Super Robot Genre

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From left to right: Combattler V, Getter Robo, Mazinger Z, Great Mazinger, Daimos, and Voltes V. Daiku-Maryu pictured at the background. All designed to defend the Earth 24 hours a day. Just like any other weapon.
"So much for the laws of physics!"
Getter Robo Armageddon

The counterpoint to a Real Robot Genre series (Or rather, Real Robots are the counterpoint to this), a fantastic Superhero-like form of Humongous Mecha series.

The chances of the series being a Super Robot series rises exponentially with each item present. This, of course, doesn't apply to total parody or gag series, such as SD Gundam.

Note that in general the longer a Real Robot series runs, the higher the chance that the protagonist's mecha will start to display Super Robot traits. If this is the Grand Finale the odds are doubled.

Super Robot shows are typically personified by "Love/Courage/Compassion/Friendship/Righteous-Anger/Insert-Positive-Emotion-Here Conquers All", and almost always have at least one character that is Hot-Blooded, though there are certain notable exceptions... mostly those directed by Yoshiyuki "Kill 'em All" Tomino, to whom Anyone Can Die is less a possibility than a life philosophy (...or at least it used to be). They also typically follow the Monster of the Week format, especially in older shows, though as always there are exceptions. Super Robots tend towards idealism on the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism.

Checklist

A handy checklist to see if a mecha is a Super Robot as opposed to a Real Robot:

  • It performs the function of a super hero.
  • The robot is easily capable of breaking the laws of physics.
  • The robot is sentient.
    • The pilot regularly addresses or refers to the robot by name as if it were a person, even if it is not (obviously) sentient.
      • The robot has never been successfully activated until its pilot begs/orders it to.
    • If it can be operated remotely, the robot responds to voice commands rather than, say, radio transmissions.
      • The robot is capable of acting independently to attack enemies or protect its pilot, especially if it should not be capable of doing so (eg. no on-board AI, or one which wasn't programmed to act that way).
    • The theme song is almost exclusively a Bragging Theme Tune; if not, it will exhort the robot and its pilot to fight for 'us/justice/good/the Earth'. Either way, the theme will treat the robot as the show's real hero. Heck, the show being named for the robot means you're halfway there.
    • The robot is directly compared to a God and/or a devil.
  • The robot uses two or more of the following weapons. Bonus points if a weapon is used only for a Finishing Move, especially if such a restriction can't be explained by limited power reserves (eg. a sword).
  • Three or more separately piloted vehicles combine to form the robot.
    • Especially if there's no particular reason they should ever un-combine except to allow for the next episode's transformation sequence. e.g. Voltron, Megazord, GaoGaiGar...
    • Two robots in the series have the ability to combine, despite the robots' creators being enemies or unaware of each other (eg. many Sixth Rangers' zords in Power Rangers).
  • The pilot is Hot-Blooded. Bonus points if he directly affects the robot by being so. Triple points if he also sports Go Nagai Sideburns.
  • The robot's power source/energy exhaust are green-cyan (e.g. Getter Rays, G-Stone Energy, Spiral Power etc)
  • The robot is summoned by its pilot (usually with shouting involved) rather than the pilot heading to a hangar.
    • The robot appears from an implausible location when summoned, such as a hollow skyscraper or the inside of a volcano. Bonus points if it has to break its way out.
  • The robot is one-of-a-kind and/or is the only line of defense between the earth (or other place to be defended) and the invading hordes.
    • If someone tries to copy the design of the unique robot, no matter how hard they try to improve on it, it will suck.
  • The robot (or part of the robot) can only be piloted by one specific person, due either to a "brain-scan security system", a "unique and special power", or "destiny".
  • The robot was designed and built by a scientist or lab independent of the government and military.
    • The robot was created by the pilot's father, grandfather, or uncle.
  • The robot was built using technology far in advance of what is available to the general public or military.
  • The robot's (or the show's) name begins with or features the letter G, and/or ends with "-er".
    • Exception: "Gundam" does not count as a usage of the letter G (on its own at least).
    • The name of the robot incorporates a badass letter/initial. Weird "Futuristic"-sounding consonants are the norm, like Z, V, X, and of course, G.
    • At least one robot in the series has a noble title as part of its name, such as "Kaiser", "King", "Emperor", or "Oh" (Japanese for lord/king).
  • The robot features one or more of the following design elements:
    • Red and blue colour scheme, with white underarmor and gold details.
    • Power Crystals.
    • Improbable size, being either so large that it should collapse under its own weight, or so small that it could not possibly hold and/or power its weapons. Extreme examples include Powered Armor capable of destroying cities and humanoid mecha with enough interior space to transport entire civilisations.
    • Winglike protrusions from the sides of its helmet.
    • A chestplate in the shape of an inverted triangle or an animal's head, possibly also with winglike protrusions to the side.
    • A retractable mask which covers its mouth (usually deployed when forming a Combining Mecha or entering a Super Mode).
    • A cape, especialy if it is badass.
    • All of the robots in the show, whether or not they're mass-manufactured, are unique designs based on some common theme (usually different kinds of animals).
    • The robot's face is flexible and capable of things such as opening and closing its mouth.
      • For that matter, having a face (nose and mouth etc...) period is probably a good indicator in itself.
    • The joints are covered by what seems to be solid metal, yet are still capable of the full range of human mobility.
  • The show's title has "Muteki" ("Invincible") in it somewhere.
  • You (or maybe your parents) recognize the robot from a Shogun Warrior toy.
  • Ichirou Mizuki or JAM Project does the theme song. MEGA extra points if it's done by BOTH.

