uneasy truce between the two planets.
However, their peace was fragile. After fifteen years, high school student Inaho Kaizuka witnesses the plotted assassination of the Vers Empire’s Princess Asseylum Vers Allusia, who had traveled to Earth to repair relations between the empire and its homeland.
The ceasefire is broken, and the Martians declare war on the Terrans again. Against this insurmountable enemy, Inaho and his friends must now fight the Vers Empire to settle the war once and for all.
Setting up the world of this anime is well done. The first episodes set the tone for the rest of the series by using shock and awe to show how insane the scale is. Slaine and Inaho’s respective stories keep the show interesting.
It has real, likable, and relatable characters. The relationships, wants, needs, dislikes, goals, and personalities of the characters help bring you into the anime’s world. With the action scenes, well-written characters, and an interesting, compelling war story, this show is extremely well done.
14. Tenkuu no Escaflowne
A 15-year-old schoolgirl with a penchant for tarot cards and fortune-telling, Hitomi Kanzaki, is shocked one night when a boy named Van Fanel appears along with a vicious dragon from the skies.
Van kills the dragon thanks to a premonition from Hitomi, but a pillar of light appears and envelops them both. Consequently, Hitomi is transported to the world of Gaea, a mysterious land where the Earth hangs in the sky.
Hitomi discovers that Van is a prince of the Kingdom of Fanelia, which is soon attacked by Zaibach’s evil empire. Van attempts to fight them off by boarding his family’s ancient guymelef Escaflowne, a mechanized battle suit but fails, and Fanelia ends up destroyed.
Hitomi and Van find themselves on the run from an Asturian knight named Allen Schezar, who looks exactly like her Earth crush. As Zaibach tries to revive an ancient power, Van, and Hitomi battle Zaibach’s forces with a few new allies.
Despite the story and development being a bit jerky, slow at first, and then accelerating in other points, it still manages to wrap things up completely and coherently, not to mention provide good development to a fairly extensive cast of characters.
While the characters are simple tropes, they are developed into real people and are incredibly engaging, as well. Each episode includes at least one major mech battle as well as a story and character development.
15. Sidonia no Kishi
The alien race Gauna destroyed the Earth many years ago, and now they pursue the remnants of humanity. Humanity narrowly escaped the attack by fleeing in a series of giant seed ships across the galaxy. Nagate Tanikaze emerges from a life of seclusion deep below the seed ship Sidonia looking for food on the upper levels, finding himself in the middle of events unfolding without his knowledge.
Tanikaze must team up with his fellow soldiers, Shizuka Hoshijiro, Izana Shinatose, and Yuhata Midorikawa, in order to save humanity and defeat the Gauna. As Tanikaze discovers the world that has been above him his entire life, he becomes the hero Sidonia needs.
As soon as the show opens, it’s clear that humanity is on the brink of despair. As a testament to their isolation, their former home planet Earth no longer exists. Nevertheless, the show still portrays humanity as a fighting group, resilient and able to pay back.
Nagate appears to be a normal young man despite being isolated throughout the show. As a result of his training with his grandfather’s Guardian simulator, he is selfless, compassionate, caring, courageous, and has the potential to become a savior. It’s not just his raw skills that make him special, but also his instincts and will to fight for his beliefs.
There are dynamic characters, a thought-provoking story, and a high-class style to the premise. The story is a sci-fi adventure with all kinds of little ideas and concepts.
16. Bokura no
Summer campers, eight boys and seven girls, find a grotto by the sea while enjoying their summer camp together. Inside the mysterious place, they find a room filled with computers, along with Kokopelli, the place’s owner.
He seems to be working on a game in which a giant robot protects the Earth from 15 alien invasions. Kokopelli has not yet had a chance to test the game, so he convinces all but one child to sign a contract in what he claims will be an exciting adventure.
Upon signing the contract, however, things take a much darker turn. Children in Bokurano must now pilot the giant robot Zearth one by one in the hope that they will be able to defeat all of the upcoming enemies. Kokopelli, however, has left out one very important piece of information: the giant robot Zearth’s energy source.
It’s not a classic mecha series with epic space battles. The children who pilot the Zearth mecha face both the challenge of saving the world as well as their own personal struggles. For what do they fight? Some fight for those they love. Some fight for themselves. Others fight because it’s their duty.
