Created By: Kiereth on January 26, 2013 Last Edited By: morenohijazo on December 6, 2013

Hybrid Robot

Humongous Mecha halfway between Super and Real

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Trope
Many Real Robot works exhibit elements of the Super Robot genre they came from, but some works are a true blending of the two genres. Usually, this is either when harder science fiction is applied to a Super Robot work, or when a work contains two distinct sets of Humongous Mecha that are different visually, and thematically from one another.

The two flavors this comes in are:

First, we have Real Super Robot. Essentially, a Super Robot show (where robots are rare and treated exclusively as superheroes and supervillains) that contains little to none of the mystification or magic (or quasi-magic) surrounding the Super Robot genre. It fills in the plot holes about, say, how the robot is repaired, where it goes when it's not used, and either explains or mostly discards the robot's sentience, a key part of the Super Robot genre. Often, Type 1 shows place the robot under the command of a military or paramilitary organization, and are deployed along with other, more conventional weapons. And often, these "Real-Super" Robots follow the laws of physics much better than their more fantastical counterparts, showing a weight in their movements that better fits their size and scale.

The other is the Hybrid Robot World. The show's universe contains mass-produced robots that may or may not be Ace Customs or Super Prototypes, but in addition, it contains one or more robots with a different origin entirely. These seem as though they could be Super Robots in another show. Empathic Weapons are a huge tip that a Real Robot show is actually this.

NOTE: Simply having Super Prototypes or Ace Customs that can go far above and beyond the capabilities of the average robot does not make a work a Hybrid Robot World. The robots must be markedly different in origin and design from the normal robots. And when an otherwise Real Robot work displays the escalation of weapon power to ridiculous Super Robot levels, that is not this trope. That is a Lensman Arms Race.

Examples:

  • Neon Genesis Evangelion - Real-Super Robot. Super in that the robots are capable of unrealistic feats and respond to the pilots' emotions, but there are hard and fast reasons for these phenomena. The show never lets you forget how completely gigantic the Evas and Angels are, and the Evas are deployed and maintained by the paramilitary organization NERV under the jurisdiction of United Nations bureaucrats. They are "real-world" weapons platforms created to do the duty of a classic Super Robot.
  • Eureka Seven - Hybrid Robot World. The LFOs are machines through and through, but the two Nirvash robots alone seem to be alive and respond to the pilots' emotions. This is because, far from being Super Prototypes, they are sentient aliens wrapped in metal upon which the LFO's were based.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann - Hybrid Robot World. The Grapearls are humanoid, can fly, and are capable of impressive firepower, but they are powered by mundane fuel sources, while the Ganmen are Empathic Weapons powered by their Hot-Blooded pilots' Spiral Energy.
  • Super Dimension Fortress Macross - Hybrid Robot World. While nearly all of the robots, even the Ace Custom Zentradi powered armor and Valkyries, are treated as mobile weapons platforms, with the pilot's skill accounting for most of their battle prowess, the titular Macross, built, not by humans, but by a mysterious alien race, often shows a mind of its own. Also, with its MASSIVE humanoid form and its two Finishing Moves, the Main Guns and the shield-powered Destroid punch, it comes across as a larger-than-life (in more ways than one) figure in an otherwise more classical Space Opera.
  • Pacific Rim - Real-Super Robot. The Jaegers seem to be owned and operated by an international military organization involving America, Japan, Australia, China, and Russia, and they are regularly seen being repaired and maintained in the trailer alone. Yet, at the same time, the synopsis states that the fact that the main characters are able to pilot Gipsy Danger and use it effectively is noteworthy, and the robot itself seems to be treated like a hero. The movie poster itself makes it clear: Gipsy Danger is the real star here.
Community Feedback Replies: 38
  • January 27, 2013
    Arivne
    Corrected the spelling on a couple of Wiki Words to change them to Blue Links and Namespaced the examples.

