Iconic mecha anime series


Manoeuvring your own giant robot and fighting against evil villains was the dream of many kids who grew up watching Mobile Suit Gundam. To many, Gundam was the epitome of mecha anime and fighting robots.

But Mobile Suit Gundam is just one of many good mecha anime series released in Japan. Here’s a list of 11 best mecha anime series, besides Gundam, that will revive your childhood robot-piloting fantasies.  


1. Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet (2013 – 2015)


mecha anime - Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet
Image credit: IMDb 

Humanity has been divided into 2 – one faction has fled to outer space for survival, while the other has stayed behind on Earth, which is now surrounded by the seas. The separation happened after an attack by aliens known as the Hideauze – powerful squid-like beings that threatened humanity’s survival. 

mecha anime - Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet
Image adapted from: narutoquotess 

Generations have passed since the first attack, and the people on Earth and in outer space have forgotten about each other’s existence, each believing the other to be folklore. That is, until outer space dweller Ledo finds himself on a human fleet of ships on Earth after getting blasted out of space – together with his mecha, Chamber – during a battle with the Hideauze. 

mecha anime - Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet
Image credit: u/Eagleshadow 

Ledo meets the people on Earth and tries to make sense of this new world he has only heard of in stories. Together with the people he meets on the ship, Ledo soon discovers many secrets that will change his life. 

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"Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet" Trailer 3 (English Subbed) 翠星のガルガンティア 3


Genre:
Sci-Fi, Mecha, Romance, Action
Length: 1 season, 13 episodes, 4 OVAs
Available on: Netflix


2. Buddy Complex (2014)


mecha anime - buddy complex
Image credit: Zerochan 

Buddy Complex follows the story of 16-year-old Aoba Watase after his entire life was turned upside down – he found himself under attack by a robot and was suddenly transported to the future, 70 years from his current time.  

mecha anime - buddy complex
Image credit: CtrlGeekPod 

In this future, the Free Pact Alliance (FPA) and the Zogilia Republic are at war with each other. The bewildered Aoba is suddenly dragged into their battle and joins the FPA even before he could find his bearings. 

mecha anime - buddy complex
Image adapted from: prometheusfx 

As a pilot for the FPA, Aoba gets entangled in the long-stand feud between the FPA and the Zogilia Republic. 

Buddy Complex - The Complete Series - English Subtitled Trailer [HD]
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Buddy Complex - The Complete Series - English Subtitled Trailer [HD]


Genre:
Mecha, Action, Sci-Fi
Length: 2 seasons, 13 (S1), 2 (S2)
Available on: Crunchyroll, Funimation


3. Frame Arms Girl (2017 – 2019)


mecha anime - frame arms girl
Image credit: AnimeClick 

Ao Gennai’s boring life becomes exciting when she accidentally activates Gourai, a small AI robot girl that can think, feel, and move. This robot belongs to a family of mecha models known as “Frame Arms Girl”. 

mecha anime - frame arms girl
Image adapted from: Joe Morris

Ao and Gourai meet with other Frame Arms Girls and get into fights with them. Through these fights, Gourai collects relevant information about the combat abilities of other Frame Arms Girls and learns more about the different feelings she experiences. 

TV anime
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TV anime "FrameArms Girl" new trailer (English ver.)


Genre:
Sci-Fi, Slice of life, Mecha, Action
Length: 1 season, 12 episodes, 1 Movie
Available on: Crunchyroll


4. IS: Infinite Stratos (2011 – 2014)


mecha anime - IS: Infinite Stratos
Image credit: IMDb 

IS: Infinite Stratos follows the story of 15-year-old Ichika Orimura, who is the first and only male IS pilot in the world. He is forcibly enrolled in the all-female Infinite Stratos Academy in order to hone his pilot skills. 

mecha anime - IS: Infinite Stratos
Image credit: IMDb

At the academy, Ichika gains knowledge in the field of IS technology and becomes better at operating IS machines alongside fellow pilots Houki Shinonono, Lingyin Huang, and Cecilia Alcott.   

mecha anime - IS: Infinite Stratos
Image credit: NewsFashion

Ichika soon realises that enrolling into the Infinite Stratos Academy was just the start of his precarious life as an IS pilot. He later finds himself facing unprecedented dangers from enemy forces, and he’s forced to do everything it takes to keep his people safe.   

