Chōdenji Robo Combattler V (Chōdenji Robo Konbatorā Bui) is the first part of the Robot Romance Trilogy of Super Robot series created by "Saburo Yatsude" and directed by Tadao Nagahama. The robot's name is a portmanteau of Combine, Combat and Battle, and the V is intended both as an abbreviation for "victory" and in reference to the five component machines that form the robot, as well as its five pilots. The V is proununced as the letter V, whereas in the follow-up series, Voltes V, it is prounounced "5".
The series (along with the later two shows) was created by Saburo Yatsude, who would later go on to create GoLion (best familiar to American viewers as the "Lion Force" half of Voltron). "Saburo Yatsude" is not a real person, but a pseudonym which refers to the collective staff at Toei (the main office, rather than the animation studio; the series was animated by Nippon Sunrise and produced by Toei Co. Ltd).
Thousands of years ago, the people of the planet Campbell decided to leave their planet and seek out new worlds to inhabit. One group, lead by the scientist Oreana, landed on Earth, but was delayed from their mission. In the early 21st century, Oreana's group reawakens and begins their plan to conquer the Earth.
The entire series follows the then-standard Monster of the Week format, with the first season featuring Garuda sending various mecha to defeat Combattler V. His tactics range from brute force to cunningness and taking hostages. At one point he even duels Hyouma in a sword fight with their feet chained together. As the series moves on, his trust for Oreana lessens. Garuda eventually discovers that he is in fact a cyborg after chancing on a room containing numerous failed attempts at creating him. In the final episode of the first season, he defeats Oreana, and then duels Combattler V, which eventually leads to his defeat.
The second season features Empress Janera and her generals Dungele and Warchimedes. Eventually, the entire base of the Campbellian empress is deployed, and only through the help of the airborne Nanbara Connection Base is Combattler V able to destroy it. However, Janera manages to deploy an Earth Bomb which is supposed to destroy the Earth. Notably, the team is not dispirited, but are quite calm and instead happy for having the chance to fight to protect Earth. Just as it looks as though Earth will be destroyed, the "true" leader of the Campbellians, Deus, riding in a golden wagon, informs the team of the coup d'etat at Campbell, and stops the bomb seconds before it reaches the Earth.
The series was brought over to the US in a fashion... As part of a toyline called Shogun Warriors that also included other super Robots such as Raideen and Great Mazinger In 1979 Marvel Comics licensed it as part of the 20-part miniseries Shogun Warriors, along with Reideen and Planet Robo Danguard Ace, under the name Combattra. One of the latter issues in the series even featured the standard "Heroic misunderstanding" with the Fantastic Four.
- Exclusively Evil: For a while it seemed the trope was being played straight, but it was ultimately averted. The Campbellians were attacking Earth were not representative of the entire race, but a rebel fraction led by leaders constantly indoctrinated their troops into believing it is HUMANS who are Exclusively Evil. The most part of the Campbellians were not presented as evil or harbouring ill will towards humans, and actually at the end Deus, Campbellians' true leader, came to Earth to stop Big Bad Empress Janera personally, and vowed he would help to rebuild Earth what Janera destroyed.
- Artificial Limbs: Hyoma Aoi got replacement arms after Garuda shot his original arms off. Unlike from other examples of this trope, they did not grant him super-strength and they did not work perfectly at all. Several times they stopped working momentarily in very inopportune moments (such like when he was driving his car or fighting in his Humongous Mecha).
- Beehive Barrier: The Nanbara Connection was protected by one, and it was pretty sturdy. Some schemes of Garuda involved infiltrating one of his agents in the base in order to turn it off.
- Berserk Button: Hyoma lost his parents when he was barely a toddler. Kill one child (even if it is an animal cub) or leave him/her/it parentless, and he will go nuts before beating the crap out of you.
- Big Bad: Oreana, followed by Empress Janera.
- Bifurcated Weapon (Twin Lancer!)
- Chainsaw Good (Atomic Chainsaw)
- Calling Your Attacks (And how. This show is more than thirty years old, yet the fully upgraded Combattler is still the mech with the biggest number of different attacks in history.)
- Car Fu (Gran Light Wave Rail, Fire! Grandasher!)
- Color Coded for Your Convenience
- Combining Mecha
- The Determinator: Hyoma. What if Garuda has shot his arms off? What if he is ill and dying? He still will get on the Battle Jet and kick their butts!
- Drives Like Crazy: Hyoma Aoi. He is not a lousy driver but a Badass Biker, but he likes a bit too much having fun as he drives. In his first appearance he caused a traffic accident because he broke the limit speed and several patrol cars were trying to catch him. All of his chasers crashed into each other, but of course, he avoided to crash.
- Everything's Better with Spinning (Choudenji Spiiiiiiin!)
