‘Robots are cool.’ This is more or less how I started my weekly anime reviews for Knight’s & Magic back in Summer 2017. And I was telling the truth: Both me and the protagonist, Ernesti, thought that robots are cool, with the difference that I am sitting home watching them on my screen, and Ernesti goes from an otaku who used to do the same to a prodigy child in another world who gets to build the ultimate robot and name it after a video game starship. Knight’s & Magic and its isekai promise of a life in a world where we can be something entirely different (and hopefully live a more interesting life) brought robots into the spotlight and featured some impressive CGI mecha fights.
MANGA.TOKYO is here with 10 anime that are in some ways similar to the mecha isekai anime. We don’t think about it too hard when it comes to similarities and differences. These are titles we think you’ll enjoy if you liked Knight’s & Magic!
Knight’s & Magic was part of our weekly anime reviews here in MANGA.TOKYO. Read our series review below:
In Youjo Senki, a salaryman who is not exactly the nicest of human beings is pushed onto the lines of an oncoming train by a co-worker he had just fired. He is reincarnated in a world that resembles our WWI but where magic is possible. His new body is that of a young orphan girl called Tanya Degurechaff. In this new world, she joins the military of her country and uses her new powers to obliterate her opponents.
Both Ernesti and Tanya find themselves in a new world and in new bodies. The main difference is that Tanya was always the salaryman right from her birth. On the other hand, we have no indication that Ernesti has any recollection of his previous life except his love for mecha that was probably inherited. Both characters are part of the military of their nations, and even if their motives are a bit different, they are actively engaging in warfare and politics.
2. The Irregular at Magic High School (Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei)
April – Summer 2014
In The Irregular at Magic High School, magic is like technology and is being taught as a technical skill. Tatsuya and his little sister Miyuki enroll in a new school to specialize in magic but end up attending different courses due to their difference in magic aptitude. Tetsuya is put in the ‘Weeds’, the low class and is deemed average in magical ability. Yet, he possesses technical knowledge, physical combat capabilities, and unique magic techniques. Tatsuya is truly the irregular at this magic high school.
Even if Ernesti’s school stories were only shown in the first part of the anime, his genius and rapid advancement through grades reminded me a bit of Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei. Ernesti wants to do everything in his power to create the ultimate bipedal war machine while Tatsuya wants to prove himself worthy of the mage name. While Ernesti at times seems more concerned about his robots, Tetsuya wants to earn his peers’ respect and be able to defend them when the time comes.
3. Break Blade (Broken Blade)
Instead of Silhouette Knights, Break Blade has giant robots known as Golems. They are used by the military and are powered by a magic source called quartz. In the world of Break Blade, everyone has the power to manipulate the energy source and it is used in everything, powering from household machines to large industrial plants. There is, however, a small minority that can’t manipulate quartz. They are known as the ‘un-sorcerers’ and Rygart Arrow, our protagonist, is one of them. Rygart is summoned by his friend Hodr, who is also the King of Krishna, to tell him that they are going to war with the kingdom of Athens. He also reveals to him that they have found an ancient relic that only Rygart can pilot since it doesn’t rely on the energy from quartz.
Ernesti is not the odd-one-out as Rygart is, but the mecha battles of Broken Blade are as enjoyable as those found in Knight’s & Magic.
4. Isekai no Seikishi Monogatari (Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar)
March 2009 – March 2010
Both isekai and with giant robots? This is the anime you want to see. In this story, the protagonist, 15-year-old Masaki Kenshi, finds himself in another world and he somehow finds himself involved in a mysterious situation and in a terrorist group that plans an assassination attempt against Princess Lashara. He is given a huge robot and sent to carry the assassination. Of course, he fails and is then rescued by the Princess. To repay his debt he uses his skills to protect her.
A spin-off of the famous Tenchi Muyo! franchise, Isekai no Seikishi Monogatari is less a mecha anime and more a harem romance, but both protagonists find themselves in a strange new world where they get to fight inside huge robots.
5. Infinite Stratos
In the near future, Japan is developing a kind of powerful exoskeleton mecha suit called Infinite Stratos. The suit is te most powerful weapon in the world but has one caveat: it can only be piloted by women. The only male in the whole wide world that can pilot one of these things is the protagonist, 15-year-old Orimura Ichika. Of course, he needs to learn how and that can only be achieved by enrolling in an academy. As you might have already guessed, the academy is an all-girls school.
Of course, Infinite Stratos is less a mecha anime and more of an ecchi comedy. There are a few similarities, however, as many people are also trying to get Ernesti’s attention in Knight’s & Magic, and both shows show very impressive CGI mecha fights.
6. Gundam Build Fighters
Fall 2013 – Winter 2014
The anime bases its concept on the famous Gundam plastic models, known as Gunpla. Through the power of something called the Plavsky particles, builders of Gunpla can now pit their creations against each other in a kind of virtual reality game. The best of the best compete in the Gunpla World Tournament! The anime follows the protagonist, Sei Iori, as he tries to follow in his father’s footsteps and win the contest, but as talented as he is in building robots, he is not good in fighting with them. He finds a way to realize his dream after he meets Reiji, a boy who is an amazing Gunpla fighter.
Any Gundam series could have made this list, and you should probably go see every Gundam series out there, but for this particular collection, I think Gundam Build Fighters was the most relevant. Both anime have their basis on people who adore robots. Both protagonists have a talent for designing mecha that is more or less based on what they have built so far.
7. The Vision of Escaflowne
Spring – Summer 1996
Hitomi Kanzaki could never imagine that his interest in tarot cards and fortune telling could be the reason to be transported in a strange new world. One night, a boy called Van Fanel kills a dragon after getting premonition from Hitomi. and then find themselves to the world of Gaea, a mysterious land where the Earth hangs in the sky. They go on an adventure to save Van’s kingdom of Fanelia from the evil empire of Zaibach.
One of the earliest isekai anime. Escaflowne may be 20 years old, but that doesn’t mean it can’t hold a candle to modern mecha anime. They have a similar fantasy setting, but Escaflowne has a more serious story than Knight’s & Magic.
8. Gurren Lagann
Gurren Lagann is a personal favorite but my love for the series was not the deciding factor for including it in this list. It was the awesomeness of the story and the relevance of the characters and the amazingly peculiar mechas that you have probably never seen before (and a cosplay you have seen MANY times before).
Simon and Kamina, the two protagonists who pilot the main robot, were raised in an underground village, oblivious to what lies on the surface. After Simon finds a mysterious object (half of the robot), they go on a quest to explore the surface and find the main base of the Beastmen, humanoid creatures who have terrorized humanity.
When it comes to post-2000 mecha series, it doesn’t get any better than this. Gurren Lagann has proven itself a modern classic. It is having a re-run on Japanese TV as I write this article. If you do decide to watch it, mind that it starts somewhat slow but as you learn more about the antagonists, the pace is really picking up; as does the mecha action!
9. Cross Ange: Tenshi to Ryuu no Rondo
Fall 2014-Winter 2015
The life of a princess is a fairytale come true, especially if her royal highness is as talented as Princess Angelise Ikaruga Misurugi. The 16-year-old girl has it all: she is beautiful, great at sports, talented at everything she does, and she is also adored by her royal subjects of the Misurugi Empire, a place of peace and prosperity.
This society, however, is dependent on the use of a magical energy called ‘mana.’ Those who are unable to use it are given the tag of ‘norma’ (probably that extra ‘r’ was making the word less exotic) and are forced to work as soldiers and fly robots called ‘Paramail.’ Guess what happens to our dear princess.
Angelica, like Ernesti but from a very different position, will have to use the mecha to fight against giant beasts known as DRAGONs.
10. Any Mecha Series From the 70s – 80s
I’m serious and it’s not just nostalgia kicking in. The olden anime days were full of amazing mecha anime. The king, Mazinger, is having a new anime movie set for 2018. And then there is Bismark (Saber Rider), GoLion (Voltron), Plawres Sanshiro, the Getter Robo series, and Voltes V. So many to choose from.
Knight’s & Magic was part isekai and part mecha tribute. Ernesti and his infatuation with robots was cute at times and frustrating at others, but his passion and genius can serve as an inspiration to all of us. Maybe we all need to be a little more like Ernesti. Do you have any other anime you would like to add to the list? Let us know in the comments!