Recent Mecha Series: The Best? The Most Promising?

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Best and/or Most Promising New Mecha Series? (Two Votes)

Aldnoah Zero
7
20%
Buddy Complex
4
11%
Captain Earth
2
6%
Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet
4
11%
Knights of Sidonia
6
17%
Lagrange: The Flower of Rin-ne
0
No votes
Majestic Prince
8
23%
M3: The Dark Metal
1
3%
Silver Will Argevollen
0
No votes
Valvrave the Liberator
3
9%
 
Total votes: 35

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LightningCount
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Recent Mecha Series: The Best? The Most Promising?

Post by LightningCount » Wed Jul 09, 2014 11:43 am

The last few seasons, there have been a lot of new mecha anime unaffiliated with established franchises, and I haven't been able to keep up with them all. I am trying to get a grasp of where to start when the opportunity arises to do so. I have seen love for shows one day, and hate the next here and elsewhere. (Valvrave, Captain Earth, and Buddy Complex seem to be especially divisive with fans and non-fans). So, I'm going to list the shows I can think of, and I'll provide you with two votes--one for the show you think is the "Best," and one for the show you think is "Most Promising." For clarity, you can specify which is which in a reply if you'd like.

From "the outside looking in," Argevollen looks the most promising to me with its comparatively distinct/daring character designs and more grounded world setup--seems to be a mash-up of Gasaraki, Zoids: Chaotic Century, and Gunparade March. Meanwhile, either Gargantia or Majestic Prince appears like it might be the best completed series. Also, for reference, Gundam 00 (mostly Season 1) and Fafner: Heaven & Earth are probably the most recent mecha anime I really enjoyed, so you could also give me a written suggestion based on that in addition, if you'd like. And if I missed a new "original" mecha series of note, let me know. (I couldn't fit Muv Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse in the poll; though, truthfully, I'm not giving it much consideration, either). I really appreciate the help in narrowing down this dense field!
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Amion
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Re: Recent Mecha Series: The Best? The Most Promising?

Post by Amion » Wed Jul 09, 2014 12:46 pm

Heh, I'm obviously not paying much attention these days, since I've never heard of some of these shows.

MJP and Gargantia seem to be sticking out pretty heavily though. Between the sheer humanity of Gargantia and the out-right mecha porn of MJP, the two of them get the bases covered pretty well.

All the others don't seem to cover this, and Captain Earth has been backsliding for some time now, IMO. And I was optimistic about it t start with.
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Re: Recent Mecha Series: The Best? The Most Promising?

Post by zetatype » Wed Jul 09, 2014 2:50 pm

Majestic Prince hands down

Some of the best mecha porn I've seen in years, combined with a decent plot and enjoyable characters easily makes MJP my top mecha anime of 2013. Really hope it gets a second season green lit in the near future.

Second would be Gargantia unfortunately it's short length really hampers its ability to fully flesh out its setting which I think was its strongest asset. A shame its only getting a couple OVAs instead of a second season.

Only other recent one I watched was Valvrave. It was...Ok. It had some good fights and while it had its moments the characters were underdeveloped and the plot had some serious pacing problems. The ending also really soured my overall opinion of the show. In the end it was mediocre.

As for series that are ongoing

Saw the first episode of Aldnoah Zero and it looks the most promising so far.
Also, currently watching Captain Earth (ep. 12) and while it is enjoyable it doesn't seem to have much aspirations beyond that and the whole designer child of the week formula is starting to get old.

Might check out Knights of Sidonia since its on Netflix now

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Re: Recent Mecha Series: The Best? The Most Promising?

Post by battletech » Wed Jul 09, 2014 8:04 pm

I glad to see Majestic Prince getting some love. I loved every minute of that show. It didn't seem to be all that popular. I hope to see more of that show as well.
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Re: Recent Mecha Series: The Best? The Most Promising?

Post by Amion » Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:08 am

I started reading the Knights of Sidonia manga, but it didn't hit it for me. Maybe the anime will change that, but who knows if I'll ever watch it.

