Get ready to suit up, because we’re about to dive into the world of mecha anime! From towering giants to sleek and agile machines, mecha anime series have captivated audiences around the world with their high-stakes action and epic battles. These series often revolve around the use of giant robots, or “mecha,” in combat, and they’ve earned a reputation for their complex characters, intense action, and thought-provoking storytelling.
In this article, we’ll be showcasing some of the most popular and highly rated mecha anime series (according to MyAnimeList) that have made a splash in the world of anime. Whether you’re a fan of giant robots fighting against impossible odds, or more interested in the psychological and emotional toll of piloting a mecha, there’s something on this list for you. So buckle up and get ready to enter the cockpit, because we’re about to take you on a tour of the best mecha anime series out there!
Knight's & Magic
Knight’s & Magic is an anime series about a young man named Tsubasa Kurata who is reincarnated in a fantasy world as a mecha otaku named Ernesti Echevarria.
In this new world, Ernesti becomes a Knight Runner, a pilot of giant robots called Silhouette Knights, and sets out on a journey to build his own Silhouette Knight and become the greatest Knight Runner in the land. As he fights against the demons that threaten the kingdom and learns about the history and technology of the Silhouette Knights, Ernesti must also confront the challenges of his new life and the expectations of those around him. The series combines elements of action, fantasy, and coming of age as it explores themes of identity, friendship, and the human desire for purpose.
SSSS.Gridman is an anime series about a young man named Yuta who is a friend of a mysterious entity called Gridman and possesses the ability to transform into a giant hero to fight against kaiju, giant monsters that appear in his town.
As he battles the kaiju and tries to uncover the mystery behind their appearance, Yuta is aided by his friends and fellow classmates, who also possess special abilities. Together, they must confront the challenges of their powers and the dangers they face as they try to save their town and the world. The series combines elements of action, drama, and science fiction as it explores themes of identity, friendship, and the human desire for purpose.
Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet
Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet is an anime series about a young man named Ledo who is a soldier in a space war and becomes stranded on a mysterious planet covered in water.
As he tries to find a way back to his own world and fight against the hostile creatures on the planet, Ledo is taken in by a group of humans who live on giant ships and scavenge for resources. As he adjusts to life on the ships and learns about the culture and values of the people, Ledo must also confront the truth about his own world and the role he has played in the war. The series combines elements of action, drama, and science fiction as it explores themes of identity, morality, and the human desire for connection.
Hundred is an anime series about a young man named Hayato Kisaragi who is chosen to pilot a special weapon called a “Hundred” to fight against mysterious creatures called “Savages.”
As he trains to become a top pilot and battles the Savages, Hayato must also navigate the challenges of attending a school for Hundred pilots and dealing with his own personal issues, including his feelings for his childhood friend Emilia and the trauma of his past. The series combines elements of action, romance, and coming of age as it explores themes of love, identity, and the human desire for purpose.
Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle
Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle is an anime series set in a fantasy world where a young man named Lux is accused of treason and sentenced to life as a slave.
As he navigates the harsh realities of life as a slave and fights to clear his name, Lux meets a princess named Lisesharte, who is struggling to take back her kingdom from the powerful empire that conquered it. Together, they join forces and use their combined skills and resources to take on the empire and reclaim Lisesharte’s kingdom. The series combines elements of action, fantasy, and romance as it explores themes of loyalty, friendship, and the power of determination.
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex is an anime series set in a future where the line between humans and technology has become blurred.
The main character, Motoko Kusanagi, is a highly skilled cyborg and leader of Public Security Section 9, a special task force that deals with cybercrime and terrorism. Along with her team, Motoko investigates cases involving advanced technology and artificial intelligence, and battles against organizations that seek to use technology for their own gain. As she confronts the challenges of her work and her own identity as a cyborg, Motoko must also grapple with the moral and ethical implications of technology and the blurred lines between humanity and machine. The series explores themes of identity, consciousness, and the relationship between humans and technology.
Eureka Seven is an anime series about a young boy named Renton Thurston who lives with his mechanic grandfather and dreams of joining the renegade group known as Gekkostate, who ride giant robots called LFOs and fight against the military organization known as the Defense Force.
When a mysterious girl named Eureka piloting a unique LFO called the Nirvash crashes into Renton’s life, he is drawn into the world of Gekkostate and the fight against the Defense Force. As he navigates the dangers and complexities of life with Gekkostate and falls in love with Eureka, Renton must also confront the secrets of his own past and the true nature of the Nirvash. The series combines elements of action, romance, and coming of age as it explores themes of love, identity, and the human desire for purpose.
Re:Creators is an anime series about a group of characters from different stories who are brought into the real world by a mysterious force.
The main character, Souta Mizushino, is a high school student and avid fan of anime and manga who becomes embroiled in the conflict between the “Creations,” as the characters are called, and the person who brought them into the real world. As he helps the Creations return to their own worlds and uncover the truth behind their arrival, Souta must also confront his own feelings and the impact of his actions on the real world. The series combines elements of action, drama, and science fiction as it explores themes of identity, reality, and the power of storytelling.
Full Metal Panic!
Full Metal Panic! is a widely loved mecha anime series that follows the story of Sousuke Sagara, a member of a covert military organization known as Mithril, who is assigned to protect a high school student named Kaname Chidori.
Sousuke must balance his duties as a soldier with his role as Kaname’s bodyguard and navigate the challenges of living a normal life as a teenager. As he protects Kaname from various threats, including other soldiers and terrorist organizations, Sousuke must also confront his own personal demons and the weight of his responsibilities. The series combines elements of action, comedy, and romance as it explores themes of identity, loyalty, and the human desire for connection.
