As the 1970s unfurled, it ushered in a revolutionary phase in the realm of animation. This decade, particularly in Japan, witnessed the inception of an unparalleled genre that would etch a lasting impression on the vast canvas of anime: Mecha.
Mecha anime from the 70s is worth immersing yourself in the boast of notable titles such as Magne Robo Gakeen, Mazinger Z, Getter Robo, Brave Raideen, Great Mazinger, and Zambot 3.
These captivating shows, populated with gigantic robots and valiant heroes at their helm, seized the global audience’s imagination. They unveiled a world where the boundaries of technology, humanity, and storytelling intertwined seamlessly.
Best Mecha Anime From The 70s
The narratives spun by these 70s mecha anime spanned the expanse of interstellar wars to dystopian futures and even grounded tales firmly rooted on Earth. Each story unfolded with a sense of adventure and complexity, providing undeniably exhilarating narratives.
Early mecha anime offered adventurous, complex, and undeniably thrilling narratives, from space battles to dystopian futures and tales anchored on Earth.
14Steel Jeeg (1975-1976)
Steel Jeeg, another worthy addition to the mecha anime 70s repertoire, is a unique series that offers a blend of action and drama.
The series follows Hiroshi Shiba, a car racer who transforms into the titular Steel Jeeg to protect Earth from the Haniwa Phantom Gods, an ancient civilization threatening humanity’s existence. With its dynamic character interactions, compelling plotlines, and memorable mecha battles, Steel Jeeg is a must-see series for all mecha fans.
13Gaiking (1976-1977) – Mecha Anime From The 70s
Gaiking, a mecha anime adventure from the 1970s, brought a fresh perspective to the genre with its intriguing narrative and innovative mecha designs. This series centers on baseball star Sanshiro Tsuwabuki, who is chosen to pilot Gaiking, a super-robot built to defend Earth from the invasive alien force, the Dark Horror Army.
Gaiking stood out with its concept of a mecha formed by combining three different units and appealing characters, making it an unforgettable part of 70s mecha anime.
12Blocker Gundan 4 Machine Blaster (1976-1977)
One of the more underappreciated entries in the mecha anime from the 70s, Blocker Gundan 4 Machine Blaster, shines with its unique concept and action-packed narrative. The series follows four young pilots who control separate machines that can combine into one powerful mecha.
The heroes must defend Earth from the onslaught of the invading Beast Mechas, monstrous robots under the command of an alien race. Though not as famous as some of its contemporaries, Machine Blaster stands out with its well-drawn characters, dramatic story arcs, and adrenaline-filled mecha battles.
11Super Electromagnetic Robot Combattler V (1976-1977)
Super Electromagnetic Robot Combattler V, another gem, is a pioneering series that helped shape the landscape of the genre. With its combined giant robot concept, the show offers a fresh twist to the classic giant robot trope.
The series centers around five young pilots chosen to operate Combattler V, a massive robot created to combat the hostile alien force known as the Campbellians. Its complex character arcs, engaging storylines, and high-octane battles make this series a must-watch for any fan of the mecha genre.
10UFO Robo Grendizer (1975-1977)
As an exciting entry in the mecha anime from the 70s, UFO Robo Grendizer takes its place in the iconic “Mazinger” series. However, it stands out with its unique storyline, set in space. Grendizer follows the story of Duke Fleed, an alien prince who escapes to Earth after his planet is ravaged by war.
Fleed is the pilot of Grendizer, a super-powerful robot, which he uses to protect his new home from impending alien invasions. With a narrative filled with cosmic battles, character drama, and grand themes of sacrifice and redemption, UFO Robo Grendizer is a riveting watch for any fan of 70s mecha anime.
9Voltes V (1977-1978)
Voltes V, is another superb mecha anime adventure from the 1970s. As a spiritual successor to Combattler V, Voltes V carries forward the theme of a combined robot operated by multiple pilots. However, it stands apart with its focus on familial bonds, as the five pilots of the Voltes V are siblings reunited after a long separation.
Their mission is to fend off the Boazanian invasion, led by the cruel Prince Heinel. With its deeply resonant themes of love, loss, and family, paired with thrilling mecha action, Voltes V is an iconic series that perfectly encapsulates the appeal of 70s mecha anime.
8Combattler V (1976-1977)
Combattler V, which aired in 1976, is another fantastic mecha anime 70s treasure that introduced the concept of combining robots to the genre. The titular mecha, Combattler V, is formed by combining five different vehicles, each piloted by one of our brave young heroes.
The show follows their journey as they fight off the invading alien force known as the Campbellians, who threaten the peace and safety of Earth.
Combattler V features an entertaining mix of action, drama, and character development. The innovative design of the titular mecha and the thrilling battle sequences makes this series a must-see for fans of 70s mecha anime.
