"Looks like the only ones who can pilot Getter Robo are either superior pilots…or insane!"
A classic Humongous Mecha manga, created in 1974 by manga author Ken Ishikawa, who had previously collaborated with Go Nagai in the production of his smash-hit series Mazinger Z. Where Mazinger pioneered the concept of a Humongous Mecha piloted by a human, Getter Robo effectively created the Combining Mecha with its three-part machine, which required the three pilots to work in harmony in order to work at its best. Five arcs of the manga were created before Ken Ishikawa's death in 2006 - Getter Robo, Getter Robo G, Getter Robo Go (created 17 years after G), Shin Getter Robo and Getter Robo Āḥ. Though they all form a single coherent continuity, there is also a significant Time Skip between them and each series is vastly different in tone, technology level and setting, and usually involves the next generation of Getter Robo pilots. In the thirty years since its creation, Getter Robo has had a number of spinoffs and alternate tellings, which, while not direct adaptions of the manga, usually feature the same characters but in different storylines and settings. These include...
Getter Robo: The original TV series, wherein the primary antagonists are the Dinosaur Empire, the remnants of the dinosaurs who escaped extinction by hiding deep below the Earth's surface. When they attack the Saotome Laboratory, home of Getter Robo, Professor Saotome enlists the aid of three of his daughter Michiru's classmates to help fight off the invasion. The team consists of Ryoma Nagare, a hot-blooded soccer star; Hayato Jin, a quiet, handsome loner; and Musashi Tomoe, a portly martial artist friend of Ryoma's whose cowardice hides a heart of gold. The series details the team's battles with the Dinosaur Empire, culminating in Musashi making a Heroic Sacrifice to finish the enemy off.
Getter Robo G: The direct sequel to the original. With the Dinosaurs defeated, Earth is menaced by the Hundred Demon Empire, who wish to conquer the world and subjugate humanity. Saotome builds a new Getter and the team recruits Benkei Kuruma, a pacifistic softball coach to fill the empty third seat. Was (partially) dubbed into English as Starvengers, part of the Force Five animation block.
Getter Robo Go: A 90s version of the series, Go is a lighter adaptation of Ishikawa's original manga with entirely new character designs. Subsequently, it remains the "black sheep" of the Getter franchise for lacking any of Ishikawa's trademark style and edginess, despite the fact that he and Nagai cooperated on the script. The original manga was much more well-received, and was briefly released in English by Viz Media as Venger Robo, a nod to Starvengers.
Getter Robo Armageddon: Also known as Shin Getter Robo - Sekai Saigo no Hi, Armageddon is an OVA set in a world where Professor Saotome apparently goes rogue and allies with the monstrous, saurian creatures called Invaders, producing a bio-organic Getter monster dubbed "Shin Dragon"; and the Only One who can stop him might be Ryoma, who was imprisoned years ago for murdering the good Professor. When the United Nations fires a nuclear missile at Shin Dragon, the resulting fallout kills 90% of the world's population. Almost a decade later, a new team of Getter pilots formed by Benkei's adoptive daughter Kei and his right-hand Gai, as well as a clone made by Saotome named Go, battle the Invaders with the super-powerful Shin Getter Robo, eventually joining up with the original team. Second animated series brought to the U.S., courtesy of AD Vision, in 2001. This series is also the one credited to finally getting the over-the-topness of the manga into animated form, and is a perennial favorite of fans of the franchise. Imagawa was originally chosen as director, but was fired after three episodesfor unknown reasons. It is a common misconception that it is a sequel to a Radio Drama called Moon Wars, but that was not produced until after the end of the OVA.
Shin Getter Robo vs Neo Getter Robo: An Alternate Continuity sequel to the original series, where Musashi's Heroic Sacrifice destroys all of Manhattan, causing the government to crack down on Getter Energy research. Several years later, the remnants of the Dinosaur Empire resurface, and Hayato assembles a new Getter Team to pilot the Neo Getter Robo and fight off the enemy. Some fans consider this series a redemption of Getter Robo Go, as the team of Go, Shou and Gai are lifted almost directly from the manga version, with Neo Getter being a revised version of Getter Go.