Right now I'm busy watching Code Geass (Yes, that's right gasping readers, I've never watched it). I think my expectations afterward are going to be pretty hard to beat, unless action is the staple.

Yes, please, more MJP. Though frankly speaking I've heard it was indeed unpopular.

If anything, Valvrave seemed to get a better rap that MJP, so perhaps having a broadened storyline about the future would help? There's a LOT that they need to explain, for obvious reasons.

I believe Gargantia actually is fine as it is. I would have absolutely loved to get a more languid, enjoyable 25 episode pacing for the show. The unraveling truths at the end sort of finish off the the story in a way that makes me not want to see more. I fear it might just not have enough plot kick without turning the series too cruel or perhaps off-beat. Some of the last episodes before the finale were starting to get people a little worried about the pacing. Now that we got the end, that seems to have died off as the characters were likeable enough.

More than anything I don't want to see Gargantia without Chamber towering prominently beside Ledo. I swear he was the most well-developed character in the show and he wasn't even human. Best AI robot EVER.
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Re: Recent Mecha Series: The Best? The Most Promising?

Post by PowerdGNFlag » Thu Jul 10, 2014 2:31 pm

I'll go through this one by one.

Aldnoah Zero, Silver Will Argevollen-I'll hold judgment on these two but at the moment I'm more partial to Argevollen.
Buddy Complex-I stopped watching this about halfway through (right before Obligatory Island Episode) but I intend to finish this as soon as news on the second season comes up.
Captain Earth- Strangely, I'm loving it. Though I do wish that they finally pick up the pace or they risk botching the ending.
Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet- It could have done a better job in pacing the plot developments instead of cramming them into the last third or so, and they could have included the second OVA episode
Spoiler
Show
(the one revealing the commander/Striker's story after getting warped)
but overall nice job. Great visuals too.
Knights of Sidonia- People had problems with the CGI, but comparing with the manga visuals it does work for me. It's not simply Attack on Titan in Space (which was my initial reaction upon hearing this) but actually better.
Lagrange: The Flower of Rin-ne- haven't seen this.
Majestic Prince-It works both as a character-driven show and a mecha eyecandy one. It's openended enough to option a sequel but resolves most things nicely.
M3: The Dark Metal- I dropped this. Just not for me.
Valvrave the Liberator- I enjoyed the first season but was ambivalent at the second. It just tried to do many things and fell flat on their face.

What do you think of Nobunaga The Fool? Also if you're kinda tolerant to ecchi elements in your mecha anime then Daimidaler is a fun romp.
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Re: Recent Mecha Series: The Best? The Most Promising?

Post by LightningCount » Thu Jul 10, 2014 4:04 pm

Amion: No worries about Code Geass. To date, I have yet to watch Season 2 (other than a few stray clips and having some plot points spoiled for me); I also never finished the last 7(?) or so episodes of Gurren Lagaan. That was a busy time for me, and things just kind of fell through the cracks in terms of keeping up. I have to say that while both were quality shows with some great ideas, neither one completely held my attention episode-to-episode. At the time, both had a little too much overt comedy/hijinks mixed in for my tastes--Geass with the school drama stuff, and Gurren with the "anything goes." Also, their visual aesthetics, while nice, weren't particularly my cup of tea. (The animation was brilliant, though). That said, given what I've seen since, their merits are probably growing. I just don't know that they hit the sweet spot for me in the overall sense, however.

PowerdGNFlag: Thanks for the extra rundown. I've haven't heard many good things about Nobunaga The Fool; plus, I'm not generally into the mixture of mecha in ancient times, so I wasn't giving it a lot of consideration. I had naive hopes for Daimidaleruntil I heard about its content and genre. At first, I thought it was going to be a throwback to stuff like The Big-O or, at the least, Dai-Guard; so, that's a definite no for me on that one.

