5 Non-Gundam Mecha Shows To Try
Of course we all love Gundam and there's enough out there to fill a ton of time, but sometimes you just need something a little different to keep things fresh. Having been there myself I've come across some solid alternative options, here are my 5 Gundam adjacent shows to try.
5. Buddy Complex
Sunrise's redheaded step child of mecha, this show only got 1 season and was heavily over shadowed by Aldnoah Zero. This show features some heavy 00 design work and features a time travel scenario putting our main character Aoba Watase in the middle of a war between the Zogilia Republic & the Free Pact Alliance.
After being transported through time, Aoba finds totally not a mobile suit, their called Lancers, that has a neat Pacific Rim style twist. In order to get that sweet high performance action Aoba must work with the pilot of the companion unit to his XV-7001 Luxon Coupling Lancer, Dio Junyou Weinberg and his XV-7102 Bradyon Coupling Lancer.
This little twist leads to some interesting interplay between the two vastly different characters and has a decent setting.
While the story can be a little bland, there are some likable characters and is probably the closest on this list to being Gundam like in terms of story. What I mean when I say this is that there are 2 sides with one being pretty heavily out matched. Very White Base/Archangel story arcs with some much better romance and solid battle scenes.
4. Aldnoah Zero
As mentioned above this pretty much eclipsed Buddy Complex as they came out pretty much side by side. With a more flushed out world, slick CGI mechs and serious tone, this show quickly became popular among people with even the slightest interest in mecha anime.
Aldnoah Zero pits a technologically more advanced Mars race called the Ver Empire up against United Earth, commonly referred to as the U.E. Princess Asseylum Vers Allusia of the Vers Empire is on a peacekeeping mission when someone tries to assassinate her to start the Second Earth-Mars War.
This is where we start with our main hero Inaho Kaizuka, a student who's bored with normal class work, he's pretty much Lelouch from Code Geass but also a competent pilot. He leads the small rag tag gang protecting the princess to several major victories over the Mars Knights, the nobility of the Vers Empire.
There's a lot of in fighting in the Vers Empire so you'll get that Zeon infighting drama plus some really unique mech designs. I'd liken this much more to the more serious moment of Origins, 00 & perhaps IBO in a way.
3. Eureka 7
From here on out you can probably guess what's coming but Eureka 7 is a work of art, much in the way Cowboy Bebop is. The music helps make this show but it also takes the separate, filler like episodes to make these characters matter to you.
The sweet jams of this show match the vibe it provides. Vastly different from anything Gundam has brought us, this story isn't as much about surviving through a war but finding one's self and becoming part of something.
You see our main bro Renton Thurston, is a kid just wanting to be a radical space air skateboarder. None of that is technically wrong. He soon gets his whiny wish when a mysterious blue haired girl and a mech, that can also space air skateboard literally crash into his home.
Here we meet Eureka, the main love interest and one of the best examples of making Rei from Eva less of a husk. While Eureka is written and played like an alien with little to no knowledge of human emotion or behaviors, seeing her learn and adjust is almost more interesting the all of Renton's character growth.
We also have Space Tony Hawk, Holland Novak, I'm not sure how but I don't think you can get a much more space air skateboarder name than that. Holland runs a rebel group called the Geko State, a really diverse group with a strange, vague mission. While all seems like space air skateboarding fun, it quickly turns dark and we realize a war is on.
One of the hardest thing to deal with in Eureka 7 is the weird alternative universe stuff. The original anime is what I'm referring to but there was a movie that people thought for some time was a reboot, as it featured the same cast and in the same world but without cool skater stuff. It later came to light that this was an alternative time line or universe, think of a what if Amuro was in 00 situation and still piloted a Gundam.
Then we have Eureka 7 AO, the "sequel" series following a young, blue haired orphan named Ao. This is another one of those alternative timelines and this ties together the stories kinda. While not a stellar as the original it's still a fun watch, especially if you enjoyed Eureka 7.
BTW the mech's space air skateboarding action is visually stunning. The designs are different but much like the show have their own feel to them that just melts into the painting this world paints.
RahXephon is commonly compared to Evangelion and for a fairly good reason. giant potentially godly "mechs" fighting strange looking giant monsters. At a glance, pretty similar but that's mostly where the similarities end.
Our story starts with one Ayato Kamina, a teenage boy living in Tokyo, but since it's an anime, Tokyo has to get got by something. A giant dome encloses Tokyo until one day an invasion force breaks through. Ayato is captured by one Haruka Shitow. He then discovers the RahXephon, a god like mech that can create the world anew.
RahXephon has a lot of moving parts but it's never overly complex and has a visual style that keeps your eyes entertained. This show has a lot of focus on music as well, but not just in the soundtrack, most of the "mechs" use sounds as a weapon. There's so much about this show that blindsides people, as so many walk into thinking it's an Eva clone. If you're wanting something a little trippy, this would be a really solid watch.
I'm going to try to be as unbiased as possible but I'm going to be upfront. I love Code Geass, it's the show I attribute to widening my view of what I like in anime in general. Just know I'm trying really hard to not just write another 1,000 words on why it's great.
We start in an alternative history rich in English history, we're talking like Tudors, Queen Elizabeth's and eventually Napoleon. Basically the queen is forced to relocate to the Americas, since the US never won their war of independence. This changes the whole structure of the world.
Fast forward several hundred years as we have Lelouch Vi Britannia, 17th in line to the Holy Britannian Empire's throne. His mother had just been killed and he's a young boy. After giving up his claim to the throne Lelouch & his sister Nunnally are sent to Japan. A few years later it's invaded by Britannia and they are presumed dead. 10 years later Lelouch has taken the name Lamprouge and is an average school boy , until he gets sick powers of mind control.
Code Geass has enough of that real robot feel, tactic & strategy and the mystical side of Geass powers. The mechs called Knightmare Frames are sick looking and we get some really stellar characters in a really interesting setting. While there are some slow points, you never have to go more than 4 episodes of boring stuff. With 2 25 episode seasons, reboot movies, a new movie and the Akito OVA's, Code Geass is Sunrise's up and comer.