Dynamic Super Robots Soushingekki: Released as a three-part special with the episodes of Shin Getter Robo vs Neo Getter Robo, this little special features every single Super Robot made by Go Nagai (more or less) teaming up to punch things and generally promote the upcoming Mazinkaiser OVA.
New Getter Robo: Essentially a more faithful adaptation of Ishikawa's original Getter Robo manga, with some scenes lifted directly from it. The Dinosaur Empire is skipped altogether, with the Oni (or 100 Demon Empire,) getting put front and center, and the entire Getter Team is much more violent (bordering on psychopathic) as well as being older than their predecessors. The Getter is also redesigned, but fans tend to refer to it as "New Getter" in order to distinguish it from the original, which appears in New as a prototype. Is generally considered a good starting point for new viewers because of its straightforwardness and faithfulness to the manga; conveniently, this was brought over by Geneon Entertainment in 2005 and is still available from many online retailers.
It's a common misconception that the Getter Robo series is the work of Go Nagai, when in fact it's almost entirely the work of Ken Ishikawa. Go Nagai only pitched the concept of combining jets (as opposed to combining cars, the original idea) to Ishikawa, while the rest was made without his involvement. Nevertheless, Getter Robo is now closely linked in the minds of people who think about that sort of thing with Nagai's Mazinger trilogy. Do note that Getter Robo IS considered part of the Dynamic Publishing family, so its crossovers with Go Nagai's robots have pseudo-canonical status. That, and most super robot fans LOVE having those robots mix it up.Character Sheet is under construction and needs more Wiki Magic.
This show provides examples of the following tropes:
Abnormal Ammo: One of the weapons used by the original Getter Robo, in the Anthology series, is a "Missile Machine Gun" which is a chain gun huge enough to use missiles for bullets. That speaks for itself.
Ace Custom: Ryouma's infamous Black Getter from Armageddon, which he custom built from the wreckage of a regular Getter Robo, mainly involving lots of black paint and spikes.
Actually, the reason his Getter Robo is black is because the paint burned upon reentry into Earth's atmosphere. This makes it even more badass.
Action Girl: Shou from Getter Robo Go and her re-appearance in Shin vs Neo; Kei (being basically a replacement for Shou with a twist) from Getter Armageddon also qualifies. Basically, if the second Getter Team has a woman in it, she's probably going to be awesome.
Professor Saotome gets a double dose of this, first losing his daughter Michiru to a horrific failed combination of the Getter Robo G, and then discovering the Invader infection in her body upon autopsy. No wonder he was so upset and vengeful.
Benkei faces this when protecting young Genki from angry shelterees in the bomb shelter.
A female polar colonist is forced to watch her brother get horribly mutated and eventually killed as a consequence of an Invader attack.
After the End: Setting of most of the Armageddon OVA and the manga following the conclusion of Getter Robo Go.
Anime Theme Song: Notably, the original TV series and Getter Robo G shared one theme, simply titled "Getter Robo!"
Anthropomorphic Personification: Everything in the universe has a consciousness, apparently. The Getter Rays themselves are the living embodiment of "evolution", or looked at another way, life itself.
Anti-Hero: Ryouma would rather brawl and train in martial arts than anything else. His Hot Blood never cools off, which makes interacting with other people just a bit difficult.
Hayato is introduced tearing a guy's face off for deserting his revolution, and continues to be extremely cold-blooded in his decisions in later series, such as having soldiers defuse elaborately booby-trapped nuclear bombs by trial-and-error.
Anti-Villain: The Bug Aliens from Shin Getter Robo manga. While their dialogue is very villain hammy they're trying to stop the Getter Emperor from annihilating every other life force in the universe. Their home planet is destroyed, their first attempt to erase Shin Getter from history was by direct attacks against Saotome's lab. And out of only desperation the Admiral of the fleet allows the remaining ships to flee and attempts a kamikaze attack against planet Earth.