    Note that all of the examples are Zero Context Examples and need more information to be valid.
  • January 27, 2013
    Khantalas
    I would wait for the TRS effort to separate the robots from the genres to go through before working on this, since at least two examples seem to be "Super Robot in Real Robot Genre''.
  • January 27, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    Well.... the definition of the Trope could swing both ways. It could be (and most typically is) a Super Robot in a Real Robot setting (or a Super Robot with some Real Robot tropes used on it, at least at first) like the Evangelions, or it could be a Real Robot on a Super Robot setting (and for some reason, technically speaking, Rock Beats Laser).

    The definition as is sounds good, any case. And yeah, the examples need some additional explanation as to why they are 'Hybrid Robot' series, if the Trope is to lift off.

    Gundam Wing could also fit here, possibly, as well. The whole setting starts off as a standard Gundam 'War Of Earthly Aggression' setting, and then the Gundams appear and no effort is made to conceal that, by the setting's standards, they ARE Super Robots (the 'Gundanium' alloy they are made of may as well be Adamantium by the way they speak of it, and the robots just get more Super-y with each Mid-Season Upgrade).

    Also we could possibly add 'Martian Successor Nadesico' to this thing. The whole setting plays with (to the point it occasionally shanks) Super Robot tropes just to lampshade the fact that thinking 'Super Robot' in 'Real Robot' settings makes you Wrong Genre Savvy to the point of being Too Dumb To Live.

    The final aesop of the series even is (and they break the fourth wall to do this) 'don't take Anime too damn seriously'-this after a freaking ATTEMPTED INVASION by... shall we say.... Space Trolls (can't really think of a proper Internet term, but you get the idea).
  • January 27, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    OK.... expanding on the examples of the series I know. I am pretty sure that I am not using the best examples and the like-sorry about that:

    -Cthulhutech: It's 'Neon Genesis Evangelion' meets Lovecraft with some 'Macross'. The First Archanotech War was pretty much 'Macross' played (cynically) straight, but It Got Worse when the Nazzadi turned to the Human side, with the Migou coming to Earth to finish the job (when nothing of the sort obviously happened in Macross).

    Then the cults and the Megacorporations led by the Elder Gods come out of the woodwork and wage war or corrupt society from within, and even with the clearly-Super Robot Engels on humanity's side, what was a pretty grim-looking war already is just appearing like the typical Lovecraft tale-that is, Humanity being pretty much screwed.

    -Code Geass: It starts as a Real Robot setting proper, but really quickly a Lensman Arms Race is triggered as the top scientists of both POV factions just try to out-do each other's achievements (the fact that the both of them are borderline sociopaths DOES NOT helps in any way). The immense amounts of political and familial intrigue and the fact that a good deal of the cast is a Byronic Hero in some level just makes things outrageously cynical.

    The final battle of the series has each named character using a Super Robot to beat the hell out of each other, while inside of the floating fortress-ship that the 'heroes' would normally be raiding a la Death Star, the Byronic (arguably Nominal) Anti-Hero and the flat-out villain are fighting to see who rules the world.

    -Mobile Suit Gundam 00: Like 'Gundam Wing', it starts as a 'normal' Real Robot setting-up until the Gundams show up, packing technology leaps and bounds ahead of anything that any of the other factions can bring to bear and curb-stomping anything that they fight (although, as is demonstrated later on, better tactics can make the Gundams be in trouble).

    Lots of political intrigue and cynicism (not to mention the question that, when you're the series' hero, your actions should or should not be interpreted as 'terrorism') abound, with many members of the secondary cast torn apart by the collateral damage (and some getting somewhat pointless deaths that the main characters) and halfway through the first season and the second season, a Lensman Arms Race ensuing.

    -Rahxephon: Super Robot series, but it throws a whole lot of Super Robot concepts on its ear (one good example would be when Ayato finds the typical 'I will defend my friend-slash-possible Love Interest' resolve. He fights a Dolem with said resolve... and unknowing to him, the Dolem is linked to said friend-slash-possible Love Interest. He beats her to death through the sympathetic damage. Ouch).

    -Neon Genesis Evangelion: This is the series that started (or at least made popular) the whole concept of deconstructing typical Mecha series tropes that lasted well into the 2000's (with 'Teppen Tonga Gurren Lagann' being arguably the moment when Reconstruction was well and truly popular-and that series you could argue *still* deconstructs some stuff).