In general: I like Majestic Prince's mecha designs a fair amount;the character designs are a mixed bag; my biggest concern all along is that it will have too much overt comedy and fan service. I like personality in my mecha shows, yes, but I also want them to be taken seriously, by and large. The CG that is taking over the genre is something I'm trying to learn to deal with. I've done it before, but when it's nearly the only choice time and again, it makes things harder.

Oh, there was an interesting 2013 mecha anime ONA pilot episode for a series that, to my knowledge, never got picked up. It was called Iron Vandetta. I wasn't crazy about the setting, but it was pretty impressive-looking. Just thought I'd share the info: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnCVgOCclYc

Of what's available, and what I've heard so far, I still have to be leaning toward MJ and Gargantia. But I'm still curious about Argevollen. At the end of the day, however, I'm not sure any of these are what I'm totally looking for. That's unfortunately one of the reasons I haven't jumped to keep up with these. But I've been surprised before--The Big-O and Zoids: Chaotic Century are two that I thought were ridiculous/goofy when I first heard about them, and I also passed on RahXephon and Fafner initially, but they all turned out to be some of my favorites to one degree or another--so I will have to give some of these a real shot.
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Re: Recent Mecha Series: The Best? The Most Promising?

Post by battletech » Thu Jul 10, 2014 7:52 pm

That Iron Vandetta show looked interesting. A mecha show set in the age of vacuum tubes.
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Re: Recent Mecha Series: The Best? The Most Promising?

Post by Amion » Fri Jul 11, 2014 10:33 am

LightningCount wrote:Amion: No worries about Code Geass. To date, I have yet to watch Season 2 (other than a few stray clips and having some plot points spoiled for me); I also never finished the last 7(?) or so episodes of Gurren Lagaan. That was a busy time for me, and things just kind of fell through the cracks in terms of keeping up. I have to say that while both were quality shows with some great ideas, neither one completely held my attention episode-to-episode. At the time, both had a little too much overt comedy/hijinks mixed in for my tastes--Geass with the school drama stuff, and Gurren with the "anything goes." Also, their visual aesthetics, while nice, weren't particularly my cup of tea. (The animation was brilliant, though). That said, given what I've seen since, their merits are probably growing. I just don't know that they hit the sweet spot for me in the overall sense, however.

PowerdGNFlag: Thanks for the extra rundown. I've haven't heard many good things about Nobunaga The Fool; plus, I'm not generally into the mixture of mecha in ancient times, so I wasn't giving it a lot of consideration. I had naive hopes for Daimidaleruntil I heard about its content and genre. At first, I thought it was going to be a throwback to stuff like The Big-O or, at the least, Dai-Guard; so, that's a definite no for me on that one.

In general: I like Majestic Prince's mecha designs a fair amount;the character designs are a mixed bag; my biggest concern all along is that it will have too much overt comedy and fan service. I like personality in my mecha shows, yes, but I also want them to be taken seriously, by and large. The CG that is taking over the genre is something I'm trying to learn to deal with. I've done it before, but when it's nearly the only choice time and again, it makes things harder.

Oh, there was an interesting 2013 mecha anime ONA pilot episode for a series that, to my knowledge, never got picked up. It was called Iron Vandetta. I wasn't crazy about the setting, but it was pretty impressive-looking. Just thought I'd share the info: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnCVgOCclYc

Of what's available, and what I've heard so far, I still have to be leaning toward MJ and Gargantia. But I'm still curious about Argevollen. At the end of the day, however, I'm not sure any of these are what I'm totally looking for. That's unfortunately one of the reasons I haven't jumped to keep up with these. But I've been surprised before--The Big-O and Zoids: Chaotic Century are two that I thought were ridiculous/goofy when I first heard about them, and I also passed on RahXephon and Fafner initially, but they all turned out to be some of my favorites to one degree or another--so I will have to give some of these a real shot.
Yep, never finished Gurren Laagan either, though I've heard good things about it. As for Geass, it falls flat for me in the action department, but the emotions are real enough. Its focus on high school drama in the second season though is probably its biggest flaw. I'm near the end now and it's all rushing far to quick for that reason.

