Anime / Brave Series
The Brave Series (or Yuusha Series) is a toy and animation franchise formed after toy company Takara had ended the animated "Generation 1" storyline of Transformers in Japan. Following a decline in the series' popularity that led to the cancellation of the OVA series Transformers Zone, Takara struck a cooperative deal with the animation studio Sunrise (known for the Gundam series) to develop a new franchise and set of toy lines. This would lead to the development of the Brave Series, a landmark Super Robot series in the 1990s.

The Brave Series includes:

A ninth series, The Saint Of Braves Baan Gaan, was planned but never produced. However, development was so near completion that Sunrise considers material from it to be canonical. The material meant to be used in this canceled series was later recycled into the plots for the Brave Wars Video Game Quantum Leap Rayserver, and later into the unrelated Super Robot anime GEAR Fighter Dendoh. Also, due to the OVA GaoGaiGar Final Grand Glorious Gathering Version, Betterman could be considered as a spinoff to the series.

Names to know for this franchise:

Common tropes that are seen throughout the franchise are the following:

  • Animation Bump/Off-Model: On a per-episode basis throughout the franchise.
  • Big Brother Protagonist: Either stand alone, or paired with Kid Hero or Tagalong Kid.
  • BFG: At least one per season normally, often as a Finishing Move.
  • BFS: The standard Finishing Move weapon. Averted for GaoGaiGar, who starts off just with its fists, then eventually upgrades to a hammer.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Done quite frequently, normally in as Hot-Blooded a way as physically possible.
  • Captain Ersatz: Going back to their previous series, many shows tend to feature intelligent robots who could easily pay homage towards the Transformers franchise.
  • Central Theme: Director Shinji Takamatsu laid out the formula to input one solid theme aside from "Bravery" for each of his works:
  • Color Motif: All major protagonists and kid heroes would wear their non-combat, normal attire primarily in the combination of red and yellow (with green being the 3rd color in-line.) However, if they are paired up or have more than one Kid Hero / teammate, only one person will wear the staple colors; in this case, they don't need to be the main hero to wear them.
    • This concept has been played with amongst members of The Brave Express Team. While Might Senpuuji managed to downplay this for himself,note  people tend to forget his non-action teammate Hamada wore the yellow / red combo in place of him via a yellow shirt with tiny red brand logo. If you pull back to see the whole picture, Might (when in his red combat vest) and Hamada (with his yellow shirt) completed the red / yellow combo as a unit together.
  • Combining Mecha: A stable of the series and the majority of the mecha are this.
  • Hot-Blooded: The main hero is nearly always this.
  • Kid Hero: Either paired with Big Brother Protagonist, or stand alone.
  • Humongous Mecha: While the first form of some mecha are comparably small, the rest are typically pretty big.
  • Merchandise-Driven: Each series has a pretty good amount of toys to buy.
  • Monster of the Week: Each series typically has its own variety of these.
  • Panthera Awesome: Lions are a recurring motif, best visible in Exkaiser and GaoGaiGar.
  • The Power of Friendship: Often an effective way of powering up mecha.
  • Ridiculously Human Robot: With some exceptions, most of the mecha are very human-like in nature. Even the ones that aren't usually can transform into a more human-like form.
  • Stock Footage: Traditionally present, given the nature of the shows. This gets used so often that GaoGaiGar actually takes advantage of it.
  • Strictly Formula
  • Super Robot Genre: Every single series. GaoGaiGar comes the closest to the Real Robot Genre due to everything being designed to work in real life so the toys would be accurate, but that's where the real-robot stuff ends and the courage-powered giant robots begins.
  • Tagalong Kid: Will always be paired with an older protagonist.