    The Evangelions are Super Robots (the Real Robot things they have being there to *restrain* the Super Robot-ness), but the whole cast is deep in Dysfunction Junction (and getting out a bit during the 'Action' Arc, only to go *even deeper* by the end of the series) and being just pawns, neither faction really being out to save the world (except possibly for the JSSDF, but they are a Redshirt Army and Hufflepuff House-and during EOE, Just Following Orders of the Bigger Bad), the 'invading aliens' remain pretty damn mysterious in the series proper (with any (arguably canon) answers provided by either print material or Japan-only game releases)....
  • January 28, 2013
    Kiereth
    After some re-evaluation, I took out Rah Xephon (too far to the Super side) and added The Big O. I also added example descriptions.

    I may not have put it well enough, but it's basically this: it's not fully Real, but not fully Super either. That's it.
  • January 28, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    Still think that 'Gundam Wing' fits here somehow (Real setting with the Gundams being virtually Super Robots and triggering an arms race as a result (hard to say that it's Lensman or not, though)).

    '00' is pretty much an actualised 'Wing'-with some amount of deconstruction of it and the 'SEED' series as well.

    Dunno if 'SEED' and 'SEED Destiny' would fit here as well. It is a 'Real Robot' setting-but the barrage of crazy-ass robots (of which each main character has at least one-and several of them *nuclear-powered*) and mass destruction super-weapons (which *start* at nukes and escalate to planet-devastating super-lasers) that appear on each series from about the mid-point to the end just scream 'Lensman Arms Race'.

    Rahxephon could still fit here-possibly. Things get pretty cynical during the latter part of the series (mentioned one example already).
  • January 28, 2013
    Kiereth
    I haven't seen Gundam Wing, so I wouldn't know. Though, since you mention SEED... I have played Super Robot Wars J, and I know from that that he has some sort of ability-boosting power called "SEED", so... that might have something to do with the trope.

    Feel free to edit in the example if you think it fits. I mean, all too often have I seen on a page, "Crosses over into Super Robot", or "but feels distinctly Real Robot". I just thought that it should be a trope. To be honest, Gundams as a whole might even fit, due to being profound examples of Impossibly Graceful Giant.
  • January 28, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    OK, I know this is a stupid question, but... .I thought that only the original poster could change the primary post with the examples or something.

    Another question: does 'Martian Successor Nadesico' fits here? It is (mostly) a Real Robot series, but it plays fast and loose (and rather deconstructive) with Super Robot tropes (the Hot Blooded pilot with the Go Nagai Sideburns gets simply shot dead on the third episode (when he wanted at least a Heroic Sacrifice in battle), lots of political intrigue and behind-the-scenes backstabbing, some Karma Houdinis, lots of tension, etc).

    On the other hand, the titular ship IS a Super Prototype crewed by a Rag-Tag Bunch of Misfits, and the moment certain things are discovered (the 'Boson Jump' technology which can transport someone through space and time, the fact that the Big Bads are a bunch of colonists from a future Mars which are (quite misguidedly) following the morality of an old Anime series (which, lo and behold, the main characters are fans of as well)), some Super Robot tropes are played straight.

    On the series' appearances on the 'Super Robot Wars' games, the fact that a lot of the cast are Mecha Anime fans even gives them a large amount of Genre Savvy.
  • January 28, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    Made some modifications to the main entry.

    One thing that needs be asked: the original 'Gundam' series is what created the 'Real Robot' Genre, but there are a great many things on it that *still* scream 'Super Robot' (lots of 'Monster of the Week' episodes, the Gundam having the Core Fighter (and technically being a Combining/Transforming Mecha)...

    ... or would that be better off chalked to Early Instalment Weirdness?
  • January 29, 2013
    Kiereth
    For Nadesico: I haven't seen the show, but I understand from playing the SRW game that it includes enemies that look like the mecha from the Show Within A Show, Gekiganger. The attitudes would count, were it not that, in-canon, they're treated like the ideals of silly fantasy at least, that's what I understand).