Examples of Super Robot Genre include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Misuteru Yokoyama's Gigantor (Tetsujin 28) is the effective Trope Maker. The robot was not piloted (that would be covered by Mazinger Z below), instead being controlled from outside by the protagonist, Shotaro Kaneda.
  • On the other hand, Go Nagai's Mazinger Z (and its sequels, Great Mazinger and UFO Robo Grendizer, and the remake, Mazinkaiser) was the one who defined the trope as we know it.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is based on the mecha being like this in as many ways as possible: Let's see... Sentient: check. Transformation Sequence: check. Creates weapons at will: check. High-volume attack screaming: check. Flexible face: check. Combining Mecha: check. One-of-a-kind: Kinda check; Lagann is one-of-a-kind, but Gurren is just a Ganmen that Kamina jacked during a battle. Powered by Hot Blood: Check. Drills: Oh, so very checked. Becoming large enough to literally throw galaxies as projectiles: not in the list, but it should be, and absolutely check.
    • Don't forget the shades are a Precision Guided splitting Boomerang, the (stolen) helmet and the red paint job.
    • The show subverts one of the main Super Robot traits when it acknowledges that it creates matter from nothing and breaks the Conservation of Mass Law, and that it will lead to the end of the universe if overused.
    • Many of the other robots are Super to some degree as well. The King Kittan is the only star-shaped Gunman we see and gets fancier weapons when it combines with another couple of mecha, and both the King Kittan and the Dayakkaiser meet the "nobility" naming rule. Obviously, the same goes for Space King Kittan, which is just a Space Gunmen for use by King Kittan.
  • Getter Robo The first combining Super Robot.
  • The B'ts from B't X fit quite well: sentient? check, weird power-source? check, link with their pilot? check... they are, however, very small, compared to the standard Super Robot.
  • Giant Robo
  • Gunbuster was Hideaki Anno's directorial debut.
  • Brave Raideen (which later inspired RahXephon). The first half was directed by the aforementioned Yoshiyuki Tomino; the latter half was directed by Tadao Nagahama, better known for...
  • The "Romantic Trilogy": Combattler V, Voltes V, and Daimos, who all featured more realistic combinations.
  • Zambot 3
  • Daitarn 3.
  • Force Five was a Macekred version of the anime that the Shogun Warriors toys were based on, and the Robots therein were all Super.
  • Gaiking
  • Kotetsu Jeeg
  • The entire Brave Series from Sunrise animation, most famously King of Braves GaoGaiGar. (Oddly, though placed in the same continuity as GaoGaiGar, the robots of Betterman are rather un-Super.)
    • GaoGaiGar is notable in that there's absolutely no weirdness in any of the transformations for the main characters - every single part and motion is accounted for, so all toys made for the franchise would be perfect (the toys and character models were made together). The villains (who didn't have many toy) on the other hand, routinely distort, shapeshift, dissolve and reform, etc. GaoGaiGar itself seems to obey at least SOME of the laws of physics, when during the fight with Spine Primeval, GaoGaiGar attempts to fly into space, but can't due to the fact that StealthGao's jet engines have run out of air at such a high altitude. This limitation is, of course, fixed in the next episode. And despite the theme song billing the titular mecha as invincible, it gets pretty badly beat up on a regular basis, even sustaining damage from combination or using its own weaponry. In GaoGaiGar FINAL, a copy of the original GaoGaiGar is destroyed by GaoFighGar, which is later in the series destroyed by Palparepa
      • The fact that GaoGaiGar has no part appearing from out of nowhere is enough to confuse some viewers into thinking that it's a Real Robot, rather than a Super Robot. The fact that it is designed by Kunio Okawara, which can be seen in the design, doesn't make it any more obvious that it's supposed to be a Super Robot.
  • In an amusing reversal, Mobile Fighter G Gundam, the first Gundam series not in the Universal Century timeline, is a notable super robot show (with designs that get really, really weird), despite Mobile Suit Gundam essentially launching the real robot genre.
