In anime, the genre of mecha is the stuff of dreams, and it’s one of the oldest, most popular, and most varied of them all. The concept of a powerful giant robot needing compatible pilots to combat alien threats has been a proven formula that hooked mecha fans. A contemporary interpretation of the mecha genre also explores fascinating ideas about human nature and the diffiies most young pilots face in handling a super robot. The formula gave rise to the Sci-Fi psychological drama mecha and the action Sci-Fi mecha series. Thus, anime shows and movies featuring science fiction, fantasy, and horror employ this concept. The Mecha series is usually dominated by robots of all sizes, magical robots, human-sized exoskeletons, and armor.
Since the mecha genre anime has been in the game for a long time, it is pretty hard to find the best mecha anime. So, for mecha fans, here are our top picks for the best mecha anime.
With his ability to unlock the mysteries of the GHQ, Funeral Parlor, and Lost Christmas, a high school student is caught up in an action-packed anime called Guilty Crown. His discovery of the truth will, however, come at a much higher cost than he could have ever imagined.
The year is 2039. An apocalyptic virus, otherwise known as “Lost Christmas,” swept the once proud nation a decade ago, forcing the once proud country of Japan under the rule of GHQ, an independent military force. Gai Tsutsugami, leader of the Funeral Parlor, represents the sole resistance to the brutal regime of GHQ.
During a major mission, Inori Yuzuriha, a key member of Funeral Parlor, runs into the weak and socially awkward Shuu Ouma, resulting in him gaining the “Power of Kings”—a skill that allows the wielder to draw forth the representations of an individual’s psyche, or “voids” Shuu, now a reluctant member in the fight against GHQ, must learn to harness his sudden power if he is to assist in the reunification of Japan.
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion
The original series, Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch, was developed by Sunrise animation studio with design contributions from the all-female Japanese manga artist group Clamp. Set in 2010, Britannia has established itself as a dominant military nation after conquering Japan and renaming it Area 11. Since then, there have been significant attempts to regain independence in this country under the tyrannical rule of these tyrants.
In Area 11, a rebel armed force is attacking Britannian forces when Lelouch Lamperouge gets caught in the crossfire. They escape thanks to a mysterious girl named C.C., who bestows upon him Geass, “The Power of Kings.” He realizes its vast potential and embarks on a perilous journey as Zero, leading an attack against Britannia.
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The Vision Of Escaflowne
One night, a boy named Van Fanel suddenly appears from the sky along with a vicious dragon. Thanks to a premonition from Hitomi, Van successfully takes the life of the dragon and takes her back home through an interstellar portal where they see Earth hanging in space as if it was another planet!
Hitomi soon discovers that Van is the prince of a kingdom called Fanelia, which soon falls under the control of Zaibach’s evil Empire. Van boarded his family’s ancient guymelef Escaflowne in an attempt to fight them off, but he failed, and Fanelia was destroyed in the process. When Hitomi and Van are on the run, they encounter an Asturian knight named Allen Schezar. She was shocked to see that his face looked just like her Earth crush. With the help of some new allies, Van and Hitomi fight back against the forces of Zaibach as the Empire strives to bring back an ancient power.
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Darling in the FranXX
Piloting mechas known as FranXX, in boy-girl pairs is the only way to combat giant beasts called Klaxosaurs. These children are bred for this sole purpose and know nothing of their outside world aside from fighting these monsters that have driven humanity into near extinction.
After failing an aptitude test, Hiro lost his motivation and self-confidence as an aspiring FranXX pilot. Hiro skips his school’s graduation ceremony and retreats to a forest lake, where he encounters a mysterious girl with two horns sprouting from her head. After introducing herself as Zero Two, the infamous “Partner Killer” pilot of FranXX, a Klaxosaur attacks the Plantation before Hiro can digest the encounter. After engaging the creature in her FranXX, Zero Two’s ship is heavily damaged in the skirmish and crashes near Hiro. After discovering her partner no longer living, Zero Two invites Hiro to pilot the mecha with her, and the two easily defeat the Klaxosaur in the ensuing battle. By having a new partner by his side, Hiro has a chance to atone for his past failures, but at what cost?
