Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Giant Robots that Combine to Make Even Bigger Robots!

Growing up, there seemed to be one staple of coolness throughout most of my childhood. Something that remained a constant theme of awesome whether it was animated, live action, or even if it's just a toy. There is something very special about Giant Robots in the eyes of a little boy. (Especially ones that combined with other robots to make even bigger robots!!!)

Voltron - 5 robot lions that combine to form a giant robot? HELL YEAH!!! This was one of the original shows to introduce the idea of robots combining together to make a giant robot. The story goes, a witch divided a giant robot into 5 lions and scattered them around this planet, Arus. When an evil King threatens to invade this world, 5 of their best pilots are sent in search of the lions. Threats to the planet would come in the form of Robeasts (monsters with robotic elements) which would wreak havoc on Arus before Voltron came to kick its ass! When summoned, these lions would come out from their different "environments" like the red lion would come out of a volcano and the blue lion out of the water. I remember watching this with my sister as a kid and even my cousins from Canada would have these toys. What is really interesting is that this show is adapted from a Japanese animated show (much like Power Rangers!) and was actually the third season of that show. (Also, kinda like Power Rangers) These guys not only defended Earth, they were Defenders of the Universe. Talk about epic.


Mighty Morphin Power Rangers - This show "carried on" the idea of combining robots to make a bigger, stronger robot. Funny that by this time I would be a little older even though the American Power Rangers series is adapted from the Japanese Super Sentai series, which also happened to be the 16th season of their show in Japan. I followed this show from the first episode, which talked about a group of 5 teenagers bestowed with the power to fight evil. This time, their robots resemble different dinosaurs called "Zords" and combine to make the "Megazord".

Form Blazing Sword...?

The show later added a 6th Power Ranger, who commanded his own Dragonzord, which would form various combinations with the Megazord including one with a carrierzord named Titanus. (A brontosaurus looking dinozord that combines to make the Ultrazord!!!)

"Ultrazord, POWER UP!!!"

Of course with each subsequent season, the Power Rangers would each get their own versions of the Megazord related to whatever theme each season had. This show pretty much cemented the idea of robots combining to make stronger robots into the imaginations of every little boy for generations to come.


Transformers (toys/TV show) - One show during the 80's, that was supported by a full line of toys, helped bring every little boy's imagination to life. Unlike with the first two examples, where they were successful shows that might've come out with toys as part of their merchandising. This was an example where Hasbro started a line of toys that were so popular, it got a show of its own. Matching the success of the toys, this made the perfect marketing combo and forever sealed its place in pop culture history.

Random pic I found online of someone's collection

Watching these robots on the TV was cool, but actually having something in your hand that you could play with and make up your own storyline for was like see those robots come to life. I'm sure that even when they stopped playing the show, people were still buying the toys because they were just so damn cool!!! They've had multiple revivals of the show since, but in the late 90's, one particular sequel was popular amongst a younger generation. One that told the story of the Maximals in their fight to keep the powerful Energon crystals out of the claws of the evil Predacons, this was none other than the Beast Wars saga. This was the big come back for Transformers at the time. The original series from the 80's was no longer airing so to make them relevant again, they made a new show, with a line of toys to boot, and changed them from vehicles to beasts (animals, insects, and even dinosaurs!) Although I wasn't crazy about the look of the primitive CGI designed show, this series definitely gave kids growing up in the 90's a reason to love Transformers all over again.

Beast Wars - Maximals

Then of course, there were the movies by Michael Bay in the 2000's followed by a new show on Cartoon Network. Both of which has brought Transformers back in full force!!! Even if the kids have never seen the movies or any of the shows, I'm sure they've played with the toys at the very least. Thus making Transformers a household name that every kid is familiar with.

Gundam (toys/anime) - Based off the Japanese anime, the models are what sticks out the most in my mind when I think Gundam. Even though the anime is wildly popular in its own rights, I never watched any of the seven different series and it wasn't until the Internet became more popular that I heard about people actually watching the anime. The models, however, are an entirely different story. Since I was young I've seen the models on display, and while I've never owned any myself, I can tell you that just walking by a display as a kid just puts your imagination into overdrive.

Tell me that wouldn't stop you in your tracks!

I think the fact that you can't play with them, yet they look so friggin' cool, forces your imagination to find a better outlet for the robo-awesome to escape. I know I had a great time just looking at them, but I can't imagine how disappointing it must've been for any kid who begged their parents to buy them one of these only to find it in a million pieces when they got home.

Spider Slayers - From the 90's Spider-Man cartoon series that aired on Fox Kids, 3 robotic Spider Slayers were built to kill Spider-Man. Designed after natural enemies of the spider, the first slayer that was sent came in the form of a Black Widow.


After this robot was dispatched, a larger Tarantula was sent after Spider-Man.


 Finally, a Scorpion was sent after Spider-Man but even that robot failed against Spider-Man.


The best part? They all combine to form the ultimate Spider Slayer.


Essentially, they all just stack on top of one another, it's not like they go through any complicated transformation or anything. I do remember having this toy as a kid though and they barely resembled the ones in the show. Spider-Man toys seemed to do that a lot. I mean, I had the original Megazord as a kid. Hell, I had a bunch of the Megazords over time, but every one of them looked EXACTLY like they did in the show!!! Why were Spider-Man toys the exception? I also had a Man-Spider action figure from when his DNA was mutating out of control and he grew some extra arms and became a giant spider. The toy looked cool in its own right, but looked VERY different than the character in the show. I think that was the first time I'd seen that. Anyway, back to the show. I believe these Spider Slayers only appeared in two of the episodes but that was obviously enough for them to make a toy for it.


There must've been demand for it, I mean, look at this thing!!! Three different robots that connect, what little kid wouldn't want something like this??

Mechagodzilla (Godzilla) - Last but not least, one of the most influential giant robots from my childhood, Mechagodzilla, otherwise known as Kiryu in Japan. The first time I saw him, it was on my aunt's small black and white TV during a monster movie marathon they were playing on either SyFy channel (then "Sci-Fi") or TNT's MonsterVision. Mechagodzilla first appears disguised as Godzilla and begins attacking the city. Anguirus shows up to stop him but gets his jaw ripped off!!! (As a kid, I couldn't believe what I saw!)

This is just a toy but that's how he originally looked

In another fight, Godzilla's fighting Mechagodzilla when he grabs Mecha-G in a headlock and rips his head off. Underneath is a lightbulb looking head (kinda like Tom Servo from MST3K) and the robot continued to deal damage before finally getting shutdown by the Big G. While I realize Mechagodzilla doesn't really combine with another robot to become stronger, he does go through a couple changes and I thought he was worth mentioning. At one point in the series, they give him shoulder cannons. I believe the humans had control of him at this point and was using him as a weapon in the defense against Godzilla.


And finally, he gets decked out with all these new weapons and they call him Super Mechagodzilla. Super BAD ASS!!!


Also, another character maybe worth mentioning from Godzilla would be Moguera. Just for the fact that he's another giant robot. Moguera doesn't combine with any other robots either so I won't say much about him.

Moguera

There are TONS of other video games, anime, and cartoons that I'm sure I didn't get a chance to cover. There would just be too many, you could probably start an entire blog on giant robots alone. Also, I wanted to touch on these because they were the ones that I remembered most from my childhood. I hope all of you enjoyed reading this and realized why you thought giant robots were always cool.

==== UPDATE! ===

Check out part 2 for more combining robots!

http://theretrospectivegeek.blogspot.com/2015/07/combining-to-make-bigger-robots-part-2.html