Ah, anime... the genre that gave the world magical crime fighting school girls and plenty of shows involving dubious uses of tentacles is also responsible for giving the world the giant robot. First debuting in 1963's Tetsujin 28, the mech has become a bonafide staple of anime, popping up in hundreds of shows involving towering titans of metal duking it out with monsters and mechs. But as fans soaked in the anime robot goodness over the years, an inevitable question arose: just which anime mech is the strongest?
Much like the giant robots themselves, this question is a big one. After all, when there are hundreds, if not thousands of massive mechs wielding flaming swords and giant laser guns, how do you even begin to rank them? Well, CBR has decided to put this age old debate to bed. Combing through hundreds of anime automatons is no easy task, but after running the statistics, crunching the numbers, and looking at so many Gundams it would make your head spin, we were able to figure out the top 20 strongest mechs in anime history. So grab that dusty RahXephon DVD, snag that Ramune from the fridge, and settle in. Let's talk giant robots!
Taking the number 20 spot on our list is a a giant robot created by the one and only Stan "The Man" Lee! That's right, true believers; joining forces with writer Tamon Ohta and anime studio BONES, Lee created Heroman, a heroic mech defender of Earth.
Piloted by the plucky Joey Jones, Heroman battles the villainous alien race known as the Skrugg. With an assortment of offensive and defensive capabilities, including energy-powered punches, the ability to grow in size, electric blasts, and an interior electromagnet that allows Heroman to pull in metal, Heroman is no chump in the power department. While Heroman may not be the strongest mech to ever grace anime, he definitely deserves a spot on the list. 'Nuff said!
You don't need military training to pilot a giant robot. Sometimes, you don't even need to be out of elementary school! Case in point: the powerful Rajin-Oh, which might just be the strongest mech ever piloted by a class of fifth graders.
Entrusted to the "Earth Defense Class" by an otherworldly heroic being, Raijin-Oh serves as the last line of defense against insidious creatures dubbed the Evil Beasts. Composed of a lion mech, a phoenix mech, and a humanoid mech, Raijin-Oh is formed when the giant robots come together. Equipped with a massive sword and a powerful beam attack, Raijin-Oh is a force to be reckoned with in battle. But the mech becomes even stronger when it achieves its "God Raijin-Oh" form, which allows the giant robot to decimate foes with a single sword slash.
18 BIG O
We bet you can hear that theme song in your head already. Piloted by the debonair Roger Smith, this "megadeus" is used to protect the denizens of Paradigm City from all manner of bestial baddies and massive mechs.
Standing over 30 meters tall, Big O is a massive mech, but it doesn't rely solely on its size; rather, this giant robot is outfitted with an array of devastating weapons. With piston-powered arms, Big O can deliver the mighty "Sudden Impact" punch, which has been shown to punch holes right through enemies. Additionally, the Big O is loaded with lasers, missiles, and even rocket-powered anchors! Big O might look bulky and clunky, but don't be fooled: the Big O is a force to be reckoned with.
17 UNICORN GUNDAM
Okay, the name "Unicorn Gundam" may not sound particularly fearsome, but this giant robot is a far cry from the majestic fantasy creature from whom it derives its name. In fact, despite his silly name, the Unicorn Gundam is a bonafide butt-kicker.
Gaining its name from the distinctive horn on its head, Unicorn Gundam is constructed from an experimental "Psycoframe" material, which allows Unicorn Gundam to be piloted via thought. Through this unique interface, Unicorn Gundam is granted greater speeds and combat reflexes than rival Gundams, ensuring Unicorn Gundam is always one step ahead of the competition in battle. Add in a "Psycofield" that allows Unicorn to read enemy pilot's minds and shut down mechs via thought, and you've got one powerful Gundam.
16 BRAVE RAIDEEN
When it comes to giant anime robots, Brave Raideen is a true OG. Debuting all the way back in 1975, this mighty mech has been battling the Demon Empire for literal decades. But don't let his age fool you: Brave Raideen can still hold his own with the strongest of anime's giant robots.
Powered by the Pyramid Power derived from the mystical Star of Ra Mu, Brave Raideen possesses an assortment of abilities, including a sword dubbed the "God Breaker" and bladed missiles called the "God Missiles." When it comes time to put the enemy down, Raideen transforms into the "God Bird" (sensing a trend here?,) a jet mode that allows Raideen to fly through enemies at super sonic speeds. Brave Raideen might be over 40 years old, but he more than deserves a spot on the list of strongest anime mechs.
15 DAITARN 3
Just about every child wishes they could live in a giant mansion, splitting their time between enjoying their riches and piloting a totally rad giant robot. But for Invincible Steel Man Daitarn 3 pilot Banjo Haran, this isn't just mere fantasy; this is his life. Yes, Banjo has it made in the shade, with a palatial estate and a massive mech. But Daitarn 3 isn't just the plaything of a snot nosed rich kid; this mech packs a punch.
Outfitted with swords, javelins, boomerangs, missiles, and cannons, Daitarn 3 is more than equipped to take down the competition. If that isn't enough, Daitarn 3 has been known to finish foes off with a mighty flying kick, which hits so hard that it causes enemies to explode! That's the kind of skill that earns you a spot on our list.
14 GUNDAM WING ZERO
There are goofy looking giant anime robots, and then there is Gundam Wing Zero. Does it make any degree of sense to make a giant robot with angel wings, complete with feathers? Absolutely not. But does it look totally rad? You better believe it.
But it's not just Gundam Wing Zero's look that makes this mech so marvelous; in fact, this is one butt-kicking bot. Outfitted with laser rifles and a beam saber, this giant robo's defining characteristic is the ZERO System, an on-board interface that gives pilot Heero Yuy a flood of tactical information, including every potential combat outcome. With this system, Wing Zero is almost unbeatable in battle; albeit with a heavy mental tole on the pilot. It is this downfall that prevents Gundam Wing Zero from ranking higher, but this legendary Gundam more than deserves a spot on this list.
13 LION VOLTRON
While Americans may know this colorful collective of lions as "Voltron," this big bot is better known as Beast King GoLion in its native Japan. But how does that old saying go? "A giant robot by any other name would destroy bad guys just as sweet." Or something like that...
Composed of five mighty lion mechs, the legendary Voltron towers above the competition, clocking in at a ridiculous 60 meters tall. Equipped with an array of powers including eye beams, missiles, rocket fists, and flamethrowers, Voltron's true claim to fame is the Blazing Sword, a sword so powerful that it can cleave an enemy in half with a single swing. Separately, the lions that compose Voltron are a force to be reckoned with, but combined, Lion Voltron becomes one of the most formidable mechs in anime.
12 STRIKE FREEDOM GUNDAM
Never mind Strike Freedom Gundam's mad-lib combination of words of a name; this is one bot not to be trifled with. Widely considered to be one of the strongest mechs in the Gundam universe, the Strike Freedom Gundam is as capable as it is deadly.
Strike Freedom Gundam is outfitted with your garden variety beam cannons and railguns, but it's the mechs "Voiture Lumiere" propulsion system that puts it heads and shoulders above the competition. Taking the form of massive wings on its back, the Voiture Lumiere system allows Strike Freedom to move at incredible speeds, ensuring the giant robot can dodge even the quickest of attacks. Compound this lightning-quick maneuverability with an arsenal to match the army of a small country, and you've got one legendarily powerful anime mech.
11 MAZINKAISER SKL
No, this isn't "GrimDark: The Giant Robot." This Reaper wannabe is Mazinkaiser SKL, a massive mech that wields dual pistols and a ridiculous sword. Don't let the Hot Topic paint job fool you; this is one robo you don't want to cross.
A sequel to the beloved Mazinger Z anime of the '70s, Mazinkaiser SKL is a far cry from its squeaky clean precursor. Wielding a transforming sword dubbed the "Ganzantou" and handguns called the "Breast Triggers," Mazinkaiser SKL is a formidable force in battle. Additionally, SKL possesses the abilities of each previous Mazinger incarnation, giving him access to destructive lightning blasts and breath that causes opponent mechs to rust and break down. Mazinkaiser SKL may look like he fronts a Lacuna Coil cover band, but this giant robo is incredibly powerful, and is certainly no joke.
10 SDF-1 MACROSS
The SDF-1 really puts the "giant" in "giant anime robot." After all, SDF-1 (or Super Dimension Fortress Macross 1, if you're not into the whole brevity thing) clocks in a ludicrous 1,210 meters tall. But size isn't everything; the SDF-1 has an artillery that would make the NRA blush.
As Earth's strongest battleship, the SDF-1 has been built from the ground up to bust heads. Outfitted with massive beam cannons, rail cannons, and more missile launchers than you can shake a Pocky at, the mech's crowning achievement is the super-dimension energy cannon, an anti-ship cannon that is so powerful, it can destroy dozens of warships with a single shot. Never mind the fact that the SDF-1 is as tall as 60 Voltron's stacked end-to-end; this anime mech has the firepower to secure it a high spot on our list.
9 SHIN GETTER ROBO
Getter Robo is a legendary name in the world of anime giant robots. Debuting all the way back in 1974, Getter Robo was one of the first popular mechs to grace anime, and has remained an institution in the genre ever since. But Getter Robo would not reach peak power level until 1997, when giant robot fans were introduced to Shin Getter Robo.
A massive mech running on "Getter Rays," Shin Getter Robo is staggering in its power. Shin Getter Robo functions as a sort of "Getter Ray Sponge," perpetually pulling in energy to evolve. It can wipe out entire fleets at only half energy, and can output energy blasts equivalent to the Chernobyl meltdown at full power. An evolving mech that can go nuclear with the flick of a finger is not to be trifled with.
Some giant robots want to defeat opponents in battle. Some want to conquer the world. Unicron has loftier ambitions: he wants to consume the entire multiverse. This big guy isn't just satisfied sucking down planets and stars, either! No, Unicron wishes to feed on the very fabric of existence itself. Starting to understand how he made our list?
Debuting in the seminal The Transformers Movie, Unicron butt heads with the heroic Autobots in his quest to consume all of existence. The size of a literal planet, Unicron has no issues swatting aside opponents like flies, and will let no opposition stand in the way of his hunger. In sheer size alone, Unicron is able to wipe the floor with most giant robots, more than cementing his place on our list.
7 DEVIL GUNDAM
The Gundam universe has seen plenty of powerful mechs over the years, but they just don't get more powerful than the legendary Devil Gundam. After all, it's kinda hard to beat a Gundam that is essentially unable to die.
Devil Gundam's main draw is that the mech is outfitted with DG Cells, experimental artificial cells that allow Devil Gundam to possess others. These cells also allow Devil Gundam to constantly evolve to suit battle needs, to create clones that Devil Gundam controls, and, most importantly, to regenerate from any damage, no matter how severe. Did we mention that Devil Gundam can also raise the dead? Devil Gundam can be defeated, preventing this mech from taking our top spot, but this giant anime robot is so powerful, it's downright ridiculous.
There are giant anime robots that have pulled off some crazy stunts, and then there is Gunbuster. The titular mech of the 1988 anime of the same name, Gunbuster seems like any other anime mech at first glance. But Gunbuster's list of accomplishments more than earns this towering titan a place on our list.
Piloted by a cadre of high school girls, Gunbuster managed to punch through giant monsters, shrugged off a black hole bomb, destroyed hundreds of monsters with a single kick, and even defeated a creature capable of surviving the heat of a star! Let's put it this way: Gunbuster moves so fast, it actually manages to slip through time. That's the kind of power that cements Gunbuster as one of the strongest mechs to ever grace anime.
Giant anime robots wielding swords and guns are a dime a dozen. But a giant robot wielding an even giant-er hammer? Now that's unique. Allow us to introduce you to GaoGaiGar.
This snappily named mech is the star of The King Of Braves GaoGaiGar, chronicling the trials and tribulations of the pilots of the GaoMachines. These futuristic planes can come together with the giant mech GaiGar to form GaoGaiGar, an ultra powerful mech that has a left arm of destruction and a right arm of protection. Also, that aforementioned giant hammer. With its ultimate move, the Hell & Heaven, GoGaiGar uses both arms to obliterate opponents into a pile of scrap. GaoGaiGar is a true force to be reckoned with in both offensive and defensive capabilities.
4 EVA UNIT 01
While most giant robots prefer to utilize lasers, cannons, and massive beam swords, the EVA Unit 01 says "Screw that" and kills monsters with a giant bowie knife. If the massive knife isn't a giveaway, EVA Unit 01 isn't like most mechs, and it is because of this that it ends up on our list.
Piloted by perpetual coward and all around weirdo Shinji Ikari, and powered by the the soul of Shinji's Mom, Yui (it's complicated), EVA Unit 01 can pilfer body parts from enemy Angels to regenerate lost limbs, is faster and stronger than any existing EVA Unit, and will often fly into a berserker rage that makes the unit downright unbeatable in battle. EVA Unit 01 may not be your standard giant anime robot, but this mad mech more than deserves a top spot on our list.
An awesome giant anime robot needs a suitably awesome name. Apparently the creator of Space Runaway Ideon didn't get this memo. While the term "runaway" might not strike fear into the heart's of enemies, Ideon managed to overcome his name and become one of the strongest mechs in anime.
A giant robot formed from the combination of three tanks, the Ideon serves as the last line of defense against aliens hilariously known as the Buff Clan. Armed with the Ideon Sword and the Ideon Gun, Ideon can destroy everything from star ships to entire planets. But Ideon's coup de grace is the Black Hole Cannon, which, as you might have guessed, fires actual black holes. Other anime mechs may be strong, but they certainly aren't "cutting planets in half and firing actual black holes from a cannon" strong.
What happens when you mix Lovecraftian black magic with giant anime robots? Well, you get Demonbane, a mech so ridiculously powerful that it can't be constrained by time or space.
Demonbane is a "Deus Machina" that was melded with the Necronomicon. With the Necronomicon, Demonbane gains the ability to time travel, allowing the mech to attack enemies at any point in time. Furthermore, as time travel is wacky, Demonbane can travel back in time to negate damage to itself Also, this ridiculous robot can pull literally anything it wants from time, including itself. Yes, Demonbane can pull itself from the timeline to aid himself in battle. In no uncertain terms, Demonbane is crazy powerful. But what mech is more powerful than this mess? Funny you should ask...
1 SUPER TENGEN TOPPA GURREN LAGANN
As anime mechs became more and more powerful over the years, fans began to wonder "where does this constant rising power level end?" The answer is simple: it ends with Super Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, because it is literally impossible for a mech to get stronger than Super Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.
The culmination of the spiral powered Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Super Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (or STTGL) is a god-like being that is 52.8 billion light years in height. Yes, really. STTGL is so ludicrously huge, it can throw galaxies like throwing stars. It can attack through all of time and space, allowing it to strike at enemies at any point in time. Its ultimate attack, the Super Tengen Toppa Giga Drill Break, literally contains an infinite multiverse in it. So powerful its comical, you just can't top Super Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.