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Animal Mecha

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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, Mechanical Insects, Mechanical Animals, and Robot Dog. A common form of the Robeast. For robots with bird-like legs, see the Chicken Walker.

Examples of the first type:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • 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, Genki Bakuhatsu Ganbaruger and Nekketsu Saikyo Gosaurer, also feature animal mecha.
  • Zoids, depending on the continuity. The name is derived from the Greek prefix zo- (as in "zoology") meaning "animal-like," just as "android" means "man-like."
  • Gaiking has several animal/dinosaur-shaped support mecha, in both continuities.
  • Some of the Team Rocket mechas from Pokémon: The Series such as the Meowth balloon and the Magikarp submarine.
  • The Golden Condor from The Mysterious Cities of Gold counts, as well as the sea dragon-themed Thalios submarine in its third season.
  • In addition to the ubiquitous Spider Tanks, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex has Jigabachi anti-tank helicopters that are built like wasps, complete with a large rear-mounted gun on a section that can swing forward. It gets somewhat funny when Section 9's Tachikoma mini-tanks decide the rogue AI-piloted Jigabachi they've been assigned to deal with are their natural enemies and get cold footpads. note 
    Tachikoma: "Umm... Mister Batou, can we go home? We have upset stomachs."
    Batou: "What stomachs?"
  • The Time Bokan franchise is known for featuring multiple animal-shaped mechas:
    • In Time Bokan, the mechs used by the heroes are all based on insects (the main three are a rhinoceros beetle, a grasshopper and a stag beetle, each coming with auxiliary vehicles based on smaller ones like ladybugs or bees), while all the villain mechas are based on animals (barring two of them, a blimp and an Oni).
    • Yatterman features a slew of animal mechs patterned after firetrucks: three different dogs, a pelican, an anglerfish, a panda, a dinosaur and an elephant. The 2008 remake ditches most of them except for the first dog, the pelican and the anglerfish, replacing them with a mole, a gorilla, a chinese dragon and a whale.
    • Zenderman follows a similar situation, replacing the firetruck theme with a train one. This time the mechs are a lion, a beaver, a bear, a mole, a gorilla, a tiger and a dachshund.
    • Time Patrol Tai Otasukeman amps up the game: not only five out of the six mechas used by the heroes are animal themed (rhinoceros, seal, frog, tanuki and orangutan), but the titular Time Patrol also features a bunch of bird themed spaceships (the heroes have a stork one, the villains a vulture one, the patrol chief a pelican one and one episode features a rooster-themed rescue ship). Villains also start to use animal mecha from the second third of the series onwards.
    • The successive series ditch the animal mechas to feature regular Super Robots, but some still have animal companions. For example, Yattodetaman features Daitenba, a robot pegasus that helps the main mecha Daikyojin.

    Asian Animation 
  • Mechamato: MechaBot has the ability to transform everyday objects into high-tech devices. Sometimes he transforms them into animal-like contraptions such as the Mechaspider and Mechamonkey.

    Comic Books 

     Fan Works 
  • Contraptionology!: Angel Bunny builds a giant rabbit-shaped mecha as his personal mad science project.
  • Farce of the Three Kingdoms: Shu transports their supplies in robot cows.
  • The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World: Theecat's equibots, which can merge to become Lord Equus, a horse-headed Humongous Mecha.
  • The Weaver Option: After Dragon gains a high enough position in the Mechanicus, she begins introducing various Dragon Armors which act as hard counters to heldrakes and similar daemon engines. After significant arguing and wheedling, she even manages to build her own Titan-sized Dragon Armor.

    Films — Animated 

  • Several of the Chrysalis mecha in Iron Widow are animalistic in design, though usually based on mythical creatures rather than ordinary animals. The first to appear is the Nine-Tailed Fox, while later we encounter the Vermilion Bird, White Tiger and Black Tortoise. They can shapeshift into more humanoid forms, however.

     Live Action TV 

  • The robot snake in Viper almost gets as much attention as the sexy Fembot its menacing.


    Tabletop Game 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Super Quantum Beasts, since they're homages to Super Sentai.

