When people think of old school anime, most people remember things like Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z, but there is an entire other genre that is sometimes forgotten about entirely. That genre is mecha, most notably popular for classics like Neon Genesis Evangelion and the Gundam franchise. While the genre has a lot more on offer then just Gundam, a lot of people tend to be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choice on offer. I am here today to help out with that a little, as I will be going through my list of mecha anime that a newcomer can watch right off the bat. Let’s start this list off with one of the most famous mecha shows.
Toppa Tengen Gurren Lagann
You’re probably angry at me for putting this one so low on the list. To be fair, this is a list where I am recommending shows for the genre of mecha, and Gurren Lagan is nothing like a lot of shows in the genre. It’s a high energy, exciting blood pumping adventure to pierce the heavens, which is not what you will get with stuff like Gundam or Eva. The show still has a lot about what makes mecha great, however. It’s about a young boy thrust into a world he doesn’t understand where he must become a hero or die trying. With a colourful cast, incredible soundtrack and visuals and a story for the ages, Toppa Tengen Gurren Lagan isn’t a bad place to start if you are looking to get into the genre.
This is a big one right here. If Gurren Lagan excites you enough to begin watching mecha, Eureka Seven will cement why you love it. Eureka Seven tell the story of Renton Thurston, a young boy who is bored with his life until a beautiful girl named Eureka stops in his backwater town and changes his life forever. Eureka Seven features one of, if not the best, love story in mecha I have ever seen. The relationship between Renton and Eureka is truly something to experience, as those two have some of the cutest and most charming chemistry I have ever seen in anime. If you want a long, beautifully animated mecha show, Eureka Seven is perfect in everything it sets out to accomplish and, by the end, you will feel like you have been on a hell of a journey.
If you’re looking to get into the big names of mecha shows, you can’t do much worse then the big two, Gundam and Macross. Macross Plus is set in 2040 where humanity has expanded with several colonies across space. We have come into contact with various aliens, and advanced technology to the point where we can create artificial intelligence. Here we meet the plot point of our story, Sharon Apple, an AI idol who is guided emotionally by Myung Fang Lone. At Sharon’s debut concert, childhood friends of Myung’s, Isamu Dyson and Guld Bowman, begin to battle each other over the ‘Supernova Project’. Macross Plus takes the usual tropes that the series has come to expect; idols, love triangles and flips them on their head, changing the formula and creating a truly memorable experience. With Shinichiro Watanabe’s (Cowboy Bepop, Samurai Champloo) directorial debut alongside a god tier soundtrack by the talented Yoko Kano, even if you aren’t interested in mecha as a genre, I urge you to watch Macross Plus solely for the talent that is on offer.
Turn A Gundam
I knew if I didn’t add a Gundam on this list I would be yelled at, so I decided to go with one of the most unique and oft forgotten of the series, Turn A Gundam. Without a doubt one of the weirder Gundam out there, with a story about aliens coming from the moon to take over earth, a monarchy power system and mechs with moustaches, you’re really getting into the most obscure of Gundam here. This isn’t a bad thing, however, as Turn A Gundam may be different, but it’s one of the best and most easily accessible of the series. Following a trading places story of princesses and political intrigue, Turn A Gundam serves up some of the strongest female characters in the series with Dianna and Kihel. The series also features an amazing score by Yoko Kano yet again, and with one of the most personal stories told in Gundam, I can’t recommend Turn A Gundam more to anyone looking to see what the franchise can offer.
Macross: Do You Remember Love?
What’s this? Only one Gundam show and two Macross entries? Well, while I do prefer Macross as a franchise, I also think it’s a lot more accessible for newcomers. Nothing could be more accessible than the 1984 animated film, Macross: Do You Remember Love? This movie is not only a masterful retelling of the original SDF Macross, which today has aged quite considerably, but also a stunningly animated movie that still holds up to this day. The original love triangle between Hikaru, Minmay and Misa stays as genuine and heartfelt as it did in the original, with the fully remastered versions of Minmay’s iconic idol songs. I still get chills every time I watch this movie, and if you are looking for iconic, groundbreaking and culturally significant mecha anime to watch, Macross: Do You Remember Love is a perfect place to start.
Are you a fan of mecha anime? Let us know what you think of the list in the comments.