Top 20 Mecha that aren’t in Gundam

Since the next in the Gundam countdown series isn’t until next month, but since I also can’t ignore the people who want more of these kinds of countdowns I’ve decided the next article will be about mecha anime in general. Just ones that aren’t from Gundam. This time it’s a bit more personal of a list, not just looking at designs or power or anything of the sort. This time these are just my favorites.

If you think a top 20 list is a bit much, trust me when I say I could have easily made this a top 50 list and still leave out mecha that I thought were awesome. Narrowing it down to 20 was a bit tough for one such as me. Whose first love was giant robots.

To kick things off here we have a jazzy start. What do I mean? Well, let me explain it with

Number 20

The Gads in Gad Guard

It’s like Super Sentai but you know… with jazz

The Gads have a place in my heart for being unique. Instead of being built by armies or sentient robot coming from space they come to be by melding with machines and taking on some of their characteristics.

On top of the mecha the series has a place in my heart for having a sense of style not seen often (though it has been seen in some other series) in anime. A vibrant jazz soundtrack, and characters that wear urban clothes instead of a typical Japanese school uniform all add to the charm and makes it make sure it sticks in your memory.
Number 19
REVOLVER STAKE!
The Alt Eisen Kyosuke Nanbu’s mech in Super Robot Wars Original Generation 1 and most of part 2. Or if you’re going by the PS2 game a lot of Original Generations. Besides being mostly red which is my favorite color he’s a monster and when it comes to mecha designs I like the big hulking monsters. Add to that the huge amount of ammo this guy is packing. Plus the pilot Kyosuke is the man. He doesn’t talk a lot but that’s because he doesn’t need to. His actions speak for him.

Number 18

Aim For The Top! Got it?

The sizzlers or whatever you want to call the mecha in Gunbuster are pretty powerful looking. They have a simple color scheme that seems to actually add to their coolness. Like they’re robots that could actually exist and they shouldn’t be messed with.

Reasons other than the mecha why it’s on the list. Noriko Takaya is a super hot blooded pilot, she can definitely rival any hot blooded male. That makes her ok in my book.
Number 17
Gigantor Gigantooor Gigaaaannttoooooor!

Tetsujin 28 or Gigantor as he’s known to us in the west. What can you say about the humongous mecha? If it wasn’t for Gigantor we probably wouldn’t have all these other great creators get inspired in the first place. That definitely lands him a spot on any mecha related top list. Enough said.

Number 16
One of the first anime Yoshiyuki Tomino worked on

Raideen is notable for a lot of things. Besided being one of the first anime that Yoshiyuki Tomino worked on, it also introduces the first super robot that had supernatural origins and was sentient instead of being built by a genius professor or the military. It was also one of the super robot shows that was part of the Shogun Warriors toyline in the United States. Raideen certainly was a pioneer in it’s day and should be remembered.

Number 15
Za za za za zan!

Speaking of Tomino another of his earlier anime was an anime called Zambot 3. This one has it’s own place in history as well, being one of the first anime you can see where Tomino got his nickname “kill ’em all” with main characters dying and not only were they dying they were children.

Another reason to like the show? It’s awesome theme song as referenced in the caption for the picture. Look it up, it’s quite catchy.
Number 14
1! Plus 1! Plus 1! Plus 1! Plus 1! He’s the defender of the universe!

Voltron/GoLion is pretty noteworthy. In Japan he may not be as remembered but for those of us in the United States he isn’t just a super robot, he’s the super robot. But that isn’t to say in Japan it didn’t do some things that were on the edge. Like say, kill the entire population of Earth in the first episode? Which even in Japan at the time was a bit crazy. Voltron or GoLion whatever you want to call him, deserves a spot in the top list.

Number 13
Grendizer don’t take no crap

Grendizer is the third in the Mazinger series (Kouji Kabuto even appears) and one heck of an entry. Instead of a human fighting to protect Earth it’s an alien protecting Earth from more aliens.

Besides there’s always talk of people that believe Grendizer is as powerful as certain other Go Nagai robots. Is it true? I for one don’t care personally.
Number 12
 
In terms of robots that combine out of 5 machines in Japan Voltes is more remembered

Voltes V (pronounced Voltehs Five) is a combining super robot anime that was just plain old fun. You have a team of five that wore colors just like in Super Sentai you had evil horned aliens and you had a giant combined robot with a ton of weapons. What more do you need?

 
Number 11

God Bless Dancouga!

Choujuu Kishin Dancouga or as it’s known over here God Bless Dancouga is another combining robot. But unlike Voltron and Voltes V this one combined with only four. Dancouga had a great voice cast and a memorable catch phrase from the team leader Shinobu “yatte yaruze!” Speaking of voices the voice actor or seiyuu for the leader, Shinobu was none other than Judau Ashta’s voice in Gundam ZZ.

