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[[quoteright:320:[[Manga/MobileSuitGundamSEEDAstray http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/metamechacropped_967.gif]]]]
[-[[caption-width-right:320:[[MemeticMutation Yo dawg, I heard you like robots, so I put your robot in a robot so you can robot while you robot]].]]-]

There is a school of thought that supposes that part of the appeal of HumongousMecha is... well, being humongous. A giant robot fight in the middle of a city or far above the earth allows for martial arts action coupled with lots of [[RocketPunch crazy]] [[MacrossMissileMassacre weaponry]], and [[HeroInsurance plenty of property damage]]. However, now that the show's winding down and all the opponents are either dead or [[DefeatMeansFriendship good]], the BigBad EldritchAbomination or SufficientlyAdvancedAlien of the day has shown up, and... well, it's kind of ''extra'' humongous. What's the solution?

Well, heroes are always cooler when you put them in giant robots, and your average giant robot is itself a hero, only fifty feet tall and metal, so...

This is basically what happens when you take this to its natural conclusion: a mecha which itself is riding in an even bigger mecha, or at least a mech-sized suit of PoweredArmor. Sometimes there's a valid reason for this, but it's always at least part RuleOfCool.

Compare with CombiningMecha and the MechaExpansionPack.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* The UrExample is the Gordian, from the show ''Anime/GordianWarrior'', a dude inside a MotionCaptureMecha inside a MotionCaptureMecha inside ''another'' MotionCaptureMecha. The design was later reused with some modifications as Vi-Kungfu from ''Toys/MachineRobo: Revenge of Chronos'', but with one less mecha.
* In ''Manga/SuperRobotRetsuden'' -- a Creator/KenIshikawa AffectionateParody / {{Crossover}} -- of several Creator/GoNagai {{Mecha Show}}s, ''Anime/MazingerZ'', ''Anime/GreatMazinger'', ''Anime/UFORoboGrendizer'', ''[[Manga/GetterRobo Getter Robo G]]'' AND ''Anime/KotetsuJeeg'' rode a ''ridiculously, impossibly, massively huge'' TransformingMecha in the FinalBattle.
* ''Manga/MobileSuitGundamSEEDAstray'', as well. Initially, when Lowe Guele makes a ''150-meter'' Gerbera Straight (which, by the way, ''re''-redefines the {{BFS}}), he has to put his Astray Red Frame into a Junk Guild Power Loader (pictured above) just to swing it.
* ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam00'' has a surprise somewhere in the middle season: the MightyGlacier Gundam Virtue is revealed to be just a PoweredArmor of a smaller FragileSpeedster, Gundam Nadleeh. Dropping Virtue's armor off enables Nadleeh's pilot to play JudgeJuryAndExecutioner on his teammates if he's dissatisfied with them.
** Season 2 has the same in the form of the Seravee Gundam carrying the smaller Seraphim Gundam folded up on it's back. Or to be more exact, the two have the same cockpit but Seraphim is facing backwards (though it doesn't need the cockpit to operate; Seravee can launch and remote-control it). Unlike Nadleeh, Seraphim doesn't need to drop Seravee off piece by piece; it can simply eject and unfold. The Mobile Suit Variations line introduces an alternate version of Seravee that carries ''three'' weaker versions of Seraphim.
*** And ''Anime/Gundam00AwakeningOfTheTrailblazer'' introduces the Raphael Gundam, whose backpack is the Seravee II.
* ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam0083StardustMemory'' has the [[http://gundam.wikia.com/wiki/RX-78GP03_Gundam_%22Dendrobium%22 RX-78GP03 Dundam Dendrobium.]] Functionally it is a conventional RX-78 variant Gundam ("Stamen") which forms the controlling core of a massive mobile armor ("Orchis"). The Orchis section is primarily just a huge weapons platform, and when the magazines are exhausted the Stamen can [[DisposableVehicleSection detach from the armor]] and fight normally.
* In ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamUnicorn'' (at least in the OVA) [[spoiler:the MSN-06S Sinanju becomes the core of the massive mobile armor NZ-999 Neo Zeong in final episode]].
* ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann '' has the Space Gunmen, which are essentially up-scaled Gunmen capable of fighting and moving in space and piloted by regular Gunmen, which are then piloted by humans.
** The show practically runs on this trope (In addition to the standard HotBlooded fare and universe-powering RuleOfCool) as it's essentially the major signature power of the Lagann - a smaller head-shaped robot compared to the standard Gunmen, it can drill itself into larger robots and take command of them. So, really. In the end, we have a human piloting a robot about the size of a human co-piloting a mech the size of a building [[spoiler: piloting a robot the size of an entire city, piloting a robot the size of the MOON, co-piloting a robot who is measured in ''light-years''.]]
