As a fan of animated movies about giant robots, there’s no doubt that you are familiar with the Gundam universe. For some of you this is enough to fill your need for big robot battles but for those of you experience a bit on Gundam fatigue there are Non-Gundam films as well. These consist of big and small robot characters in stories based around human interactions with projected emotions such as pain, loneliness, bravery, fear, and love. Let’s get started!
1. The Iron Giant (1999)
This Science fiction animated movie originates from the novel ‘The Iron man’ written by Ted Hughes’ set during the cold war of 1957. At the start of the film, a giant iron robot crashes from space and lands near the small town of Rockwell. While exploring the area, a local 9-year old boy, Hogarth, comes across the alien robot attempting to feed on the electric transmission lines of a nearby substation.
The two form a friendship and involve the owner of a scrapyard Dean McCoppin who helps divert the attention of the military agents led by agent Kent Mansley.
2. Code Geass: Lelouch of the Re;surrection
Lelouch of the Re;surrection is a Japanese anime film based on the Code Geass series and premiered in 2019. After one year since the Zero Requiem, Nunnally is the ruler of Britannia with the help of her bodyguard Suzaku. The two are then ambushed by the Knightmare squad and abducted, finding themselves in the custody of Shalio and Shahma, the siblings who rule the kingdom of Zilkistan.
The siblings forge a plan to use Nunnally to restore Zilkhistan’s political strength by accessing the collective unconsciousness within C’s world. Lelouch explains how their school friend smuggled and resurrected him by reconstructing his body, but his soul was trapped in the collective unconsciousness after the Zero Requiem. More adventures and missions are experienced throughout the series.
3. Gurren Lagann the Movie
This anime series is of the comedy and adventure mecha genre, also known in Japan as Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. The setting of this series is a fictional future where, Lordgenome, the spiral king, rules the Earth. He forces the humans to live in underground villages where no one is to go to the surface.
Simon and Kamina, the teenage characters, wish to break the rules and go to the surface using a gunmen robot naming it Lagann. Kamina takes over another gunmen, Gurren, and they create a mecha known as Gurren Lagann, which they use to fight Lordgenome with the help of Nia, the rejected daughter of Lordgenome, leading to the demise of Kamina.
After the human population has grown on the surface, an alien race raids the Kamina city by using Nia to communicate their wishes.
4. Neon Genesis Evangelion
This is a Japanese mecha anime produced by Gainax, directed by Hideaki Anno, and animated by Tatsunoko from late 1995 to 1996. The series showcases a teenage boy, Shinji, who is recruited to pilot a giant mecha named ‘Evangelion’ by his father so he can lead it to battle against ‘Angels.’
More focus is diverted to the mecha pilots and their experiences in their quest to prevent the Angels from causing more cataclysms throughout the series. The Neon Genesis Evangelion series births movies such as Death and Rebirth in 1997, End of the Evangelion 1997, and Rebuild of the Evangelion 2007-2021.
Patlabor is an action, police comedy, sci-fi movie featuring heavy construction robots called labors used by police to fight crimes and tackle accident cases involving labors. This series revolves around the Tokyo police divisions.
In the first movie, Patlabor (1989), random labor incidents in the Greater Tokyo area where the SV2 enters the case. Patlabor 2(1993), the plot revolves around a terrorist group with engineering turmoil in the area, and the SV2 members come together to stop the menace. In the last movie, WXIII: Patlabor (2002), two detectives investigate to find missing scientists working on a project, and the SV2 team is involved in neutralizing the danger.
6. Big Hero 6
This movie features a young boy, Hiro, who loves robotics, and a robot, Baymax, a result of a project by Tadashi, Hiro’s brother. Tadashi dies in a fire used by Callaghan as a conspiracy to steal microbots. In their quest to avenge his brother’s death, Hiro and Baymax engage in several missions and heroic activities.
7. Next Gen (2018)
Next Gen is an animated sci-fi movie directed by Kevin R. Adams and Joe Ksander. This animation movie features a young lonely, and rebellious Mai Su who lives with her mother in a place where robots are the norm. She coincidentally meets a weaponized robot, 7723, during a launch after wandering off. 7723 finds her, and they forge a friendship where they make it their mission to stop Ares.
8. Bionicle movie series
The Bionicle movie, Mask of light, is a 2003 sci-fi movie based on a Bionicle toy line by Lego. The story features two friends from a fire-based village of Ta-koro, in a world filled with mecha beings. The two friends are on a mission to fight Makuta, an evil unit menacing the island, and to do so; they have to find the owner of the mask of light. The story continues in a narration of the 2003 toy line.
9. Promare (2019)
This movie tells a story of a battle between an aggressive group of mutants that appears thirty years after the appearance of Burnish, flame-wielding mutant beings who have since then destroyed half the world with fire.
We live in a world full of chaos and uncertainty where unity and love are rare, especially with artificial intelligence (AI) innovations. That said, we find such love, harmony, and bravery portrayed in these non-Gundam animated movies where friendships are forged to overcome a mutual enemy while supporting each other through emotional turmoil.