Aldnoah.Zero is a mecha anime series set in a future where humanity has colonized Mars and discovered a mysterious substance called “Aldnoah” that grants incredible powers. A civil war breaks out between the people of Earth and the Martian colonists, who possess advanced technology and seek to conquer Earth.
The main character, Inaho Kaizuka, is a high school student who becomes a skilled strategist and pilot in the war against the Martians. As he fights to protect his friends and loved ones, Inaho must also confront the moral complexities of war and the cost of victory. The series combines elements of action, drama, and science fiction as it explores themes of loyalty, morality, and the human desire for power.
Infinite Stratos is a mecha anime series, with an element of ecchi-ness, set in a future world where exoskeleton suits called “Infinite Stratos” (IS) have revolutionized warfare and can only be piloted by women.
The main character, Ichika Orimura, is a high school student who becomes the only male capable of piloting an IS and is enrolled in a school for IS pilots. As he navigates the challenges of being the only male in a school full of girls and trains to become a top pilot, Ichika must also deal with the attention and admiration of his female classmates and the challenges of living up to their expectations. The series combines elements of action, comedy, and romance as it explores themes of gender roles, identity, and the human desire for connection.
86 Eighty Six
Having just recently aired in 2021, 86 Eighty Six has already amassed a huge audience pushing it to be one of the best mecha anime of all time. 86 Eighty Six is set in a dystopian world where a group of people known as the “86” are treated as disposable resources and used for military purposes by the ruling powers.
The main character, Shin, is an 86 who has been assigned to pilot a special weapon called a “Legion” and fight against the Republic of San Magnolia, a powerful nation that has conquered much of the world. As he battles against overwhelming odds and struggles to survive in a society that sees him as expendable, Shin must also confront his own identity and the meaning of his existence. The series explores themes of oppression, identity, and the human desire for freedom.
Date A Live
Date A Live is heavily recognised as one of the best mecha anime – so much so that several seasons have already been adapted with prospects for more. Date A Live follows a story about a young man named Shido Itsuka who has the ability to seal the powers of spirits, supernatural beings who have caused disasters on Earth.
To prevent further destruction, Shido is tasked with “dating” the spirits and convincing them to stop their rampages. As he gets to know the spirits and helps them confront their personal issues, Shido must also deal with his own complicated relationships with the spirits and the people around him. The series combines elements of romance, comedy, and action as it explores themes of love, friendship, and the power of human connection.
Guilty Crown is a wildely loved mecha anime series set in a future Japan where a mysterious virus called the Apocalypse Virus has devastated the country. To combat the virus, the government creates a special power called the “Power of the King,” which allows a select few individuals to wield incredible abilities.
The main character, Shu Ouma, is a high school student who acquires the Power of the King and becomes embroiled in a conflict between the government and a rebel group called Funeral Parlor, who seek to overthrow the government and reveal the truth about the Apocalypse Virus. As he navigates the complex political landscape and fights to protect his friends, Shu must also confront his own feelings of guilt and the weight of his responsibilities. The series explores themes of power, loyalty, and the cost of protecting those you care about.
Gurren Lagann is an anime series that follows the story of Simon and Kamina, two young men who dream of breaking through the surface of the underground world they live in and reaching the surface.
When they finally manage to escape, they join the fight against the Spiral King, Lordgenome, and his army of Beastmen, who seek to conquer the surface world and enslave humanity. As they pilot their own giant mechas, the Gurren Lagann and Lagann, Simon and Kamina face challenges and make sacrifices in their quest to defeat the Spiral King and bring freedom to the surface world. The series explores themes of determination, friendship, and the power of the human spirit.
Darling in the FranXX
Darling in the FranXX is a mecha sci-fi anime series set in a dystopian future where humanity’s survival relies on giant mechas called FranXX, which can only be piloted by children.
The main character, Hiro, is a young boy who has lost his motivation to pilot a FranXX and is paired with a mysterious girl named Zero Two, who has the ability to turn into a monster when piloting a FranXX. Together, they must fight against the klaxosaurs, giant creatures that threaten humanity’s existence. As they battle, Hiro and Zero Two develop a close bond and confront their own personal issues, including their own mortality and their roles in a society that sees them as nothing more than tools. The series explores themes of love, loss, and the human desire for connection.
Neon Genesis Evangelion
Neon Genesis Evangelion is a beloved classic – not only among the best mecha anime series but, in the whole anime industry. This series is set in a future world where humanity is on the brink of extinction due to the appearance of giant monsters known as Angels.
To combat the Angels, the organization Nerv has created giant bio-machine weapons called Evangelions, which are piloted by a select few teenagers. The main character, Shinji Ikari, is recruited to pilot an Evangelion and join the fight against the Angels, but he struggles with feelings of inadequacy and the weight of his responsibilities. As he confronts the Angels and his own inner demons, Shinji must also unravel the mysteries surrounding Nerv, the Evangelions, and his own past. The series explores themes of identity, mental health, and the human condition.
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion is highly praised as one of the best anime of all time and easily the best mecha anime series ever. This series follows the story of Lelouch vi Britannia, a high school student who possesses a special power called “Geass,” which allows him to command the will of others.
Lelouch uses this power to lead a rebellion against the Holy Britannian Empire, a powerful and technologically advanced nation that has conquered much of the world. As he struggles to overthrow the empire and bring freedom to his homeland, Lelouch must confront difficult moral choices and the consequences of his actions. The series explores themes of power, political intrigue, and the cost of rebellion.