Along with the main cast, there are quite a few interesting side characters who play an important role in the plot and in the struggles of the main characters while shining brilliantly in their own right.
17. Heroic Age
As the Golden Race invited other races to join them in the stars, three sentient races responded. Bronze, Silver, and Heroic Tribes were the names given to them by the Goldens. Several moments before the Gold Tribe departed to travel to another universe, a fourth race appeared, traveling to the stars on their own achievements.
Humans were called the Iron Tribe by the Golds. Over time, humanity has suffered at the hands of more dominant races and is now in danger of extinction. Princess Deianeira sets out to find the powerful being capable of saving humanity in response to a prophecy left by the Gold Tribe.
On an abandoned planet, she meets a wild-haired boy, a fateful encounter that will change not only the fortune of humanity but also the fate of the entire universe.
There’s a sense of desperation in Heroic Age, as opposed to the usual gung-ho attitude of other space-based anime.
Since humanity is very clearly outnumbered, outgunned, and vastly inferior in terms of technology, it is more important to have a miracle, and like all such things, the Nodos are both blessings and curses. Each of the main characters are written quite brilliantly and you, as a viewer, are able to follow the actions of the characters very easily.
The subtext of the show relates well to the nature of humanity and man’s place in the universe, and there is a lot more symbolism than one might expect in the series.
18. Suisei no Gargantia
Humanity has left the Earth in the distant future, and the Galactic Alliance of Humanity has been founded to guide exploration and ensure mankind’s prosperity. A significant threat arises, however, in the form of mysterious creatures called Hideauze, resulting in an interstellar war to save humanity.
Ledo, a 16-year-old Galactic Alliance lieutenant, armed with an autonomous robot, joins the battle against the monsters. During the battle, Ledo loses control and is cast out to the reaches of space, crash-landing on a waterlogged Earth.
Chamber is found on the blue planet Gargantia by a large fleet of scavenging ships that think they have salvaged something valuable. Ledo takes a young messenger girl named Amy hostage, mistaking their actions for hostility, only to find that the residents of Gargantia are not as dangerous as he first believed.
Lacking communication with his comrades in space, Ledo struggles to find his bearings and acclimate to a new life. But his peaceful days are about to end, for there is more to this ocean-covered planet than meets the eye.
Despite initially being hard to relate to, the male lead becomes increasingly sympathetic as he opens up to the world around him. You may find some surprises in the show, which mainly focuses on our main character’s development. What makes this anime is so amusing and deep is the exposition and exploration of its own world and ideas.
19. Samurai 7
An ancient war was fought between mechanized samurai in the far distant future on a planet that might have been called “Earth.”. People enjoyed a modest peace after the long conflict.
Faced with starvation and mechanized bandits, the farmers of Kanna Village resort to hiring samurai for protection. Kirara, Komachi, and a heartbroken villager, Rikichi, hired willing samurai with nothing to offer except rice from their meager harvests.
Seven samurai with different specialties and experience are gathered by a dangerous encounter and a bit of luck for an epic battle against bandits and merchants that influence them.
The story keeps things interesting from beginning to end. As well as protecting their villages, samurai are obligated to help almost anyone they come across who is in need as their honor requires them to do so. It truly gives you a proud feeling to know that they aren’t just in it for the money, or in this case, the rice, but that they are heroes in their own right.
Certainly, not the deepest story ever told, but certainly, the kind that keeps you guessing what will happen next. Neither the length nor the pace feels dragged out, but just right. This is a show that keeps you wanting more, right from episode one.
As for the characters, they’re all extremely well-developed for the scope of this series, and they’re all pretty deep.
Three decades ago, a new race of flame-wielding mutants suddenly appeared, destroying large portions of mankind. As these so-called “Burnish” continue to appear at random, they leave a trail of death and destruction behind them.
Thanks to the extraordinary efforts of their leader, Kray Foresight, against the Burnish, Promepolis is a flourishing nation. Thanks to Lucia Fex, the team of firefighters known as the Burning Rescue is tasked with stopping these horrifying monsters using the most advanced technology available. Foresight is the hero of Galo Thymos, who has joined the rescue team as the most recent recruit.