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Infinite Stratos (I.S.), an exoskeleton weapon developed by Japan, can only be piloted by women. Despite its great power and combat prowess, its use as a military asset has been banned by an international treaty.
The Infinite Stratos Academy is an all-female school in which the students graduate to become I.S. pilots. When it is learned that the only man capable of steering an I.S. is 15-year-old Ichika Orimura, he is forced into enrollment. During his time at the training school, Ichika reconnected with his childhood friends, Houki Shinonono and Lingyin Huang, and became friends with British IS representative Cecilia Alcott. Chifuyu Orimura, the legendary pilot and Ichika’s older sister, is their strict homeroom teacher. They will need to use everything at their disposal when defending themselves against dangers that arise during this thrilling school life filled with victories and defeats.
The Big O
A city of amnesia and belonging, Paradigm City. Despite a calamity 40 years ago, the city remains populated by forgotten pasts and the ruins of their labor. In a fog of mystery, Roger Smith is the one who shines a light through the mist. Roger is a self-styled ladies’ man who loves black funeral gowns. He is a professional negotiator and a suave agent.
Although Roger often starts out as a simple negotiator, his deep involvement with Paradigm quickly leads him into solving offenses and saving the city. While doing so, Roger is drawn into the city’s buried secrets even more. In general, things are rarely as they seem. Roger serves as a gray knight in a gray world, but he is not alone. A loyal butler named Norman and a human-like android named Dorothy are by his side. Together, they help Roger uncover the truth about a 40-year-old theory by using a relic called Big O, a jet-black mecha of imposing size.
A young sixth-grader named Naota Nandaba lives in an ordinary city where nothing remarkable happens. He keeps everything his brother left behind-from his top bunk bed to his ex-girlfriend, who hasn’t stopped hugging him since Tasuku left-after he leaves town to play baseball in America.
Naota is unaware, however, that his mundane existence is about to undergo a drastic change. It’s Haruko Haruhara, a pink-haired psychopath who rides a Vespa and holds a bass guitar, who leads Naota on his first encounter. When Haruko moves in at his parents’ house and disrupts the peace and quiet that Naota is looking for, the young boy finds himself in the middle of the greatest conflict in Earth’s history, and maybe even in the entire universe.
San Magnolia asserts that it has no casualties in the war against the Giadian Empire, but that is pure propaganda. There are eighty-five sectors of the Republic with silver-haired Alba, while the other eighty-six factions have different appearances and reside in a secret area. Their military name is the Eighty-Six, and they fight against the Empire’s autonomous Legion under the Republican Handlers.
As the successor to their previous Handler, Vladilena Milizé has been assigned to the Spearhead squadron. In spite of her peers’ inhumane treatment of her for being an Eighty-Six supporter, she continues to engage in activism. The Spearhead squadron is led by Shinei Nouzen. Because he is the sole survivor of every squadron he has served in, he insists on carrying the names and wishes of his fallen comrades. Will the meeting of these young souls from two different worlds ignite a spark that paves their path to salvation, or will they finally burn in the fires of despair?
Humanity has made its first steps toward exploring the far reaches of the galaxy in the near future. Upon doing so, they discovered an armada of insectoid aliens known as “Space Monsters.” These creatures are intent on destroying humans as they inch closer to the planet Earth. Humanity responded by developing giant fighting robots that are piloted by hand-picked youths across the globe.
In the aftermath of the alien discovery, Noriko Takaya, the daughter of a starship captain wholost life years ago, enrolls in a pilot training school despite her doubts about her skills. Her polar opposite, the talented and beautiful Kazumi Amano, meets her there, and she is placed in an unexpected position of working together with her as they attempt to overcome war trauma and their own emotions.
Renton Thurston, a 14-year-old boy from Bellforest, lives in the backwater town. He wants to leave behind his life in order to join the mercenary group Gekkostate, hoping to gain some adventure to liven up his mundane existence. However, in the face of his grandfather’s passion to become a mechanic, and of his father‘s legacy, Renton’s only excitement comes from riding the Trapar wave particles that are dispersed throughout the air, a pastime similar to surfing.