    For Gundam: Even still, it would still make it count as "something halfway between the two".
  • January 29, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    For Nadesico: I mentioned some stuff on a previous post. It is pretty 'Real' and cynical and kicks the crap out of Super Robot Tropes a lot (ex.: Gai), but it still plays a few unapologetically straight (the Nadesico IS a Super Prototype, and the crew ARE a Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits -although the argument could be made that it's a Necessary Weasel ). The appearance of the 'Boson Jump' technology and the fact that the Jovians are not 'lizards' but a bunch of futuristic Otaku working on misguided beliefs... well...

    It's hard to tell. Does a show that talks about Super Robot Tropes and then showcases This Is Reality on them and then goes on to talk about Timey Wimey Ball insanity with a combination of lampshading and deadpan a hybrid or just weird?

    On the SRW side of things, the fact that most of the cast are Super Robot fans DO gives them a big amount of Genre Savvy , though...

    Thanks for resolving my conundrum about the original 'Gundam', BTW.
  • January 29, 2013
    Kiereth
    If that's the case, Nadesico wouldn't count, since it doesn't play too many Super Robot tropes straight. That's a better way of putting it - I'll edit the description.
  • January 30, 2013
    Larkmarn
    I really don't like the whole idea of "it's real, except that the robots are too advanced" thing. As long as they're not doing things that could never be possible (teleportation, etc) I don't think that being exceedingly high performance mecha that result from the Lensman Arms Race makes it any closer to a Super Robot show in this regard. Especially when they get handwaved by a Minovsky Particle or relatively reasonable Unobtainium.

    Also the notion that a deconstruction of a Super Robot show turns it into... not a super robot show doesn't make much sense.
  • January 30, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    Well, some examples are doing things that are not thought to be possible within the universe itself (Gundam 00 has the titular robot pulling off teleportation and even FTL flight on The Movie, for example... or on 'Big O', the Megaduses are Lost Technology and impossible to replicate (the only time someone tries to make a Humongous Mecha of his own, it's showcased as a pretty quick gag and an Anti Climax). There are things which ARE 'realistic' (the fact they obey the Square Cube Law, for example) about them, but from the POV of the universe, they are 'Super').

    Placing something here is pretty much on the eye of the beholder, actually. The definition is still pretty sound.

    Either it's a Real Robot show but it does things which throw the 'realism' out the window, or it's a Super Robot show but there's so many Real Robot tropes on it that the only thing that could be considered 'Super' is that it's got giant robots.
  • January 30, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Hadn't seen 00, but that sound like something we can actually agree on. And Big O I would honestly just consider a Super Robot plain and simple.

    A super robot being slow and a real robot being fast does not make then genre busting.

    ... and nothing obeys the Square-Cube law. Even Real Robot shows, even Big O. It's an Acceptable Break From Reality but it is still a break from reality.

    And if Deconstructions of a work are no longer part of the same genre by merit of being a Deconstruction then that's... well, that's just a little silly, don't you think? Imagine applying it across the board. It's an odd and unreasonable notion.
  • January 30, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    Well... there is another 'Hybrid Robot' YKTTW page here.

    Maybe join them somehow?
  • February 1, 2013
    Kurosambei
    All of this is way too vague. Yeah, it's a combination of Real Robot and Super Robot tropes, but what combination? Personally, I'd define two different types of Hybrid Robot:

    Type 1 is where you have a robot that, while it acts like a Super Robot (i.e. fights monsters, is strangely alive, protects the innocent, etc.), is maintained and repaired by a regular staff, potentially controlled by a military, and treated like a weapon of war, as in Evangelion.

    Type 2 is where an otherwise Real Robot setting contains one or more robots that, beyond standing apart from the Mook robots, exhibit Super Robot traits like empathic weapons, a kind of spirit of their own, and a connection with their pilots that goes beyond the somatic, as in Eureka Seven.

    I wouldn't know how to change the examples, but essentially, I'd use this definition because it would keep Gundam, the progenitor franchise of the Real Robot genre, from being considered NOT a Real Robot show. Then again, if the above replies are correct, the original Gundam series would count as Type 1.
  • February 1, 2013
    morenohijazo
    ^^^ Yeah, I thought it had already been launched.

    EDIT: I've found this one, but it's a stub.

