Who doesn’t love giant robots and monsters? With the arrival of Pacific Rim: Uprising on March 27, the giant robot/tokusatsu genre returns in full force to the big screen. Set ten years after 2013’s Pacific Rim from Guillermo del Toro, a new corps of Jaeger pilots have to prevent another major kaiju onslaught.
If big, giant robots fighting monsters has created a movie itch you can’t scratch, fear not. Netflix is loaded with some pretty rad giant robot anime and TV shows worth checking out.
1. Voltron Legendary Defender
In 2016, Netflix unleashed a reboot of the 1984 classic anime Voltron: Defender of the Universe. And it blew away all expectations.
Created by Joaquim Dos Santos and Lauren Montgomery, previously known for their work on The Legend of Korra, the new Voltron is a genuine delight that everyone from nostalgic ‘80s fans to young kids can enjoy. Classic science-fiction and breathtaking Japanese-inspired animation help tell the story of five unlikely young people who become heroes in an ancient war.
Though it premiered short two years ago, the show is already loaded with five seasons and a total of 45 episodes (and counting). With a commitment of 75 episodes for the streaming service, there’s still enough time to hop on a space lion for the ride.
2. Gurren Lagann
A little over a decade ago, Gurren Lagann premiered and reinvented the giant mecha genre, which had plateaued when the only thing to watch was Gundam. Set in a distant future where humanity has been forced to live underground, a young, scrappy hero named Simon teams up with a bold, brash outsider named Kamina and a sniper named Yoko. Together, they discover derelict, transforming robots which they use to fight for mankind’s place back on the surface.
Completely over the top with characters who operate with feelings over logic, Gurren Lagann is a high-intensity acid trip that packs an epic story in a digestible 26-episode stand-alone season.
Infinitely more serious and grounded than Gurren Lagann, Aldnoah.Zero subverts the mecha genre by giving the villains the stronger robots while our heroes make do with the equivalent of bipedal scrap metal. Though the show is bold enough to explore ideas that so few other action anime dare to do — PTSD, mass murder, mental illness — the results are kind of mixed. Still, Aldnoah.Zero delivers in portraying giant robot fights that haven’t felt so dire since Neon Genesis Evangelion.
4. Every Power Rangers, Ever
For those who aren’t into anime, Netflix has every episode of Power Rangers ever (and VR Troopers and Big Bad Beetleborgs too). As ‘90s kids remember, pretty much every fight the Power Rangers get into ends in a colossal kaiju-versus-robot showdown in downtown Angel Grove. Nostalgic millennials will of course want to watch the original Mighty Morphin, but take it from a hardcore fan: Zeo, Lost Galaxy, Time Force, and RPM are where it’s at.
5. GODZILLA: Planet of the Monsters
The first anime Godzilla came to Netflix in a big way. Differing itself from other Godzilla movies with a heavy sci-fi setting, Godzilla is worth checking out even if it’s not the best in the G-Man’s oeuvre.
6. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
So, uh, no, this 2004 Jude Law movie doesn’t really have giant mechs. But its slavish homage to ‘30s pulp adventures displays the same passion del Toro had for ‘70s sci-fi and anime when he made Pacific Rim. And for what it’s worth, there is a whole sequence where Jude Law (as the “Sky Captain”) evades War of the Worlds-looking robots the size of skyscrapers. So, it counts.
Pacific Rim: Uprising hits theaters March 27.