It takes tremendous skill to pilot a giant robot, and it takes genius to make them. But unfortunately, it's rare that these pilots and inventors are also blessed with any design sense and/or common sense, because there are many giant robots that end up completely preposterous. Here are more than a dozen mighty mecha whose enormous weirdness dwarfs their size.
1) Mermaid Gundam, G Gundam
The ridiculous, nation-stereotyped mecha of G Gundam could fill their own list of ridiculous giant robots (and indeed, they pretty much have). So let's take the most ridiculous Gundam as representative of the rest, and that would have to be Neo Denmark's Mermaid Gundam. Somehow I have to believe that if you wanted a giant robot that could function both on land and underwater, you could find a better design that putting a robot inside a giant metal seafood restaurant mascot costume.
2) Devastator, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
No list of ridiculous robots would be complete without Transformers 2's Devastator. A big robot formed by smaller robots combining together always sounds awesome, and in that respect Devastator is as cool as all the Transformers Gestalts. Where he fails is by having two wrecking balls as testicles. Why? What could a robot use balls for, especially ones that are made of solid steel? Why are they located in the crotch? How would an alien robot even know to place his faux nutsack there, unless the Decepticons have been looking at Internet porn? The answer to all of these questions, of course, is that Michael Bay is a 13-year-old.
3) Panda Z
Panda Z is a giant, panda-shaped mecha being driven by a much smaller living panda in its head. It is as ridiculous as it is awesome, and it's completely ridiculous. Note: Unless every other mecha in anime, whose fists return to them after being rocket punched, the Panda'Z's fists don't — they just fall to the ground. Which makes it difficult for Panda-Z to retrieve them, now that, you know, it doesn't have any hands.
4) Leopardon, Toei's Spider-Man
When Toei decided to make a show based on the Marvel Comics superhero Spider-Man in the late '70s, they decided to give Spider-Man a giant robot so that Japanese kids might possibly give a shit about the character. This giant robot looked nothing like Spider-Man, had no spider-powers of any form, and was called Leopardon, because… leopards and spiders are friends, I guess? In the show's 41 episodes, the Leopardon was never even damaged, and it killed all of its giant monsters foes by throwing its "Sword Vigor" at them, often within the first five seconds of showing up.
5) Gads, GadGuard
There are generally two accepted places for people to pilot giant robots. The first is inside, in some kind of cockpit, like almost every giant robot ever made. The second is far the hell away, in safety, controlling the robot remotely like Gigantor/Tetsujin-28. You know what's not a generally accepted place to pilot a giant robot? Sitting on the robot's shoulder, or being carried in the robot's hand, without being secured in any fashion — especially when your robot is going to be fighting other giant robots. One wrong punch and you're either flying off and breaking your neck or exploding in a fine red mist.
6) King Robo, Disney
A Disney-themed giant combiner robot strikes me as insane on several levels, mostly because all five robots that make it up are designed to look like their pilots, which is the height of vanity. Imagine a giant robot made of five robots designed to look like the human pilots inside them, and think how creepy that would be (mostly because the combined robot would have five human-like faces all over it). But there's an even more ridiculous aspect here: What the hell does Miickey Mouse and his friends need a giant robot for?
7) Traze-R, Dick Tracy
Speaking of giant robots that look like people, for a brief period in 2008, comic strip lawman Dick Tracy received a giant robot called Traze-R. Traze-R's bottom half was made up of tank treads, but his upper-half was a metallic version of Dick himself, complete with his not particularly attractive head. Traze-R was sentient but spoke how old people believed today's kids text each other — i.e., badly — and for no reason at all could detect evil on a special frequency. The frequency of evil, I guess? Also, the only evil he could detect were other giant sentient robots that were committing criminal acts? Madness.
8) Sharlorn, Dragonmech
The Dungeons & Dragons-meets-mecha game Dragonmech is full of mechs that run on clockwork, steampunk, magic, or just sweaty orcs pulling a lot of levers. But the weirdest mechs in the have to the Undead Mech, assembled by Necromancers out of the dead — monsters and people. Making a giant robot out of corpses is intimidating, but it still sounds like a recipe for disaster — not to mention there aren't enough pine tree-shaped air fresheners in the world to remove the smell. But the worst of them all must be Sharlorn, the half-necropolis, half-giant mech made out of massive bones and rotting flesh, and wielding a sentient sword called Moonquencher. There is nothing about this thing that isn't ridiculous.
9 and 10) Thor and Hulk's Mega Vehicles, Marvel Transformers
Most of the Marvel Transformers were pretty silly, although some were were fine — it remains conceivable that Captain America could use a giant robot, and Iron Man should have had one years ago. But there are two that beyond ridiculous, namely those piloted by Thor and Hulk. Thor, who can fly by his own power, had a plane for some reason (not even like a cool jet, but like a passenger plane) and there's no way his robot's hammer could possibly pack the punch of his actual, magical Mjolnir. But the Hulk's was even worse — his robot's alternate form was a bulldozer. If there's one thing the Hulk doesn't need assistance with, it's destroying stuff, okay?
11) Heinlad, Transformers: Beast Wars Neo
Alas, Transformers 2's Devastator wasn't the only giant robot to feature testicles. The honor also goes to Heinlad, a character from a Japan only Transformers cartoon who turned into a tanuki, a raccoon-like creature from Japanese myth known for its humongous balls. Heinlad's balls are prominently displayed in his tanuki form, but no more so than the giant alarm clock inexplicably in his chest. Look, I understand that Heinlad is going for authenticity here, but since the creature he turns into doesn't technically exist, maybe he could have chosen something without a scrotum? The best part of Heinlad is this quote from the TFWiki regarding the toy: "His articulation, while good, does not allow him to drum on his testicles."
12) Mega-Maid, Spaceballs
In Mel Brook's Star Wars parody, the massive starship Spaceball One transforms into its alternate form, that of the giant, vacuum cleaner-holding Mega Maid. While this mode is uniquely suitable for sucking the oxygen out of the planet Druidia's atmosphere, and while the giant maid theme does go well with the giant vacuum cleaner, it seems strange to have made the vacuum/maid combo the sole transformation. Surely separating the two would have been a better idea, if only so that Mega Maid could hold other objects in her hand. If President Skroob and Dark Helmet ever need a giant robot that doesn't also require a vacuum, they're going to have to design a whole new ship/giant robot combo.
13) Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Gurenn Lagann
All the mecha of the wonderful anime Gurren Lagann are pretty ridiculous, but none more so than the Tengen Toppa Guren Lagann, the mecha seen in the show's final episode, which is made of several red fanged skulls and is the size of an an actual galaxy. A galaxy, people. This means that the sunglasses the mech has on the front of its face-chest are also the size of a galaxy. Note: The Tengan Toppa Gurren Lagann does eventually become the Super Tengan Toppa Gurren Lagann, which is 52.8 billion light years wide, but it's also made of pure energy so it's not technically a mecha.