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=8tvd7m2sdmh57l4xddtz6ys1&trope=DiscardedYKTTW
  • February 1, 2013
    Kiereth
    I've added Kurosambei's suggestions to change the description. If anyone want to clean it up a bit, go ahead. I'm new to this whole description-writing bit.
  • February 1, 2013
    Kurosambei
    I'm going to further elaborate on my definitions here.

    Type 1 is, essentially, a Super Robot show (robots are rare, treated exclusively as superheroes and supervillains) that fills in the plot holes about, say, how the robot is repaired, where it goes when it's not used, and either fully explains or completely discards the robot's sentience. Basically, a demystified Super Robot show.

    Mobile Suit Gundam is Type 1 if, as was stated earlier, the series had a Monster of the Week format with the various Zeon mobile suits. However, this may not be the case. I have to watch Gundam to find out.

    As for Type 2, no Gundam series, save possibly Mobile Fighter G Gundam, falls into this category. Having an Ace Custom or Super Prototype is not enough for a work, i.e. any of the given Gundam series, to be considered a Hybrid Robot series.

    Don't think about Gundam, think about Eureka Seven, in which the Nirvash typeZERO and typeTHE END are Empathic Weapons and sentient creatures amongst robots that are little more than mobile suits.

    Or Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, which places the Ganmen, Empathic Weapons that run on the passion of their Hot Blooded pilots, amongst the Grapearls, mass-produced Real Robots.

    The key to Type 2 is that the Super Robots in the show are a different beast entirely from the Real Robots in the show, not just a super-variant constructed from more advanced technology or something similar.

    Essentially, if the Gundam franchise at large, the Trope Codifier for Real Robot shows, can be considered this, the definition needs to change.
  • February 1, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    AFAIK, at least at the beginning the original MSG had a Type 1 feeling. It eventually evolved into the whole 'War Is Hell' thing that we know of.

    And also, while the Gundam franchise at large IS have Real Robot played straight (the most advanced robots being Awesome But Impractical, the works). At least Wing, SEED and Double-0 could be considered Hybrid because, well, they play more Super Robot things straight (example being Double-0 again: the Minovsky Particle is pretty much a Green Lantern Ring by the end of the second season ('advances human evolution if exposed to a lot of it' is just NOT 'Real Robot') and on The Movie it has short-range teleporting and on the final scenes produces FTL flight. Also, an Alien Invasion! A first for the franchise, even (the original 'Gundam SEED ' implied the existence of aliens with the Space Whale fossil, but aside from that...).

    Mobile Fighter G Gundam is a Type 1 hybrid-but it seriously leans towards Super Robot.
  • February 1, 2013
    Kurosambei
    See, even though in Mobile Fighter G Gundam the Gundams are owned by countries, they still appear and disappear at the pilots' whims without any explanation. I would actually hesitate to call it Type 1.

    And as for SEED, Wing, and 00, soft sci-fi alone like the Minovsky Particle doesn't seem like it would make a show Type 1. Simply being better or special does not make a Real Robot into a Super Robot among Real Robots. Nor does being REALLY special or A LOT better.
  • February 1, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    OK, so with the Trope rearranged, we need more examples.
  • February 1, 2013
    Kurosambei
    If people want to modify this, I'll explain:

    I was working from the following assumptions to come up with this definition of a Hybrid Robot:

    1. If the Gundam franchise, the progenitor of the Real Robot genre in anime, fits under the definition of Hybrid Robot, the definition must be changed. Gundam must be Real Robot.

    2. Neon Genesis Evangelion must count as a Hybrid Robot show.

    3. Dark Super Robot shows, such as The Big O, are not by default Hybrid Robot shows.

    4. The relative power of certain robots and the Lensman Arms Race does not make a Real Robot show into this. The "super" robots must be more than special to make a work Type 2. They must be approached from a different angle entirely, and often piloted and treated in a different way, than the Real Robots in the show.
  • February 2, 2013
    morenohijazo
  • February 2, 2013
    RedBuster
    Various Tokusatsu Shows are Type 1, Super Sentai Mechas (Pre-Zyuranger, Ohranger, Carranger, Megaranger, Gogo V, Timeranger, Hurricanger, Dekaranger, Boukenger and Go-Busters) same Tomica Hero series, Ultraman Mechas (Windam, Jean-Bot, Jean-Nine and others...) and Super Star Gods series.
  • February 2, 2013
    Kiereth
    Wouldn't Big O still count as a type one since they're Super apart from all the weirdness and sentience associated? How about Vandread's first episode, where the robots are all mass-produced and controlled by an Orwellian military society?