A terrorist group calling itself Mad Burnish has been causing havoc across the nation. As the result of an encounter with Mad Burnish leader Lio Fotia, Galo sets out on his fated journey to discover the truth about these mutants, ultimately leading him to question everything he had previously believed.
Although the tale is very familiar, it has just the right variation to make it feel new and relevant. The story moves very quickly, and even though it could easily be expanded into a longer series, it is still enjoyable as is.
You can’t help but be drawn in.77 Basically, it’s everything we’ve come to know and love on full blast. Hype and adrenaline are the glue that binds characters and stories together. Promare deals with veiled, passionate identities viewed by society as destructive, as well as society’s attempts to contain, subjugate, and ultimately harness those flames for their own misguided purposes.
Ayato Kamina’s ordinary life is turned upside down when futuristic fighter jets suddenly invade Tokyo. In the midst of the chaos, he meets Haruka Shitow, who claims to be part of a government organization called TERRA.
Her revelation is that he has been living in a time-bubble called “Tokyo Jupiter,” which was built by the Mulians to isolate and take over Tokyo. Ever since then, TERRA has tried to break through the barrier that surrounds the city.
As Ayato attempts to process the revelation, he panics and flees. He meets Reika Mishima, who leads him to a place called “The Shrine of Xephon,” where a large egg slumbers. With her singing, a power awakens within Ayato, connecting him to a being called RahXephon that breaks out of the egg. Haruka finds him again soon after and tries to convince him to join her cause and fight against the Mulians.
Trying to navigate altered memories and ultimately his very identity in this chaotic new world, Ayato finds himself caught between the Mulians and TERRA.
It’s refreshing to see someone other than a whiny, obnoxious brat or amoral badass leading the show. All of the characters are fairly believable and likable, and the majority of them are well done.
Of course, having good characters alone is not what makes this show unique. RahXephon really excels in how heartwarmingly romantic it is. You can watch this show and not even pick up on it, but that’s part of the magic. It’s not overdone, and it’s sort of subtle about it but still effective.
22. Rakuen Tsuihou
After a massive disaster has devastated Earth, humanity abandons its physical bodies and migrates to DEVA, an innovative space station orbiting the ravaged planet, in digital form.
As the inhabitants of this virtual reality are free of traditional limitations, such as death and hunger, they live in relative peace until an intruder, Frontier Setter, invades the system and spreads subversive messages.
Frontier Setter, deemed a threat to security by authorities, is being pursued by Angela Balzac, a dedicated member of DEVA’s law enforcement department.
On Earth, she is aided by Dingo, a charismatic agent, and as she attempts to unravel the mystery behind Frontier Setter, she slowly discovers startling realities about the wasteland some humans still refer to as home, as well as the paradise above.
It’s not a futuristic sci-fi film about people living in virtual reality; it’s the backdrop, but it’s not what it’s about. It is mostly concerned with the dichotomy between Angela and Dingo, as well as the two societies they represent.
Dichotomies like these exist in the real world as well as the world of the movie. Although the two societies may not be spatially segregated as in the movie, we still see the growing disparity among the haves and the have-nots.
23. Cross Ange: Tenshi to Ryuu no Rondo
The first princess of the prestigious Misurugi Empire is Angelise Ikaruga Misurugi. The development of the revolutionary technology known as “Mana,” a bending of light, has brought a lasting peace to the kingdom by reducing the problems of war and pollution.
However, not everyone is blessed with the ability to use Mana. The people who cannot are called Norma, outcasts of society deemed a threat to civilization, and they are constantly harassed, and Angelise is among the many who wanted the Norma annihilated.
As Angelise begins her sixteenth birthday celebration, it is revealed that she is actually Norma. Chaos follows, and the once adored princess is exiled to Arzenal: a remote military base where Normas are forced into conscription.
The newly exiled royal must adapt to a harsh lifestyle piloting mechanical robots known as “Paramail” to fend off large, destructive beasts known as DRAGONs. A sinister truth, however, threatens to upend everything.
Despite mostly feeling hatred and/or pity for the characters, Cross Ange gives you a variety of multifaceted, developing characters to care about.
Unlike Ange, most of the other central females are emotionally damaged in some way. As it turns out, Ange is not only a strong, dominant, unbreakable character in and of herself, but those qualities are magnified when you begin to discover the deep-seated problems she faces surrounding everyone around her.
The Central Tanegashima High School’s Robotics Research Club has always hoped to complete the GunPro1, a fully functioning giant robot. It has been the members of the club who have contributed to the club’s success for many years, and now Akiho Senomiya is determined to make the dream of all past members a reality.
The club, however, lacks the funding needed for such a huge undertaking. Additionally, the only other club member, Kaito Yashio, does not show any interest in helping his childhood friend and prefers to play mecha-fighting games on his “PokeCom.”
As Kaito wastes his days, he hears an indecipherable voice and an indecipherable message. As he searches for the source, he realizes that it came from Airi Yukifune, an AI that only exists through the PokeCom augmented reality system. As Kaito explores Airi’s database, he discovers a peculiar report that could have disastrous consequences.
We see many sides to each character, which is something that most animes ignore since they focus on so many other aspects. The character of Akiho Senomiya is particularly well developed, and we get to know what she values and her reactions to some of the things that happen to her.
If you are a fan of conspiracy theories and related stories, Robotics;Notes will be an extremely enjoyable series for you.
25. Mobile Suit Gundam
0079 is the year of the Universal Century. In the future, humanity has moved to space, living in colonies known as “Sides.” One of these Sides claims the “Principality of Zeon” and declares war on the Earth Federation. Zeon quickly gains the upper hand with powerful humanoid robots called “mobile suits.”
A powerful mobile suit called the Gundam has been developed by the Earth Federation nine months into the conflict. Amuro Ray, a 15-year-old civilian, is thrust into a conflict between Earth and space when Zeon attacks the colony holding the Gundam. He will find himself pitted against Char Aznable, the ace pilot of the enemy.
The anime reinvented the genre by portraying mecha as piloted military weapons with a real-world scientific basis in place of superheroes’ giant robots. This genre of mecha anime, referred to as the ‘real robot genre,’ became the norm in the following years after its release.
Every anime fan has heard of Mobile Suit Gundam. There is no doubt that it has advanced anime as a whole. A classic series that has left its mark, or rather, is still leaving its mark on anime.
All elements of the story build-up to a spectacular conclusion, including death, killing, family, friendships, etc. Although our story focuses primarily on the White Base gang and their adventures, it does an admirable job of also giving insight to the opposing side at the right moments.
Men and women belong to Mars and Venus, respectively, in Vandread! Actually, not quite. As a result of technology, mankind has colonized the Milky Way galaxy, and in one-star system, there are separate planets for men and women, Taraak and Mejere. There’s a bitter and very literal gender war going on, with the two ignoring the fact that they’re even the same species!
A botched attempt at stealing a robot leaves Hibiki Tokai stranded on a battleship. The situation for Hibiki seems hopeless when the Taraakian Vanguard is captured by female pirates.
As a result, the Vanguard crew created a wormhole when they opened fire on their captured vessels in desperation, sucking in the Vanguards and the Mejeran pirates’ vessels. Having been separated from their home planets, these men and women must now learn to work together if they hope to get back.
Vandread is an excellent space/sci-fi/mecha/comedy anime with a premise not found anywhere else, and that is that men and women live on different planets and have no idea about each other.
Therefore, the character interactions are hilarious. Despite the show’s comic nature, there are certainly serious moments.
In the beginning, the story is simple, but as it progresses, it becomes deeper and deeper, adding more action and battles. In terms of characters, there are no empty ones.
An ancient artifact found during the construction of the Kurobe Dam led the United Nations Kurobe Research Institute to be established in Japan during the dawn of the 21st century. Mt. Tate International Senior High School is a school that students from around the world attend to learn more about the object.
The facility’s head scientist’s daughter, Yukina Shirahane, is a reserved high school student. During a visit to her mother at the facility, Yukina solves part of the artifact’s puzzle. She is shocked to see Kennosuke Tokisada Ouma, a young samurai from the Sengoku period.
A threat approaches from outer space, and Yukina and Kennosuke must defend Earth from the invaders. She discovers Kennosuke’s mysterious past and the reason he wants to protect her along the way.
