Shoji Kawamori
Credits: Macross, Macross Plus, Macross 7, Escaflowne, Gundam 0083, Dangaioh, Patlabor 2, Ghost in the Shell, Crusher Joe (OVA's only), Armored Core (Game)
The creator of the tongue in cheek rival to Gundam, "Chojiku Yosai Macross" (and most of its spinoffs bar Macross II). Probabaly one of the most hired mech designers his designs are practically unrivalled. His design style is very subtle and he also tends to re-invent his style every few years, making it even harder to track down a Kawamori original. He also works with Kazutake Miyatake thus blurring his style even further. Generally you intrinsically know whether a design is his or not. Despite the obvious rivalry between "Macross" and "Gundam" Kawamori has done a fair amount of design work for Gundam!
Style: Highly original design and the master of transformation sequences. Basically if it transforms realistically and not into some non-sensical piece of plastic then you are most certainly looking at at Kawamori design.

Hajime Katoki Credits: Gundam Sentinel, Gundam 0083, Gundam Wing, Virtual On, Virtual On Oratorio Tangram, Bandai MG kit range
Most certainly a graduate from the school of hardcore mecha design. Katoki's designs are as gritty as hell! A master of technical drawings and cutaway's, he is so good that if you look carefully you can see weld markings and rivets! His mech designs are the type that you can literally smell the mud on. Due to the sheer realism of his designs Bandai hired him to do the redesigning for their "Master Grade" kit range. Katoki is also a bit of a prankster and enjoys a good laugh!
Style: Chunky as hell! If it looks tough as nails and as though it has been through several wars it is most certainly a design of Katoki origin. Katoki also rounds off the edhes on a lot of his designs as well as using screw motifs all over the place, thus making it a lot easier to spot a Katoki design.

Yutaka Izubuchi
Credits: Mobile Police Patlabor, Gundam 0080, Gundam: Char's Counterattack, Record of Lodoss War (Dragons)
More of a character designer (at present) than a mech designer, but his already existing mech designs are unparalelled. Another graduate from the school of hardcore mech design, his designs are more believable than most. His best works are normally of infantry mecha (the GM Sniper is just such a fine example), his designs (I should say "re-designs") for Gundam 0080 have been used over and over again throughout the Gundam saga.
Style: Chunky, practical and believable designs are a dead giveaway of Izubuchi's talent. Basically if the infrantry look harder than the main mecha then they have probably been designed by Izubuchi.

Mamoru Nagano
Credits: Heavy Metal L-Gaim, Zeta Gundam, ZZ Gundam, The Five Star Stories, Brain Powerd
Most certainly the ponce of mecha design. ALL his designs have a very effeminate and ethereal aesthetic. In some cases overtly ornate, almost baroque. Has been known to work closely with Yoshiyuki Tomino (creator of Gundam) on a LOT of a occasions. His finest designs to date are for the "shojo" mecha manga "The Five Star Stories" which took mech design to new and very bizarre heights.
Style: Long lines and leisurely curves normally followed by a vast amount of inscription and added detail. Basically if it wouldn't look out of place in a dress thanit has probably been designed by Nagano.

Masamune Shirow
Credits: Appleseed, Dominion, Orion, Ghost in the Shell
One of the biggest mysteries in anime, no-one knows who he is. He refuses to give out his true identity (except that he is a bloke). Despite his secrecy his designs are probably the best ever created. This is mainly to do with fact that he does heavy research for each design, thus making his designs as realistic as feasibly possible. Shirow is a real junky for ordnance based weaponary, he absolutely loves it!
Style: Very spherical and very curvaceous in all design work (in other words not JUST mecha but the whole works including characters as well).

Mika Akitaka
Credits: ZZ Gundam, Gundam 0083, Nadesico
Often thought of as being "that other guy" in mech design. He is one of the black sheep of mech design by not conforming to the general mecha aesthetic. Despite this he is extremely popular. The king of enemy mecha designs (his designs for the "Neue Ziel B" and the "Gerbera Tetra" are his finest "Zeonic" works to date). However has been known to design the odd goody mecha from time to time.
Style: Rounded and aerodynamic structures are an integral part of Akitaka's design.

Koichi Ohata
Credits: Borgman, Gunbuster, Macross II, Genocyber, MD Geist, Dangaioh
One of the few mecha designers that looks to nature for his inspiration. Heavily into insectoid mecha design. Taking the Valkyrie to new heights in the 1992 spin off/rip off OVA Macross II. Also the creator of the hardest mecha of all time, the Gunbuster from the OVA of the same name.
Style: If it looks like a bug then it has been designed by Ohata.