** And then they [[SerialEscalation proceeded to break the barrier AGAIN]] [[spoiler: in the expanded final battle in the compilation movie, by giving every member of the Dai-Gurren a Tengen Toppa mecha of their own, which combine into '''Super''' Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, which is the ''size of the universe'' and ''looks a lot like Kamina.'']]
*** Although [[spoiler:Super Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann]] might not ''technically'' count as a Mecha of any kind; where [[spoiler:Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann was already less "mecha" and more "several [[LawOfChromaticSuperiority red]] faces held together by some kind of green fire", ''Super'' Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is an entire ''universe'' in the shape of a shirtless man with spirals of green swirling coiling around his limbs, wearing Simon's [[CoolShades Red Star Shades]] and a Dai-Gurren cape made of ''[[IncendiaryExponent fire]]'' and with ''regular'' Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, visible in silhouette, standing ''in its face.'']] A better description might well be a train of MetaMecha ultimately piloting a ''god''.
* ''Anime/BubblegumCrisis'' had the Motoslaves, {{Cool Bike}}s that transformed into PoweredArmor for the Knight Sabers' PoweredArmor.
* ''Manga/GetterRobo'' has the [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome awesome]]-slash-terrifying ability to crash into any material, including organic masses and then reform them around itself into a larger Getter with the original buried in the center. [[spoiler: Isn't that right Getter Emperor?]]
* ''Anime/MartianSuccessorNadesico'' has the Black Selena, a mecha inside a mecha inside a ship.
* ''Anime/CodeGeass'': So, your [[EnsembleDarkhorse resident Orange]] has just [[HeelFaceTurn pledged his allegiance to your cause]] out of [[FailureKnight LOYALTY to your family]]? Now, we just need to give him a good [[AceCustom custom mech]], hmm... Hey, I've got it! Let's take the [[RedShirt original]] [[http://codegeass.wikia.com/wiki/Sutherland Sutherland]] frame he piloted in the early series, and make it into the central core unit of the [[MidSeasonUpgrade rebuilt]] [[http://codegeass.wikia.com/wiki/Siegfried Siegfried]] he became [[MemeticMutation famous for]] [[SeasonFinale at the end of the last season]]! Ladies and Gentlemen, I present - for your humble consideration - the [[strike:[[MacrossMissileMassacre STORM OF LOYALTY]]]] [[http://codegeass.wikia.com/wiki/Sutherland_Sieg Sutherland Sieg]]! Basically, Jeremiah controlled the Siegfried through the core Sutherland Unit, which was itself outfitted with the Siegfried's telepathic controls (Rakshata is mentioned as being "disappointed" that the system isn't feasible for mass-production). When the Siegfried is destroyed, the Sutherland unit activates and comes into play. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfC2ye_SkjQ&feature=related And it]]. [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome Is. AWESOME.]]
* ''Manga/{{Guyver}}'' has the Guyver Gigantic, which is this trope applied to OrganicTechnology PoweredArmour.
* ''Manga/{{Heroman}}'' gets powered armor near the end of the series.
* In ''Toys/MachineRobo: Revenge Of Cronos'', hero Rom Stol can pilot a giant mecha named Kenryu.... and generally gets a sound butt whupping before summoning a giant mecha for Kenryu to operate, Vikungfu.
* In a directly-related example, the designs of Rom, Kenryu and Vikungfu were retooled from the designs of the protagonist of an older anime/toyline, ''GordianWarrior'', in which the human-sized robot Protteser, who would hop into the larger mecha Delinger, who would then hop into the largest mecha Garbin.
* ''Anime/CaptainEarth'' combines this with MechaExpansionPack; to intercept a Kiltgang, the "Ordinary" version of the Earth Engine is jetted up into space via shuttle, then passed through three orbital stations where the larger main mecha is assembled in stages around it. The later Nebula and Flare Engines work the same way.
* In ''Anime/GodMars'', whenever using Gaia isn't enough ([[WorfEffect which is often]]), it can get inside the God Robot Sphinx before combining with the other five to form the eponymous giant robot. Gaia does need the extra protection, though, since it's equipped with a ''[[EarthShatteringKaboom world-destroying]] bomb''.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Many of ComicBook/IronMan's special suits are designed to be piloted by Tony while wearing his regular suit, like the Hulkbuster suits.
