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While it may not seem like it I use to be a giant mecha fanboy.  Gundam is what got me into anime and I watched every single Gundam series I could find early on in my anime career.  While I am not as passionate with mecha now that my interests have changed some I would still like to do a little more for the genre that showed me the greatness that is anime.  As such this is my tribute to the mecha genre with my top mechas list.

As usual a fair warning that this list is completely in fun, I don’t claim this to be anything more than my own thoughts.  Please keep in mind there is no way to get in even close to every great mecha on a list of 10.  Disagreements and opinions are always welcomed as long as in good fun. 

There is no criteria to make this list other than it has to be is a giant humanoid shaped object that pilot’s control inside.  I know mecha fans can get into debates over what qualifies otherwise so just making this clear now.  I also limited it to three mechas from Gundam and two from Macross, otherwise the list would be just filled with those two series mostly which is no fun.

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In order to simplify this list I used five different measurements.  Design is obvious, mechas are almost always made to look cool so this should be a factor.  Historical is how much influence it has had on the mecha genre and anime.  It’s a hard judgement to make so obviously this is my own take on it.  Personal meaning is a combination of my own historical value (mostly nostalgia) and partly what I currently value.  Obviously this one had more value than the rest initially as you’ll notice everything on the list is at least ranked B.  Technical power level is a rough estimate of how powerful it would be on a general scale of all mechas.

I finally averaged all five values out by applying numerical values to the letters, basically like how it is commonly done in school systems.  Now that all that stuff is out of the way on to the list.

10. Escaflowne (The Vision of Escaflowne)

esca

  • Design C
  • Historical B
  • Personal meaning A
  • Popularity F
  • Technical power level F

Average: C-

The tech level is hard to quantify on Escaflowne considering it runs essentially on magic however since it uses mostly a sword I consider it the weakest.  This isn’t a knock on it however as I find this uniqueness gives it its own charm.  Also it has the ability to turn into a dragon and fly which is a very cool aspect of Escaflowne.

Fun fact:  Designed by Shoji Kawamori the creator of Macross the Escaflowne is powered by a large Drag-Energist taken from the heart of a dragon, providing magical energy to run the mecha.

9. Vox Aura (Lagrange: The Flower of Rin-ne)

voxaura

  • Design A
  • Historical F
  • Personal meaning B
  • Popularity F
  • Technical power level C

Average: C-

I love the design of the Vox Aura, in fact so much it’s currently the only mecha I own a model of.  I’ll be honest the cool and interesting design is the main reason why I put it on here as it falls short on most of the other categories I made.  Maru~

Fun fact: one of two mechas on the list with dooms day capabilities (spoilers) however this one does not destroy the earth.

8. ARX-7 Arbalest (Full Metal Panic)

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  • Design C
  • Historical C
  • Personal meaning B
  • Popularity C
  • Technical power level D

Average: C

Full Metal Panic does not get that much attention for it’s mecha as the designs are not amazing and the mecha not all that powerful but I still like it best in the category of “real mecha” set in the modern era.

Fun fact: The Arbalest is one of the few mecha in Full Metal Panic equipped with the Lambda Driver which can convert willpower to physical force.  This can have different uses for example it kept one super-sized mecha simply intact from the forces of its own weight.

7. RX-78GP03 Gundam “Dendrobium Orchis” (Gundam 0083)

0083

  • Design B
  • Historical D
  • Personal meaning A
  • Popularity C
  • Technical power level B

Average: C+

When I was still new to anime and first saw this mecha I was blown away how over-powered it was.  While that makes it mostly nostalgia pick as there are many other Gundams worth making the list I still love this Gundam today.  I just have a love for those over the top really powerful mechas.

Fun fact: This Gundam has two units to it.  First the “Stamen” which is the mecha in the middle and is where the pilot is located.  Second is the Orchis which is the large unmanned unit that the Stamen docks with which provides it with a wealth of armaments which can easily be swapped out in its giant pods.  It also carries an external I-field barrier generator which provides it defense against beam weapon fire.

6. VB-6 König Monster (Macross)

monster

  • Design B
  • Historical B
  • Personal meaning B
  • Popularity C
  • Technical power level B

Average: B-

Like my previous pick this one I just love for the sheer power of the mecha.  Easily packing some of the most powerful armaments in Macross thus far.