An unknown object crashes through the garage of Renton, revealing itself to be the Nirvash typeZERO, a robot capable of riding the Trapar waves, driven by a young girl named Eureka. She requests a tune-up for the Nirvash. After their meeting, Renton’s involvement with the Gekkostate begins as he takes off with Eureka as the Nirvash’s co-pilot.
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Neon Genesis Evangelion
The Tale of the Heroic Boy from Neon Genesis Evangelion is the work of Hideaki Anno. Nevertheless, ancient secrets began to bubble up under the surface of this psychological drama. The world stands on the brink of destruction in 2015. As the Earth is in danger of being destroyed, humanity’s last hope lies with Nerv, a special U.N. agency, and their dangerous Evangelions.
In his role as head of the organization, Gendou Ikari seeks pilots who are compatible with the Evangelions and who can realize their full potential. A key part of the defense is being carried out by talented personnel like Misato Katsuragi, Director of Tactical Operations, and Ritsuko Akagi, Chief Scientist. As Shinji Ikari meets his father for the first time in years, his average life is irrevocably altered when he is swept into the depths of Nerv, where he must become Evangelion Unit-01’s pilot and save mankind.
Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar
A mysterious group kidnaps and brings Kenshi Masaki to Geminar. In order to return home, he agrees to assassinate Lashara Aasu XXVIII, the new empress of the Shtrayu Empire, using a giant robot known as the Sacred Mechanoid. Lashara, observing Kenshi’s abilities as her army fights them off, demands that she be taken alive by her attacker, only to discover that he is male, which is very rare for a Geminar.
Seeing that taking the life of him would be wasteful, she orders Kenshi to be her attendant. Lashara asks Kenshi to accompany her to the Holy Land, where Sacred Mechanoid pilots hone their skills. Despite his presence at the academy, Kenshi does not understand that something sinister is brewing, and it might lead to world war.
Knight’s & Magic
Tsubasa Kurata-a character from modern Japan wholost life in a car accident-is reborn in the Fremmevilla Kingdom, where powerful mechs called Silhouette Knights fight horrifying demons. He enrolls in the Royal Laihaila Academy after being gifted with extraordinary magical abilities and born into a noble family named Ernesti Echevarria. The Silhouette Knights school prepares young men and women to pilot the Silhouette Knights and protect the kingdom from demonic and human threats. The goal of Ernesti and the twins Adeltrud and Archid Olter is to create a Silhouette Knight one day, a feat that has not been achieved for several centuries.
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Full Metal Panic
Private military organization Mithril possesses cutting-edge weaponry and specialized troops that are aimed at extinguishing all threats to peace on Earth, including terrorism. A significant portion of the organization’s strength is the Whispered, individuals who possess intuition and the ability to create powerful devices and machinery. Sousuke Sagara, a seventeen-year-old Mithril sergeant, has been assigned to protect Whispered candidate Kaname Chidori.
His task is to blend in with her classmates without revealing his true identity and ensure that she doesn’t fall into enemy hands by joining her high school class as closely as possible. Susuke must adapt to a normal school life since he was raised on a battlefield and has no experience with an average high school student’s life. In the meantime, the enemy has already begun making its move, and Sousuke is about to discover that the adversary who is looking for the Whispered girl is someone he knows very well.
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Humans were once able to travel to Mars by means of a hypergate discovered on the Moon. The settlers discovered a technologically advanced world, Aldnoah, that was far beyond what they had here on Earth. This discovery led to the founding of the Vers Empire on Mars and war against the Earthlings. As a result of the battle, the hypergate exploded, and the Moon was destroyed, leaving the two planets with an uneasy ceasefire.
However, their peace was fragile. High school student Inaho Kaizuka witnesses a plot to assassinate Princess Asseylum Vers Allusia of the Vers Empire, who has come to Earth to repair the relationship between her homeland and the Empire. The Martians re-declared war on the Terrans, shattering the ceasefire. To settle the war against the Vers Empire, Inaho and his friends must now face this insurmountable enemy.