    • There's usually a trend for antagonist suits to gain a technological edge on the titular Gundams sometime in the other series, which may or may not warrant a mid-season upgrade. The original RX-78-2 was considered almost obsolete by the time the One Year War ended, had it not been for Amuro's incredible abilities.
      • The same holds true for the Super Prototypes present in both Code Geass and Eureka Seven, which are clearly many leaps and bounds ahead of the other, "normal" mechs they share the spotlight with.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam 00 crosses over into Super Robot territory in its second season:
      • Allelujah Haptism regains his alternate personality, Hallelujah, through contact with concentrated GN Particles.
      • Tieria Erde starts calling his attacks all over the place and firing what basically amounts to a GN Particle Bowling Bomb from his BFG.
      • Last, but certainly not least, Setsuna F. Seiei gains the ability to teleport himself and his Gundam through sheer hot-bloodedness and determination.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion, although arguments over whether they should be counted as Super or Real Robots is debated even by characters themselves in Super Robot Wars. Technically, the Eva units fit the Super Robot description almost point-for-point - sentient, check; each unit is one of a kind, check; Earth's only defense, check; production overseen by main character's basta-I mean dad, check; each unit usually accepts only one pilot, check. But on the other hand, the Super Robot elements are mostly there for Deconstruction purposes, and the Evas also have some definite Real Robot features, such as very limited power supplies. (Until Unit-01 eats Zeruel and takes its S2 Engine, at least.) And on the third hand, the Eva units are technically cyborgs, not, strictly speaking, robots.
    • Rebuild of Evangelion has Mari gleefully adding to the "super" aspect, talking to Unit-05 and Unit-02 and shouting out, "point-blank attack!" as she charges Zeruel with two BFGs. Seeing as the Evas rely on the pilot's brain waves and physical movement rather than voice commands—with the exception of the password "ZA BEASTO!"—this one isn't really necessary. However, Mari's level of sanity is somewhat questionable at this point.
  • The various Zoids series feature giant animal-shaped robots that can only be piloted by those they "choose", and are powered up by Small Annoying Robots manufactured by an ancient, lost civilization. Outside of the main character, though, most Zoids are treated more like Real Robots.
    • Depending on which fluff you're reading they may be Real robots and fighting a war and treated as such or the mechs themselves are fighting a war ala Transformers. OR you can have tons of Combining Mecha, ancient weapons and sentient zoids that choice their masters. Its all vaguely justified by treating them as Weaponized Animals with unknown and seemingly varying levels of intelligence
  • The Mach 5 from Speed Racer definitely counts, as it's more of a car-shaped Super Robot.
  • The Ideon from, well, Space Runaway Ideon fits the bill pretty well, at least when it feels like it. Since the mech is inhabited by the God-like energy known as the Ide, when the Ide doesn't feel like helping all it can do is punch and kick.
  • In Full Metal Panic!, the mechs used by Mithril and Gauron are Super Robots, in that their technology and power is far beyond that of mechs that others use, including superpower nations. Also, the special equipment created from Black Technology that's on Sousuke's and Gauron's Arm Slaves relies greatly on the pilot's creativity and emotional state.
    • They are real robots unless they are equipped with the Lambda Drive, and even then it's only when using it. Sousuke's robot seems to have a personality, but it's an AI that mostly exists to aid him (and tell the audience what they'd normally need to be able to read instruments to know).
      • Which doesn't stop Sousuke from playing the straight man to his own robot in the final episode of The Second Raid.
  • The El Dorado team from Gun X Sword includes most of the tropes, other than the fact that the pilots are all in their 80s. They even stole some sound effects from GaoGaiGar.