Fun fact:  Some version of this mecha has appeared in every single Macross series so far.

5. VF-25F Messiah (Macross Frontier)

vf25

  • Design B
  • Historical D
  • Personal meaning B
  • Popularity A
  • Technical power level B

Average: B

I actually did not gain much appreciation for this mecha until recently but now I’ve come to see all the good aspects of this mecha.  I love the different variations on the vf-25 for different purposes such as reconnaissance and long-range sniping.  As well the upgrade packs almost turn the vf-25 into a completely different mecha such as the armored pack pictured above.

Fun fact: In 2059, the engines of a Valkyrie can easily kill a pilot just from extreme acceleration G forces. To deal with this, pilots wear EX-Gear exoskeletons to help with the forces on their body.  The VF-25 itself has an “Inertia Store Converter”, protoculture technology originally used in the Meltran Queadluun-Rau battle suit to partially cancel the inertia of the vehicle.

4. RX-78-2 Gundam (Mobile Suit Gundam)

gundam

  • Design B
  • Historical A
  • Personal meaning A
  • Popularity A
  • Technical power level C

Average: B+

Honestly how can you leave out what is likely the most famous and influential mecha in history.  I don’t think there is much more needed to say about it as this is the mecha that forever changed mecha and spawned many many Gundam series and spinoffs.

Fun fact: The RX-78-2 was actually not advanced enough to keep up with its pilot, Amuro Ray, which resulted in parts getting burned out.  Creating a Gundam better suited for Amuro Ray’s incredible newtype abilities is a plot used more than once in the UC Gundam timeline.

3. Evangelion series (Neon Genesis Evangelion)

eva01

  • Design B
  • Historical A
  • Personal meaning A
  • Popularity A
  • Technical power level B

Average: A-

Speaking of famous mechas the Evangelion is another mecha almost everyone knows who is an otaku.  While one of the most unconventional mechas set in a modern era it’s still a beast to be reckoned with…

eva02

bonus pic because it’s so nice

Fun fact: Evas are controlled through a combination of hand controls and a neurological link that uses nerve impulses linked through the pilot’s plug suit and headset.  As such synchronization is important to the pilot and allows for greater control of the eva.

2. RX-93 v Gundam (Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack)

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  • Design A
  • Historical B
  • Personal meaning B
  • Popularity A
  • Technical power level A

Average: A-

I consider this the pinnacle Gundam mecha of what I consider the main storyline of the UC timeline in Gundam.  The fruition of 14 years of mecha development in story and several epic anime series out of story.  The lore adds a lot to Gundams in the UC timeline and you could say this one is second only to the original in that regard.  Plus I’d take this Gundam in most any fight, even if it’s specs may not be as good as newer Gundams, when you consider its pilot is the legendary Amuro Ray.  Not to mention I love its design, not too flashy yet very cool.

Fun fact: This was the first Gundam to use psycoframe technology which allowed the pilot to use their psychic newtype abilities in a physical manner.  As such this Gundam had six fin funnels which the pilot could control psychically using the psycoframe.  These acted as both remote beam weapons and when combined as a beam shield.

1. Gurren Lagann (Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann)

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  • Design A
  • Historical B
  • Personal meaning A
  • Popularity A
  • Technical power level A

Average: A

I can not resist an almost self-evolving mecha that runs off of the pure power of the spirit (spiral power) of those who pilot it.  It defies all logic but hey that is how anime is sometimes.  My list is fairly devoid of the “super robot” sub-genre so hopefully this is close enough to work as its lone representative.

Fun fact: Most likely the largest mecha in the history of anime as in the movie version’s final form it was a size most likely unmeasurable by any standards we have.

gl2That is the lists, now here the some of the mecha that I like but did not make it into the list for whatever reason (such as metal gear rex not being from anime lol).  You can see the name and series by mousing over and clicking on them opens up the full image.

Nirvash TypeZERO (Eureka Seven)Macross Quarter (Macross F)Buster Machine 01 (Gunbuster)Queadluun-Rea Klan Klang version (Macross F)VF-27γ Lucifer (Macross F)MS-06F Zaku II (Mobile Suit Gundam)Metal Gear Rex (Metal Gear Solid)MS-09R Rick Dom (Mobile Suit Gundam)

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