Top 10 – Mechas
Mechs are big. Mechs are hulking. Mechs are armoured up and they protect the person who controls them as much as they can, whilst wreaking undeniable damage. Mechanised vehicles, Autobots and other mechanical behemoths are included within this week’s Top 10 list. We’re not including every machine, but it has to be motorised, it has to have some form of offense and it has to look pretty spectacular.
All in all, this list is going to be a-mech-zing! I’ll show myself out.
10) D.Va – Overwatch
D.Va is a rather sassy teenager who sits inside of a mech suit, wreaking down havoc upon the opposition. She was originally a professional gamer, who now sits inside of this giant bipedal mech. Able to take a beating and deliver one too, her skills as a former pro gamer has led her to being able to pilot this massive machine, as well as having precise shots with her light gun. Overall, she’s a killing machine, ready to get that penta-kill!
Say what you will about D.Va, whether you love playing as her, or hate playing against her – Or if you just find her to be ‘complete trash’, there’s one thing just about everyone can agree on: The design. The massive mech is what she’s most known for in game, however the character herself clearly overshadows that hulking hunk of metal. We truly couldn’t deny D.Va a spot on this list, through the sheer sudden popularity of Overwatch.
9) Gipsy Danger – Pacific Rim
Personally I prefer Cherno-Alpha, but so far as the leviathan monster-fighting robots of Pacific Rim there aren’t many so iconic and versatile as the rebuilt Gipsy Danger. The reverent homage to the original masters of mechanised combat suits and humanoid warmachines, the Jaeger of Pacific Rim are physically impossible titans of metal at war with alien entities who cross entire universes to colonise new planets, and their own biological weapons.
Gipsy is an American unit designed for mixed long-range and close-quarters combat, helped along by the new retractable sword. Visually evocative of an Evangelion unit with it’s brawling combat, launch tubes, and partially psychic controls; Gurren Lagann with its detaching head-module and forever pulling new power-ups out of the bag; even iron man with that central power unit in the chest. It literally steals from everywhere, a “thank you” to everything that has inspired them over the years. Gipsy being nuclear powered gives it two distinct advantages, being quick to recover from an EMP pulse, and being a walking bomb in case of complete disaster… like end of the world disaster.
8) Caterpillar P-5000 Work Loader – Aliens
The least combat-ready example on our list, the Caterpillar is designed to allow easier loading of heavy materials on and off ships. More versatile than a forklift, smaller than a crane, and I haven’t seen either defeat a twenty foot alien hive-queen in one-on-one combat. So far as improvised weapons go it has to be one of the best.
It served to underline Ripley as the hardcore heroine we know Sigourney Weaver to be in real life. Let’s not forget that she was a member of a serious research team and trained for long term space exploration, with a collection of qualifications to boot. Watching her hop casually into a piece of advanced lifting machinery shouldn’t be a surprise, as she utters that immortal line: “Get your hands off her, you damn dirty ape!”
Have I got that right?
Released in 2014, Titanfall was a huge success. In Titanfall, you play as a pilot of a mech machine, of which can stand up to 20 foot tall. The mech units, or Titans as they’re referred to in this game, are effectively exoskeletons for the pilots. This allows you to have quite a bit of a range over the in-game styles you take up, all depending on you as a player. Furthermore, the power of these mechs are truly the main selling point.
The Titans come in three classes, Stryder, Atlas and Ogre, from fastest and lightest to slowest and heaviest. If you prefer a game where wall running and using the terrain to your advantage, you have a mech that’d suit you. Similarly, if you like to get up close and personal, good job! There’s one for you too. This FPS title allowed a versatility in your mech choices unlike any other game before this one. It won many awards for good reason.
6) XV88 Broadside (Tau) – Warhammer 40,000
It’s hard to pick from the collection of ambulatory tanks in the warhammer universe. From the weaponised sarcophagus, the Dreadnought to the soaring Titans, Wraiths, and Stompas, how do you choose from amongst them? Best to select from the species that perfected the tech, a Tau armoured battlesuit.
Plenty to choose from in that codex, the smaller stealth suits all the way up to the enormous Riptide, all of them a versatile, resilient machine equipped with a terrifying battery of guns, cannons, artillery that make them daunting at range, and occasionally pretty scary up-close and personal, but my favourite (and mostly because of Dawn of War: Dark Crusade) is the Broadside. Mounted with a pair of shoulder-mounted railguns, missile batteries, and in recent updates a few other options to boot. Are there more powerful suits? Sure, but there’s something heartwarming about watching a squad of Killa Canz or Dreadnoughts being popped like bubblewrap as they walk into a hail of rail-fire.
Now I haven’t played WH40K in a while, my knowledge of rules may be hideously out of date… but c’mon, they’re pretty.
5) Mobile Suits – Gundam
Okay, so coming in directly in the middle of our list might seem like a weird choice for the Gundams, when you consider they’re effectively giant mechs and that’s it! Like, if you really think of the mecha genre, I’m sure Gundam comes quite highly in that, so why on Earth would we put Gundam all the way at number 5? The first clue to this is the fact that we’ve not named a single Gundam; we’ve simply called this entry “Mobile Suits”.
Oh sure, there are a lot of cool Gundams! From Optimus Prime to Starscream, these characters are well known and loved. However, let’s now think about the mechs involved here – What are the most famous Gundams out of Gundam? Well, Gundam himself might be the most famous. One of my favourites is Big Zam… But unless you’re already a fan of Gundam, would you even know the names of the suits? However, if I were to give a massive positive to Gundam – The mech suits look damn cool!
