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Animal Mecha
Me Grimlock give you head start.

Mecha are cool. Some animals are pretty awesome. But what if we combine both?

Animal mecha are, simply put, mecha built in the shape of animals. They are usually modeled after creatures considered Badass, especially dinosaurs, dragons, predatory beasts (often big cats), and birds of prey.

There are two subtypes of animal mecha:

  1. The first and older type involves otherwise machine-type mecha to be shaped like animals. Mechanical Horse and Spider Tank are particular subtropes.
  2. The second and newer type involves sentient, alive creatures as Humongous Mecha. Related to Mechanical Lifeforms.

Mecha based on aquatic creatures tend to be prone to If It Swims, It Flies.

Compare Spider Tank, Mechanical Horse, Robot Dog.

Examples of the first type:

  • Science Ninja Team Gatchaman's Galactor fielded bird mecha as Monsters of the Week.
  • Mazinger:
    • Mazinger Z: Many Mechanical Beasts were shaped like animals (insects, crabs, whales, dinosaur-like lizards...), specially in the later seasons where mythological motifs were used.
    • Great Mazinger: The Mykene Empire army was split in seven armies, and every mecha belonged to one or other division depending on its shape. Five out of seven divisions followed a animal theme: Mammals, birds, reptiles, fishes and insects.
    • UFO Robo Grendizer, there were less animal-alike mechas, but many Saucer Beasts kept the animal theme, resembling reptils, wolves...
  • Go Lion / Voltron consists of five lion-based mecha, each forming a single body part.
  • Panzer World Galient: The titular Humongous Mecha is a Transforming Mecha. He has two modes: robot... and Falcon Flight Form, what is Exactly What It Says on the Tin (a falcon-shaped mecha).
  • Raideen: It belongs to both types. Although its primary shape is human-looking, it can transform into a bird-like mecha. And it is sentient to boot.
  • Several Super Sentai series, with Choujuu Sentai Liveman being the first installment to feature Animal Mecha. The most notable, of course is Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger, a.k.a. Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. Aside from that airship that looks like a bird from Himitsu Sentai Goranger.
  • Megas XLR parodies the concept, as well as paying homage.
  • The Gunmen.
  • The Reptar robot from Rugrats.
  • Gundam:
  • Three of the robots from Zettai Muteki Raijin-Oh (of the Eldoran franchise) are in the shape of animals: Hou-Oh (bird), Juu-Oh (lion), and Bakuryu-Oh (dragon.)
  • The other two Eldoran anime, Ganbarugar and Nekketsu Saikyo Gosaurer, also feature animal mecha.
  • Exalted has some examples of animal-shaped Warstriders for use by shapeshifting Lunars in their animal forms, or Lunar Warstriders that change shape along with their pilots.
  • Zoids, depending on the continuity.
  • Gaiking has several animal/dinosaur-shaped support mecha, in both continuities.
  • The Pachydermobile from an article in The Journal of Irreproducible Results: a four-wheel-drive vehicle intended for observing elephants in their native habitat, designed to look like an elephant as much as possible (and smell like one, too).
  • One of the eneies in Conduit 2 is a robotic puma/leopard/tiger/large cat.
  • Molly's robot lion in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!
  • Ausf A Gestell from Einhänder is a crazed mecha ape. Interestingly enough, it's one of the enemies that isn't named after an animal in German.
  • Some of the Team Rocket mechas from Pokémon such as the Meowth balloon and the Magikarp submarine.
  • Gear Head Zoanid mecha — including the Fenris.
  • BattleTech and by extension, the MechWarrior series, occasionally have Animal Mecha. In most cases, it's simply a few design features on the mech being reminiscent of animals, such as the radar suite on the Wolfhound being contained in two ear-like antennas. The Clans have a habit of creating things to glory the clan and, as most are named after animals, this has led to quite a few 'totem' mechs going full-stop with the animal theme. The best known is probably the Mandrill being some robo-monkey thing. Because the series is known for its Real Robot Walking Tanks, designs like the Mandrill are not very popular - in-universe or in the fandom.
    • ProtoMechs have been somewhat (in)famous for their explicit resemblance to the creatures of myth they're named after since their introduction. A more recent development are four-legged "quad" ProtoMechs (following the precedent of the setting's occasional Spider Tanks and similar battle armor models), which are if anything modelled even more after animals and legendary beasts. Quads even explicitly require the pilots to be drugged into a more animalistic mindset for training purposes. Once they know how to handle their machines, the drug is technically no longer required in combat...but it's also highly addictive.
  • The Golden Condor from The Mysterious Cities of Gold counts, although none of the other futuristic craft resemble animals.
  • The robot snake in Viper almost gets as much attention as the sexy Fembot its menacing.
  • Beaches And Basilisks has featured mecha based on birds, various arthropods, and a bear.
  • The final level of James Pond 3, "Bovine Aerial Assault," has the Big Bad piloting a cow mecha.

