5 Great Hand-Drawn Mecha Anime that you shouldn’t miss

July 13th, 2009
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Gunbuster Mecha Anime

Recently I just joined myanimelist.net. It is a website that allows user to add their anime / manga titles in their profile, and meet other members who watched similar titles. Think of it as Facebook but for anime lovers instead. When I was adding my anime list, I recalled watching a few interesting hand-drawn mecha anime, which I would recommend “young” anime fans to check it out. The anime quality is so great that even someone like me – who is extremely picky for animation quality – is amazed by the efforts of the production team.

Gunbuster (a.k.a. Toppu wo Nerae!)

This is a 6 episode anime OVA series created in 1988 by Gainax, the creator of Neon Genesis Evangelion. Back then, it was one of the few anime that includes many scientific elements to back up the story plot and the background settings, especially on time dilation, warps and artificial gravity concept. It also introduced the famous mecha’s arm-crossed pose, which also appears in Diebuster (Buster Machine No.7) and Tengen Toppa Gurrren Lagann (Super Galaxy Gurren Lagann). Although Gunbuster is backed by science theories, it is consider an awesome super robot, due to its incredible fighting performance.

In the near future, humans started to explore outside the solar system and they met aggressive gigantic aliens, known as space monsters. In order to fight against the enemy, humans developed Exelion and Gunbuster. The story plot mainly focuses on Noriko Takaya, a teenage girl who trains herself to become the pilot of Gunbuster.

Macross – Do You Remember Love?

One of the must-watch movie for Macross fans. This animated movie was created in 1984 (as old as me) and it was an adaptation of the TV series, SDF Macross. Although it was hand-drawn, the movie included a lot of detailed battle scenes, especially the unit and missiles’ movements, explosions of the destroyed units and the mecha-s’ transformation process. Most importantly, the concept is so great that even the latest Macross Frontier adapted a few elements from it.

The story is about the war between humans and Zentradi, an alien race who rules over the galaxy with their the gigantic spaceship Macross. During the war with Zentradi, Valkyrie pilot Ichijo Hikaru rescues pop idol Lynn Minmei who was attacked by the enemies, and that’s how the 2 main characters met. As the story progress on, the Macross crew discovers the background of Zentradi and Protoculture, which is the key of this war.

Macross Plus

Macross Plus is a 4 episode anime OVA released in 1994, that uses the combination of traditional cel and CG animation – which was a very new technique back then. The background and fighting moves were nicely done and very detailed, clearly portraying the powerful abilities of Variable Fighters. Check this out if you prefer Real Robot type.

Three decades after the war between humans and Zentradi, the government is developing new fighter aircrafts using new technologies. Isamu Alva Dyson and Guld Goa Bowman, the 2 selected test pilot of YF-19 and YF-21, meet their childhood friend Myung Fang Lone who is a producer of the computer singer, Sharon Apple. The story is about the relationship between the 3 main characters, the test flight of the 2 latest fighter aircraft, and the computer idol Sharon Apple which eventually took over the Macross to fight against the Isamu and Guld.

Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory

My favourite Gundam series! As a 13 episodes OVA series, it comes with high quality animation and fast pace storyline. There are a few outstanding mecha design among the gundam series, especially Gundam GP03D, the gigantic mobile fortress! If you think Freedom Gundam with Meteor kicks ass, then Gundam GP03D is god-like.

3 years after the 1-Year-War, U.N. and Anaheim Electronics secretly developed 2 new Gundams, GP01 and GP02. Unlike other mobile suits, Gundam GP02 is equipped with nuclear warhead. Zeon discovered the 2 units and send their ace pilot Anavel Gato to steal the Gundam GP02. In order to perform the operation Stardust, Gato and his team raided the U.N. base and escaped with Gundam GP02. To recover the stolen unit and stop the operation Stardust, U.N. assigned Gundam GP01 and the mobile suit carrier Albion to pursue Gundam GP02.

The Transformers – The Movie (1986)

Like how most the Transformers fans said, this old Transformers movie is way better than the 2 new movies directed by Michael Bay. Unlike the new movie, we get to see the complete world of Transformers, the intensive war between Autobots and Decepticons. This movie is meant to be a transaction period between the first and second generation of Transformers, by showing the death of Optimus Prime, and the passing of matrix to the new Autobots’ leader. It created a huge shock for the fans to see the death of their childhood hero, Optimus Prime (without ressurection).

The story starts with Optimus Prime wanting to gather the Autobots to fight against Decepticons. But before that, Megatron leads the Decepticons to raid the earth’s Autobot city and causes serious damage. Optimus and Dinobots go to rescue but unfortunately both Optimus Prime and Megatron are seriously injured. Before Optimus Prime’s death, he assign his best friend, Ultra Magnus as the new leader of Autobots and passes the Autobots matrix to him. On the other side, Starscream abandons Megatron and the rest of injured Decepticons in space. Drifting in space, Megatron encounters Unicorn, who offers him a new body in order to destroy the Autobots matrix.

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  • http://ghosltightning.wordpress.com ghostlightning

    I can’t disagree. Those shows are gorgeously rendered. I can also recommend Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket, 08th MS Team, and F91.

  • http://www.bmecha.com B-Mecha

    wow u are fast ^__^, i like them too. let me consolidate the list and i’ll make them into another post. it is very challenging for me to introduce so many anime in one shot xD

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  • http://taikutsuremedy.blogspot.com/ Snark

    Oh god Gunbuster could hold its own against any modern anime >=D

    Not too sure about Transformer’s animation quality though, but its still an awesome fun show nonetheless.

  • http://gunstray.blogspot.com/ Gunstray

    Oh F_CK I should watch GunBuster now, Damn K-on eating up my backlog

  • http://www.bmecha.com B-Mecha

    @Snark: yea, Gainax rocks! the trailer’s compression is bad, but i dont feel like putting the actual clips of the movie. the movie’s quality is good so no worry.

    @Gunstray: Gunbuster is legendary :D most of the time i cant stand very old style graphics like Gundam or Getter Robo, but Gunbuster totally awesome.

  • Kenutsu

    Love the music at the Gunbuster clip <3

    Guess I just have to rewatch Stardust Memory now, was too young (or immature :P) to remember its quality, actions or plot properly ^^;

    Added Macross universe series to to-watch list o.o;

  • Lee Jerry

    No five star story?