    • It goes beyond that. This editor, seeing that clip in an AMV, originally assumed it to be from a Yuusha series, and it only clicked with him some time later that he'd seen it in an episode of Gun X Sword.
    • The similarities are parodied in Super Robot Wars K: El Dorado V's moveset is almost entirely based on GaoGaiGar's - even having a move called "Infierno y Cielo" - Spanish for "Hell and Heaven".
  • The titular RahXephon. Of course, it is God.
    • Of course, the rest of the mecha are also Super Robots (in the Evangelion sense of Super Robot).
  • Dancougar and Dancouga Nova.
  • The megadeuses of The Big O are all Super Robots. Notably, the megadeuses are much slower and bulkier than most Super Robots, and when a more traditional Super Robot shows up in one episode it's defeated in less time than it took to transform.
    • They're arguably Real Robots given how slow they are and showm they were used in a war in the past and have land, air and sea variants also their treatment as godlike in universe is because the world is After the End well, maybe, Mind Screw and all
  • All three entries in the Eldran series qualify, with the last series probably being the only show to ever exist where the mecha was literally made out of a school building.
  • Gekiganger 3, a Show Within a Show from Martian Successor Nadesico, is an Affectionate Parody of such Super Robot shows as Mazinger Z, Combattler V and Getter Robo.
  • The Near Future chapter of Live a Live has the Most-definately-not Gigantor Buriki Daioh (Great Tin King), which is powered by Psychic energy.
  • The Deus Machina from the Demonbane franchise, which are notable in particular for being Magitech super robots. The strongest form of the titular mech is also the largest super robot in the genre, dwarfing even the much more famous Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann by an order of magnitude. It gets so big it pops the universe it's in.
  • The titular Combining Mecha in Genesis of Aquarion and its sequel Aquarion Evol.
  • The Knightmare Frames in Code Geass start out as 100% Real Robots but, depending on who you ask, the rate of technological progression makes the main models creep closer and closer to what some fans consider Super Robot territory by the later half of the second season, though others are content to simply label these machines overpowered Super Prototypes.
  • Heroic Age certainly fits the category in spirit, at least. The Humongous Mecha used by the humans are generally more in the Real Robot class, being mass-produced vehicles with few, if any, extraordinary abilities, but the overall mood of the show is much more like the positive, optimistic outlook of Super Robot series than the cynical view of the Real Robot, with lots of credit to the Power of Love. The only thing barring the Nodos from classification as Super Robots is that they're...well, not robots. Though they do tend to have a distinctly mechanical vibe to their appearance, especially outside of Berserk Mode.
  • Six God Combination Godmars
  • Brigadoon: Marin And Melan has the three Gun-Swordsmen; Melan Blue, Pyon Silver, and Erin Garnet. They're partly organic, though, and none of them have pilots, though Melan regularly carries his human companion Marin with him into battle.
  • Bokurano: Zearth and the other dimensional robots of its kind. Athough since it's a series by Mohiro Kitoh, its cynicism is worth the idealism of any three idealistic Super Robot series at least.
  • Hades Project Zeorymer: Zeorymer of the Heavens itself is one of the few robots who could get away with the "Invincible" title being taken literally, if it used it. In the OVA, the only time it even so much as took damage was when it was missing its main power supply, and even that took a Yin-Yang Bomb Combination Attack from two other robots to so much as damage it. And said damage regenerated in no time at all. Of course, it wasn't exactly created to save the world. (At least in the OVA.)
  • Star Driver: The robots belong to a lost civilization, are named after Phoenician alphabets, and can only be operated by chosen drivers with special marks on their bodies. Completed with Calling Your Attacks and Color Coded for Your Convenience.