Kuromukuro is a fun, enjoyable show with a bit of mech and action, but is ultimately about its characters.
As a brash, impulsive warrior, Ken stands out from the usual nice guy. However, given his past, he is still completely inexperienced at dealing with females. The interactions between him and Yukina are extremely entertaining to watch, and their behaviors and feelings toward each other change throughout the show.
Overall, this show has a great amount of character development, a good balance of character chemistry, and just enough of a hint of romance to keep you happy, especially considering the amount of screen time dedicated to action sequences.
28. Top wo Nerae! Gunbuster
The human race has taken its first steps towards exploring the far reaches of the galaxy in the near future. In doing so, they discover a huge race of insectoid aliens called “Space Monsters.” These aliens seem committed to the eradication of mankind as they near ever closer to discovering Earth. Humanity responds by developing giant fighting robots piloted by hand-picked youth from around the world.
Noriko Takaya, daughter of a well-known space captain who died, enters a training school despite her questionable skills as a pilot after discovering the aliens. It is there that she meets her polar opposite, the stunning and talented Kazumi Amano, and is forced to work together with her as they attempt to cope with the traumas of war as well as their own emotions.
Top wo Nerae! has several reasons why it is enjoyable to watch. Characters and their relationships, dramatic tension, and a taut storyline all whet the appetite for more. The ingenious way in which this anime stands out amongst the many in the mecha/action genre is the way in which it clearly shows the lengths to which humanity will go to survive.
Gunbuster starts out with a fairly simple premise, but its execution is among the best in the genre, and the seamless way in which it portrays Noriko’s journey from student to hero as the stakes and scale of her battles rise is nothing short of masterful storytelling.
Throughout the series, we follow Noriko’s development as a character, and her growing resolve to fight is handled better than in any other anime of this kind, relying on both subtlety and moments of sheer emotional power.
29. Kakumeiki Valvrave
People have successfully expanded into space and are living in independent galactic colonies in the 71st year of the True Era. The world is divided between two major nations: the Atlantic Rim United States (ARUS) and the Dorssia Military Pact Federation (Dorssia), which wage war on Earth and far into outer space.
In this war-torn era, Japan and Islands of the Oceanian Republic (JIOR) live in peace and prosper economically, maintaining neutrality in their relations with their militant neighbors.
A sudden Dorssian fleet breaches a neutral colony, turning 17-year-old Haruto Tokishima’s peaceful life upside down. It is their mission to steal the Valvraves: powerful but rumored mechanized weapons hidden deep within Haruto’s school, Sakimori Academy. A target, Valvrave is discovered in the ensuing chaos, and Haruto stumbles upon it.
When his friends’ lives are in danger, Haruto enters the mecha and seals a contract for its power in exchange for his humanity. Haruto and the Valvrave start a revolution to liberate the world with the help of L-elf, an enigmatic Dorssian agent and gifted strategist.
The characters are somewhat cliche, but this anime also doesn’t try to be anything revolutionary.
The idea of high school kids getting to be pilots and getting their own mecha gadgets isn’t new to anime, but Kakumeiki Valvrave gives it a supernatural spin. In the series, vengeance, the struggle for dominance among nations, tragic romances, and mecha warfare are some of the themes.
30. Star Driver: Kagayaki no Takuto
The Glittering Crux Brigade is a mysterious organization that gathers frequently in its underground fortress beneath the surface of Southern Cross Isle.
The group is especially interested in “Cybodies,” stone giants that can turn into massive humanoids but only in the realm of Zero Time. By finding and shattering seals of the island’s four seal maidens, Glittering Crux hopes to break free from Zero Time and use Cybodies anywhere they wish.
Sugata Shindou, one of the island’s seal maidens, and his fiancée Wako Agemaki save Takuto Tsunashi, who washes up on the shore of the island one night. Upon waking up, Takuto quickly befriends the two and enrolls at the local academy, where many of his classmates are secretly members of Glittering Crux.
Takuto, however, holds a secret: he can use a Cybody of his own in Zero Time–the Tauburn. Takuto and the Tauburn are essential to stopping Glittering Crux from shattering Wako’s seal and achieving its nefarious goals in the upcoming battle.
The characters are the archetypes of classic mecha heroes and villains. Takuto is one of those classic superheroes who can do it all, likes to help people, and has such a strong sense of right and wrong that he almost seems naive.
Yes, super robots were never designed to be piloted by weak people. They were intended to be piloted by superheroes that kids admire. Meanwhile, the antagonists are an evil organization shrouded in mystery. Character setups like this have proven successful over and over again in classic mecha series.
31. Knight’s & Magic
As a result of a car accident, Tsubasa Kurata, an otaku from modern Japan, is given new life in the Fremmevilla Kingdom, a medieval world where mechs called Silhouette Knights are used to fighting demonic creatures.
Born into a prominent family under the name of Ernesti Echevarria and gifted with prodigious magical abilities, he enrolls in Royal Laihaila Academy. The Silhouette Knights, trained at this school of magic, protect the kingdom against demonic and human threats.
He hopes one day to create his own Silhouette Knight with the twins Adeltrud and Archid Olter, which has been unheard of for hundreds of years.
Knight’s & Magic is very different from your typical mecha anime, which focuses on convoluted stories, wars in space, politics, and all of that. Instead, Knight’s & Magic concentrates on the mecha themselves. Building them, upgrading them, and, of course, battling them.
This series is so addicting and fun because it focuses on exactly what we want to see while cutting out all the other stuff. There’s nothing you want more than to see the characters grow and improve and for everyone to recognize them – and ultimately to watch them do badass things — and that’s what Knight’s & Magic provides.
Ernesti is our hero; he is a brilliant mech designer, always making cool mechs, and you see awesome mechs being created in detail and seeing them battle with fantastic choreography in every episode.
32. Blue Gender
In the world of Blue Gender, things have gone horribly wrong for humanity in the not too distant future. Taking the place of humans at the top of the food chain are the Blue, an alien race that has colonized Earth and displaced humans. Humans have created a space station called Second Earth in hopes of one day reclaiming the Earth.
After being diagnosed with B-Cells, Yuji Kaido was cryogenically frozen. When he awakens, he joins a team of soldiers who have come to Earth to retrieve him. While returning to Second Earth, things don’t go as expected.
Yuji and the fighters from Second Earth will have to deal with the horrors of war as they try to survive. Can they defeat their enemies without losing who they are?
Giant bugs versus humans have been done many times before, but Blue Gender is not all about that. Various locations, plotlines, and situations are introduced, the vast majority of which are well developed.
Characters are the most well-known aspect of the series. Characters, even minor ones, have a great deal of background and personality, and the leads gain a lot of insight and experience as they face new trials and challenges.
Thrilling and action-packed, Blue Gender is a great series. It is rather violent, regularly deals with disturbing topics, and, at many points, tells a rather morose and bleak story. However, within this melancholy framework is something that is poignant, intriguing, and worthy of praise.
33. Asura Cryin’
Natsume Tomoharu is your average high-school student, except for one fact: he’s being followed by the ghost of his best friend, Misao.
Tomoharu expects to live his normal life after moving into his brother’s old house, but one day is left with a mysterious briefcase without instructions. Although he plans to keep it in storage, his house is soon invaded by multiple groups of people searching for the briefcase. Tomoharu and Misao attempt to escape with the briefcase, despite not knowing its purpose.
Following this, Tomoharu tries to uncover the secrets behind the briefcase, its connection to Misao, and why it can change the world.
This anime has some interesting characters. The more the story goes on, the more you wonder about them, and the development between the characters are done quite well. It is a very good anime for those who love mecha and supernatural anime, as it combines both into one. The storyline is also very good.
It’s a very interesting story because there are various aspects to it, from different dimensions to contracts with demons to the main character who has enough girls who cause him trouble in his life. All the episodes are very purposeful and are needed to fully understand what is happening in the anime.
The progression of the story is done very well, and there are no parts of the story where it feels dull. Overall the story is very good, although it does seem like a lot to take in at times.
1983 is the year. The Cold War rages, and humanity is under attack. An alien race called BETA has descended to Earth with the goal of destroying all life. In order to repel the alien invaders, soldiers pilot large combat suits called Tactical Surface Fighters (TSF), but the front line is gradually retreating toward the surviving cities.
The story of Schwarzesmarken follows Second Lieutenant Theodor Eberbach and the other members of the 666th TSF squadron, a ruthless unit that values mission completion over life. Located in East Germany and led by war hero Captain Irisdina Bernhard, the unit specializes in counterattacks against laser-class BETA.
In addition to the alien forces, the 666th squadron faces the Stasi after rookie Katia Waldheim joins the squadron, drawing the attention of the secret police of East Germany.
The entire show deconstructs the mystery genre. There are no clues in sight. Despite trying to figure it out every second, you can only wait for something to happen. Even when you do not know the truth, you will assure yourself that you do.
In this show, characters are more prone to act out of control and without normal common sense, which is the show’s true beauty. In addition, the storytelling is revolutionary. The focus of the show frequently shifts from one subject to another, so viewers are able to learn a lot.
35. IS: Infinite Stratos
Engineered by Japan, Infinite Stratos (IS) is an exoskeleton weapon that can only be piloted by women. Due to its power and combat prowess, an international treaty prohibits its use as a military asset.
As the only male capable of steering an IS, Ichika Orimura, 15, is forcibly enrolled in the Infinite Stratos Academy: a female-only boarding school where graduates become IS pilots. In this training school, Ichika is reunited with two of his childhood friends, Houki Shinonono and Lingyin Huang, and makes friends with Cecilia Alcott; an IS representative from the United Kingdom.
As Ichika and the girls learn to defend themselves and their academy against the dangers that will arise during the thrilling school year, they will rely on the legendary pilot Chifuyu Orimura, their strict homeroom teacher and Ichika’s sister.
Characters are good; aside from the robots and the fighting, the anime does touch up on the character development. Stories usually revolve around the girls and how they are connected to the main guy. Big diversity of characters, too, given the fact that it’s an international school.
This isn’t something you watch to ponder about your existence and learn its deep philosophical value. You’re watching this to discover your best girl in the show, and have some fun watching it.
IS rises above its material, rendering the old archetypes fun and enjoyable. The characters are well-developed and possess a few characteristics that set them apart from the rest.
36. Nobunaga the Fool
A chain called the Dragon Stream once connected two planets, one to the East and one to the West. However, now that chain has been broken, the two halves are only united through war.
The Eastern Country of Owari is inherited by Nobunaga the Fool. Many, including his friends, consider Nobunaga to be too carefree and foolish. Even his father finds him irritating.
During her quest for the “Savior-King,” Jeanne Kaguya d’Arc travels to the Eastern Planet accompanied by Leonardo da Vinci.
After Leonardo and Jeanne are attacked by powerful mecha, Nobunaga saves them. Nobunaga controls Leonardo’s mecha in order to warn his family of a possible siege. The lackadaisical Nobunaga might be the Savior-King Jeanne has imagined.
The anime Nobunaga the Fool is a pleasant surprise, a mixture of many genres that may raise some eyebrows, but that flamboyant extravagance is just as charming as the series’ protagonist.
We are shown foolishness, determination, betrayal, sacrifices, hope, and love in this anime. It appeals to our emotions and maintains suspense until the very end. In addition to the excellent presentation, the fast-paced story, the intense character interactions, the epic battle scenes, and the subsequent plot twists make it an anime you look forward to seeing where it will lead you.
37. Date A Live
A supermassive “spatial quake” occurred over 30 years ago on the Eurasian continent, a phenomenon involving vibrations from space of unknown origin that killed over 150 million people. Despite the smaller scale of these quakes, they have plagued the world intermittently since then.
Shidou Itsuka is a seemingly normal high school student who lives with his younger sister, Kotori. He rushes to save her from an impending spatial quake, only to be caught in the resulting eruption in the process.
A mysterious girl appears at its source, revealed to be a “Spirit,” an otherworldly entity whose appearance triggers a spatial quake. In the following days, he is drawn into a skirmish between the girl and the Anti-Spirit Team, an organization dedicated to eliminating spirits.
