Created By: wanderlustwarriorSeptember 6, 2011 Last Edited By: wanderlustwarriorOctober 1, 2011
Troped

Leader Forms The Head

The Hero or leader of a combining mecha forms the head and/or torso

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope

Index: Mecha Tropes, Ensembles, Five Man Band, Authority Tropes

Tags: Needs More Examples, Rolling Updates, No Launching Please


Y'all can do the treading
I'll form the head!
MC Frontalot (Feat. Dr. Awkward and Zealous 1): "I'll Form The Head"

Combining Mecha tend to combine in a humanoid form. It's easier for people to follow, and it's easier for the guys to get fitting rubber suits. When mecha combine, the parts will more or less match up with limbs, and it doesn't really matter what goes where.

Except when it does.

The "face" and/or torso are special parts of the combined form. They're the most identifiable, and they're generally where the cockpit is. It's why we have special importance for the locations of our brain and heart. So with mecha, the part that is most important will be formed by the personal mecha of the most important character, generally The Hero, or a spotlight stealing variety of Sixth Ranger. Because the position is special but can only be handed to one, expect Headbutting Heroes or Vitriolic Best Buds to compete for the lead position.

At this trope's strongest, the mecha of The Hero can be humanoid on its own, and the others will form a larger body by way of a Mecha Expansion Pack, thus an overlap with Meta Mecha. At its strangest, The Hero doesn't form the head, but it gets double subverted by having the part that does look suspiciously matching to the mecha of The Hero.

Thanks to the Law Of Chromatic Superiority, this leads to a lot of ensemble mechas being a bit red in the face. Also, compare the color patters on an All Your Colors Combined attack. The main character's color illogically in the middle? This will probably be in effect when the robots show up.

Examples:

Anime And Manga
  • Trope Namer comes from a particularly memetic line in Voltron.
  • Played with in Gurren Lagann. The Aragorn Kamina makes Simon's Ganmen the (second) head. All along, Kamina had been setting Simon up to be a true hero. However, as Kamina was still the leader at this point, his ganmen forms everything but the head of the combined ganmen, has its own head on its torso, and the combined ganmen has his trademark sunglasses on both faces.
    • Simon, The Hero, takes the head position in his mini-mech, while the torso is taken by his Lancer, whoever that is at the time. In larger combinations, when Lagann takes over a larger mech such as the Dai-Gunzen or the Cathedral Terra, his original mech is always located within the head of the resulting gigantic mech.
  • The Big O episode 18 "The Greatest Villain". When Beck and his henchmen form their giant mecha RX3, the part Beck is controlling becomes the head. Watch it here.

Live Action TV
  • All over the place in Super Sentai and Power Rangers. Major examples from the seasons known in America as the Zordon Era include the Red Ranger being the head, followed by the Sixth Ranger taking all or some and forming another Megazord.
    • In MMPR / Ninja Sentai Kakuranger, when neither the Red or White rangers was the head or torso of the Ninja Megazord, the "Pink" Crane Ninjazord that formed the head was exclusively equal parts red and white.
    • In Power Rangers Zeo / Chouriki Sentai Ohranger: almost the entire Megazord is either blue, black or gold, as the Blue, Pink and Yellow rangers zords are mosly blue with gold accents. However, the Red ranger's zord, which is only visible from the back and looks ridiculously out of place, makes up the head and the cockpit. the Zeo Megazord had interchangeable helmets. The Red Phoenix helmet would usually be on top, but this trope would be invoked again when another team member had a feature episode, by swapping out with their helmet to finish off the enemy.

Western Animation
  • As expected, Megas XLR parodies this in. The Glorft's UMD is a combining mecha made from other combining mecha, repeated for a couple of cycles. At its final stage, It is completed by Gorrath's personal mech docking in the center. Without Gorrath's part, it doesn't seem to be useable at all, enforced when he leaves the battlefield, and the dozens to hundreds of mechs and pilots that also made up the UMD. Gorrath having a Never My Fault mentality, all of this to be expected.
    • In Sentai parody episode "The Bad Guy", the "S-Force Super Ultra Dimensional Magno Extreme Robotoid Power Zorp" is equal parts Voltron (combining) and Super Sentai (theme), with the Red Falcon at the head. Later, Coop literally forms a new mecha by sliding/smashing Megas' limbs into their robots and slapping the bird on his back. When in fights, it becomes noticeable how uncomfortable it would be to be in a limb. The actual episode's bad guy finds this treatment disrespectful to his nemeses, and of course loves it.
  • In The Venture Bros., when JJ Venture's team spoofed Voltron with the "Ventronic." Complete with the "I form the <Limb>" exclamations. The combined form had two heads, the one formed from JJ's robot, and the "left arm" clown head, shaped in a way to be recognizable and comfortable to their mentally handicapped friend Ned. Instead of just putting the clown head on top, they wound up with a stubby, useless arm, not too dissimilar to JJ himself.

Other Media
  • Transformers does this across all of its media.
    • In the Unicron Trilogy Powerlinx has whichever Transformer is on top be in control.
    • Beast Wars' Magnaboss has Prowl, the lion (whole bunch of leader archetype imagery there) form the face and center of the torso, but pretty much every other visible part comes from Ironhide to compensate for that. This results in Ironhide being rather confusingly built in his standalone form.
    • In the comics, G1's Dinobots force a combiner out of themselves, Beast, which is intentionally poorly designed, with everyone else just grafted on to Grimlock's beast mode form.
    • Partially averted in the "Scramble City type" Combiners[[hottip:*:which exist across multiple media, but this is mostly noticeable in the toys]], where the hands, feet and head may come from extra parts in the toy (out of nowhere in the cartoon) The leader of most teams is the torso. Limbs are thus completely interchangeable, between arrangement and even whole transformers (Scramble Power). In some cases, the leader of a team may actually be in one of those limbs, and thus the combined form could be configured without them.
  • Parodied by MC Frontalot in a song entitled, what else, "I'll Form The Head". Turquoise and "Lightish Red" argue why they should be the ones to form the head, Pink because he's the most qualified and Turquoise for ...other reasons. Gold actually offers them turns, as long as they get the job done. They don't.

