When people think about mecha shows, I have a feeling that people usually focused on older shows. You know, shows that came out either over ten years ago like Code Geass and Gurren Lagann or even the old stand ins like Macross, Gundam, and who knows what else. Here is the truth, mecha series are still being made to this day. The bad thing is they don’t usually get the kind of audience that they used to for some reason. I mean, there is that bad stigma about mecha series that still is in great effect for the anime community for some reason. As someone who has loved these kinds of shows for a very long time, I don’t completely understand that myself, so someone please explain that to me.
But, that isn’t why we are here today. Let’s talk about some recent mecha shows I think are decent or unique enough to give a look at. All of these are original stories that aren’t attached to sequels, so they are easy to jump into.
The Price of Smiles
At the time this post was written, only half of this show has aired. This means that I can’t tell you about it’s full quality or give a full recommendation at this moment. That being said, Price of Smiles brings quite a few interesting elements to the table. It is a pretty standard story about two countries going to war against each other with mechs with simple, but relatable characters. The cg mecha are well down and the action is decent as well. It’s a little clunky in execution, but to me those elements are enough to at least recommend it to other people.
Here is the unique thing, this show follows two sides of a war from two very different perspectives. That doesn’t sound like much, but it’s so cool to see an enemy unit blinding battle against an experimental unit. We may know who is in that mech, but our point of view characters doesn’t and it’s so interesting and really adds some extra franticness to this conflict. I wish more mecha shows would do that, because most shows are about the pilots in the experimental mechs and not about anybody else.
This show is an excellently paced, refreshing super robot show. In twelve episodes, it easily went through at least two cours worth of mecha robot anime. Here is the thing though, Planet With never felt exhausting or too fast to me at all. While some characters get put to the side lines, every scene is used to push the anime’s story and its characters forward in an incredibly meaningful way. The cg mecha models are kind of questionable, but the sound design from all of the fights are incredibly worth it. I was just blown away everything this show had to offer, including its themes on peace.
I am not a fan of Studio Trigger, but this show is my favorite one of their works. SSSS.Gridman is a reimagination of a Tokusatsu work whose title is a combination of the American name and the original name, Gridman. If you like watching giant super robots fight against giant kaiju monsters, then I have the show for you. It’s a little repetitive in its first half, but it hits a lot of emotional points around its villain in the second half. Gridman’s story boarding is amazing and the CG is decent and easily replicates how monsters move in giant monster flicks and it’s so good. Far from flawless, but a unique number you won’t see anywhere else. I do feel like some extra context from the Gridman show would be needed to understand it in its full context, but I think what we have here is enjoyable enough to watch.
This anime is truly something special. While Kuromukuro feels like a slice of life series most of the time, it is still a crazy series about a samurai coming back from the past readjusting to society and human kind’s battle against an alien force with more advanced technology. A classic kind of story in an Inuyasha kind of way that you can’t find anywhere else in the mecha genre. The heart of the story is about a teenage girl who isn’t qualified for anything finding the strength of will to do what she wants to do in her life, so the emotional core is great.
Besides the questionably ok cg, everything else about this show clicked for me. For one thing, it’s a show centered around heroes who are just space miners and not rebels or a unique fighting force for one side of a conflict. It’s just them, a bunch of robots and humans, against the forces of this galaxy’s military kind of. For some reason, this group of minors has a robot in it that holds the key to everything. It’s a classic science fiction story that happens to have giant robots in it and I am glad that it exists.
So that’s it everyone. I think modern mecha series still have plenty to offer the world. People just need to watch them and expand their interests more. One series I want to give a brief mention to, even it if’s still a western web animation series, is Gen:LOCK. Rooster Teeth put a lot of work into it and it shows. What a wonderful love letter to mecha series.