With the fine folks over at Crunchyroll recently rolling out Gundam Wing, Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz and Mobile Fighter G Gundam onto their streaming service I decided it was time I revisited some of my favourite through the years and recommend them to the internet. I’m good like that.
A quick note before I begin. A number of these shows may not be available for streaming inside of Australia, or even anywhere as far as I can tell in regards to some. But all have been dubbed/subbed and released on DVD and Blu-ray so are available from amazon, ebay and actual physical retail stores who stock anime.
To keep things short and sweet I will endeavour to keep this list only to the top 6. Because really, there are just to many to limit it to only 5.
Neon Genesis Evangelion
To start things off big, NGE is the pre-eminent mecha anime in the entire community. Very few fans have ever not watched the series. Not only does it serve as a gateway to the darker styles and deeper concepts that are available to us through anime but it does it in such a timeless way that the show is still watchable and relatable even now, over 20 years since its first release on air in Japan.
If you have for some reason denied yourself the pleasure of this show, then make it your number one priority to get caught up and be as amazed and disturbed by it as I am.
Another excellent show, though numbers 2 – 6 are all nebulous in their positions on this list. Only NGE has a definitive spot. Code Geass took a political / fantasy / sci-fi world and made it something amazing. While the plot started to get a bit out of control by the end of the show, the animation and story were top notch. At every turn, there were surprises and betrayals and constant ramping up of power levels and the stakes involved got ever more ridiculous.
But despite its many flaws I loved watching every minute of it.
All of the Gundam shows are great. But for me, the one that reignited my interest in the franchise, and that I have watched at least half a dozen times since, is Gundam Seed. Every Gundam show, until the most recent Iron Blooded Orphans, has had an insane ramp up of conflict towards the climax of the series and Seed is no exception to this rule. The abilities of the pilots and the machines are so insane at the end of the series it’s a wonder that armies are needed at all.
But because of the over the top nature and the likeable characters, Captain Murrue Ramius is awesome, I can’t get enough of Gundam Seed and recommend it to any new comers to the Mecha genre.
Super Dimension Fortress Macross
In order to get an understanding of where the basis for a good number of current generation mecha anime come from, without watching the full and very extensive history of Gundam and Astro Boy, then look no further than Macross. SDF Macross is one of the most historically influential anime, despite not being viewed properly by a huge audience, thanks the North American amalgamation of it with 2 other shows to create “Robotech: The Macross Saga”.
SDF Macross is the inspiration for a countless number of western and Japanese “Space Invaders vs Giant Robots” shows. If you can find it, this show is well worth the watch, but if you grew up in the late 80’s you may have already had the privilege of watching it.
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
To keep with my theme of over the top escalation and insane levels of power, Gurren Lagann is a great choice. They literally begin hitting each other with universes in the final battle… I wish I was joking.
As if that wasn’t enough to get your interest, it recently celebrated its 10th birthday and is still one of the best anime available if you want something light hearted. But be warned. It isn’t all fun and games, if you get invested in these characters you will get something in your eye.
The final spot on this list I felt had to go to a total fan service mecha anime. And while there are some great examples of them out there, Gravion was the one I watched while growing up. It’s the show that made me develop me “Beach episode” theory. More about that another time.
Gravion is one of the last shows I watched using the English dub. The voice actors are some of the best there were for the English VO scene in the late 90’s early 2000’s and the pure cheese of the lines and the deadpan nature that they get delivered in is pure comedy gold. Do not watch this expecting a deep and meaningful plot. Or even a coherent one a lot of the time. But I can almost guarantee that if you like fan service then you will like Gravion.