Comics[edit | hide]

Film[edit | hide]

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Power Rangers/Super Sentai: The various Zords cover most of these aspects all of the time, and a few specific ones depending on the exact season.
    • Denshi Sentai Denziman's Daidenjin was probably one of the more outstanding examples. Not only did it have all the moves of a Super Robot, it acted extremely sentient at times, often showing up when the Denjimen are in danger without being summoned. Plus, the backstory of the Daidenjin is quite long-winding. It's a combination of Lost Technology and Space tech from the Denji aliens.
  • The titular Super Robot Red Baron is one of the earlier examples, in Toku.

New Media[edit | hide]

  • The Platinum Blonde, a heroic android from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe started out as a Real Robot. After leaving her life as a Sex Bot and looking for the meaning of her existence, she tooled up, installed some over-the-top weapons systems, and started defending humanity.
    • Omega, from the same setting, is a Super Robot from the future whose goal is to wipe out all superhumans on Earth. He's a combination Expy of both Ultron and the Sentinels from Marvel Comics.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • The Super Robot Wars games, which (despite the name) mix both Super and Real Robot series freely, also have a number of original Super Robots, such as the transforming Grungust, the BFS-wielding Dygenguard, and the SRX, which is made of three Real Robots combined.
    • In addition to a plethora of Super Robots from other series. Mazingers and Getter Robo are perennial favorites.
    • One of the Banpresto originals (the Alt Eisen) is a Real Robot that thinks it's a Super Robot. The Valhawk, from W, is a Real Robot that combines with The Battlestar, the Valstork, to make a Super Robot.
      • Which then combines with another Mecha.... and another battleship to make an even Superer Robot
    • Of course, as far as super robots go, Super Robot Wars is oddly realistic about it, and most of the associated tropes tend to come from the originals hanging around the likes of Kouji Kabuto and Ryoma Nagare. Arguably the most "super" robot in the original universe is the Compatible Kaiser- a Combining Mecha piloted by a Hot-Blooded Ordinary High School Student filled with showy and physically implausible weaponry with little to no scientific explanation involved.
  • In one of Disgaea's "On the Next..." segments, Etna claims that the Prinnies are capable of combining into the Super Robot "Pringer X", which actually appears in the Animated Adaptation. Also, when Jennifer is kidnapped, a vague hint causes several characters to imagine her being transformed into a Humongous Mecha.
    • Pringer Z actually shows up in other games by the same team, most notably in Phantom Brave as the ultimate secret Bonus Boss. He's normal Prinny sized, but uses Super Robot weapons (including a towering column of flame that reaches SPACE'). However, in this series, a towering column of flame that reaches SPACE isn't all that impressive.
    • Another Nippon Ichi game, Makai Kingdom, has the Prinnies making a Robosuit in the bonus content, which is a shout out to the best armor in Disgaea and a stereotypical Super Robot. Arguably on the same page, there's also the Space Battleship Yoshitsuna, which is another shoutout to Disgaea—being the ultimate sword in that series, and the ultimate vehicle and hardest boss in this one. For extra Bonus Boss points, it's piloted by one Prinny Baal.
  • In Xenosaga, the ES units are clearly super robots, whereas standard AWMS units are closer to the real robot scale. The AWGS units in Xenosaga ep 1 would actually be Real Robots if not for the fact that they can materialize out of thin air using the UMN.
    • Then you have Erde Kaiser.
    • Likewise, the Omnigears of Xenogears are definitely super robots, along with several other Gears that fight on an Omnigear level (such as Weltall, Crescens, Seibzehn and the titular Xenogears). Many of the regular mook Gears are real robots, but anything a PC uses will be an Ace Custom at the least.
  • The Playstation 2 game Robot Alchemic Drive is built around this trope, putting the player in command of robots that can perform rocket punches, flying kicks, throw giant boomerangs, transform into various vehicles, and even teleport in an instant.
  • Ganbare Goemon has quite possibly the weirdest example by far, in the form of Goemon Impact. It's a giant clockwork robot that resembles Goemon himself, built by the Wise Man (or hailing from a planet inhabited by people resembling it), that must be summoned using a conch shell, can fire beams out of its mouth and nose, and happens to be entirely sentient.

Webcomics[edit | hide]

  • Adrastus is an alien robot hidden by the main character's family. It has rocket punches, beams, and an amazing mohawk.
  • Titanzer is equal parts parody and homage. Example: Johnny doesn't trust any robot's really dead unless it explodes. Linky

Web Original[edit | hide]

  • The eponymous Ilivais X and its fellow prototypes definitely fall in here. The GEKICOM units have implausible Elemental Powers, the STRUQ units are a massive Combining Mecha pastiche, and the Phonos Weapons are as a whole incredibly powerful and dangerous. X itself is more of a Deconstruction though. It's sentient and has its own agenda of sorts, has an unlimited source of energy that by it's very nature is just off, there's all sorts of parallels between it and Lucifer, and so on.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  1. For whatever reason, he almost never says "combine!" with Submarine Four.