* ''ComicBook/TheTransformersMoreThanMeetsTheEye'' reveals that Ultra Magnus is this, explaining the years of surviving things most Transformers couldn't, as well as some inconsistent characterization. Turns out "Ultra Magnus" is a LegacyCharacter, and the original died ages ago. Chief Justice Tyrest, realizing Magnus' fearsome reputation, created PoweredArmor based on him that other Autobots can wear to create an "Eternal Lawman". Whenever Magnus has apparently died the bot inside actually ''did'' die, and reflexively hits a recall button that teleports him back to Tyrest so a new Magnus can be chosen. The current bearer of the armor is actually a tiny bot named Minimus Ambus, who not only wears the Magnus armor, but another set of armor inside that.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Much like the example in Comic Books, ''Film/IronMan'' uses this method while suiting up in his Hulkbuster armor in order to fight [[Film/TheIncredibleHulk Hulk]] in ''Film/AvengersAgeOfUltron''. Suffice to say, despite putting up a valiant fight it doesn't work as well as Tony hoped. The only way Tony can beat Hulk is by cheating, by way of a [[CallBack sucker punch]].
-->''[Hulk is struck by Tony's [[ImprovisedWeapon elevator]] [[EpicFlail flail]]; he spits out a [[TeethFlying single tooth]] and '''[[DeathGlare glares]]''' at him]''\\
'''Tony Stark:''' ''[meekly]'' I'm sorry...

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Franchise/SuperSentai''/''Franchise/PowerRangers'':
** In ''Series/NinpuuSentaiHurricaneger'', Sargain turns out to be [[MobileSuitHuman an antlike being piloting a human-sized suit of armor]]... so when Sargain pilots HumongousMecha, that means he's controlling a suit that's controlling a bigger suit. Not quite the same, though, perhaps.
** In ''Series/ShurikenSentaiNinninger'' and ''Series/PowerRangersNinjaSteel'', the chest of the main Megazord is designed like a throne that a smaller humanoid mecha sits in. It's usually the Red Ranger's mecha sitting there, but the Blue Ranger's mecha or other {{Mecha Expansion Pack}}s can swap places with it as part of forming alternate modes. The SixthRanger's robot is a similar example, since it consists of a giant bison[=/=]ATV mech which is ridden and operated by a smaller humanoid mech. Later on in the series, it gets taken to another level when the team gets a mecha that turns into a weaponized throne that other full-sized mecha can sit in; which means you can have the Red Ranger's mecha sitting in the main Megazord, which itself is sitting in another weapons platform.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* The ''TabletopGame/{{Mekton}} Plus'' expansion from ''Mekton Zeta'' has this as one of many, many options for its mecha. Of course, that expansion is basically rules for every giant robot trope in history, from [[TransformingMecha transforming]], to [[CombiningMecha gattai-ing]], to [[OrganicTechnology organic ones]], so this should hardly be seen as a surprise.
* In ''TabletopGame/Warhammer40000'', the Space Marines have two different takes on this:
** The Grey Knight Nemesis Dreadknight is an open-bodied mecha piloted by a Grey Knight in a manner similar to the powerloader from ''Film/{{Aliens}}'' or the mechas from ''Film/TheMatrix Revolutions''. It packs an enormous amount of firepower and is intended to fight Greater Daemons of Chaos. The fanbase is rather torn on whether they are cool or silly-looking; it's been [[FanNickname referred to]] as [[http://1d4chan.org/wiki/File:DerpKnight.jpg baby carrier.]]
** The latest Space Marine codex-introduced Centurion armor, which is essentially a huge, unwieldy suit of PowerArmor wrapped around the pilot's normal PowerArmor and loaded down with either terrifying amounts of firepower or tank-shredding drills with built-in flamethrowers. [[WebAnimation/IfTheEmperorHadATextToSpeechDevice The Emperor]] loves the [[{{Foreshadowing}} Imperial Fist]] Centurion, calling it a "big teddy bear" while he holds the Dreadknight in disdain.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'' has Warstriders, {{magitek}} superweapons which vary between [[MiniMecha giant powered armors]] to [[HumongousMecha castle-sized war machines]]. Exalted also has the Alchemical Exalted -- mechanical demigods with heroic mortal souls, empowered by a titan's Essence. Nothing stops Alchemicals from riding Warstriders... This is actually rather likely, considering the mechanical nature of the Alchemicals' world.
* In the ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' set ''Kaladesh'', a new Artifact type of "Vehicle" was introduced. These Vehicles have power and toughness, but aren't creatures unless they are crewed, and each Vehicle has its own requirement for what can crew it. What this means, and why it is relevant, is that you can have a 1/1 Servo token pilot a Sky Skiff, then have that skiff pilot a Ovalchase Dragster, then have the dragster pilot the Aradara Express, then that train pilot the Skysovreign. Or whatever order you want to do it in. But it's still a series of vehicles piloting other vehicles.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The -Super Dimensional Gear Yggdrasil IV- in ''VideoGame/{{Xenogears}}'' plays this trope with an extra layer. You have a giant robot so colossal that it holds, in its hands, an enormous aerial pirate ship, which itself is so colossal that it has a hanger ''full'' of building-sized mechs!
