To me this comes down to two series: SDF Macross and Gundam 0079
These two shows set up a new genre of mech shows, the real robot genre. While Gundam 0079 did it first, SDF Macross showed that it’s not going anywhere. Yeah, I honestly can’t choose between the two. Both show the different sides of a war, have great characters, have a solid story line. On a story, plot, and character level, they are both near perfection. The only downsides are the art, which is not something that both shows could be blamed for because they emerged in the late 70’s and early 80’s. These two series do so many things that a lot of mech anime do these days and I feel that it’s slightly unfair to compare them sometimes, but oh well.