However, there is another party that believes in saving spirits, and it’s called Ratatoskr. It’s commanded by Shidou’s little sister! As a result of the clash, Kotori forcibly recruits Shidou as a way to deal with the Spirits’ danger — by making them fall in love with him. As he seeks out Spirits for the purpose of charming them, the fate of the world rests on his dating skills.
The story is excellent; the complications, the climax, all of it is engaging and can be enjoyed. All of the characters are interesting in their own way.
This is a fun show that takes itself very lightly and puts a different spin on the genre. Definitely worth watching if you enjoy that kind of show.
As Yuuta Hibiki wakes up in the room of Rikka Takarada, he realizes two things: he has no memories, and he hears a voice calling his name from a nearby room. On closer inspection, he finds a robot-which introduces itself as Hyper Agent Gridman-behind the screen of an old computer.
Rikka cannot hear Gridman or see the ominous monsters looming over the thick fog that covers the town, much to Yuuta’s chagrin.
In the city, another giant monster appears and wreaks havoc. In the midst of the confusion, Yuuta is once again drawn to the old computer and merges with Gridman. He appears suddenly in the middle of the battle and is forced to fight the monster.
Yuuta forms the “Gridman Alliance” with Rikka and fellow classmate Shou Utsumi in order to find out who is responsible for the monsters plaguing the city and defeat them.
It delivers the story beats confidently and is well aware of the nostalgia it evokes, but it updates the script appropriately for a modern audience. We are shown important information rather than told about it, a character’s motivation is never revealed before it is shown, and a twist never comes that isn’t heavily foreshadowed.
Gridman’s themes are highlighted throughout the story through the elaborate technology the villain has, all alone in her room, contrasting with the beaten-up, old computer the Gridman Alliance uses. Although they have only basic technology, they are formidable foes to the Kaiju, and they enjoy working together. The screenwriter’s point is basic, but it is a well-reinforced one nonetheless.
Mai Tokiha, a seemingly unremarkable high-school student, has recently transferred to the prestigious Fuuka Academy with her younger brother, Takumi.
Students and staff at Fuuka Academy are involved in a number of mysteries. In the beginning, Mai finds herself bound to a Child, a half-spiritual, half-mechanical being that is only controllable by girls with the HiME mark.
Mai learns that she is one of twelve girls who have the aforementioned mark and that they must protect others from the Orphans, monsters with abilities similar to the HiME’s Children. The other HiME soon manifest around Mai, each of them with very different motives and goals for using their powers, but Mai is very reluctant at first to become involved due to her protective role towards her brother.
Mai joins the other HiME’s to protect those around her, including her friends, who are also drawn into the conflict as the Orphans become more numerous and aggressive. However, Mai and the other HiME soon find that the Orphans are not the only enemies they have to contend with, and as the cause of all of this is revealed, they face a dark secret about their destiny.
First-time viewers may find the series confusing due to a large number of cast members. Once you get past the confusion of knowing the characters, you’ll see how well each character is crafted. Whether it is friendship, hate, or romance, the strong ties between the HiME are an integral part of the story.
40. Buddy Complex
High school student Aoba Watase is suddenly attacked by a giant robot called a “Valiancer” but is saved by his enigmatic classmate Hina Yumihara. Hina, after revealing that she and their robot enemy are from the future, propels Aoba 70 years into the future to prevent him from dying.
Upon arrival, Aoba is in the cockpit of a Valiancer called “Luxon,” caught in the middle of a firefight between the Free Pact Alliance (FPA) and the Zogilia Republic. As he and an FPA pilot named Dio Weinberg demonstrate high compatibility, they form a successful “coupling,” which allows them to share experiences and increase their capabilities.
Aoba survives the unexpected battle, but he is taken into custody by the FPA ship Cygnus, which wishes to question him. The student is mostly concerned about whether he will ever be able to return home, not realizing that he is about to become entangled in a war to protect the world.
Following failed attempts, the battles display a variety of strategies rather than the same few machines performing the same few moves. The way our main characters deal with the various tricky situations they encounter is a delight.
The characters all seem to be ordinary. Despite this, they are easy to like and feel human enough not to feel two-dimensional. And, when they get emotional, there are clear reasons behind them. Ultimately, this anime doesn’t attempt to be anything out of the ordinary, but its excellent execution and animation will keep you coming back.