    Video Games 
  • One of the enemies in Conduit 2 is a robotic puma/leopard/tiger/large cat.
  • 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.
  • Zoanoid type mecha in Gear Head are modeled after various animals, such as tigers and T-rexes. They aren't as good with ranged weapons as other mecha, but they're better at dodging incoming fire and are quite capable in melee.
  • Gun Nac features Moon Rabbit mecha as enemies in the first stage.
  • Horizon Zero Dawn: All the machines are based on animal species, including extinct megafauna like the T-rex. Striders startle like horses, Grazers gallop away like deer and use their rotor-blades to charge, and so on. Moreover, these animals work together in their own ecosystem, which coexists with the ecosystem of organic life: grazing robots convert plant matter into efficient biofuel, which is transported by armored robots to their factories for redistribution, and scrapping robots pick up the remains of destroyed robots so their resources can be recycled. Near the end of the game, we get an explanation for why the animal shapes are so prevalent: GAIA, the artificial intelligence in charge of re-terraforming the Earth, mourned the loss of many ancient animal species, so she designed her machines to emulate them.
  • Hungry Shark Evolution has this in the Robo Shark, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin... plus jet engines for fins.
  • Hungry Shark World brings back the Robo Shark, no longer the size of a Great White, but of a Megalodon. This version loses the jet engines. There is also Chip, a much smaller pet Robo Shark with Eye Beams.
  • The final level of James Pond 3, "Bovine Aerial Assault," has the Big Bad piloting a cow mecha.
  • In Rabio Lepus, you play in the flying rabbit mecha Usagi.
  • The post-facelift Caldari Scorpion starship in EVE Online evokes the design of a scorpion, with large "claws" containing weapons and a large tail section. The pre-facelift version looked like a scorpion with only one claw.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild features the Divine Beasts, a set of four giant Magitek elemental mecha designed to aid the hero in fighting Ganon. They are Vah Ruta (elephant, power over water); Vah Rudania (lizard, power over fire); Vah Medoh (bird, power over wind); and Vah Naboris (camel, power over lightning). Unfortunately, the last time they were used, Ganon's evil took control of them and turned them against Hyrule. Link has to find a way to regain control over them so they can be used properly this time around. The "Champion's Ballad" DLC features a fifth one that Link can get at the very end; the Master Cycle Zero, which has a horse motif that's made with the same tech as the main four.
  • Mega Man X: Fully sentient, anthropomorphic variations appear as bosses.
  • Darius: The bosses of the series are all gigantic mechanical sea creatures. Though they mimic the movements of living creatures extremely well, the lore states that they are in fact just machines piloted by other creatures.
  • Fallout: New Vegas: Old World Blues has Dr. Mobius and his fearsome Robo-Scorpions! The biggest is the X-42 giant robo-scorpion, which is so big that it can't leave the facility where it was built. It couldn't even hold a charge even if it did.
  • Wasteland has the Scorpitron, a massive scorpion tank with a cannon in it's stinger that deals 9d6 points of damage (that is 9-54) and a ton of armor to protect it. Any unprepared team will be torn apart in a few turns. Old World Blues robo-scorpions are one big Shout-Out to this boss.
  • Zoanoid and Ornithoid mecha in GearHead are designed to resemble animals such as tigers, spiders, or T-rexs.
  • One of Simcity 4's disasters is the "Tyrannosaurus Wrecks". It's a big dinosaur robot made out of cars from your city.
  • Wintermoor Tactics Club: The Equestrian Club lost the funding for its horses sometime before the game started. This is their workaround: a rocket-powered, fully combat-capable Mechanical Horse, officially named Sleipnir by the head of the Equestrian Club (and called Buttercup by another member, who liked that name better.) It charges forth and spreads fire behind itself in huge lines, making the battle with the Equestrian Club an almost literal firefight. Sleipnir/Buttercup makes one last appearance in the Gatekeeper boss fight, damaging the boss so it can be harmed.


    Western Animation 
  • Megas XLR parodies the concept, as well as paying homage.
  • The Reptar robot from Rugrats.
  • Glitch Techs: Fives gets one in the form of Alpha, a cycloptic robot with a gorilla build to it.

     Real Life 

  • 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).

Some examples of the second type:

     Anime & Manga 
  • Depending on the continuity, Zoids. Again, the name is derived from the Greek prefix zo- (as in "zoology") meaning "animal-like," just as "android" means "man-like."
  • 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.


  • 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.