Still, Loulouch is charismatic enough and just my type of character. Not to mention C.C.
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Re: Recent Mecha Series: The Best? The Most Promising?

Post by YokozunaBulldozer » Fri Jul 25, 2014 4:25 pm

I picked Majestic not just because it had a certain Blue Samurai and Silver Pirate, but Hirai's drawings felt less copy-paste then some of his other works and seeing Hirai-designed characters have comedic reactions was fun to watch. Also, I like how they start as trainees and tried something different.
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Re: Recent Mecha Series: The Best? The Most Promising?

Post by Raikoh » Fri Jul 25, 2014 5:12 pm

Well, might as well air my laundry a bit. Here's my thoughts on all the series I am currently watching, or have watched.
Spoiler
Show
Aldnoah Zero: Decent so far, but thin characterization and leaps of logic that make my brain explode (mostly centered around episode 3) will probably keep me from fully enjoying it. I'll still watch it, and it might be going somewhere with my complaints, but it might not be. Ask me again in a few weeks.
Buddy Complex: Surprisingly quite good. It's familiar yet fresh, and is more accessible to non-mecha fans than other series, I think. Probably has the best chance to become some sort of a franchise at this point.
Captain Earth: Lukewarm on this one. First half was a bit slow, but it's picking up now. Still hard to follow what exactly is going on in the plot. But, hey, I liked Star Driver so I'm enjoying Captain Earth for what it is. I think that given the direction it's going, it'll be one of those series where "It's fun... But the writing is a mess," is going to happen.
Knights of Sidonia: It's okay. I tend not to like the plots where the antagonist is just a mindless alien hive but the human interactions were handled surprisingly well. It's got harem elements and stuff, but done competently - not like the onslaught of bad light novel adaptations that are expanding through the industry like cancer. Plus, the mechanical design and world building are both very good. Manga's probably better, but something about Sidonia just feels off to me.
Majestic Prince: I know a lot of people really love MJP, and I enjoyed it as well. But I wouldn't say it's the "best" mecha series of recent time. There was nothing wrong with the writing, but nothing stuck out. While I'm being negative to a series I enjoyed, I actually think the fight scenes were too fast-paced. I'd compare it sort of to junk food. I'll eat it, and enjoy it, and I probably eat more junk food than I do fine cuisine, but it never is going to really gain my full respect like...
M3: The Dark Metal: Oh, boy, I am loving M3. I'm a guy who tends to not like grimdark stories, but the pacing, the tone, and the characters in M3 are all superb. I even like the CG, especially on the monsters. It has zero chance of expanding into a franchise, but that's a good thing. It means that all of the focus will be on the writing.
Silver Will Argevollen: Too early to pass judgment, but it seems like it's kind of generic. Nothing really makes me excited to watch another episode. But, hey, it's only just started and it's got two cours to impress. I'll get back to you on this.
Valvrave the Liberator: I didn't even watch this entire thing (and this is coming from a guy who usually makes a policy of finishing any anime series he starts - I got off on a technicality by the fact that I didn't have to suffer through season 2) and I could find no value in any aspect of it. To steal fro - paraphrase a certain internet personality: I was looking forward to a delightfully horrible anime to get good and angry at. But it turns out I was disappointed. Valvrave is so bad, so utterly putrid, that I can't even get worked up about it. It falls right off the edge of my critical spectrum into the black clawing void of dispassionate loathing. It doesn't even have the "hilariously awful" quality of previous Sunrise flops.

Also I want to add a couple more to this list:

Daimidaler: Shockingly, one of the better anime of recent times. Whether that's praise for Daimidaler or just the sad state of the industry, who knows? Take this with a grain of salt, since you either love the humor or hate it. I love it. If you just turn off your brain, it's- WAIT WHAT THAT TWIST IS BRILLIANT (if you watch it, you'll know). Besides, that theme music and that Obari are just too good.
The Fool: I admit it isn't for everyone. Another case where your opinions will be as diverse as the rainbow. You have to watch The Fool in the right mindset to enjoy it. If you view it from an anime perspective, it wouldn't hold up. If you take it as a myth, or a stage play, it is much better. I liked it, but didn't really love it. Himiko is win.
So best series? M3, easily. If it has to be something that's already ended... I don't feel confident in picking between Buddy Complex or MJP, but I think M3 will come out better than both of 'em in my eyes.

Most promising? Assuming we're talking about franchising, then Buddy Complex. Or MJP. Argevollen also has mechanical design I really like, and if it stays Real Robot could have an unexpected comeback.
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Re: Recent Mecha Series: The Best? The Most Promising?

Post by Soma Taozi » Sun Jul 27, 2014 9:20 am

I can only talk about the shows I watched:

For most promising: After watching 4 episodes each of Aldnoah.Zero and Argevollen...I have to admit that Aldnoah looks more promising. Argevollen's problems mostly come from having dull characters and a plot we have seen before...while Aldnoah (so far) has a great concept and setting, some very interesting characters, great music, and smart action.

Buddy Complex looks great and there are some fun moments, but I can see where people's problems with it lie. I think someone like you Lightning Count could go in either direction. Maybe watch the first 2-3 episodes and if you like where it is going...watch the whole first season?

Gargantia isn't really a mecha show. It is a Cast-Away story with social commentary...and mecha happens to be in it. It is a quality anime. Unfortunately, because it is such a well put together story, there really isn't all that much that stands out about it.

I am halfway through Majestic Prince...and it is good with nice action. I just don't think it is as good as people make it out to be. Then again, I am halfway through, so the final verdict is out. Special note on the comedy though for MJP, its actually really funny.

I would skip Valvrave, it isn't worth your time, since there is so much else on this list that is better.

However, my favorite and in my opinion, the best mecha anime on this list is Knights of Sidonia. Yes, the animation takes some getting used to...but it is WORTH it. It isn't just a great mecha show, it is a great Science Fiction show. Think of it as one part Gundam, two parts BSG, and with some 2001 Space Odyssey wrapped in...

If you don't know the setting, basically Sidonia is the last human ship that has been floating in space for hundreds of years after giant space monsters (the Guana) destroyed Earth. Now we have a group of young cadets training/fighting for the survival of Sidonia against the Guana, mix that with an immortal council of wise men who may know more then they are letting on, a society built militarily and very unequally, protestors, and a civilian population that has high causalities...and you basically have a formula for some great scifi.

The mech (the Guardians) are awesome. I normally don't get into the mecha of anime, but I loved the feel of these things. One of the big things that carry the BSG element in this show (besides the setting) are the Guardians.

The Guana are some truly terrifying creatures...with shape-shifting abilities that remind me heavily of some Evangelion. The gauna also have huge laser beams and tentacles they can easily use to murder humans. More often than not, the gauna have the upperhand over the humans. Still, watching guardians zoom past alien tentacles and stab a gauna in its throat with a lance is very entertaining.

The main character is the classic fish out of water...but he goes through some great development and I really like his arc in the second half of the season (I don't want to give much away).

Furthermore; Cloning, asexual reproduction, and human photosynthesis are commonplace in Knights of Sidonia. That means not all humans are natural-born, there is a third gender, and citizens of Sidonia only need to eat once a week...that and there is a bear/person...its weird...but it works.

The inside of Sidonia is beautiful...that and it addressed the gravity issue of human's living in a spaceship...especially when the Sidonia has to do evasive maneuvers during combat (that is all I am going to say about it).

Lastly KoS asks some big questions about the universe...in 2001, the movie was questioning who built the Monoliths and why? Sidonia has some similar mysterious and I believe it is heading towards those answers.

I don't know if there will be a season 2, but I personally LOVED this show and what we got. I am currently rewatching it on Netflix and the fact that it is the first "original" anime from Netflix, should tell you that it is AT LEAST worth checking out.