Kunio Okunwara
Credits: Supervising ALL the mech design for Gundam, Mobile Suit Gundam, Gundam F-91
One of the earliest realistic mecha designers after the super robot craze of the mid-seventies. He is now considered to be the granddaddy of all mecha design.
Style: If it is striving to be as different as a super robot and then ends up looking like one, then you will be looking at an Okunwara design.
Go Nagai
Credits: Mazinger Z, Getter Robo, Gekiganger III, Devilman, Kekkou Kamen
The king of cheesy mecha design! Probably the creator of the most ridiculous designs ever put to paper and then actually animated. His talents were asked for on Nadesico when the production crew wanted to have a cheesy 70's robot show in Nadesico called Gekiganger III, he ended up supervising the character designs and the mecha designs.
Style: If it looks REALLY silly then it has been designed by Nagai.

Kunio Okawara
Okawara designed all the mechas in the original Gundam TV serie, many mobile suits in subsequent series and some original robots for mobile suits encyclopaedia contributing with his excellent work to the success of many Gundam series. His design style is quite traditional, being far from Izubuchi smooth and rounded shapes and Katoki superdetailed style. Okawara was able to use different style registers in squared federation robots as well as rounded Zeon mobile suits, but always kept an eye to the realistic mechanics of the robots. In Gundam F-91 he quite successfully tried to revamp the old Gundam look adding more details and softer shapes.
Hajime Katoki
Katoki is an excellent illustrator and mecha-designer. After his broad spectrum work in Gundam 0083 he designed a lot of Gundam mechas in "Dai 08 MS-Shotai" (08th MS Team) and reviewed Okawara designs for Gundam Wing Endless Waltz. A lot of modelkits based on his illustrations are available, the so called Ver.Ka of famous mobile suits and mobile armours. His design style is quite easy to spot, being based on an unusually high level of detail and on the justapposition of "blocks" over a substrate structure that's not so squared yet not so rounded (a good example of this tendency is the gorgeous Ex-S Gundam).

Yutaka Izubuchi
Probably one of the first mecha-designer to abandon the subdivided side intakes of the Gundam head substituting them with plain jet-lookalike intakes. Izubuchi was the mecha designer of Patlabor and provided a fresh and original reinterpretation of many classical mobile suits in Gundam 0080. All his designs share an unusual elegance (for 20mts tall robots), with smooth lines and rounded shapes. His best works are probably the Kampfer from 0080 and RX-93 (N) Nu-Gundam from Char's Counterattack, with the revised version (RX-93-(N)-2 "Hi-Nu") appearing as an illustration for Tomino novelization.

Shoji Kawamori
Being the designer of Macross and an engineer, Kawamori is really an expert in realistic aviation-related mecha design. His work on the RX-78 gp01, gp01Fb and gp02A was excellent, with a lot of details added to the original Gundam structure to make it credible and actually working, together with an eye for smooth junctions between the different parts that make up a mobile suit. Actually the amount of detail and the structure of the GP01 are probably better than that of Katoki's GP03 which is less homogeneous and more "traditional"...

Kazumi Fujita
Fujita designed, together with Okawara, many of the Z-Gundam and GundamZZ mobile suits, while revising and cleaning up almost all the design works produced by other mecha-designers. He is extremely talented in producing original robots featuring a squared and complex structure, based on geometric shapes. He has the tendency to exaggerate and distort the weight balance of its robots, you can see it clearly in the Methuss, (the first mobile suit without a body) and in the Z-Gundam. If the anime version of MSZ-006 is quite traditional thanks to the hand of Okawara, the Kazumi Fujita version found in the modelkits market shows the author originality taken to its most bizarre consequences.

Mamoru Nagano
Nagano, author of the space opera Five Star Stories and mecha-designer of L-Gaim, has a quite distinctive way to design that perfectly blends a realistic mechanical infrastructure and a fairy knight-lookalike external armour. His robots look as if they were made by justapposition of many thin pieces, kept together by an external structure (like in the Rick Dias) or an internal "skeleton" (like the "Type 100") and usually show an extremely high level of detail. His work in Z-Gundam was not as wide as Fujita's, but still he managed to leave his "signature" on the serie.

Mika Akitaka Best Designs

Mika worked as a Gundam mecha designer in GundamZZ. He is the designer of the body of the MSZ-010, the head being Kobayashi work. After that he "cleand up" Izubuchi designs in Gundam 0080 and designed almost every Zeon mecha in Gundam 0083. His excellent design style showed at its best in the latter production, with the realization of the AGX-04 Gerbera Tetra and the outstanding AMX-002 (AMA-X2) Neue Ziel. The use of smooth rounded surfaces is a distinctive feature of Akitaka design works.

Makoto Kobayashi
Worked in Z-Gundam and in Gundam-ZZ producing some excellent designs like the Bound Dog and Marasai. The head of the Gundam Double Zeta is one of his works, but not one of the best in my humble opinion. His excellency in providing an high level of detail is clear from his work both on mobile suits inner mechanics and space ships structures.



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