     Live-Action TV 

    Multiple Media 
  • Transformers has had them since their start: Dinobots, Predacons, Insecticons, and many of Soundwave and Blaster's cassettes in Transformers: Generation 1, among others. They generally transform from an animal form, referred to as "beast mode", to a humanoid robot, but some have animal-shaped robot modes instead of humanoid ones (such as Trypticon and Sky Lynx). Grimlock, leader of the Dinobots, is currently pictured above.
    • It should be noted that "beast mode" pretty much refers to any mode that resembles another creature, so cases such as the Terrorcons and the Monsterbots still enter this category.
    • The Maximal and Predacon factions from 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 Maximals 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 (Car Robots in Japan) has its own Predacons. They transform into more alienesque cyborg animals than the animal mecha of years past. Though aside from Megatron, whose design was all-new, these Predacons were recolors of Beast Wars Transmetal 2 toys (specifically toy-only characters not previously released in Japan by Takara).
      • When it comes to the Unicron Trilogy, Transformers: Armada has only Laserbeak, but 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, the Cybertronian colony 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.
      • The Transformers Aligned Universe stablished that all beast mode Cybertronians are descended from Onyx Prime, one of the first Thirteen Primes. The consistency of this within its universe is... Loose at best: Transformers: Fall of Cybertron had Shockwave experiment with what would be the setting's versions of the original Insecticons and the Dinobots, which affected them mentally. 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. In Transformers: Rescue Bots, the main cast simply scanned dinosaur animatronics to get dinosaur beast modes, and become more savage as a result until they learn to control themselves. And then many of the Decepticon criminals in Transformers: Robots in Disguise (the 2015 sequel to Prime, not the aforementioned Car Robots dub) have either animal-based robot modes (humanoid or otherwise), beast alt-modes, or both, explained to be various different sub-species of Cybertronians, and of course, there's a Grimlock in the main cast, who's still a Dinobot in this show, but is a separate individual from the Fall of Cybertron Grimlock. Confused yet?
      • While the original Transformers continuity from IDW Publishing had characters such as the Dinobots and the Insecticons vary in origin, it also adopted Cybertron's idea of a colonized planet of animal-based Cybertronians, renaming it Eukaris, and inhabited by a lot of the original Beast Wars cast. The Maximals exist separately as a group of mostly savage and ostracized Cybertronians led by Onyx Prime and are descended from Liege Maximo, also made up of various Beast Wars characters.
      • Transformers: Cyberverse also features beast mode Cybertronians as a seemingly common sight, nobody questioning about Cheetor or Sky-Bite's beast modes.

     Tabletop Games 
  • Clockwork Horrors from Spelljammer are sentient clockwork giant spiders.
  • Most Chaos Daemon Engines in Warhammer 40,000 are animal-shaped, in contrast to the normal tanks and humanoid mechas used by other factions. Since they are "piloted" by wild Daemons, they act like animals as well: they may have to be chained and herded into battle, and certain Chaos Lords ''ride'' them.

     Video Games 
  • The Miniclip action game, Commando 3, has an elephant mecha as it's first boss, which will repeatedly use it's tusks to ram the heroes.
  • The Final Boss of Demon Front is a giant rabbit mecha who spams missiles and explosive bubbles all over the place, as well as having the ability to breath poison on the players.
  • 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.
  • The elephant turrets in Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, including multiple boss varieties that turn red, so to speak.
  • Prismata has many bionic animals with sci-fi weaponry somehow strapped to their bodies. Rhinos, monkeys, bulls, tigers, wolves, and bears all make an appearance.
  • Mother 3 had mechanical chimeras, they were certain animals combined with machinery and are pretty aggressive.
  • In Starcraft II, Stukov can field an Apocalisk in Co-op missions. The Apocalisk is a Zerg Ultralisk fused with the hull of a Terran Thor, which is used as armor, while also carrying flamethrowers on its scythes and missile pods on its head.
  • Steel Assault have several of it's bosses being mechanical animals, large enough to take up a huge chunk of the screen. Including Balthazar's Sand Worm mecha, the Theta Hydron robotic hydra, the Mastodon Crusher, and a giant gryphon and kirin mecha sent by Major Harris during his boss fight.


Video Example(s):



In spite of the two mechs combining into one, the rivalry between the Dragon and Tiger is reflected in the Dragon-themed Robogoku and the Tiger-themed Robobolt, especially as part of the combination involves Robogoku caging up Robobolt.

How well does it match the trope?

4.43 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / TigerVersusDragon

Media sources: