Giant mechanized robots are a synonymous with anime as peanut butter is to jelly. The concept of an enormous mecha fighting another of its kind or a monstrous kaiju is one that many anime fans are all too familiar with. But while these mammoth mechas are quite iconic, there are many other robots of lesser stature that have made a huge impact on the anime medium. Whether they serve supporting roles or are the focus of the spotlight, robots and anime go hand in hand. No disrespect to giant mecha's, but the more moderately sized robots of anime are due the limelight they deserve. With no more delay, here are the Top 10 Robots From Non-Mecha Anime! Potential spoilers ahead.
10 QT - Space Dandy
You will be hard pressed to find a more reliable and multipurpose vacuum cleaner than the resident robot of the Aloha Oe: QT. While saying that QT is the most intelligent and/or responsible member of the Space Dandy crew is not saying much, as an artificial intelligence, QT is able to bring a great deal to the table beside his incompetent companions. QT also has the strange distinction as one of the few robots in all of fiction who has been converted into a zombie. We aren't sure how that's physically possible, but it happened!
9 Canti - FLCL
Quite possibly the oddest robot on this list, Canti from FLCL cannot speak, and has minimal means of communication. However, this TV-headed robot has left a huge impact on anyone whose seen FLCL via his pairing of awkward charm and over the top Gainax fight scenes. You'd be hard pressed to find another robot with a more bizarre origin than Canti, who was spawned from a large bump on the head of a young Japanese boy, immediately fighting another large robot who was spawned alongside him.
8 MachineHead Tetsujin - Redline
The former champion of the previous Redline, which is essentially intergalactic weaponized NASCAR, MachineHead Tetsujin is easily the fastest robot on this list. While other racers must pilot their various cars and vehicles, MachineHead has an advantage: MachineHead is is car. More specifically, as a robot, MachineHead has the ability to fully merge with his vehicle, giving him complete control, and easy access to large quantities of potent "Platinum Nitro" for even more speed.
And if the raw speed of MachineHead doesn't convince you, just look at his dog!
7 Cyborg 009 - Cyborg 009
The Cyborg 009 series has had many incarnations, from its initial manga origins to its numerous anime adaptations. A robot with speed-based abilities equivalent to those of The Flash, Joe Shimamura sas versatile abilities ranging from the ability to breathe underwater to super strength. Additionally, Few characters, let alone robots in anime have had the stable longevity of Cyborg 009, with every reimagining building upon the character's previous incarnations. It would feel like a crime to leave a character with as much long term appeal and influence as Cyborg 009 off of this list. And let's face it, no other robot on this list has fought Devilman.
6 Aigis - Persona 3 Movies
While Aigis originates from the Persona video game franchise, her appearance as an integral and seminal character in the Persona 3: The Movie series, it felt like a crime to leave Aigis off this list. One of the most loyal robots on this list, Aigis was created to fight shadows makes it her life's mission to ensure that no harm comes to Makoto Yuki. As the narrative transpires, the initially stone faced Aigis progressively becomes more and more self aware, gaining more emotion and questioning the validity of her existence as an artificial being.
5 Android 18 - Dragon Ball Z
Few robots in anime leave quite as much of an impact as Android 18 from Dragon Ball Z. Shortly after first appearing, Android 18 does not drag her feet when it comes to making herself known, quickly obliterating series mainstay, Vegeta, nonchalantly breaking his arm with seemingly no effort. While following the Cell Saga, Android 18 takes more of a supporting role, she goes on to marry series staple, Krillin, and has an unforgettable bout in the World Tournament against Hercule.
4 Franky - One Piece
The shipwright and mechanic of the Straw Hats, Franky has been through it all. After being hit by a train, he personally constructed his own robotic body that runs on soda carbonation. As an ingenious mechanic, Franky built the current ship of the Straw Hats (with money he'd initially stolen from them), and continues to serve as a linchpin member of the crew.
3 Android 17 - Dragon Ball Super
While Andoroid 17 originally appeared in Dragon Ball Z, he really cam into his own once Dragon Ball Super came around. In Dragon Ball Z Android 17 served the role of antagonist until he was inevitably absorbed by Cell. However, in Dragon Ball Super, we are able to see significantly more of the character as he is a mainstay member of Team Universe 7 in the "Tournament of Power" arc. Accumulating numerous wins across the series, Android 17 is notably the solitary remaining member of his team by the end of the arc, going on to use the Dragon Balls.
2 Makoto Kusanagi - Ghost in The Shell
As one one of the most iconic characters in the genre of Cyber-Punk, Major Makoto Kusanagi is one of the most significant characters on this list. The Major is both a visually interesting character, as she utilizes her stealth cloaking technology, and is also a very engaging character on a narrative level. As a cyborg with only a shred of organic material remaining within her almost entirely cybernetic body, Major Kusanagi exemplifies the question of what makes in individual truly human. Few robots are able to encapsulate an entire genre as effectively as Makoto Kusanagi.
1 Astro Boy/Atom - Astro Boy/The Mighty Atom
There are few robots in all of fiction as iconic as Astro Boy, let alone in the medium of anime. A character who dates as far back as 1951, this trailblazing robot didn't just pave the way for anime robots to come, but entire generations of anime and manga heroes. Inspiring a wide variety of media from Naoki Urasawa's manga, Pluto and even the creation of video game icon, Mega Man, the landscape of pop culture would be a very different place without Astro Boy.