Downsides?
First episodes pacing is really fast and due to the animation, sometimes it is hard to tell characters apart...oh and the fact that there might not be more animated.

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Re: Recent Mecha Series: The Best? The Most Promising?

Post by LightningCount » Sat Aug 02, 2014 3:08 pm

Thanks everybody, especially Raikoh and Soma Taozi for their detailed thoughts! I took a look at some previews and part of an episode of Majestic Prince, and while it might not hit all of the notes I'm looking for, I think it might be a whole lot of fun. Knights of Sidonia has some impressive-looking camera work, but I'm not sure how I'll take the CG (and what ostensibly appear to be rather bland characters) in the long run. I know it has some sort of time-bending in it, but I'm hesitant on Buddy Complex because it looks a little too much like a Gundam Alternate Universe rather than its own thing. (That was my same initial concern about Valvrave.) Anyway, I'm now starting to lean toward Majestic Prince over Gargantia, and despite the lukewarm reaction it's getting, I really like the aesthetic on Argevollen and hear that it's steadily building its plot and characters, even if it's a slow burn. I'm intrigued to see how something like that goes. While it has a basic setup, it just seems to stand out somehow.

By the way, Knights of Sidonia and Majestic Prince strike me as having parallels with the abandoned manga/anime The Candidate for Goddess (aka Pilot Candidate), which really grew on me. It's a shame that didn't get a better anime adaptation and/or a completed manga run. At first glance it seemed pretty run-of-the-mill, but it had a lot of intriguing intangibles and a good mix of old and young characters/personalities that were revealing themselves to be more than they initially seemed. Being cut off in the middle, though, it's simply a property with a lot of promise and charm.
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Re: Recent Mecha Series: The Best? The Most Promising?

Post by Amion » Tue Aug 12, 2014 7:00 pm

LightningCount wrote:Thanks everybody, especially Raikoh and Soma Taozi for their detailed thoughts! I took a look at some previews and part of an episode of Majestic Prince, and while it might not hit all of the notes I'm looking for, I think it might be a whole lot of fun. Knights of Sidonia has some impressive-looking camera work, but I'm not sure how I'll take the CG (and what ostensibly appear to be rather bland characters) in the long run. I know it has some sort of time-bending in it, but I'm hesitant on Buddy Complex because it looks a little too much like a Gundam Alternate Universe rather than its own thing. (That was my same initial concern about Valvrave.) Anyway, I'm now starting to lean toward Majestic Prince over Gargantia, and despite the lukewarm reaction it's getting, I really like the aesthetic on Argevollen and hear that it's steadily building its plot and characters, even if it's a slow burn. I'm intrigued to see how something like that goes. While it has a basic setup, it just seems to stand out somehow.

By the way, Knights of Sidonia and Majestic Prince strike me as having parallels with the abandoned manga/anime The Candidate for Goddess (aka Pilot Candidate), which really grew on me. It's a shame that didn't get a better anime adaptation and/or a completed manga run. At first glance it seemed pretty run-of-the-mill, but it had a lot of intriguing intangibles and a good mix of old and young characters/personalities that were revealing themselves to be more than they initially seemed. Being cut off in the middle, though, it's simply a property with a lot of promise and charm.
MJP is just fun. Don't take it like you would a serious mecha show and you'll be fine. It's one of those where you just have to fly with it and its humor/action. For me, it's the best action Ive seen in ages. I don't know about your tastes, Count, but I tend to enjoy varied kinds of fighting, so it's not a biggie for me.

Also, the plot actually increases near the end. The first episodes are more basic, so the second half is where things really start heating up.

Edit: Soma strikes again. I found out about Knights of Sidonia way back when it was still a manga a year or so ago. It didn't really grab me so much and I stopped reading. But the anime is so atmospheric. It really draws me in. This is what a proper science fiction show with robots should be like. And I like how Soma described it as Sci-Fi rather than mecha, because the mecha feel like a physical plot device, and not some primary focus like in most...if not nearly all Gundam shows I've seen.
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