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Valvrave the Liberator
The human race has expanded into space and built independent galactic colonies in the 71st year of the True Era. World affairs are governed by two major nations: the Atlantic Rim United States (ARUS) and the Dorssia Military Pact Federation (Dorssia)-superpowers with a long history of conflict on Earth and in outer space. A third faction, Japan and the Islands of the Oceanian Republic (JIOR), exists in this war-torn era, prospering economically and maintaining neutrality between themselves and their armed neighbors.
The story begins in an outer space colony of JIOR, where Haruto Tokishima, 17, is beset by intrusions from Dorssian ships. Haruto’s school, Sakimori Academy, is home to a rumored secret weapon called the Valvrave: a powerful, mechanized weapon hidden deep within. Haruto stumbles across one of the targeted Valvraves during the ensuing chaos. The lives of Haruto’s friends are now in a dangerous situation, so he enters the mecha and signs a contract to obtain its power, giving up his humanity in exchange. Assisted by L-elf, a gifted strategist and enigmatic Dorsian agent, Haruto and the Valvrave begin a revolution to free the world.
Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet
The Galactic Alliance of Humanity is founded in the distant future, after the majority of humans have left the Earth, to ensure mankind’s prosperity and guide exploration into space. An interstellar war resulted from the threat of strange creatures called Hideauze, causing humanity to face extinction. As a Galactic Alliance lieutenant, Ledo, 16, carries a chamber, an autonomous robot to fight monsters. Unfortunate circumstances result in Ledo crashing on a waterlogged Earth after losing control during the battle.
Chamber is recovered from the ocean by Gargantia on the blue planet, thinking they have reclaimed something valuable from the ocean. Ledo, mistaking the actions of the residents of Gargantia for hostility, sneaks aboard the ship and takes Amy as a hostage, but later realizes that they are not as dangerous as he had thought. With no communication with his comrades in space, Ledo struggles to understand his surroundings and adjust to his new life. However, his peaceful days are about to end, as this ocean-covered world holds more secrets than you might think.
Super Dimensional Fortress Macross
Humanity realizes that they are not alone after a mysterious spaceship crashes into the Earth. The United Nations unifies the world in the face of a potential threat from space, pushing aside nationalistic differences and conflicting interests. Upon repurposing the alien spacecraft, U.N. forces decided to call it SDF-1 Macross. SDF-1 Macross, acting of its own accord, takes out an incoming squadron of Zentradi spaceships on the day of its maiden voyage, sparking an intergalactic war with them.
Macross attempts to escape into the lunar orbit, but its ship is teleported into space along with the city it was in. Minmay Lynn, an aspiring singer, and Hikaru Ichijou, an acrobat pilot, both find themselves in the middle of this mess. As they journey with Macross’ crew, these two experience an epic journey filled with tragedy and grief, facing the horrors of war along the way.
Mobile Suit Gundam 00
The story of Mobile Suit Gundam 00 focuses on Celestial Being Gundam Meisters Setsuna F. Seiei, Lockon Stratos, Allelujah Haptism, and Tieria Erde. To achieve their goal of changing the world, these four plunge into a devastating battle between three superpowers.
Eventually, mankind will deplete fossil fuels, leading to an energy crisis unlike any other seen in history. Out of fear and retaliation, humanity began looking for alternative energy sources: solar power. A number of nations have joined forces to form three major factions: the Union of Solar Energy and Free Nations, the Advanced European Union, and the Human Reform League. Solar power generators are available in each of these sectors, providing them with unlimited energy.
This has led to years of warfare and internal strife between countries that were once dependent on fossil fuel sales. In the midst of this mayhem, an unidentified paramilitary group proclaiming to be “Celestial Being” arose, professing to be on a campaign to end all wars by employing mysterious, technologically advanced Mobile Suits known as Gundams.
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A fleet of colonial vessels known as the Macross Frontier has escaped the Zentradi after a catastrophic war against them. Life on Macross Frontier continues as usual, with the threat of extraterrestrials fading further and farther into the distance.
