Otaku USA Magazine
The Mysterious Anime Girls of Modern Mecha Series

Is it even a mecha anime without an anime girl of dubious origin?

There are lots of mecha anime tropes that have endured the test of time, from hot-blooded hooligans in the cockpit to the classic rocket punch. But in recent decades, we’ve noticed a new trend. If you’re a self-respecting giant robot series, you’ve gotta have an anime girl of mysterious origin. And you’d better believe she’s gonna be a plot point. There are some variants on this, but by and large, a mysterious girl is gonna be near the robot.

Don’t believe us? Here are a handful from recent years. Can you spot others in your favorite shows?


Nia Teppelin

Nia Teppelin, Gurren Lagann

The cheerful Nia of Gainax’s epic Gurren Lagann was a surprising addition to the hot-blooded cast. She was on the sweeter, perkier spectrum of anime girls—so adorable she has literal flowers in her eyes. Before long she becomes the love interest of young hero Simon… but there’s so much more to her. And not just because she’s the daughter of the Gurren Brigade’s enemy.

As with everything in the world of the series, nothing is quite as it seems, and the truth is (literally) buried several miles deep. After the mid-season time skip, her role changes drastically. And as humanity teeters once again on the brink of extinction, the life she’s built with Simon is just as much in danger. It’s a bittersweet love story for the ages… and not at all what we expected when Simon found her in a box.



LiSA, Mazinger Z/Infinity

While Mazinger Z/INFINITY spent most of its time reintroducing classic characters (and Robeasts), there was one notable new addition to the cast. LiSA fits our brief of mysterious mecha anime girls almost to a tee. She’s found inside Infinity, an ancient Mazinger-like structure, and discovered to be a largely organic AI being. Though the truth of her abilities, and her role in the story, expands far beyond even what the evil Dr. Hell expected.

Besides being an important key to Dr. Hell’s plans (and thus thwarting them), LiSA appears to have knowledge expanding even beyond our universe. We briefly see other roles she could have played in alternate universes… one being very close to Koji and Sakaya. Fortunately, she reassures the pair that no matter what happens after the massive final battle of the film, they will meet again.



Lulu, Brave Bang Bravern

Brave Bang Bravern! hammers mecha anime tropes like it’s going out of style, and it does every single one so well. Thanks to the opening, we knew we’d be getting one of those mysterious anime girls at some point. And we got Lulu. From a fierce warrior to Lewis Smith’s #1 fan, she’s come a long way in a short time. But what’s her deal?

Recent episodes finally crack open the just-hidden mysteries of Lulu’s past. Having begun as a combat-suited warrior who could only say “ga-ga-pi,” she seems to have developed a true appreciation for all things Earth. Or at least the things around her. But now the truth is coming out. What’ll happen? Get watching and find out!

Find out more about what makes Bang Brave Bang Bravern great.

Kara Dennison

Kara Dennison is a writer, editor, and presenter with bylines at Crunchyroll, Sci-Fi Magazine, Sartorial Geek, and many others. She is a contributor to the celebrated Black Archive line, with many other books, short stories, and critical works to her name.