- Expository Theme Tune: Its song names several of the weapons it has "Choudenji YOYO! Choudenji TA-TSU-MA-KI!!choudenji SPIN!!" while showing them on screen.
- Eye Beams: Combattler itself was not endowed with that weapon, but several Slave Beasts did. A good example is Kiira from episode 9.
- Falling Into the Cockpit: An interesting instance. In the first episode, the team handles the vehicles forming Combattler reasonably well, in spite of neither of them -but Chizuru- had seen them before or got pilot training. However it was later revealed there are computers located in their helmets help them to handle their vehicles by giving instructions. However, in a later episode, a young boy sneaked into the Nanbara Connection, heard about the helmets, stole Hyoma's helmet thinking he also would be able pilot Combattler, and... almost got killed.
- Five-Man Band (The pilots of Combattler V, arranged according to altitude in the Combattler Machine)
- Flying Brick, the mecha equivalent ("It's not 57 meters and 550 tons for nothing!")
- Frickin' Laser Beams (V Laser)
- Half-Human Hybrid (Garuda)
- Home Base: The Nanbara Connection, located in the coastline and protected by a Beehive Barrier.
- If It Swims, It Flies: Battle Marine, One of the machines forms the body of the Humongous Mecha -to be specific, the legs- is able to swim and fly -and it also carries around the Battle Tank, that can not fly on its own).
- Kangaroo Court: In one episode of the first season, the Campbellians built a Robeast disguised like Combattler and caused havoc with it. Professor Yotsuya and the Combattler team were put under arrest and judged nearly instantly, and during the proceeding it was painfully obvious the minds of the courts were already made and refused giving them a fair hearing.
- Killer Yoyo (Choudenji Yo-yo!)
- Latex Space Suit (All of the pilot suits)
- Leader Forms the Head: Hyoma is the team's leader. Guess what body part forms his jet. No, seriously. Take a guess.
- Macross Missile Massacre/Recursive Ammo (Big Burst Divider!)
- The Man Behind the Man: After the first season it was revealed that Oreana was working for Empress Janera.
- Marth Debuted in Smash Bros (Alongside Raideen, poor Combattler was involved in one of the most bizarre instances of the trope in the history of the entire medium. Suffice it to say that Marvel Comics didn't watch the show at any point, and you sure won't find Hyouma and crew anywhere in "Shogun Warriors"...)
- Mentor Occupational Hazard: Professor Nanbara. He built Combattler, recruited four young teens and his granddaughter, taught them to handle the robot... and shortly after he died.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Juzo in episode 10.
- Nothing Can Stop Us Now: It is disturbingly frequently used by Prince Garuda. When he blew Hyoma's arms off, when he blackmailed the Japanese Government in blowing up the Nanbara Connection -the HQ of the heroes-, when he deceiving the Japanese police to get the Combattler team under arrest... Some would think he would learn NOT tempting fate after the first time.
- Our Dragons Are Different: Kiiru, the "Slave Beast" showed up in episode 9 was Garuda's dragon pet (Let me stress this: Garuda's pet was A FREAKING DRAGON). And it was a Mama Bear, too.
- Panty Shot (Chizuru gives a considerable amount of this.)
- The Professors (Dr. Nanbara and Dr. Yotsuya)
- Ramming Always Works: "Choudenji Tatsumaki! Choudenji Spin!". Combattler paralyzes its adversary by blasting it with a stream of electricity and then rams through its body as spinning endlessly. Hyoma often uses it like a Finishing Move, and it tends to leave a nice gaping hole in the Monster of the Week.
- Robeast (Slave Beasts and later Magma Beasts)
- Robot Buddy (Ropet, who monitors the pilots' brainwaves and authorizes combination)
- Shock and Awe (Choudenji Spark!)
- Shout-Out (The name "Campbellians' may be a reference to SF writer John Campbell, who helped invent the Space Hero genre.)
- Super Robot
- Super Robot Wars (Introduced in Super Robot Wars 3. Appeared in 64, Advance, Alpha series, Compact 2 trilogy, Compact 3, Impact, J, R, and L)
- Telescoping Robot: The Humongous Mecha and the individual vehicles had more weapons than any other Humongous Mecha. Its hands alone could store its fists, a three-pointed dagger to make its ramming move easier, sharp projectiles, a blow-torch, a clamp...
- Tomato in the Mirror ( Garuda discovers, to his dismay, that he is actually the latest of a series of identical androids.)
- Transformation Name Announcement (Combattler V!)
- Variable-Length Chain (Choudenji Crane!)
- Villainous BSOD ( Garuda has one because of the Tomato in the Mirror revelation mentioned above.)
- "V" Sign (Taken not as a hand gesture, but as a symbolic phrase in Combattler V. Usually used to get the spirit up.)
Believe in the sign of victory: V!