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The Best Mecha In Anime

Updated May 21, 2019 404 votes 85 voters 1.1k views12 items

List RulesVote up the mecha you'd most like to pilot in real life.

Mecha are so popular in the world of anime they have their own subgenre. These giant humanoid robots can be piloted as if they were fighter jets. At their most basic, they attack opponents with guns, missiles, swords, and more, all while offering protection from enemy barrages. But some of the best giant robots in anime can do a lot more than that. In fact, some of them can travel through time, use telekinetic powers, exude radiation, and even warp reality itself. 

What are the best mecha in anime? Gundams - the space-faring machines that practically define the genre - are among the best of the best. There's also Eva Unit 01, which is powered by human souls and can tear Angels apart. Then there's the Super Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, which runs on pure spiral power and is literally a god. With so many incredible mecha, it's hard to avoid fantasizing about piloting them yourself. 

  • Gundams - 'Mobile Suit Gundam'
    Photo: Sunrise

    Gundams are so integral to the concept of mecha that the terms are used almost interchangeably. They appear throughout the Gundam franchise, in everything from Mobile Suit Gundam and Gundam Wing to Iron Blooded Orphans. They are war machines that can be piloted in outer space, serving both to protect their pilots from harm and to take on intergalactic enemies. Appearances vary from model to model, but most hold some kind of weapon - often a gun or a sword - have wings, and even a recognizable masked face. Some models have the ability to transform, increase in size, or communicate telepathically. 

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  • Darling in the Franxx features complex machines designed to defeat Klaxosaurs, alien lifeforms that threaten the safety of humanity. They are made from the remains of Klaxosaurs excavated via a process called S-Planning. Also, Franxx can only be piloted by a fertile male and female - referred to respectively as Stamens and Pistils. If a Pistil attempts to pilot one alone, as Zero Two is forced to do after her partner passes away, the Franxx can enter something called Berserker mode, which makes it uncontrollably violent and can potentially damage the Pistil's health.

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  • Eva Units - 'Neon Genesis Evangelion'
    Photo: Gainax

    When people say "get in the robot, Shinji!" they mean an Eva Unit. Eva Units are powered not just by their pilots, but also occasionally by human souls. Eva Unit 1, which is piloted by Shinji Ikari, is also running on the soul of Shinji's late mother. Eva Unit 01 is the most powerful of all of the Eva, though it's unclear if the whole soul thing fully explains that. Rather than shooting opponents or engaging in a swordfight, the Eva Unit uses unconventional weapons, like gigantic Bowie knives (and occasionally its teeth). Designed to fight Angels, the Eva Unit can use the body parts of fallen Angels to regenerate its own. It can also wild out in a "berserker mode" that makes it almost unbeatable in battle. That's a whole lot of power for a 14-year-old kid like Shinji to handle. 

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  • Knightmare Frame - 'Code Geass'
    Photo: Sunrise

    Knightmare Frames were created by the Britannian army and were intended to fight alongside tanks. Originally not particularly impressive, they became far more powerful once they started running on Sakuradite, a rare mineral found in Japan that's part of the reason for Britannia's colonization efforts. Each successive generation of Knightmare Frame adds new features - for example, the fifth generation is designed to be able to destroy other Knightmare Frames, while the eighth allows for underwater and high-altitude travel. Though primarily used by the Britannian Army, guerilla fighters like The Black Knights use their own Knightmare Frames in battle - which may explain the fifth generation development. 

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