Some examples of the second type:

  • Depending on the continuity, Zoids.
  • Of course, Super Sentai (which by then was already being adapted into Power Rangers) got into the act too, with Seijuu Sentai Gingaman/Power Rangers Lost Galaxy and Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger/Power Rangers Wild Force being prominent examples.
    • The Guardian Beasts from Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger, sentient dinosaur mecha who combine into God. Their Dinozord counterparts were never treated as fully sentient.
    • Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger also has Dinosaur Mecha, the Bakuryuu...except this time, they're all Dinosaurs (well, ok, a few are just prehistoric reptilians, like pterasaurs and dimetrodons, but close enough), unlike Zyuranger (only the Triceratops and T-Rex are truly Dinosaurs). They're all intelligent, reasoning creatures and characters in their own right. Their American counterparts are cybernetic animals.
      • What's weird is that rather than mecha, the Bakuryuu are said to be actual descendants of the dinosaurs (on an alternate Earth). Full-body cyborgs, maybe?
      • Meanwhile, the Wild Zords of Wild Force are the animal mecha protectors of the ancient kingdom of Animaria, with animal intelligence and then some - they're who chose the Rangers, and the Megazord from the Great Offscreen War 3,000 years ago is now "Animus, Lord of the Wild Zords," the ultimate authority above even Princess Shayla, who is this season's Zordon equivalent. You gotta wonder why they're metal and can combine.
  • Power Rangers Mystic Force and Mahou Sentai Magiranger have mechs based on fantasy creatures, which means more are animals than not. However, the Rangers actually transform into these with a spell.
  • Dinobots, Predacons (not those), Insecticons, and Terrorcons in Transformers Generation 1, as well as those cassettes of Soundwave's, among others. They generally transform from an animal form (often referred to as "beast mode") to a humanoid robot, but some have animal-shaped robot modes instead of humanoid ones. Grimlock, leader of the Dinobots, is currently pictured above.
    • Beast Wars and Beast Machines. They started off as Mechanical Lifeforms wearing animal skins to shield them from fatal levels of energon, but the robot / animal divide started blurring with the Transmetal upgrades. By Beast Machines, the main cast are all completely techno-organic: they still have a "beast mode" and a more humanoid one, but Optimus points out that the animal / mecha line no longer applies to them.
    Cheetor: So, what are we? Robots or animals?
    Optimus Primal: Both and neither.
    • Each continuity tends to have a few characters with animal alt-modes somewhere.
      • Transformers: Robots In Disguise has its own Predacons. They transform into more alienesque cyborg animals than the animal mecha of years past.
      • Transformers Armada has only Laserbeak, but Transformers Energon has a different take: The only animal-based bots are the Terrorcons, just sentient enough to take orders. There are hordes of them in each variety, and they are able to eat raw energon and form Energon Stars, this show's version of usable, processed energon. And then there's giant-even-by-Transformer-standard Scorponok, technically a Terrorcon but quite smarter.
      • Cybertron's got a planet full of them. Jungle Planet's inhabitants are all beast-bots.
      • Transformers Animated has two types - there's a difference between a normal Cybertronian who happens to walk on four legs instead of two and a techno-organic, which is similar to Beast Wars - these bots have actual organic matter as part of their construction. They're not as physically strong as the all-metal bots, but like Beast Machines, there's power they have that others don't. In this universe at least, it's why you can blow Waspinator apart and why that won't stop him, and where Blackarachnia gets her webbing and venom. The bad news is they suffer from Fantastic Racism; Blackarachnia would do anything to be Elita-1 again, even though she got Wasp(inator) to participate in her experiments by listing the reasons her new form is objectively better than her old. On the other hand, the Dinobots are robots who are shaped like dinosaurs, and the same presumably goes for the animal-form citizens we see among Cybertron's civilians in season three.
      • In the Transformers Film Series there's no difference between a robot shaped like a dude and a robot shaped like a razor-sharp feline Cyber Cyclops, and don't think the only variation we see is two legs versus four. The many non-standard designs seen in Revenge of the Fallen especially brings the alien part of "alien robot" to the forefront like no other TF property before or since.
      • Transformers Prime makes Cybertron more of a Multicultural Alien Planet. Insecticons are a different race from the humanoid bots, and Predacons are yet another, long extinct but clones made from remains by Shockwave. It's hard to know where Airachnid fits in, but it seems she's similar to the beast-bots of G1, the movies, and Animated: her spider mode doesn't make her different from her fellow 'cons.
  • Mecha Godzilla in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II and Mechani-Kong from King Kong Escapes.
  • GaoGaiGar's lion, Galeon.
    • The last couple episodes of the Post Script Season, GaoGaiGar FINAL, introduced the original Gao-Machines from the Green Planet: two mole-like Drill Tanks, a flying shark and dolphin, and a condor-jet, on which the Earth-built Gao-Machines were based. The sentience of these Genesic Machines was never made clear, however, as they combined with GaiGar immediately after their release.
      • And all together, they evoke the image of a manticore.
  • The Leviathan from Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire, which resembles a giant mechanical lobster.
  • Clockwork Horrors from Spelljammer are sentient clockwork giant spiders.
  • In Terraria, one of the boss monsters unlocked in "hard mode" is the Destroyer, a giant mechanical worm based on the normal, fleshy giant worm boss, the Eater of Worlds. Unlike its biological counterpart, it doesn't split into smaller versions of itself when damaged enough and instead spams lasers and releases floating drones.
  • Hippopressor in Mega Man X: Command Mission is basically a tank shaped like a hippopotamus.
  • Strutters (mechanical dinosaurs) from Dinotopia straddle the line between the two variations. On one hand, they are essentially vehicles and need drivers to pilot them. However, there is one case of a strutter (rediscovered after a good ten thousand years) seems to have developed a mind of its own, running around mischievously without a driver.
  • Eel kaiju Eleking, controlled by Pitt aliens.

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