Dancouga is a great example for anime in the 80s not only did it have great robot fights and designs but it had an awesome soundtrack.
Number 10
You thought blowing up the Earth was bad?

Space Runaway Ideon was the anime that cemented Tomino’s reputation and nickname “kill ’em all”. Unlike in GoLion where the entire Earth was decimated. At the end of Ideon the entire universe was destroyed. Not just the entire population the whole universe itself.

Ideon is one heck of an anime, it makes you think that it’s just about protecting people from some evil aliens but it certainly takes some twists and turns you didn’t see coming. It’s a lot more than just a mecha anime and it definitely should be checked out.
Number 9
Neppu! Shippu! Cybuster!

The Cybuster is the first hero original robot in Super Robot Wars. Appearing in Super Robot Wars 2 for the Famicom (NES). Masaki Andoh is the first hero original character in Super Robot Wars. Never mind that anime that was made in 1999 and to be fair didn’t see, but saw enough to think “that isn’t Masaki, never mind this” The Cybuster has quite a legacy to it. Even though it’s an original in Super Robot Wars it’s been around long enough to be considered legendary.

Also, me and Masaki share the same horrible sense of direction. I can relate to him.
Number 8
Goldion hammer!

GaoGaiGar with it’s intensely catchy theme song, and extreme hot blooded characters just makes it a complete winner in my book. Also, concerning the mecha itself it’s a giant transformer with a lion in it’s chest! Seriously this thing just exudes awesome.

As you can tell I like this mecha and the series a lot. Go check it out if you haven’t you will not be disappointed.
Number 7
Lonely way!

SPT Layzner is a robot anime that isn’t very well known here in the United States. Boy, I wish it was. It was created by Sunrise around 1986 and had quite a story.

Besides that the Layzner is a very cool robot, with the blue color scheme and the dome like head piece. It has a bit more style than what you would see in other real robot series.
Number 6
Arguing about stuff that happened in grade school while in a life or death battle? Only Isamu.

Isamu Alva Dyson’s mecha in Macross Plus wasn’t as flashy as Guld Goa Bowman’s but it stood out to me more. I don’t know if it’s the color scheme or what, but the YF-19 seemed to stand out in it’s simplicity.

As for Macross Plus, it’s a masterpiece and it should be checked out right now if you haven’t seen it. Go on ahead, I’ll still be here, it’s on youtube free and legally and on Netflix as well.
Number 5

Just don’t mess with this thing alright?

Mazinkaiser was created specifically for the Super Robot Wars series first. The team behind the games went to Go Nagai and asked for a powered up version of Mazinger for the games Go created Mazinkaiser. Since it’s for the Mazinger series which was still pretty popular they decided hey, why not make an OVA for it too? So they did.

Mazinkaiser adds some attitude to Mazinger Z and lets you know that Kouji Kabuto is not one to be trifled with.
Number 4
It’s called a scopedog

VOTOMS is a series that is quite groundbreaking. Like Gundam it showcases robots as tools and weapons and not as heros fighting evil. But even more so than Gundam it gets a lot more realistic. The scopedogs are actually pretty viable in real life.

Also of note is the main character Chirico. He doesn’t have any powers or psychic abilities or genetic manipulation (if I remember correctly) If you’re a fan of hard science fiction VOTOMS will be right up your alley.
Number 3
Gan gan gan gan Getter gan!

Getter Robo is a mecha that’s in a lot of people’s hearts around the world. It’s considered one of the trinity of robot anime. The other two being Gundam and Mazinger. On top of that it’s one of if not the first robot anime to have a combining robot. How’s that for top 3 material?

Number 2
VF1 Valkyrie

Did you know quite a few people who worked on the original Mobile Suit Gundam went on to work on the legendary Macross? Legends breed more legends I guess. Showji Kawamori created one heck of a design to be the main fighter robot in Macross. No matter which form it’s in it always looks elegant.

Macross is also a great series for it’s characters like Roy Fokker and Lynn Minmay and it’s great animation. Even today the animation holds up well, no doubt thanks to Ichiro Itano who besides Gundam and Macross also animated for Cowboy Bebop.
Number 1
Who else, baby?

Mazinger Z just has too much love from me and everyone else I grew up with to not be anywhere else but number 1. It’s the super robot show that set up the groundwork for every other super robot show. Plus it’s one of the trinity along with Gundam and Getter Robo. Whenever I think of robot anime Gundam doesn’t pop into my head, neither does Macross or Getter Robo. Whenever I think of robot anime Mazinger Z will always be the first to pop into my head.

Rocket punch!
Honorable mentions:
Gurenn Lagann
Combattler V
Shin Getter
Mazinkaiser SKL
Brave Exkaiser
Brave Fighbird
Daimos
How about you guys? What are your favorite robot anime? Don’t forget to comment.

5 Comments