Infinite Stratos Official Trailer
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Infinite Stratos Official Trailer


Genre:
Action, Sci-Fi, Mecha, Romantic comedy, Harem
Length: 2 seasons, 12 episodes each, 3 OVAs
Available on: Crunchyroll


5. Valvrave the Liberator (2013)


mecha anime - Valvrave the Liberator
Image credit: Zerochan 

Valvrave the Liberator follows the story of 17-year-old Haruto Tokishima after he finds and operates a Valvrave – a mighty mecha capable of massive destruction. He pilots the Valvrave to protect the lives of his friends during an enemy invasion in JIOR, a neutral zone comprising Japan and the Islands of Oceanian Republic. 

mecha anime - valvrave the liberator
Image credit: TheFandomPost

The Atlantic Rim United States (ARUS) and the Dorssia Military Pact Federation are after the Valvraves’ powers for their own selfish ambitions. Left with no other choice, Haruto and other students in JIOR form their own independent state and put up a resistance by operating the Valvraves. 

mecha anime - Valvrave the Liberator
Image credit: PassingOtaku

 Haruto and friends, who ally themselves with Dorssians who wish for true peace, go to great lengths to fight to create a world that’s safe, peaceful, and united.

Valvrave the Liberator Trailer
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Valvrave the Liberator Trailer


Genre:
Action, Military, Mecha, Space
Length: 2 seasons, 12 episodes each
Available on: Crunchyroll


6. Robotics;Notes (2012 – 2013)


mecha anime - Robotics;Notes
Image credit: Robotics;Notes Wiki 

Robotics;Notes is a mecha anime filled with robotic engineering knowledge that science geeks will appreciate. The story follows the daily life of Kaito Yashio, a laidback high school student who only joined the school’s robotics club to accompany his best friend, Akiho Senomiya. 

Akiho is the complete opposite of Kaito – she is lively, optimistic, and loves robots. She desires to finish building a huge robot capable of independent movement, dubbed “GunBuild-1”.  

mecha anime - Robotics;Notes
Image credit: Avvesione

However, the peaceful high school days of Kaito and Akiho are disrupted when Kaito is made aware of a sinister plan that threatens the lives of the people on Earth. Now, it is up to Kaito to use his wit and knowledge of robots to save the world. 

Robotics;Notes Official Trailer
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Robotics;Notes Official Trailer


Genre:
Sci-Fi, Mystery, Mecha, Drama, School life
Length: 1 season, 22 episodes
Available on: Crunchyroll


7. Aldnoah.Zero (2014 – 2015)


mecha anime - Aldnoah.Zero
Image credit: IMDb 

Aldnoah.Zero is set in a world where humanity is split into 2 factions – the Martians, who make up the Vers Empire on Mars, and the Terrans, who make up the human population who chose to remain on Earth.  

mecha anime - Aldnoah.Zero
Image adapted from: PicScore

The 2 factions do not see eye to eye and continuously waged war against each other for a good 27 years before they were forced to sign an armistice. However, their truce was broken in 2014, when the Vers Empire’s princess was attacked on Earth.  

mecha anime - Aldnoah.Zero
Image credit: IMDb 

Aldnoah.Zero follows the story of Inaho Kaizuka, a Terran, and Slaine Troyard, a Martian, and how they became mortal enemies as they fought on opposing sides. As the Martians and Terrans battle it out, the biggest question still remains: must one side be obliterated for peace to be achieved?  

ALDNOAH.ZERO Trailer 2
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ALDNOAH.ZERO Trailer 2


Genre:
Action, Sci-Fi, Mecha, Military
Length: 2 seasons, 12 episodes each
Available on: Crunchyroll


8. Heavy Object (2015 – 2016)


mecha anime - heavy object
Image credit: MisterH 

Heavy Object follows best friends Qwenthur Barbotage and Havia Winchell. They shocked the world by defeating an enemy Object – circular battle equipment with incredible attack and defence capabilities – without using an Object during the battle. 