7Future Robo Daltanious (1979-1980)
Future Robo Daltanious, is a 70s masterpiece with an exciting mix of action and drama. It’s notable as one of the early mecha series that utilized the concept of a combining robot, where separate units join to form a more powerful mecha.
The story unfolds on a post-apocalyptic Earth dominated by an alien race, with humanity’s hope resting on a brave young man and his allies.
Together, they command Daltanious, a robot formed by combining three separate units, each with unique abilities. Future Robo Daltanious stands out for its interesting characters, dynamic battle sequences, and intriguing story arcs. It’s a hidden gem that perfectly showcases the charm and creativity of the mecha anime from the 70s.
6Invincible Steel Man Daitarn 3 (1978-1979)
Yet another entry on the list of mecha anime you can’t afford to miss is the Invincible Steel Man Daitarn 3. Yoshiyuki Tomino is the mastermind behind this action-packed series that features a heroic investigator, Banjou Haran.
Banjou is no ordinary detective; he’s also the pilot of the colossal Daitarn 3, a sophisticated super robot designed to combat the Meganoids, who are on a mission to transform humans into their own race.
With its sleek animation, ingenious mecha designs, well-crafted characters, and a fine blend of comedy, drama, and action, Daitarn 3 is a compelling testament to the mecha anime adventure from the 1970s.
5Brave Raideen (1975-1976)
Set your sights next on Brave Raideen, another noteworthy mecha anime from the 70s. Created by Yoshiyuki Tomino and Tadao Nagahama, it holds the distinction of being the first super robot show with a transforming mecha. The series centers around Akira Hibiki, who discovers he’s the only one capable of piloting the ancient giant robot Raideen left by the lost continent of Mu to protect the Earth.
The design of Raideen, a robot that transforms into a bird, was a significant deviation from the traditional humanoid mecha designs of the time, and it set a new trend for the genre. Brave Raideen combines its impressive visuals with a compelling narrative, making it a pivotal 70s mecha anime that fans should not overlook.
4Zambot 3 (1977-1978)
Zambot 3, a mecha anime adventure from the 1970s, was created by Yoshiyuki Tomino, who later became known for Mobile Suit Gundam. The show distinguishes itself from other mecha series of the time by its notable narrative twist: it portrays the protagonists’ robot not just as a weapon to fight evil but also as a source of destruction and fear for ordinary people.
The series is noted for its relatively darker tone and storyline, featuring dramatic and sometimes tragic consequences of the battles between the heroic Kappei Jin and his family (who pilot the Zambot 3) against the invading Gaizok. While not as widely known as Gundam or Mazinger Z, Zambot 3’s unique approach to storytelling makes it a compelling watch for anyone interested in 70s mecha anime.
3Getter Robo (1974-1975)
If you want to plunge into a mecha themes, ‘Getter Robo’ is another classic worth your attention. This series aired in 1974 and is notable for introducing the concept of combining robots. Getter Robo is a super machine formed by combining three distinct aircraft, each piloted by one of our heroic trio – Ryoma, Hayato, and Musashi.
When the Dinosaur Empire threatens the Earth, these three pilots and their powerful Getter Robo become humanity’s last line of defense. From its innovative mecha designs to its high-energy battles and intriguing storylines, Getter Robo is a fantastic 70s mecha anime that still holds up today.
2Mazinger Z (1972-1974)
Mazinger Z, another jewel, is a show that brims with classic, raw mecha action. Debuting in 1972, this series pioneered the giant robot genre in anime and introduced several game-changing concepts that are now considered staples in the genre. These include the idea of a pilot operating a giant robot from inside and using it to fight evil forces.
The story revolves around Koji Kabuto, a young pilot who takes control of the super robot Mazinger Z to protect the Earth from the villainous Dr. Hell. Mazinger Z’s narrative may seem simple compared to the nuanced storytelling of later mecha series, but its iconic action scenes and timeless characters make it a must-watch for fans of mecha anime from the 70s.
1Mobile Suit Gundam (1979-1980)
If you’re keen on experiencing an iconic mecha anime from the 70s, ‘Mobile Suit Gundam’ is the show to watch. Premiering in 1979, the series sparked what would eventually become a sprawling franchise that continues to be influential in the anime industry today.
Gundam’s profound impact, offering an amalgamation of space opera and military drama, shifted the mecha genre away from the standard villain-of-the-week formula to more sophisticated narratives. Focusing on the ongoing war between Earth Federation and Principality of Zeon, the series introduces us to an array of humanoid fighting machines or ‘mobile suits’, the most famous of which is the titular Gundam.
Each episode is a thrilling, beautifully animated anime adventure from the 1970s, promising deep character arcs, complex political allegories, and exciting combat scenes.