Mecha is one of the most popular genres in anime. Giant robots going at each other is one of the most exciting things to come out of Japan. However, Mecha does not fight on its own. Giant robots are usually controlled by a person.
Giant mecha pilots can make or break mecha anime. Showing as Neon Genesis Evangelion are polarizing because of their protagonists. Characters drive stories in mecha anime, and there are some that are a cut above the rest. Mecha pilots have to be exciting and interesting to make a show compelling, and some are even considered the coolest characters in anime.
Full Metal Panic! is about a mercenary group trying to protect a teenage girl from falling into the wrong hands. The show stars Sousuke Sagara, a serious and sometimes dense teenage agent who has practically lived on the battlefield. Sousuke often gets into crazy situations at school due to misunderstandings.
Sagara is the ideal soldier. He has all the necessary tools to survive on the battlefield. He is a cool customer who can control a mecha better than most. The battlefield is where he belongs, and he has proven time and time again that he thrives under pressure.
9 Koji Kabuto is a classic mecha hero (Mazinger Z)
Mazinger Z was a classic mecha series by mangaka Go Nagai. The main character is the iconic Koji Kabuto. His hot-blooded demeanor was a departure from other protagonists of his era as he grew over time. He could pull off the coolest attacks of all time and was super reliable when the chips were down.
Koji is a bit rude, but he means well most of the time. His growth throughout Mazinger Z is a sight to behold. He is disrespectful to others at first, but as time goes on, he thinks things through more.
8 Van Fanel is a true king (The Vision of Escaflowne)
The vision of Escaflowne was an isekai anime from the 90s about a girl who was transported to another planet after an encounter with a mysterious boy. That boy is Van Fanel, the king of Fanelia. He pilots a mecha in the battle against the Zaibach Empire.
Van is a little cocky, but that’s part of his charm. He killed a dragon in his intro scene and it’s pretty cool. Van is the king of his nation and does his duty well. He is not to be underestimated on the battlefield and should be considered a top tier mecha character.
7 Ken The Eagle is a Sentai leader (Gatchaman)
Gatchamanalso known as Battle of the Planets, was a classic 1970s anime featuring a bird-themed sentai team. Ken Washio was their leader and had the moniker Ken the Eagle. Ken and the rest of the Science Ninja Team go around with their machines to stop an evil organization from taking over the world.
Ken was one of the early cool leaders. With his trusty weapons and martial arts skills, he saved Earth many times from evil. He is probably one of the best sentai leads in history.
6 Hikaru Ichijo is a hero from the 80s (Macross)
Super Dimension Fortress Macross was an early 1980s mecha anime about Earth encountering giant aliens in the future. It was adapted into the first installment of Robotech, which has seen backlash from anime fans to this day. Macross contains many nods to 1980s Japanese culture, especially idol culture.
Hikaru is the main character and a military pilot. He is reluctant to kill, but he knows he must take his life in the war against the Zentradi. The dream of flying led him to life as a military pilot. His abilities, along with his growth and tenderness throughout the series, make him cool. This is especially true later when he deals with the loss of his friends in battle.
5 Van Of The Dawn Is Cool As A Cucumber (Gun X Sword)
Gun x Sword was a 2000s anime about a man’s quest for revenge. That man goes by many names, but he is Van of the Dawn. Van is a pretty laid back guy in most circumstances and knows how to fight when pressure comes. Van’s mecha, Dann of Thursday, is formidable and can take down just about any mechanized enemy.
Van will stop at nothing to get Claw. The Claw is Van’s natural enemy and the person Van wants revenge on. Between Van’s all-black appearance, his laid-back demeanor, and his cool mecha, Van is one of the coolest mecha pilots out there.
4 Kamina inspired many to pierce the Heavens (Gurren Lagann)
Gurren Lagann is an over-the-top 2000s anime about humans living underground and then reclaiming the surface from beastmen. Kamina was the driving force of the series in its first arc. His cool sunglasses and never-say-die attitude made him the coolest guy around.
What made Kamina cool was the impact he had on the other people, especially Simon. Kamina died about a third of the way Gurren Lagann, but he inspired Simon and others to push forward no matter how bleak things seemed. He was truly one of the series’ driving forces, even after his death.
3 Char Aznable Was The Quintessential Mecha Villain (Mobile Suit Gundam)
Mobile Suit Gundam defined and codified the mecha genre. Through the stories of the horrors of war, it created an entire multiverse. In terms of the Universal Century timeline, Char Aznable was the man to beat. He is a charismatic leader whose goal was to take revenge on the Zabi family.
Char’s military exploits earned him the nickname “The Red Comet”. Char could pilot virtually any type of mobile suit and soon became one of the most trusted soldiers for the Republic of Zeon. A master tactician, Char was able to outwit many enemies throughout his tenure as an officer of the Zeon military.
2 Roger Smith is all that and a bag of chips (Big O)
Big O was an iconic mecha series from the early 2000s that was cool, if a bit confusing at times. It featured Roger Smith, a dealer who had a lot in common with Bruce Wayne from Batman. When words aren’t enough, Roger gets into Megadeus, his giant robot, and kicks its tail. He’s probably an underrated mecha protagonist in modern times.
Roger is a charmer, a flatterer and a smooth talker. Combined with his fashion sense and cash flow, he is a man many fans want to be like. Roger has all the tools to negotiate or simply crack down on Paradigm City’s crime.
1 Master Asia can fight Gundams with his bare hands (G Gundam)
G Gundam was different from others Gundam shows in the sense that more emphasis was placed on matches than social commentary. There are a lot of cool characters in the series, but one that stands above the rest is Master Asia. One of his first scenes involves him fighting mecha with his bare hands. Anyone who has the guts to do that is already the coolest person in town.
Master Asia was a martial arts master who trained Domon and claimed the title “The Undefeated of the East”. Whether piloting a Gundam or fighting hand-to-hand, Master Asia is one of the strongest fighters around. Even on the side of evil, he has an aura about him that screams he’s the baddest guy in the space colonies. No doubt, Master Asia has the guts to take on anyone without a second thought.
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