4) Shinseiki Evangelion – Neon Genesis Evangelion
Here’s an odd one, but it’s impossible to write this list without an Evangelion mention. An Evangelion is not outright robotic, it’s a cyborg, a living creature with mechanical additions, an angel enslaved by human technology to fight an invading army of angels. Derived from the genetic material of a captured angel held beneath the NERV headquarters and piloted by young teens trained from a very young age to manipulate the armed and armoured titans.
Being mostly biological makes the Evangelions lithe, fast, terrifying, and visceral in combat. Their keening howl, their very real injuries, and the fact that a pilot losing control doesn’t mean the machine becoming inert, it means the angel may go berserk, start eating its prey, destroy cities, and overpower the will of the pilot. Being an immensely powerful bio-machine has its advantages of course, like ripping off an opponent’s arm to replace an old one.
3) Iron Man
Tony Stark makes our list, not because Tony Stark deserves to be on so many lists, but because he really is the best mecha superhero. There are others that come to mind, however none of them stack up to the mighty Iron Man suit. The fact it’s so mobile, the fact it’s able to do so much and the fact that Tony Stark is really more important when he becomes Iron Man means this is a top notch mech!
However, even more crazy than his normal suit is that incredible Hulkbuster armour. To stand toe to toe with The Hulk is no easy feat, however this heavy, sluggish armour gives Iron Man that much needed power boost. Whether you’re a fan of traditional Iron Man, or if you love his Hulkbuster armour, it’s hard to deny that this is a mech suit that has so much personality, even though it, officially, doesn’t really have a personality of its own.
2) Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
It’s been years and I still can’t work out if this is a scathing parody or a loving mockery. Gurren Lagann is notorious for the over-the-top action, the yelling, the power of the spirit! The reaching the heavens and going beyond! MINE IS THE DRILL THAT WIL- ~cough~ sorry, recently rewatched the whole series.
The mechanised face itself is a unique unit, a miniature machine that channel the raw power of a man’s burning soul (or frankly anyone’s will to live and keep fighting), the spiral power of biological life. It can take over any Ganmen and channel more power into it, growing in potency and ridiculousness, more drills, more guns, more faces, and bigger sunglasses. It starts simply with smashing two Ganmen together, and goes into moon-sized, dimension-smashing, galaxy throwing, destroyer of everything.
It makes a caricature of all the best parts of every anime, giving fans of the genre a few slogans to hang their comedic banner on. Believe it, or believe in the me believing in it.
1) Megazord – Power Rangers
Ok so it was made of cardboard and fought rubbery suits in badly made toy cities with too many fireworks lying around. Who cares? For most of us it was the first introduction to the sheer unbridled joy of watching giant robots fight giant monsters, stakes are high, acting is hammy, explosions are a backdrop to how awesome it is when you mash five dinosaur-tanks together into a single, humanoid, fighting machine piloted by a bunch of teens with limited careers ahead of them. Sorry guys.
Round about this time anime was marching inexorably west, and people were starting to notice where Power Rangers had drawn its inspiration from, and we went into that world with an appreciation born of childish joy at watching transformation sequence after transformation sequence, and a man in a Zord-suit destroy monsters with a sword the length of a skyscraper.
Oh, I never got opinions from super-fans about the 2017 film, except that Adi Shankar’s bootleg universe dark-version was cooler. Seems like they kept up with the art-style changes of every remake of an 80’s-90’s property… anyway, conversation for another time. Megazord takes the number 1 slot.
Our love of giant fighting robots is finally starting to spill into the real world, with America and Japan shaping up their own combatants for a real-life showdown of anime proportions. There are just too many fictional examples to keep this list short, even these paltry pair of honourable mentions is insufficient to cover all the best, but here they are anyway.
Mechs – Advance Wars
The mechs in Advance Wars aren’t mech units at all, but instead they’re little infantry units with big ol’ bazookas. They get a nod on this list simply because they’re actually called “Mech”… And they’re rather damn good. They don’t cost much to build, they get great benefits from some of the leaders in the game series and, most importantly, they’ve been in every iteration of the franchise.
You get them pretty early on and they’re used to deal with tanks, infantry, APCs and other light units. There’s no doubt that you’d rather get yourself some mech units than some tanks early on, just so you can handle anything that comes your way (and take over cities too). In this highly strategic game, you’re gonna need these guys!
Bumblebee – Transformers
No matter what you think of Michael Bay’s adaptation of the Transformers, it looked great. The Transformers themselves were of a size you’d believe, which really makes it a success in my eyes. However out of all of the Transformers, you’d be forgiven for not thinking to put Bumblebee on this list. The smaller, ‘mascot’ like character is known for being brave, but often at huge risk to himself and others…
… But that’s exactly why we’ve given him the nod! Courageous, great design and all in all, a fun and lovable character.
However, we couldn’t put any of the Transformers in the main Top 10 list, as these guys technically aren’t mechs. They’re robots; heck, they don’t even hide this fact with the tagline “robots in disguise”. Sometimes, however, they do act like mech units, as a person can be inside of them (especially when they are vehicles). They don’t need people though, which discounts them from the main list – But we still love them!
Power down, combat over, return to the shatterdome, command centre, EFF base, dropship or whatever other headquarters you’d care to reference; the list is over. Refuel, disarm, and relax before the next episode. Actually, on the subject, choose which world-shattering Top 10 we do next week:
And so we put down our collection of mechanical mobile battle suits, walking tanks, and metal monstrosities. While we disembark, tell us what you think. Did we miss your favourite mech? Have we misplaced the best machine? Share your love for watching giant robots fight in the comments, or on our Facebook and Twitter pages.