Art Evolution: Ishikawa's style in 1974, when he created the original manga, looks almost identical to Go Nagai's. When he revived the series in 1991 with Getter Robo Go his style looked completely different and distinct, with more detail and stronger anatomy.
This ends up creating some awkward shifts in the Getter Robo Saga manga compilations, which inserted new bonus chapters in between the original material, meaning the art goes back and forth between Ishikawa's 70's and 90's art styles.
Art Shift: During certain intense moments, the art shifts to a black and white (or black and green), extremely sketchy style. This has become well-known and homaged/parodied by several shows.
Assimilation Plot: Getter Robo Go. Okay, not exactly, but this is what happens to ANYTHING exposed to too much Getter energy. Also the philosophical speeches given by the conscious Getter fall very much into this.
Touched upon or is one of the main plot points in all of the OVAs. Notably, unlike the manga, OVA characters decisively reject the idea of being assimilated by the Getter Rays without fail.
Awesome, but Impractical: Stoner Sunshine in Armageddon. It's used a total of three times, and it fails two of those times. Meanwhile, Getter Beam is used frequently, and backfires only once. In Super Robot Wars games, it is much more reliable and effective.
Ax-Crazy: Hayato starts out this way in many adaptions, and Ryoma, appropriately enough, backs up his Crazy Awesome with actual axe use. There's also the fact that at least three versions of Getter-1, which all wield axes, have gone absolutely batshit nuts
Badass: Literally a requirement for piloting a Getter Robo - the recruitment process is ridiculously dangerous and demanding to ensure this, and non-badasses have been shown to get severely injured or even die from just the stress of trying to pilot the insanely fast machines. Even then however, almost all of the non-Getter pilots in the series seem to be total badasses as well.
Badass Grandpa: As Hayato gets older with each subsequent incarnation, he's slowly but surely creeping towards this.
Professor Saotome himself has a few incredibly badass moments here and there. In the original manga, he piloted one of the Getter machines and fought several battles until Musashi took his place due to Saotome's old body not being able to withstand the machine's stress anymore.
Professor Shikishima, in all his glorious insanity.
Badass Longcoat: Ryoma in Armageddon, and Hayato in his role as a commander.
Bare-Handed Blade Block: The original Getter Robo manga provides possibly one of the earliest examples when Ryoma fights assassins sent by Saotome to test his fighting skills (reproduced in New Getter). Unlike most examples of this trope, Ryoma gets his palms cut badly in the process.
Berserk Mode: Getter Robo Hien, is also a common side effect of Getter Rays exposure.
Better to Die Than Be Killed: In Armageddon, Michiru. She preferred to mess with a test flight and die rather than be killed by the Invader infection she was carrying.
This was a bad way for her to go, and screwed over others, but she may have already been being influenced by the infection, just not completely taken over.
When you think about it, she may have killed herself to prevent the invader from taking her over completly, which, as Professor Saotome's daughter, would've caused so many problems. So it's more like Dying as Yourself. Still a bad way to go all things considered
Notable on Armageddon Ryoma. Between the eyebrows and hair, he has the GAR equivalent to Rapunzel Hair.
Body Horror: The Invaders, the Oni, the plant monsters from Hien, the insect creatures from the Āḥ manga... hell, nearly every Getter Robo enemy race can possess and deform other creatures (mostly humans) into horrible monsters
The Bus Came Back: So you may have wondered, while reading Getter Robo Go, where General Bat went off to - after all, he was still alive at the end of the original manga, and the Dinosaur Empire was the Bigger Bad of that saga. Well, as it would turn out, He's Just Hiding with most of the Dinosaur Empire, and would return in Arc.
BFS: in this case, a Big Fragging Axe for Getter-1 and a Big Fragging Drill for Getter-2, especially their Shin versions.
BFG: Some versions of Getter Robo either carry giant guns or incorporate them into their design. Perhaps the most flashy example(s) belong to Getter Robo Hien from the latest manga, which has a handheld BFG and two built-in ones, although those are move of a dual Wave Motion Gun
One of the American mecha in Getter Robo Hien gets a BFG made from the transformed Statue of Liberty.
