Forget the Jaegers, These Other GIANT ROBOTS Can Defend the PACIFIC RIM

Russia's Jaeger

Credit: Legendary Entertainment

In Guillermo del Toro's new science-fiction action filmPacific Rim, humanity is locked in a life-or death struggle with giant monsters that have emerged from beneath the ocean. Dubbed ‘Kaiju,’ these rampaging beasts can only by countered by the Jaegers, giant mechas piloted by two humans working in tandem.

If giant robots vs. giant monsters sounds familiar, del Toro has been open to the fact that he’s crafted a homage to the large scale battle genre that’s captivated audiences as far back as the Bronze Age tales of titans warring with gods.

We don’t need to look back that far to find a few more recent examples of giant robots we’d like to see come back for one more fight up on the big screen. Remember, this is far from an exhaustive list, just a handful. So with our apologies to the many Gundam and Escaflowne fans out there, we don't have 30,000 words to devote to giant robots... yet (and we all know Wing Zero can take out all these chumps, right?).

The Big O
The Big O
Credit: Sunrise Studios

Big O
Source: The Big O (1999)
Crew: One
Signature Weapon: Sudden Impact
Mechanical punch enhanced with a steam-powered shock-wave generated by massive arm mounted pistons.

One would think that a professional negotiator wouldn't need a giant robot as a backup unless he was really, really terrible at his job, but Paradigm City's Rodger Smith (no relation to the resident alien on American Dad) often finds his job of solving the problems of a city full of people who've all lost their memories involve some kind of climatic combat on a massive scale. Unknown in origin, Big O is at the beck and call of Smith's communicator watch but at times it is unknown if the robot is working for Rodger or Rodger is working for it.

Against the Kajiu of Pacific Rim, Big O's lack of agility might make its downfall certain unless it can use its limited number of ranged weapons, and a last-resort plasma cannon blast that would take the giant robot out of commission as well.

Mazinger Z's Tranzor
Mazinger Z's Tranzor
Credit: Go Nagai

Tranzor Z
Source: Mazinger Z (1972)
Crew: One
Signature Weapon: Rust Hurricane
The super-robot 'breathes' a powerful gust of a rapid oxidizer, disintegrating foes.

The 'grandfather' of piloted super-robots, the Mazinger (Tranzor in the US) family of mechas were the first to feature human pilots, mostly cocky youngsters who wore scarfs, drove motorcycles and had dotty old grandfathers who were key figures in their nation's defense against larger-than-life threats.
When the Mechanical Beasts of Dr. Hell attack Japan each week, Kouji Kabuto drives his motorcycle up to the head of his super-robot and uses an array of attacks that he must yell out (a trend he started) to engage.

An overall excellent choice to battle a new generation of giant movie monsters, that is if its forty-year-old-technology has maintained its superiority over the successive generations. Some might say its inclusion in battle would be worth it just for a chance to see his companion robot's Oppai Missiles fire one last time.

Gurren Lagann
Gurren Lagann
Credit: Gainax

Gurren Lagann
Source: Gurren Lagann (2007)
Crew: Two
Signature Weapon: Giga Drill Break
Gurren Lagann can generate a drill mechanism of any size wherever needed on its own structure that can bore a destructive hole, fire off at range or for propulsion. Incongruously, these dills can even be bigger than Gurren Lagann itself.

In this extra-shouty anime, robots are powered as much by the willpower of their pilots as much as any kind of energy source. From humble beginnings as a little more than a MODOK-lookalike walking-chair, Lagann could combine with larger robots using its special drill, exponentially increasing the power of them both. Its most common combination was with its pilot's partner's mecha, Gurren, creating Gurren Lagann, the robot-sunglasses-throwing super-robot that most associated with the series.

Though the combination of robots in the series would increase Gurren in size to a scale that breeches the boundaries of what can be conceptualized by the minds of the sane, the 'classic' Gurren Lagann mecha should be more than a match for the creatures of Pacific Rim, especially when the stakes are high. The only problem would be the guts of the creature’s innards gumming up the drills.

Credit: Cartoon Network

Source: Megas XLR (2003)
Crew: Three
Signature Weapon: That One Button
In a parody of the use of recycled footage in animation, most if not all of the battles Megas and its crew are engaged in are resolved by its pilot pressing a button on the console that activates the perfect weapon to destroy their foe. This is typically the exact same button, just with a different label superimposed on it.

When the human race is close to being wiped out by the alien Glorft in the thirty-first century, humanity launches a desperate plan to steal an alien super-robot and send it back in back in time a few years with a new, human pilot to refight the war with better knowledge of the future and an unstoppable mecha: the Megas. Unfortunately their plan goes awry and a heavily damaged headless robot lands back on Earth in the twentieth Century, where it is found in a junkyard by Coop, a slacker gamer/gearhead who modifies his hotrod to serve as Megas’ new cockpit and head. With his cynical pal Jamie and time-lost warrior Kiva, Coop and Mega battle the Glorft and a host of enemies in an over-the-top satire of animated action cartoons from Sailor Moon to Transformers.

Arguably, Megas’ real power comes from its, and Coop’s, ‘genre savvy,’ that is, their ability to adapt to the type of challenge being presented. If it turns out that Pacific Rim’s giant monsters are allergic to honey mustard dressing, you’d better believe the battle will take place near The World’s Largest Basket of Chicken Fingers.

Voltron Lion Force
Voltron Lion Force
Credit: Toei

Source: Voltron: Defender of the Universe (1984)
Crew: Five
Signature Weapon: Blazing Sword
The best choice if you want to finished off a giant monster with panache, the Blazing Sword is formed when the giant robot slams its giant lion claw hands together and then draws them apart, crafting an ornate blade out of sheer energy. Not only does it cut through anything, The Blazing Sword also leaves behind a scar of pure energy that, after just enough time for the pilots of Voltron to strike a dashing pose, explodes.

In a distant corner of the universe, a peace-loving space kingdom is under siege by an evil alien king. Their only hope? The legend of Voltron: a mighty humanoid super-mecha formed by the combination of five almost-as-mighty giant robot lions painted in bright colors. Depending on which translation of the original Beast King GoLion anime you are watching, you’ll get a slightly different telling of the same sci-fi inter-personal/intra-robotic drama and action with varyingly levels of violent/mature content that always ends with a quickly familiar looking and sounding Voltron-forming animation, a short space battle and the aforementioned victory pose. Only sometimes does it involve tiny space mice.

While it’s not likely that the ‘Defender of the Universe’ would have any trouble with the creatures of Pacific Rim, apart from transit time to the battle, seeing as how big the Universe is. If the Lion Force Voltron gets into any trouble, it can count on back up from not one, but two other Voltrons, the 15-man ‘Vehicle’ Voltron and the rarely seen three-man ‘Gladiator’ Voltron.

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