10 Scariest Robots in Anime, Ranked

10 Scariest Robots in Anime, Ranked

With the premiere on Nine: Automata Ver1.1a on the horizon, fans are excited to see the game Nine: Automataits war between human-made androids and evil alien machines adapted for animation. While anime is known for its many great mecha and cyberpunk works, it is surprisingly devoid of real robots.


But when machines without humans to control them emerge, they can fill many roles, from mindless drones to planet-eating monstrosities. There are more than a few terrifying robots to be found in anime, but which ones are the scariest of all time?

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Devil Gundam – Mobile Fighter G Gundam

Mobile Fighter G Gundam Devil Gundam

The powered armor known as Gundam in one of the longest-running anime of all time is not robotic in the strictest definition: it has no intelligence and requires a human to control it. However, there are some exceptions, and the biggest and baddest of them is the Devil Gundam, created by Raizo Kasshu as a tool to evolve the human body and make it immune to disease.

It worked a little too well: The Devil Gundam evolves into sentience, and while it likes to make itself stronger, it has no intention of helping humanity. In fact, it prefers to plug them into its core as fuel sources instead of pilots, and to use its regenerative abilities to power itself up and create endless copies of itself to fight as its army.

Magic – Neon Genesis Evangelion

An eye-catcher in the middle of the episode from Neon Genesis Evangelion.

No, not Eva’s. While they lay Neon Genesis Evangelion among the scariest and best anime of all time, they’re not robots: their mechanical parts are armored restraints that keep their organic bodies under control, meaning they’re more at home in the ranks of body horror anime. What is, on the other hand, a pure machine is Magic.

Although implanted with the personality of Ritsuko’s mother, the three-part supercomputer that helps NERV fight the Angels is still not human. The system is capable of terrible things if hacked or not properly controlled, several times coming terrifyingly close to self-destruction and causing unimaginable amounts of damage, and its bits of artificial intelligence can even turn on the boss at critical moments.

Big Goat Star – Dragon Ball Z: The Return Of Cooler

Meta Cooler fused into Big Goat Star in Dragon Ball Z: The Return of Cooler.

Without the computer chip that controls it, the Big Gete Star would be nothing more than a planet-sized lump of metal. But with that comes a galactic problem, capable of traveling through space and draining planets dry of energy like a massive parasite, like something out of the greatest horror anime of all time.

That would be bad enough on its own, but then it encounters a defeated Cooler, who manages to fuse with it and use it for his own gain, reviving and attacking his old enemies, now with hundreds of clones even more powerful than his previous incarnation . Had Cooler not gotten greedy and overloaded the star with Goku and Vegeta’s power, Earth could have met the same gruesome fate as the star’s other victims, and there’s no telling where or if it and Cooler would have stopped.

Tres Iqus – Trinity Blood

Tres Iqus draws a gun as his robotic eye flashes red in Trinity Blood.

Don’t let his human face fool you: Tres is not just a cold young man, but a ruthless mechanical soldier, one of several known as the Vatican’s “Killing Dolls.” Despite his organic brain and ability to experience human emotions, he openly states that he considers himself to lack a soul and thus to be a machine.

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More specifically, he is someone else’s machine: Tres is unswervingly loyal to his master Caterina, thinking of her when he hesitates in his bloody work as the Gunslinger, building his confidence by reminding himself that he belongs to her.

Ashtanga – Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

The Ashtanga ships soar in the sky in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.

When the heroes of one of the best mecha anime for beginners became strong enough to mow down the first waves of Mugann drones with ease, the Anti-Spirals quickly increased. Mugann may be faceless, but their bigger and scarier successors Ashtanga certainly aren’t.

These massive ships, full of smaller fighters that can be launched at will, are shaped like mockery of human bodies, almost as if to taunt their opponents. Every part of them, from their slug-like bodies to their disembodied hands and feet, is covered in stony staring faces capable of screaming loud enough to subdue their victims.

Robots – Blame!

A man points a gun at the viewer in Blame!

Currently available on Netflix, Blame! features the last remnants of humanity struggling to survive in a post-apocalyptic world full of all manner of nightmarish robots, all of which answer to Safeguard, a supercomputer designed to be a defense system that spiraled unstoppably out of control.

The Terminators that were created by Safeguard to destroy all humans are bad enough, they not only fire off deadly beam attacks, but play terrible tricks on their victims as they do so. But the most dangerous types of robots are those that can disguise themselves as humans and are intelligent enough to lead rebellious humans into a trap, like the one that killed and replaced poor Tae.

The Legion – 86 Eighty-six

The Robot Legion assembled for battle in 86 Eighty-Six.

Shin and the rest of his squadron are treated as useless, inhuman drones by the San Magnolia military who enslave them. The opponents they’re forced to fight, the Legion, are legitimately a robot army…but one would hesitate to call them mindless. They are an AI collective made up of tens of thousands of the heads of slain humans, which have been assimilated and used as processors of war machines.

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Because of this, they are especially cruel to get too close, let alone fight, especially to Shin and his heightened sensitivity to the dead. Not only are their weapons ruthless and powerful, but the screams of countless divided minds are hell to endure.

Puppetmaster – Ghost In The Shell

Ghost in the Shell Atsuko Tanaka as Major Motoko Kusanagi

No discussion of the horrors of technology in anime is complete without mentioning it Ghost in the Shell, one of the most famous works about the fraught relationship between man and machine throughout time. Major Motoko Kusanagi, already worried about what her cybernetic parts mean to her own humanity, is confronted with her worst fears in the Puppetmaster.

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The enigmatic villain in the 1995 film adaptation is a particularly advanced piece of artificial intelligence, whose motives for becoming a true human are likable, but his methods are the stuff of nightmares. Not content with a mechanical body, the Puppetmaster proceeds to possess people, forcibly hacking their minds and memories until nothing remains of who they once were.

The Animatrix – The Animatrix

A machine diplomat to the United Nations in The Animatrix

Featuring some of the most infamous creepy machines in the movie, this anime series is set in the world of The matrix absolutely lives up to the source material. Although everything leading up to the machine takeover makes viewers’ hearts ache for the machines mistreated by humans, they quickly become terrifying when they start biting back in the “The Second Renaissance” segment.

More story based than the movies, The Animatrix have time to dwell on humanity’s growing horror as they are outmatched and outgunned. Viewers watch as machines blow up the UN and major cities, melt people alive with clouds of toxic chemicals, dissect and experiment on prisoners of war, and finally plug survivors into the first Matrix: the version the machines saw as paradise, but for humans it was twisted and hell.

Stink of Death – Gyo

GYO JUNJI ITO.

The work for which the infamous mangaka Junji Ito is perhaps best known is Gyo, the story of two average teenagers caught up in the invasion of Japan by a World War II bioweapon, which takes some very strange forms over the course of the story. Although it tends to manifest as gas or bacteria, the Stink of Death can also stuff people and animals full of wires and pipes, obliterating their consciousness to turn them into killing machines.

In both the manga and OVA, once a human is infected and turned into a machine, they become a mindless monster with no hope of recovery, dangerous alone or in a horde. And even if you manage to escape your former friends and neighbors, don’t forget that the transformation also affects animals and fish. You still have to watch out for a huge robotic great white shark that stalks the streets in search of prey: GAS RUN!

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