Community Feedback Replies: 32
  • September 6, 2011
    FastEddie
    Needs a non-dialog name.
  • September 6, 2011
    X2X
    Also (sorry for the nitpicking), I believe you're using Designated Hero a bit too literally here. The trope is about a hero with little-to-no redeemable qualities and is rarely better than the villains he fights against not a character designated as The Hero.
  • September 6, 2011
    wanderlustwarrior
    Ah, my bad.
  • September 7, 2011
    Prfnoff
    Swapped the title to the suggested alternate title and un-discarded.
  • September 7, 2011
    wanderlustwarrior
    ...this was discarded at some point within the last couple hours?
  • September 7, 2011
    Prfnoff
    Fast Eddie discarded it, probably because he didn't like the title. (And I forgot that changing the title no longer makes Voltron the Trope Namer. The meme wasn't worth having it as a title, though.)
  • September 7, 2011
    Justin_Brett
    Inverted in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagaan, where Kamina turns Simon's Ganmen into the head of his.
  • September 8, 2011
    CommanderPanda
    ^ But Kamina is a Bait And Switch Hero anyways, Simon's the protagonist of the story.
  • September 9, 2011
    wanderlustwarrior
    Read what I put down in the main part itself.
  • September 9, 2011
    Otakukun
    Voltron Force subverts this. "And I'll Form the Head" as the page quote

    Power Ragers and Super Setai
  • September 9, 2011
    SamArronax
    For the record, they also did this in an episode of the Venture Bros. called "The Trial of the Monarch" with Mecha-Shiva in the boy's version of the story.
  • September 9, 2011
    CommanderPanda
    ^ And again when JJ Venture's team spoofed Voltron with the "Ventronic." Complete with the "I form the <Limb>" exclamations.
  • September 9, 2011
    Arivne
    • The Big O episode 18 "The Greatest Villain". When Beck and his henchmen form their giant mecha RX3, the part Beck is controlling becomes the head. Watch it here.
  • September 9, 2011
    wanderlustwarrior
    @Otakukun:Those examples were already there.

    Mecha-Shiva isn't an example (partnership, no leader), but Ventronic would.
  • September 9, 2011
    elwoz
    Parodied by MC Frontalot in a song entitled, what else, "I'll Form The Head".
  • September 9, 2011
    Generality
    Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is a straight example, although the Gurren Lagann is only two parts. Simon, The Hero, takes the head position in his mini-mech, while the torso is taken by his Lancer, whoever that is at the time. In larger combinations, when Lagann takes over a larger mech such as the Dai-Gunzen or the Cathedral Terra, his original mech is always located within the head of the resulting gigantic mech.
  • September 9, 2011
    CommanderPanda
    I love the expansion you made on the Ventronic example. :)
  • September 9, 2011
    wanderlustwarrior
    It was something I noticed on the wikia, while I was looking up if Mecha-Sheva had the same face as Dean.

    And I love the song Elwoz put up. Catchy as hell.

    So I think we've got everything but more examples, with some more hats I could launch this at any time.
  • September 9, 2011
    Stratadrake
    Hmm ... I have to propose merging this as a footnote under Combining Mecha rather than tossing a hat. Argument number one is that every potential example of this is already covered by Combining Mecha anyway, which means we are more or less duplicating examples.
  • September 9, 2011
    wanderlustwarrior
    Sub trope, related trope, part of the index of Mecha Tropes, also a specific authority trope. By your same logic, we shoudln't have Mecha Expansion Pack or Meta Mecha either. Also, Combining Mecha is long enough as it is.
  • September 9, 2011
    Stratadrake
    ^ Strawman.

    I do realize that when you compare to Combining Mecha this trope is not chairs territory but Seen It A Million Times territory -- that's what I'm worried over.
  • September 9, 2011
    wanderlustwarrior
    All three are distinct subtropes.
  • September 10, 2011
    Stratadrake
    I'm not convinced that this is a distinct subtrope though -- Meta Mecha and Mecha Expansion Pack are not Seen It A Million Times Mecha Tropes, which is why it's a strawman argument to cite them. For one, they tend to be added in later seasons (because the mecha itself has become So Last Season). When the Leader Forms The Head, it happens right from the outset, right from the very first Transformation Sequence.
  • September 17, 2011
    wanderlustwarrior
    Bump. Remember that this isn't just that a combining mecha has a head, it's that there's a leadership/personality aspect to the appearance of it.
  • September 25, 2011
    wanderlustwarrior
    Bump.
  • September 28, 2011
    wanderlustwarrior
    I'm trying to edit the laconic and description. Does anyone know why it's not letting me?
  • September 28, 2011
    Stratadrake
    No idea, works for me.
  • September 28, 2011
    randomsurfer
  • September 28, 2011
    wanderlustwarrior
    Ah, it seems the wiki only hates me for trying to edit the Laconic.
  • October 1, 2011
    wanderlustwarrior
    Bump, so I can launch this soon. I could also use more examples in other kinds of media, if we have any.
  • October 1, 2011
    wanderlustwarrior
    One more hat!

    More examples, please!
  • October 1, 2011
    wanderlustwarrior
    Launching! Please add examples to the page when you can!

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable