Mecha - giant humanoid robots piloted by actual human beings - are perhaps the most "anime" things out there, next to tsunderes and teenagers running down the street with bread in their mouth. Mecha anime is a beloved genre, and there's a whole lot more to it than just awesome fights. Actually, what makes a mecha show truly great is the pilots.
For this list, "best" doesn't necessarily mean "most skilled." While some of these characters possess incredible battle prowess, others are here because of their character development, or what they add to the story. Think "best character who happens to pilot a giant robot" not "person you'd hire for the job if you personally ran a fleet of mecha."
With that in mind, who are the best mecha pilots in anime? Many of them come from Gundam - from classic characters like Char Aznable to newer additions like Mikazuki Augus. Others appear outside in shows like Neon Genesis Evangelion, Code Geass, Soukyuu No Fafner, and more. Do you see your favorite?
Heero Yuy is a mecha pilot who believes that the only way to succeed as a pilot is to shut off his emotions during battle. This causes others to see him as bizarrely hard-hearted in ways that don't befit his young age, while others see him as extraordinarily capable in battle.
Char Aznable is one of the most beloved characters in the entire Gundam franchise. He is a skilled Gundam pilot, a master tactician, and a capable and respected leader.
Zero Two - Darling In The Franxx
Zero Two is a half human, half klaxosaur young woman who pilots a Franxx mecha alongside her partner Hiro. Despite her background, she works to defend Earth from Klaxosaur attacks.
Setsuna F. Seiei - Mobile Suit Gundam 00
Once brainwashed into slaying his own parents, Setsuna F. Seiei grows up to be a troubled individual. He believes that God couldn't possibly exist because of all the suffering humans endure but sees Gundams as a literal manifestation of God. Though inarguably a skilled pilot, where Setsuna really shines is in his character development.