This impossible feat paved the way and changed how wars are waged between 4 nations with opposing views – the Legitimate Kingdom, the Capitalist Empire, the Intelligence Union, and the Faith Organisation.  

mecha anime - heavy object
Image credit: Heavy Object Wiki 

As a result, Qwenthur and Havia get caught up in the battles between the 4 nations. They have to use all of their resources, knowledge, combat skills, and teamwork to fight for what’s right. 

Heavy Object 2015 Trailer HD
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Heavy Object 2015 Trailer HD


Genre:
Military, Mecha, Sci-Fi, Action
Length: 1 season, 24 episodes
Available on: Hulu


9. Schwarzesmarken (2016)


mecha anime - Schwarzesmarken
Image credit: IMDb 

Schwarzesmarken, also known as East Germany’s 666th TSF Squadron, is a military unit trained to fight against the BETA – aliens that view the humans on Earth as a threat and will do all they can to annihilate the human race. The Schwarzesmarken uses war mechas called “Tactical Surface Fighters” to battle against the BETA and to keep them at bay. 

mecha anime - Schwarzesmarken
Image credit: RandomCuriosity

Although their hands are full just by having to deal with the formidable BETA forces, the Schwarzesmarken, led by Irisdisna Bernhard, will have to face all sorts of rebellion, battles, and conspiracies from the BETA, East and West Germany, and the Stasi. 

In a time where even allies cannot be trusted, Irisdina and her team will have to skillfully navigate deceit in order to save the whole of Germany and to end all fighting.   

シュヴァルツェスマーケン 第2弾PV
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シュヴァルツェスマーケン 第2弾PV


Genre:
Action, Sci-Fi, Historical, Mecha, Military
Length: 1 season, 12 episodes
Available on: Crunchyroll


10. Astro Boy: Tetsuwan Atom (2003-2004)


mecha anime - Astro Boy: Tetsuwan Atom
Image credit: The Movie Database 

Astro Boy: Tetsuwan Atom is a retelling of the story of Astro Boy, a beloved and iconic robot manga series that ran from 1952 to 1968. The adaptation portrayed Astro’s fight against villains and evil robots, as well as his search for his identity and purpose in the world. 

mecha anime - Astro Boy: Tetsuwan Atom
Image adapted from: Manetoys 

It is an inspirational story of a robot boy trying to find a sense of belonging in a world where humans and robots do not happily coexist. Later in the series, Astro becomes determined to prove that robots and humans can live together in harmony, while a part of him also yearns to reconcile with his “father” and creator, Dr. Tenma.  

Tetsuwan Atom - Astro Boy - 2003 Japanese Intro Theme 16:9
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Tetsuwan Atom - Astro Boy - 2003 Japanese Intro Theme 16:9


Genre:
Action, Mecha, Sci-Fi, Shounen, Superpowers
Length: 1 season, 50 episodes
Available on: Netflix


11. Gurren Lagann (2007 – 2009)


mecha anime - Gurren Lagann
Image credit: IMDb 

Gurren Lagann follows the story of Simon, a shy 14-year-old, and the courageous Kamina. One day, they find a key that grants them access to a mecha known as a Gunmen. 

The duo, who have lived underground their whole lives, are forced to emerge to the surface when their home gets attacked by a Gunmen from aboveground.

mecha anime - Gurren Lagann
Image credit: SlashFilm

The two activate the Gunmen they found during their excavation, dubbing it “Lagann”, and utilise it to defeat their attacker.

Later, Kamina hijacks an enemy Gunmen, later nicknamed “Gurren”, to fight against the enemies known as the “Beastmen”. The Beastmen are led by Lordgenome, who rules the world aboveground through force. 

mecha anime - Gurren Lagann
Image adapted from: Gfycat

Forming their own band of resistance, Simon and Kamina fight together with other humans who wish to be liberated from Lordgenome’s oppressive rule.

Gurren Lagann Official Trailer
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Gurren Lagann Official Trailer


Genre:
Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi, Mecha
Length: 1 season, 27 episodes, 2 Movies
Available on: Netflix, Crunchyroll


Mecha anime series to watch ASAP


For those of you who still have a fire for mecha after all these years, check out the mecha anime series recommended on this list and relive your childhood dreams.  

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Cover image adapted from: The Movie Database, Amazon, IMDb