Here's a question: Top Ten Toku Mechas?
This may come as a surprise to my followers but one of my least favorite aspects of Super Sentai is the mecha. Of course, that’s like saying my least favorite part of cheesecake is the crust. I still love it but it’s not cheese or cake so it comes a distant third on the love scale.
That said, I do love me some mecha! I used to build Gunpla kits on a regular basis and watched so much mecha anime it’s what I became known for before I let my toku fan flag fly higher than my Zeon one (and yes, I had a Zeon flag before I sold it to someone even more passionate about it than I was.)
So, I have watched a lot of mecha related stuff. I adore the early work of Go Nagai on Mazinger Z, Getter Robo and all the derivatives and spinoffs thereof (Great Mazinger, Grendaizer, Getter Robo G, Shin Getter Robo etc. etc.). I also love Yoshiyuki Tomino’s outpu. Not just his Gundam work though but his lesser known shows like Space Runaway Ideon, Xabungle and even the much maligned Brain Powerd.
I guess that’s the long way of saying that I’m a mecha fan but you aren’t going to see a ton of Super Sentai mecha on this list of my favorite tokusatsu robots. There are just too many to choose from to limit it. There will be a few but they will not dominate this list.
Let’s get started.
10. Giant Robo
Airing in Japan in 1967, this series was the brainchild of manga writer Mitsuteru Yokoyama who also created Tetsujin 28 (known as Gigantor in the US). It has a lot of similarities to his earlier series with a young boy controlling a giant robot by remote control. What really makes this series stand out though are the creative enemies and interesting fights. I also just love Robo’s design with its Egyptian headdress and stern expression.
The robot that transforms out of the hero’s starship from the 1985 Metal Hero series Special Megabeast Investigator Juspion is great for two reasons. 1) I just love the very simple but elegant robotic look of it. 2) It fights giant monsters every week! This is the only Metal Hero show to feature kaiju (or megabeasts in this case) every week and give the hero a giant robot to take them on with. That’s pretty sweet in my opinion and makes Juspion a very unique entry in its respective franchise.
A robot that first showed up in one of the Ultraman Zero side story specials, I feel Jean-Killer really didn’t come into its own until it became the personal mecha of Ultraman Ginga’s rival. I really like its design, the fact that it can transform into a spaceship and the way it goes from being a hated enemy into a grudging ally in the fight against evil.
7. Super Robot Red Baron
My brother bought this show on DVD and let me borrow it and I have to say, it was a lot of fun. The first two episodes were surprisingly brutal and shocked me into watching the rest. It’s a pretty darn good show and I love how boxy and classically robotic the heroic mecha of the series is. It feels a lot like Giant Robo but it’s a bit newer, giving it a little polish the older series lacked.
Spiderman’s personal giant robot from the 1978 Toei series stands as a fantastic example of adding a robot to something that had no right to have one and making it amazing. Of course, it was dreamed up to make the American hero more appealing to Japanese children but it proved SO popular it ended up giving Toei the idea to put robots together with their flagging Sentai shows and revitalize it into SUPER SENTAI. I owe this webbed wonder a lot for that!
5. Dragon Caesar
Dragon Caesar is my favorite sixth hero mecha ever. Sure, he may be the first but he gets me in my sweet spot for things I love. Those would be; giant monsters, robots and robot giant monsters. He also looks like a robot Godzilla, which is something of a weakness of mine as you will see higher on the list.
4. Electronic Starbeast Dol
The undersection of Gavan’s spaceship from the 1982 Metal Hero series Space Sheriff Gavan transforms into this amazing mecha. It’s a GIANT ROBOT SPACE DRAGON! So I really need to go into any more detail about why that idea just kicks all the ass in the galaxy? It can breath fire, it can shoot lasers from its eyes and it can grapple enemies. I love this thing’s design and just wish it got more use in the series. Still, every time it was used, I loved it to death.
Speaking of Robot Space Dragons…
This monstrous mechanical dragon was the largest single mecha ever to appear in Super Sentai. Look how huge it is compared to the buildings beneath its feet! Another giant robot space dragon, Daijinryu was the ultimate keeper of balance. It would appear whenever the battles between the heroes of Gosei Sentai Dairanger and their enemies, the Gorma, got too out of hand and threatened the balance of the universe. If the fighting didn’t stop, it threatened to destroy the entire world! It also had the power to back that up and dwarfed anything the heroes or villains could send against it.
2. Muteki Shogun
Out of all the mecha to appear in the 41 year history of Sentai, this is my absolute favorite, I love his design, I love his concept and I love the way it moves and looks on screen. It’s essentially a Japanese castle that stands up to become a giant robot. It’s so awesomely cool and outshines even the other mecha of its own series. Nothing in Super Sentai tops this one for me.
Whether and alien duplicate, a weapon reverse engineered from 23rd Century robotics by G-Force or a government Godzilla deterrent made from the bones of the original Godzilla, no tokusatsu mecha is cooler to me than Mechagodzilla. I have loved this one since I was a little kid reading out it in a little orange book from the school library. Godzilla was my introduction to the world of Japanese fantastic cinema and Mechagodzilla my intro to giant robots. I owe him a ton for my current fandom and still think he’s the best giant robot ever made!