Super robot anime are good mixes of genres like mecha, giant monsters and superheroes. These type of shows are mostly geared towards younger boys, especially in Japan. Watching a cool-looking giant robot performing flashy super moves to beat the crap out of giant monsters is one of the most gratifying and adrenaline-pumping moments that make you jump out of your seat and cheer for the good guys, just like as you would when watching contact sports like mixed martial arts, boxing, basketball and football. Ever seen Pacific Rim or Godzilla? You’ll get the same experience.
Unfortunately super robot anime are no longer as popular back in the 70s to the 90s, and recent attempts to revive the genre with Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann were unsuccessful. That is not to say the genre is dead, but rather its revival is just delayed in the foreseeable future.
Now with that said, let’s go back in the 90s when a lot of older anime fans were still in their childhood or in their early teens, and look at what kind of super robot shows they grew up with. We can list a ton of super robot anime, but for this topic, we’re looking at 3 specific shows that are so adrenaline-pumping, burning manliness and so over-the-top that watching them now will bring back the kid in you.
3. Mobile Fighter G Gundam
- Episodes: 49
- Aired: April 1994-March 1995
In the Future Century, mankind has ravaged the once-beautiful Earth, and has abandoned the planet to the colonies in space. Wars between nations are typical human nature and will bound to happen, but the colonies representing the nations of Earth have come into an agreement to hold a battle royale tournament every four years using mechs called Mobile Fighters instead. Each nation has a representative mobile fighter and they descend to Earth and do battle, and the last man standing will rule the planet for four years until the next tournament. You follow Domon Kasshu, the Gundam Fight tournament representative of Neo Japan, as he travels the world fighting other nations for the crown. In truth though, Domon is a quest for revenge and the tournament is just a means of reaching his goal.
The Earth is the arena! Gundam… FIGHT!
G Gundam is currently the only Gundam series that follows the super robot formula mixed with traditional shounen anime elements like tournament battles, martial arts, a master-student subplot, and tons of yelling. Watching gundams do physics-defying moves is amusing and awesome at the same time with ridiculous special moves, crazy designs that match the theme of each gundam’s nation, and a final boss gundam that is hard to classify as a mech or a living thing. Tomokazu Seki was perfect for voicing Domon with his flexible voice from normal dialogue to powerful and intense delivery of Domon’s many special moves. When Domon starts chanting, you’ll know he’ll perform one of the flashiest moves in anime: THIS HAND OF MINE IS BURNING RED! ITS LOUD ROAR TELLS ME TO GRASP VICTORY! ERUPTING... GOD... FINGER!!!!!!
2. Yuusha-Ou GaoGaiGar (The King of Braves GaoGaiGar)
- Episodes: 49
- Aired: February 1997-January 1998
The Earth is in peril! Alien beings called the Zonders invaded Earth, specifically in Tokyo, Japan and they bring chaos and destruction in their wake. A secret defense agency called the Gutsy Geoid Guard, 3G for short, is tasked to intercept and neutralize the Zonder threat using advanced alien technology—a technology used to develop the defender of Tokyo, the super robot known as GaoGaiGar and its pilot the cyborg Guy Shishio.
GaoGaiGar has everything a kid drools over: power armor, giant robots, various futuristic vehicles, robots that can transform in vehicles, exotic weaponry, well-drawn and smooth animation of said robots, vehicles, weapons and a huge amounts of explosions and rubble. Imagine being a kid when GaoGaiGar aired—you’d end up blowing the allowance you saved for action figures and toys like Guy’s armlet. The urge to yell EQUIP!!! is strong!
Anyway, GaoGaiGar looks like a sentai anime aimed at kids with its monster of the week storyline, the obligatory group of annoying stereotypical kids, and constant reused footage of the transformation sequences, but once you're past the first half, GaoGaiGar’s tone changes to a more serious story focusing on the mysterious boy Mamoru and a cast of aliens to narrate their motives and agendas. Each encounter becomes intense and the anime moved from beating random monsters in the ruined streets of Tokyo to space with monsters that could change the very fabric of reality.
1. Change!! Getter Robo: Sekai Saigo no Hi OVA (Getter Robo: Armageddon OVA)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: August 1998-May 1999
With the discovery of the Getter Rays by renowned scientist Dr. Saotome, mankind has used its limitless power to advance human civilization, but the Getter Rays are also used as an instrument of war. To makes matter worse, mysterious alien beings called the Invaders has attacked the moon and some they are related to the Getter Rays. Throughout the conflict, mankind has preserved and eliminated the Invaders with Dr. Saotome as one of the casualties. Years later, Dr. Saotome survived and is on a quest revenge and destruction of the world using his new creation the Shin Dragon.
With all the characters yelling at each other, it’s apparent the most common form on communication in Armageddon is yelling at each other. Or was it maybe because the person you were talking to was in a huge-ass robot several hundreds of feet above ground level? Right then, you can watch Armageddon without prior knowledge of the manga or the TV anime aired back in the 70s because background info are slowly being revealed as you progressed through the episodes. Don’t worry, if you still didn’t understand the story, you’re not alone. The story is a mishmash of loud screaming and silly dialogue, but Armageddon is more about the action set pieces and it delivers the robot-busting and monster-bashing action almost non-stop.
The Getter series has been around for decades and it’s one of the pioneers of the super robot genre that inspired anime like GaoGaiGar and Gurren-Lagann, just to name a few. Armageddon may not be geared towards very young kids due to its more violent nature and aggressive art style, but it is no doubt that Armageddon is one hell of a roller coaster ride that gets your heart pumping with action no current laws of thermodynamics or any branches of science could explain.
And there you have it! It’s not clear why the super robot genre has lost relevance, so it’s very sad that the new generation of fans will never get to experience what the 90s kids saw back then. Aggressive as these shows may be, they still teach children some valuable lessons like friendship, love, camaraderie, courage, bravery, teach children the difference between good and evil, and teach boys that being a boy isn’t a bad thing.
Japan is weird, we all know that, but they sure know how to teach their youth without boring them to death with hand puppets and cute talking animals.