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I watched this a few years ago. The storyline followed a young man who had a mech (built it himself?) and joined in an arena fight, where there were two sides: One side were the rulers of the city/country and had better equipment, and the other side were afraid to try too hard in case they managed to win because the rulers would get angry if they lost.

You see the characters' faces while they are inside the mechs quite often, and I think you see some electrical attack damage the suit from the inside, though I can't remember which side they were on.

The main character didn't want to deliberately lose though, and they won some fights for the first time in a long time. The show is about him improving his fighting skills, but I never finished it so I don't know what happens in the end.

The mechs were humanoid, and roughly Hulkbuster size.

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    A quick scroll through the "Throwing The Fight" page on TV Tropes didn't point to any mecha anime. I'll have a deeper look when I get the chance.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 11:33
  • What sort of mech? Humanoid? Animal? Legs, wheels, tank-treads? Doll-sized, Car-sized, house-sized, skyscraper-sized? Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 12:15
  • My impulse is Zoids New Century, but I don't see the thrown fight.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 12:46
  • Thank you all for your help; The mechs were all humanoid, I think, and they were roughly hulkbuster size. The animation style of Zoids doesn't ring any bells; I think it was closer to the style of the Mechtogan from Bakugan. Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 12:53
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    @jo1storm I don't recall Gurren Lagann having a rigged arena fight.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 19:32

2 Answers 2

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This could be Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory, the fourth series in the Full Metal Panic! anime franchise. It first aired in April 2018, so you could have seen it no sooner than two years ago.

Episoded 5 to 8 follow Sousuke Sagara trying to infiltrate the world of illegal fights between Arm Slaves (the series' term for mechas).
He helps a small team win a minor (and legal) championship and find a sponsor; while a corrupted officer contacts them to fix the result of a match, Sousuke refuses, instead volunteering to fight in illegal matches where real weapons are used and pilots risk their lives.

The anime opening has a few images relating to this story arc, in particular from 0:34 to 0:40:

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    I'm pretty sure it wasn't this. The animation style seems much more bright and cheery than what I am remembering; also I clearly remember starting at episode 1 of the series. Thanks for the help though! Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 17:33
  • The series itself is quite darker than what this opening could suggest. Anyway, I trust your judgement :-).
    – lfurini
    Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 18:56
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It’s VOTOMS: the Big Fight, or first arc of VOTOMS.

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    Can you explain how this property matches the description in the original question?
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 23:44

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