    That said, I much prefer the new description. It's much more concise, but I think how it's defined makes it a bit narrow. I'd expand the type 1 explanation to not "blatantly ignoring the laws of physics", but if you can convince me otherwise, I'm more than cool with that.
  • February 2, 2013
    Kurosambei
    Actually, now that I think about it, The Big O might definitely qualify. I have to watch more of it, but as far as I can tell, it does treat all its super robots, with the exception of Big O itself, are treated as machines and nothing more, even though they take the classic roles of evil Super Robots. I think it'll work. I'm adding it.
  • February 2, 2013
    Kurosambei
    Although, as I'm only on episode 3, maybe somebody else should write the entry. Also, I modified the names of Type 1 and 2 to better elaborate on what the differences between them are, and added something on what Kiereth was talking about, where Type 1 robots typically behave more in accordance with the laws of physics than their classic Super Robot counterparts.

    And while it's a bit narrow, the problem I've seen with all previous attempts at a Hybrid Robot YKTTW is that they're far too broad in scope.I would actually recommend keeping it narrow and more sharply defined. This article should not have nearly as many Anime/Manga examples as either the Super Robot or Real Robot pages.

    In fact, I'm now wondering if we should separate this into two articles altogether.
  • February 3, 2013
    Kurosambei
    And adding, as Type 2, Super Dimension Fortress Macross. I know that's a little weird, at first, but the titular Macross is VERY MUCH treated as a super robot, with a mysterious origin, a mind of its own at times, a massive, humanoid form, and Finishing Moves like the Main Guns and the shield-enabled Destroid punch. And at the same time, the smaller robots such as the Valkyries and the Destroids are treated like jets, tanks, and other mobile weapons platforms rather than superheroes.
  • February 3, 2013
    Arivne
    Please don't use Type 1, Type 2 etc., because Type Labels Are Not Examples.

    Instead, just use the descriptive term (Real Super Robot or Hybrid World) instead.
  • February 3, 2013
    Kurosambei
    Roger. Changing now. Also, I'm seriously wondering if people want to divide this into two tropes. They seem quite different enough.
  • February 3, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    ^Best not to split it. Keeps the trope broad enough to more easily provide examples. And there is a thing as TOO narrow, as well. Balance is what we're looking for.

    (Although being honest, I can't for the life of me think of one right now... and I think we need more)
  • February 3, 2013
    Kurosambei
    As Kiereth mentioned, Big O would probably fit as a Real Super Robot show, but I don't have enough knowhow of the series to write the entry. If someone else wants to, then be my guest. Just please tag any spoilers: I'm currently watching the show.

    Also, looking into Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters: their robots are often shown in a hangar maintained by a large crew, but they're still Sentai mecha, which tend to be a little too fantastical to be Real Super Robots.

    And a question for people: does Turn A Gundam fit in here anywhere?
  • February 5, 2013
    Kiereth
    Would the robots of Tabletop Game/Warhammer40000 fit here? They're robots that are maintained by crews of thousands at a time, but (in The Imperium's case) they are treated as god-like beings, and explicitly run on "ancient technologies", which basically equates to magic in the 40k universe.

    Also, I'd be all up for splitting the two types into different tropes. They seem different and distinct enough.
  • May 20, 2013
    arromdee
    The real problem is that Super Robot is badly named. The admins forced it to be named "Super Robot Genre", and this bad name means that cases such as super robots in a real robot world no longer belong there, thus requiring a new article.
  • December 6, 2013
    DAN004
    The "Real Super Robot" part basically reconstructs Super Robot without having to go to Real Robot (i.e deconstruction) phase. I think it should be noted.

    BTW would Super Robot Wars count here? It's a crossover of both real and super robots...
  • December 6, 2013
    zarpaulus
    "Hybrid Robot" sounds like it could be misinterpreted.
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