In the year 2059, the famous singer Sheryl Nome is coming to Macross Frontier for a concert and is accompanying a young mecha pilot trainee named Alto Saotome and his colleagues. In the middle of the performance, the Vajra, an alien species made of biomechanical components, appears suddenly, breaking through the defensive perimeter surrounding the vessel and crash-landing near the venue, bringing the entire city to a standstill. After the concertgoers leave, a young girl named Ranka Lee is about to be targeted by the Vajra. However, her life is saved by Alto just before it’s too late. This results in his recruitment by the Strategic Military Services Program, which targets him as a potential combatant against alien threats.
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Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
Simon and Kamina were born and raised in a deep, underground village hidden deep beneath the Earth’s surface. Among the two are Kamina, an ambitious loose cannon bent on making his mark, and Simon, a timid young boy without aspirations. Simon discovers a mysterious object buried in the Earth that turns out to be the key to an ancient artifact of war, which is called Lagann by the duo. Kamina and Simon use their new weapon to withstand a surprise attack from the surface with the assistance of Yoko Littner, a woman wielding a massive gun.
The sky is now clearly visible following the battle, causing Simon, Kamina, and Yoko to embark on an expedition to explore the wastelands of the surface. After joining forces with other survivors, they attempt to reclaim the surface as they battle the Beastmen, humanoid creatures possessing weapons called “Gunmen.” Despite some obstacles, they bravely fight these new enemies alongside other survivors while gradually unravelling the mystery of the planet.
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Mobile Suit Gundam Iron-Blooded Orphans
The Calamity War, the last great conflict between Earth and her outer space colonies, has been over for over three hundred years. There are currently four economic blocs on Earth, and the military organization Gjallarhorn is responsible for keeping the peace. As a result, Mars is very dependent on Earth’s economy.
After witnessing the appalling conditions experienced by Mars’ inhabitants, Kudelia Aina Bernstein, an aristocrat from Chryse Autonomous Region, is inspired by the independence movement to help Mars. To negotiate economic terms with a regional bloc, she hires the services of a local security company, Chryse Guard Security (CGS). A number of child soldiers are picked to protect her, including Mikazuki Augus, Orga Itsuka, and others.
Gjallarhorn is attempting to assassinate a young revolutionary, and Orga and his allies must prevent the attackers from achieving their purpose. Their acts may unintentionally act as a trigger for these children to forge their own path.
Patlabor: The Mobile Police
The human race and its technology evolve together. The “Labors” robots, created by engineers to support the workforce, are used in a wide array of daily activities by society. However, there are criminals who gain access to these Labors and make use of them for nefarious purposes.
The police around the world have begun to use patrol labors or patlabors to combat this new form of delinquency. In the Patlabor unit, rookie police officer Noa Izumi gets her own suit to fight offense. She names this machine Alphonse and works relentlessly alongside her peers to keep civilization safe from threats posed by those who would use this advanced technology to harm others.
As Izumi becomes more ingrained in her unit, she must also learn how to navigate both her professional and social spheres effectively. Her brigade consists of the aloof Asuma Shinohara, Isao Oota, and the other members as she fights conspiratorial plots, work revolts, and supernatural beings in the series.
Armored Trooper Votoms
Nearly 200 worlds have been engulfed in the flames of war during the past century between warring star systems. The Astragius Galaxy has now experienced an uneasy truce. Suddenly, Chirico Cuvie, a special forces powered-armor pilot, has been sent to a secret and highly illegal mission where he must steal military secrets from his own military! In the end, he must flee from his own military!
Unsure of his loyalty, Chirico is left behind in space to die. A renegade who survived by chance is now being pursued by both conspirators and military intelligence. His only clue to unraveling their treacherous scheme lies in the image of a mysterious and beautiful woman-their mission’s objective. Conspirators, however, will go to any lengths to maintain their agenda.
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King Of Braves Gaogaigar
Tokyo, Japan is attacked by an alien race called Zonders in the year 2005. This creature can only be stopped by the secret agency known as the Gutsy Geoid Guard (3G) and its ultimate weapon, the awesome giant robot GaoGaiGar. The pilot of GaoGaiGar is ex-astronaut Guy Shishio, who was nearly took the life of by the Zonders just two years ago.
He was saved from the burning shuttle by a mysterious robot lion-like creature called Galeon. Guy’s father, Leo, rebuilt his son as a cyborg with Galeon’s technology, hoping to stop the aliens when they appeared. The GaoGaiGar now fights to protect the Earth, with Galeon at its core. In addition to the transforming robots, he is assisted by a young boy named Mamoru, who has the ability to purify the Zonders’ cores and is somehow connected to the mysterious Galeon.
A group of 15 children discovers a grotto by the sea while enjoying their summer camp. The team enters the mysterious place to find a room full of computers and Kokopelli, who identifies himself as the owner. He claims that he is working on a video game involving 15 alien invasions defended by a giant robot. Even though he hasn’t investigated the game yet, Kokopelli convinces all of the children, with the exception of one, to sign a contract with him.
Immediately after contracts are signed, however, things start to go from bad to worse. Bokurano’s children now have to pilot Zearth one by one in the hopes of overcoming the enemies on the way. Nevertheless, Kokopelli left off one very crucial piece of information: the energy source of Zearth, the giant robot.
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Across the continent of Cruzon, Krisna and Athens are on the brink of war. It is possible for the people of this land to utilize quartz in any way they choose. The exception is Rygart Arrow. A person unable to use quartz is called an un-sorcerer. However, this characteristic will enable him to take control of an ancient Golem, sturdy enough to stand up to the Invasion of Athens.
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The Gaddam Seed mobile suit is set in the year Cosmic Era 0071, when Heliopolis provides neutral territory for the great war between Coordinators, people whose inherited traits have been altered, and Naturals, people who remain unaltered. Angry at the Coordinators, the Naturals sought refuge in man-made colonies to escape their strong dislike.
The life of Coordinator Kira Yamato is thrown into turmoil when ZAFT, the military organization comprised of rebellious Coordinators, attacks Heliopolis in an attempt to steal the latest in mobile armor known as the Gundam.
ZAFT escapes with four of the mobile suits, but Kira is forced to control the last Gundam, the Strike. The young soldiers survive the battle, and Kira and his friends join the crew of the Archangel, a ship owned by the Earth Alliance. Here, the young soldiers experience the horrors of loss and war.
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Tokyo is suddenly invaded by futuristic fighter jets, turning the life of high school student Ayato Kamina upside down. He encounters Haruka Shitow, a woman claiming to be an employee of TERRA, a government-funded organization. Her revelation is that he has been living in a time-bubble called Tokyo Jupiter, which was set up by the Mulians, sentient beings from another dimension, to isolate and take over Tokyo. Ever since, TERRA has been working hard to breach the city’s barrier.
As Ayato struggles to comprehend the revelation, he runs away. A classmate, Reika Mishima, leads him to a spot called “The Shrine of Xephon”, where he finds a large egg. Suddenly, a mysterious power awakens within Ayato, connecting him to something called RahXephon, which breaks out of the egg. He is soon found again by Haruka, who wishes to recruit him to fight against the Mulians. As Ayato is hounded by both Mulians and Terra, he is forced to confront altered memories and ultimately his very identity within this chaotic new world.
Tokyo was decimated by the Second Great Kanto Earthquake in 2032. Now the city is reborn as MegaTokyo, constructed by giant mechanical beasts called Boomers. Initially conceived as helpful creatures, the mysterious corporation Genom now creates Boomers capable of fierce combat and disguising themselves as humans.
There is now a new police unit to combat Boomer-related offenses, known as the A.D. Police. As the A.D. Police are overburdened with offenses and weak in comparison to the Boomers; they present little of a challenge to them. Knight Sabers is a mysterious vigilante force that wears power suits that are more advanced than those used by the military and is the only group from which the citizens can receive protection. Their leader, Sylia Stingray, is accompanied by Priscilla “Priss” Asagiri, Nene Romanova, and Linna Yamazaki, who deal with any Boomer that steps out of line.
That was a lot of mecha anime, and we’re sure there are others out there that we missed. Which one is your favorite ace pilot or mecha anime? Leave us a comment, or just leave your thoughts on any anime you watched in this article. We love hearing from our readers, so don’t be shy about sharing what you think about these shows!