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


(permanent link) added: 2011-09-06 20:40:31 sponsor: wanderlustwarrior (last reply: 2011-10-01 21:17:33)

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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 & 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.

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