This weekend sees the release of the hotly-anticipated robots vs. monsters film, Pacific Rim (perhaps you’ve heard of it). In it, humans pilot giant mechanical creations (or “mecha” in some circles) to defeat city-dwarfing monsters from beneath the sea. You can catch up on all the Pacific Rim goings-on here, see the list of the best Kaiju here, and read up on our Best of E3 coverage, which named Titanfall best in show. All this chat made us think about our favorite mechs in popular culture, and how much we want one of our own.
Co-written with Matt Cohen
Loader – Aliens
The loader in James Cameron’s equally-awesome, though tonally-disparate sequel to Alien is set up to be nothing more than a piece of labor equipment, allowing Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley to move heavy objects hither and thither. But, we know immediately that it’ll come back in a big way. Queen Alien versus pissed-off surrogate mother in a robot? We all know who should get away from whom.
DeathScythe Hell – Gundam
There are Gundams in every shape and size, but our favorite has got to be DeathScythe Hell, the ultimate stealthy, close combat enabled giant robot fighter. Double beam scythe? Check. Bad-ass, folding-metal bat wings? Big check. Honestly, you had us by just calling it DeathScythe Hell.
AMP – Avatar
Jim Cameron sure likes his mech suits, eh? In a bit of a reversal from his earlier film, the mech is piloted by the bad guy (a frothing Stephen Lang), and the good guy is the alien, or more specifically a biological replica piloted mentally from a tube. It’s a hell of a fight, as the two nine-foot things knock each other through the forest.
Evangelion Unit 03- Neon Genesis Evangelion
If you’re judging a mecha by the standards you would a new car, Sangouki’s got it all. A midnight blue paint job. Sleek angles and corners. A pair of Tonfa weapons to battle other giant robots. There are many Eva models in Evangelion, but out favorite has to be this hyper aware and sometimes disruptive fighting unit.
E-Frames – Exosquad
This ‘90s action cartoon was supposed to be America’s answer to anime, and while it never quite reached that level, it did involve a whole barrage of people in mech suits fighting off pirates and an uprising of Neosapiens, or synthetic life forms who have rebelled. It was awesome, and you can watch the whole thing on Hulu.
Metal Gear – Metal Gear Solid
It’s pretty hard to out-cool Solid Snake, but Metal Gear, the titular Mecha from Hideo Kojima’s masterpiece franchise Metal Gear Solid, gives ole’ eye patch a run for his money. “A bipedal nuclear weapons equipped tank”; it doesn’t get much better than that. There have been many iterations of the Metal Gears throughout the series, but each one is a war-machine on two legs that we can’t help loving.
Big Guy – Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot
Along the same lines as The Iron Giant, this was Frank Miller’s take on the big, mechanical man idea, having the massive American robot come to Japan to save it from the giant lizard that threatens it after the failure of Rusty. That’s pretty much Miller from top to tail.
Krang’s body- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Mechs don’t always need to be huge, or even good at their jobs, as evidenced by the intergalactic (and brain shaped) despot Krang and his rideable mecha-body. Sort of clunky, sort of bumbling, and sort of early ’90s, this was the first “giant robot” that many fans were exposed to, and for that reason alone he deserves a spot on this list. Also… he wears sunglasses.
APU – The Matrix Revolutions
No, this isn’t a very good movie, but arguably the best part of it is the Armored Personnel Units that protect Zion from the onslaught of sentinels. Sure, Kid, the most annoying character in the series, ends up piloting the last one, but that’s not the APU’s fault.
Megamaid – Spaceballs
“She’s gone from suck to blow!” With those words, a transforming spaceship/mechanical maid was forever on our favorite mech list. Mel Brook’s classic Star Wars spoof has one of the more limited Mechs on this list, but it’s also the only one with its own circus inside.
These were our ten favorite. Surely we’ve forgotten some or left off your favorite, but that’s what comments are for. Voice your opinion below!