The Russian transforming mobile fortress Volga from Getter Robo Go manga has the alternate mode that is practically one humongous cannon. Even the 840-mm main gun of the American mobile fortress Texas from the same series seems small by comparison.
Butch Lesbian: Linda, Great Britain's main pilot. Even her mecha looks like a muscular woman.
Calling Your Attacks: It's a Super Robot show, ain't it? Lampshaded in Shin vs. Neo, where the eponymous robot was designed this way on purpose to simplify operation. Squarely averted in the manga continuity, where they usually use the moves without calling names, though there is still a lot of general yelling.
Canon Immigrant: Dr. Saotome originally piloted Getter-3 himself. After the anime's creation and Musashi's popularity, he showed up in the manga to take the machine for himself.
Even weirder is Genki, also from the anime... who just appears in the manga with zero introduction.
Caped Mecha: Getter Robo (Specifically, Getter 1) and Black Getter Robo in Armageddon.
Cerebus Syndrome: Getter Robo Go and later installments were much darker than the light hearted fun of the original Getter Robo series.
Musashibo Benkei in New, a composite of, obviously, Musashi and Benkei.
Kei in Armageddon, a composite of THREE(!) characters: Kei Minamikaze, Sho Tachibana and Genki Saotome.
Continuity Nod: There have been a lot in the OV As for the old series and the manga, but probably the most notable in series nod was in Getter Arc. Shikishima was getting a weapon for Takuma Nagare, and when Takuma picked one, it turns out to be the same one Ryoma (his father) used waaaaaaaay back during the Dinosaur Empire invasion in the original manga.
In Armageddon, Michiru dies from being crushed between Getter Machines during a botched combination sequence. Invaders also die in a particularly nasty fashion, grotesquely swelling up and developing tumors and extra eyes before bursting.
In the first manga series, numerous human prisoners die from the horrific experiments the Dinosaur Empire was performing upon them.
In the Cold Open of Shin Vs Neo, Musashi melts inside the cockpit before being vaporised by the Getter-explosion, and villainwise, all the cyborg Dinosaurs he fought were killed by the Getter in brutal fashion, from being torn apart by Getter 2, sliced to ribbons by Getter 1, and finally melting from exposure to the raw Getter radiation pouring from the gaping wound in Getter 1's torso.
Darker and Edgier: New Getter Robo, among other changes such as skipping the first set of enemies from the manga, ages all characters by four years and adds plenty of new Grim Dark elements that weren't there in the original manga. Since the manga was already quite bloody from the start this means its Up to Eleven.
Getter Robo Go is considerably darker compared to the original manga. Even though Getter Robo had lots of gore, heroic sacrifices, and showed children dying Go is much bleaker. And the more realistic artwork and mechanical-monsters make it all the grimmer.
Deadly Euphemism: Among the pilots in the Getter Robo army, being killed in action is referred to as "embarrassment".
Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Dinosaurs? Not a problem. Giant carnivorous plants? No sweat! Shapeshifting aliens? No biggie. An empire of demons? Happens all the time. Even ancient primal gods are no match for the might of Getter Robo.
Difficult but Awesome: In many, many incidents and discussions in-story, the Getter Machines are said to be incredibly good and have amazing performance, but they are so demanding that only the toughest or most badass of pilots can even withstand the immense G-Forces involved when piloting them. In fact, one of the test pilots of the Neo Getter actually failed to initiate the combination sequence because he could not endure the stresses on his body! Despite this "flaw", the Getter machines are indeed ferociously powerful and effective when piloted by the extremely tough and/or badass protagonists.
Do-Anything Robot: All versions of Getter Robo do absurd things, but the manga version of Shin Getter Robo is hax incarnate.
Driving Question: In Armageddon, who murdered Professor Saotome and who was responsible for Michiru's death.
Eagleland: America's Super Robot is Texas Mack, which looks like a giant cowboy and is piloted by an Engrish-spouting cowboy named Jack King and his sister Mary. Borderline offensive in Getter Robo, but toned down in Neo Getter Robo, resulting in this version of Jack and his machine becoming fan favorites.
Not to mention it rides around on a giant robot horse called Pasture King, piloted by Jack's ranch dog.
In the manga and Armageddon however, America's Super Robot is the less offensive Stilva, which is a transforming stealth bomber piloted by two adult soldiers.
Yeah, the robot's not that offensive, but the pilot claims that he hates "Asians, Indians, Mexicans, and niggers" in the english translations of the manga. He's racist, crude, and hates everyone aside from Americans—though he turns around and admits he was wrong eventually.
As powerful and horrifying like they were, they pale compared to the most terrible and most powerful cosmic abomination from the manga. It is immensely powerful. It's so large it dwarfs planets. Its mere passing destroys worlds. It is told that it is able to devour a whole universe. One single beam blast can blow a planet to dust and its fists can crush tears in the fabric of space-time. Vast armies have tried destroying it only to be easily obliterated in turn without even managing damaging it slightly. Its name? GetterEmperor, the final evolution of Getter Robo.The narration goes as far as to state: "The voice that quakes the universe itself was indeed that of Ryoma Nagare"
Expository Theme Tune: "Gan! Gan! Gan! Gan! Youth burns with a crimson fire! Getter Spark! Lightning up the skies! Behold! The transformation! Getter Robo!"
Expressive Mask: Stilva mimmicks its pilots expressions and even has a tongue and an uvula. Also toyed with in a rather disturbing manner near the end of Getter Robo Go where Shin Getter Robo, after absorbing Gou, takes on his face.
Expy: Ryoma's costume and a few aspects of his personality in the Armageddon OVA were taken from the protagonist of Maju Sensen, another manga by Ken Ishikawa. Stinger and Corwen from the same series were also characters from Maju Sensen.
Also, in that same series, Go and Kei are expies of Getter Robo Go's Go and Kei. Gai still remains pretty much the same, though.
Evolutionary Levels: A major theme in the series, since Getter Rays are the actual power of evolution itself. They're used, variously, as a metaphor for progress, survival/life, and certain Buddhist/eastern ideals which Ishikawa was fond of. An extreme example of this trope in action occurs when they terraform Mars into the new Earth— within an instant.
Eye Scream: Happens several times, particularly when Hayato - and his razor-sharp fingernails - are involved)
Foreshadowing: The idea of the Getter Robo becoming a threat to the entire universe was implied as early as the Getter Robo G manga, where the source of Emperor Burai's power was a crashed alien ship sent back to destroy Getter Robo before it became too powerful, which was later confirmed in the Shin Getter Robo manga to be a vessel from one of the many alien fleets futilely struggling against the Getter Emperor.
Freudian Excuse: Schwarts has one in Getter Robo Go for his racism. His grandfather was killed at Pearl Harbor and his dad's business was put out of business by a Japanese company.
Glass Cannon: In general, most of the Getter Robo mecha tend to take very visible damage in the course of battling. In particular, Armageddon and Shin VS Neo have plenty of lavishly-detailed battle damage marks and scars forming as the Getters get crushed and even get their arms ripped off. While they can exhibit very impressive and outright terrifying offensive potential, the Getters tend to get beat-up far more than many traditional Super Robots.
Humongous Mecha: Some of the largest in the medium. Shin Dragon is at least city sized, Kyodai Dragon from New Getter and Shin Getter at the end of Getter Robo Go are comparable to planets or moons, while the Getter Emperor starts off the size of Mars, is large enough to destroy planets by casually flying into them in Shin Getter Robo and in Will of Evolution it rises from the top of a galaxy, completely dwarfing it. Better yet, it's continuously growing
Hyperspace Mallet: Getter Robo pulls weapons out of thin air, or from places where they cannot conceivably fit.
If It Swims, It Flies: Getter is -literally- built around this concept. Depending on how the three jets combine, the form a different robot, capable to fly on Earth and space, fly or burrow underground, or swim and dive.
Infant Immortality: Repeatedly, gruesomely averted in the original manga. The worst is probably two kids who the Hyakki Empire vaporizes from the waist up.
JAM Project: Openings and endings to New and Shin vs Neo, while the two O Ps of Armageddon were sung respectively by Ichirou Mizuki and Hironobu Kageyama, who would later form the group.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Hayato, in most incarnations. His methods are cold, and he can be rude and downright mean with his teammates sometimes, but you better not doubt that he's ALWAYS on the good guy's side. He does get better in his older incarnations, where being put into a position of authority softens up his disposition. But he will ALWAYS be an asshole in his first appearance.
Kill 'em All: Pretty much the ending of Getter Robo Go. Not only that but it kills off the cast of the original Getter Robo leaving only Hayato to sole survivor of the first manga. While Kei is left brain dead, Go, Gai, Ryoma and Tayel are absorbed into Shin Getter. The only cast not to be absorbed, killed, or messed up are Hayato, Sho and Schwartz. Okay more like absorbed being ascending to a higher plane of existence in a way.
Lady of War: Shou from Shin Getter Robo vs. Neo Getter Robo.
The Legions of Hell: The Hundred Demon Empire of Getter Robo G. The Dragon of the organization looks like Hitler with demon horns. Like a bonus, his name is "Hidler".
Lensman Arms Race: Several of the Getter shows have elements of this (gotta keep them monsters of the week coming after all) but it hit pretty epic/ridiculous heights in the finale of Getter Armageddon.
And the manga continuity, which quickly advances from a lone Super Robot fighting monsters, to every nation on Earth having them and engaging in large scale wars, to epic space battles with aliens, to the ridiculous universe-shattering exploits of the Getter Emperor.
Lethal Joke Character: Or rather, a lethal joke mecha. The Beetle is a tiny, seemingly useless mecha used for scouting and with no real firepower. That is, until you master the art of spinning very fast.
Licking the Blade: King Goru does this once. Knowing this series, it probably happens elsewhere, too.
Life Energy: Some depictions of Getter Rays fall closer to this than merely being a power source.
Lighter and Softer: The 70's Getter Robo and Getter Robo G anime series, and even moreso with the Getter Robo Go anime.
Mad Scientist: Saotome in the OVAs and manga, though he's more blatantly insane in Armageddon. (Admittedly, later on it really isn't his fault.) Shikishima is a (helpful!) lunatic in every appearance he's made. Hayato in his role as a scientist in Āḥ and Hien definitely applies too, in terms of cruelness and coldness.
Then there are, of course, professors Rando and Jacov, who play the role of Big Bads in Go and Hien mangas respectively.
Mandatory Unretirement: A recurring theme is that if you piloted Getter at some point, no matter how far you run from it, destiny keeps throwing you back in the cockpit.
Mechanical Lifeforms: Certain versions of Getter Robo borderline on this, and it's played straight in some continuities.
Mêlée à Trois: Much to a lot of newer fans surprise but in the original manga the Hundred Demon Empire first appears BEFORE the defeat of the Dinosaur Empire, there is something of a three-way fight between them before the Dinosaurs are defeated first.
Lampshaded and Subverted towards the end of the First manga arc during the 3-way war between Humanity, the Dinosaur Empire, and the 100 Demon Empire when Emperor Gore orders the deployment of all incomplete Mechasauruses, stating that they don't have time to deploy them one at a time and will fight with pure numbers. This proves to be his undoing, as the incomplete Mechasauruses prove to be far more vulnerable to Getter Ray degeneration, which resulted in Musashi's sacrifice doing far more damage than it would have otherwise and utterly crippling the Dinosaur Empire army.
More Dakka: Getter Hien-3. Literally every surface of his body can pull back to reveal missile launchers. Also the Stellbomber.
Mythology Gag: Armageddon and New Getter have loads of these. Such as three ambassadors, the former, that look a lot like the three thugs that were sicced on Ryoma in the original manga. To Michiru of New Getter turning out that she looked like the manga and classic version in her high school years.
The Shin Dragon's final form in Armageddon is directly based on Uzahra, the massive Guardian machine of Atlantis from Getter Robo G.
Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The number of things this applies to in the series is astounding. It helps that the Dinosaur Empire are, you know, the dinosaurs, so all of their creations count as this by default.
Not as You Know Them: Armageddon: Ryoma imprisoned for murder, Professor Saotome as the apparent Big Bad, Michiru dead, Genki traumatized and female!, Benkei and Musashi both alive at the same time...
Obviously Evil: All enemies of Getters are this, except when they masquerade as normal humans. In the mangas their twisted forms, drawn by Ishikawa in loving detail, regularly reach nightmarish territory.
Most of the antagonists in the series are Well Intentioned Extremists, however nasty they might look. The only one who isn't is Rando, the human, albeit an menacing-looking one.
The Hundred Demon Empire, The Invaders, Seimei and Jacov are simply evil as well.
Parental Neglect: Ryoma's father did nothing for him other than teach him martial arts so he could avenge his dojo.
Power Trio: Every Getter Team consists of one of these.
Freudian Trio: Ryoma, Hayato and Musashi/Benkei are respectively Id, Ego and Superego in all versions where Ryoma is bapshit crazy, especially in New Getter Robo.
Reality Ensues: In the second volume of Go, the trio flies off to fight Rando's army instead of letting Japan surrender the Getter. Cue them getting lost and heavily damaged to overwhelming forces and the mecha being out of action until the middle of the fourth book.
In the pilot episode of the 70's series, The very first Mechasaurus successfully destroys two of the three prototype Getter Machines while they were attempting to combine.
During the test sequence for the prototype Neo Getter Machines in Shin VS Neo, the test pilot for Neo-Getter One is unable to withstand the G-forces and fails to trigger the combination sequence, resulting in his Getter machine exploding.
Real Robot: The series has enough elements of this to cause disputes on how to categorize it, especially after the second part of the manga. Some people prefer to call Getter Robo a Real Robot series that just happens to feature some of the most-super-of-SuperRobots in it.
Redshirt Army: Hayato's Super Robot Army in Armageddon. In every single appearance they make, they are usually being destroyed in droves by the Invaders, with Schwartz being the sole exception (even so, his machine is frequently damaged and rescued by the Getter Team). They occasionally provide an occasional Big Damn Heroes when supporting the Getter Team, only to explode mere seconds later.
Retcon: Hayato's recounting of the destruction of Saotome Labs in Getter Robo Go differs on several counts from the events depicted in the Shin Getter Robo prequel manga.
Retired Badass: Ryoma retires to the mountains to practice and teach karate between Shin Getter Robo and Getter Robo Go, and comes back having taken a level in badass. Note that he was already one of anime/manga's greatest badasses before then.
Reverse Cerebus Syndrome: Getter Robo Armageddon is noticeably less dark after the so-called apocalypse, owing to the director shift.
Shapeshifter Showdown: At various points in the manga and anime series, the Getter team fight an enemy that has obtained a Getter of their own. Every time, both sides start shifting forms to gain an advantage (for example, using a Getter 2 vs the slower Getter 3). Every time, Ryoma's team wins because transformation is not a free action and they are able to combine just a fraction of a second faster, allowing them to attack a vulnerable half-transformed enemy.
Signature Style: The art in the original manga is pretty much a carbon copy of Go Nagai's early work, which is probably a major contributing factor to the frequent confusion over authorship. However, as time went on, Ishikawa broke away from this mold and developed his own unmistakeable blend of hyperkinetic, highly stylized and most importantly Hot-Blooded visuals and Blood KnightSociopathic Hero characters who were somehow even more cheerfully psychotic than any his old colleague had come up with. The best way to describe it is probably Fist of the North StarmeetsJack Kirby.
Sinister Scythe: Early on in Armageddon, Shin Getter has a scythe instead of his usual tomahawk. It inexplicably switches back to the axe after the original team starts using it again.
Slasher Smile: Michiru might just be the only character in the entire series without one of these.
Super Prototype: Subverted in Neo Getter and New Getter, where the Proto-Getters were either weak Mecha-Mooks for the latest version of Getter Robo to waste, or mere cannon fodder for the Monster of the Week to blow up in the first episode.
But played very, very straight when we find out that Shin Getter Robo is the prototype for Getter Robo Āḥ. Āḥ was intentionally made to be less powerful and more stable than Shin, which was so overly powerful that it was a danger, not just to Earth but the entire freakin' universe:
Super Robot: Getter Robo and Mazinger Z are considered by many to be the grandaddies of Super Robots.
Spell My Name with an "S": Getter Robo Āḥ causes this with its Sanskrit title, which the Japanese would write as "Ark" or "Aku". In English, it's Āḥ.
Telescoping Robot: Getter Robo Gou aside, the combined machines never resemble their component parts. They can also produce far more weapons than what could conceivably fit inside the mech, and are often bigger than the robot itself.
In fact, the combinations look so incredibly akward that some say that the Getters break not only basic physics, but the laws of hammerspace itself.
Despite this, the Perfect Change series of models take a pretty good stab at making the patently ridiculous transformations work.
Terraform: One of the many applications of Getter Rays.
In the pilot episode of the 70's anime, the unarmed prototype Getter was destroyed by a Mechasaurus when it attempted to combine to get better speed for escaping.
In the Shin Getter manga and the Armageddon OVA, the Getter Team fought intense battles against enemies with hijacked Getters of their own. Both times, they won simply because they tricked the enemy into Transformation Combat and managed to outmaneuver the enemy by simply completing their combination faster.
On the other hand, the Getter Team has taken advantage of concealment to combine uninterrupted, or on other occasions, they are in fact skilled enough to combine at eye-watering speeds that make it difficult to track them accurately. Difficult but Awesome indeed.
Tranquillizer Dart: Subverted, though the writers were probably more concerned with the Rule of Cool than realism. Ryoma gets hit by an animal tranquiliser in the first episode, but it doesn't stop him from running across the street and dropkicking his two attackers before going down. Note that this is after he had just fought a 3-on-1 fight against some Yakuza goons and had gotten a knife buried into his shoulder.
Upgrade vs. Prototype Fight: In Shin Getter Robo vs. Neo Getter Robo, Shou and Gai end up piloting Neo Getter Robo against an army of Getter Prototypes piloted by members of the Dinosaur Empire. It's a massive curbstomp battle until Gou is able to reawaken Shin Getter Robo and has it absorb the prototypes' Getter Energy.
Visual Innuendo: Getter Gai has its drill in an... interesting place. There's also the infamous "space vagina" from Armageddon.
Warrior Heaven: In the ending of Armageddon, Ryoma, Hayato and Benkei find themselves in a dimensional rift where they will fight eternally alongside paralel versions of themselves, against innumerable monsters and villains from other dimensions. New Getter Robo seems to put its Ryoma in the same place.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Dinosaur Empire and the Andromeda Flow Country, who are pretty much martyrs for the universe. The Oni gods from New Getter Robo are similar.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Wait a minute, there was an early issue where a village was turning into monkeys earlier... they found the source of the problem and yet nothing is said of those who transformed ever again.
The entire area got toasted.
There was still that one in Ryoma's unit. Eh, it probably got dissected by the professor.
And in Go Linda and her BB-5 disappear once Rando's forces are stopped in Canada.
The Andromeda strain (yes, that one) shows up near the end of Getter Robo G, causing Dr. Saotome to quarantine the Getter Research lab. however, this is apparently resolved at some point due to Ryoma beating the virus back with Hot Bloodedness, as he shows up perfectly fine and the quarantine is never mentioned again.
Armageddon is made of this trope post-Director switch. Only a handful of questions raised in Imagawa's version ever got answered, and stuff like Musashi's realization were never followed up on.