* The Huckebein Mk III from ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsAlpha'' is able to equip a suit of PoweredArmor called the Boxer Frame. The frame can also detach and transform into a ''flying surfboard'', just [[RuleOfCool for the hell of it]].
** Surf''sword'', actually. It was constructed from an incomplete mech intended to become a sword for the [[CombiningMecha SRX]].
* The final battle in ''VideoGame/MetalWolfChaos'' has Richard Hawk's MiniMecha climbing into a larger, more powerful quadrupedal mecha.
* The [[FinalBoss EXTREME Gundam]] in ''[[VideoGame/GundamVsSeries Gundam Extreme Vs.]]'' uses this: the main mobile suit pilots a larger frame that carries most of its weaponry. It has three of these frames: Carnage ([[StuffBlowingUp Lots Of Explosions]]), Ignis (BeamSpam), and Tachyon ({{BFS}}). ''Full Boost'' added a fourth, the centaur-like Mystic Phase, which is something of a balance of the other three.
* ''[[Videogame/MechWarrior MechWarrior Living Legends]]'', has this [[PragmaticAdaptation for the sake of gameplay]]. When a player ejects from a [[HumongousMecha BattleMech]], he goes flying into the sky in a full suit of Elemental or Longinus [[PoweredArmor Battlearmor]], where he can then engage players on foot. The rest of the series does not feature this (nor is it in the source material, ''TabletopGame/BattleTech''), as the eject button in previous games was essentially the suicide button.
* ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'' has the Mantis MiniMecha, first seen in ''VideoGame/{{Halo 4}}''. Though intended to be piloted by a (relatively) unarmored human, its cockpit is capable of accommodating a fully {{Powered Armor}}ed Spartan-IV, or even a bulkier Spartan-II (namely the [[PlayerCharacter Master Chief]].)

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Fortress Maximus, of ''TransformersGeneration1''. A Headmaster, he was too big for a human to transform into his head. Spike was given Headmaster armor so he can become the head of a normal-sized Transformer named Cerebros. Cerebros in turn turned into Fort Max's head.
** Headmasters in general are this, being small robots that [[TransformingMecha transform]] into the heads for bigger ones. Some of them appear in later toylines.
*** That varies according to the storyline used. For example, the Western ''{{Transformers}}'' canon, the Headmasters were organic aliens who wore exo-suits allowing them to transform into the robots' heads. The Japanese ''Headmasters'' series (taking place after "The Return of Optimus Prime" but ignoring the GrandFinale three-parter, "The Rebirth") had them as a separate race of (human-sized) robots who built Transformer-sized exo-suits called Transtectors to better interact with the Autobots. There were also Headmaster Juniors, which were humans who donned Transformer-like armor.
** There were also "Powermasters", humans in armor (or smaller robots, depending on the continuity) that became the engine for their larger partners.
** Ultra Magnus's original toy is essentially the Optimus Prime figure [[PaletteSwap in white]], sitting inside a massive, fully-humanoid robot made of the truck's trailer. The Dreamwave continuity featured this, and IDW had a somewhat roundabout take: [[spoiler:Ultra Magnus is a LegacyCharacter, whose armor is passed to certain Cybertronians with powerful enough sparks to bear it without strain. The current Magnus takes it a step further: under the Magnus armor, he's normal-sized, but the normal-sized body is actually one of these for [[MatryoshkaObject his true body, which comes up to Rodimus's waist]].]]
* ''Anime/TransformersVictory'' features the Brainmasters, which are small robots that turn into the faces of larger robots. [[TheHero Saber]] then gets extra stuff on him to become Star Saber, and [[MidSeasonUpgrade later]] combines with Victory Leo to become Victory Saber.
* ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated'', the Autobots' ship transforms in to a huge mecha called Omega Supreme. He has a mind of his own and an interior control console, so it's hard to say how much control the pilot has.
** It's given more detail in the third season: [[spoiler:Omega Supreme's programming was rather simplistic so he needed a second Autobot to pilot and guide him]].
** To elaborate: he's programming is pretty much "kill everything that you are told". So [[spoiler: second Autobot is needed to identify targets...]]
** This seems to be series tradition for Omega Supreme, the toy of the ''[[Anime/TransformersEnergon Energon]]'' has a head that can turn into a small robot itself. (The plug for it doubles as a spare, comically tiny head.)
* The ''WesternAnimation/MenInBlack'' AnimatedAdaptation had some aliens which used {{Mobile Suit Human}}s and one race so small they piloted mechs of the first species to pilot the human suits.
* The first episode of ''WesternAnimation/MegasXLR'' presents the ultimate weapon of the Glorft: the UMD, a CombiningMecha made up of CombiningMecha that were already made up of full-sized HumongousMecha. In short, [[FingerPokeOfDoom it flicks Megas away with its finger]].