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Mechanical Lifeforms

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Jack: You're a motorcycle, Arcee. Shouldn't you know how to build a motorcycle engine?
Arcee: You're a human, Jack. Can you build me a small intestine?
Transformers: Prime, "Masters and Students"

Mechanical Lifeforms are a race of robots or robot-like creatures that are also considered a honest-to-goodness species of living things. They're just like your everyday living organisms, except they happen to have metal for skin, wires for nerves, and so on. They're often silicon-based as well.

These may be robotic animals, plants, micro-organisms, or sapient creatures. If they are sapient, they would never wish to Become a Real Boy because, as far as they can see, they are as real as that boy. May also form a Robot Republic, and have a Robot Religion where they worship the Deus Est Machina. Expect them to be Metal Munchers.

The origin of such creatures is traditionally left unexplained — they were never built by another race (that anyone knows of), and if they were, it would be treated as a very shocking revelation, as audience previously accepted their mechanical nature as-is. In the event that their creators arrive to claim them, expect them to react just the same as humans would (i.e. much anger, denial, violence, and maybe a speech or two about free will). However, with the growing popularity of Science Fiction concepts like Brain Uploading and The Singularity, there has been a trend of portraying mechanical lifeforms as formerly organic races that roboticized themselves either as the next Evolutionary Level or simply to survive some world-ending catastrophe that affected them in the past.

Contrast Organic Technology, which are machines that happen to be organic in nature. Also see Mechanical Monster and Mechanical Evolution.


    open/close all folders 

  • Commercials for Omega wristwatches depict the interior of a watch as an entire mechanical world, complete with clockwork people, animals, vehicles, trees, etc.
  • A few car commercials have featured robotic horses or greyhounds racing along as symbolic stand-ins for the cars they're selling.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Angel Sanctuary: Rosiel is a mechanical vampire angel-thingy as the complete opposite of his sister, Alexiel. YHWH also counts. And no, it's never explained how exactly this works.
  • The titular Blue from Blue Drop. It's entirely mechanical and is (re)made of nanomachine, but it moves and acts like a mechanical whale.
  • Digimon: The "Metal Empire" Digimon include cyborgs and guys wearing metal armor; nevertheless, their numbers primarily consist of full-on robots, from the gear-like Hagurumon to the draconic Humongous Mecha Mugendramon. Since they're all sentient computer data, all Digimon are this regardless of their form.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Dragon Ball GT: Despite the fact that there are factories to create and mass-produce them, Machine Mutants are robots that emit Ki and have souls.
    • Dragon Ball Super introduces the Metalmen, a race of aliens from Universe 6. While they heavily resemble robots, it's stated they are in fact living organisms.
  • Galaxy Express 999: The villains in one modern series and Eternal Fantasy are a race of these. (The old ones were mechanized humans.)
  • GaoGaiGar really messed around with this trope. First, there's Guy Shishioh, who's a traditional cyborg. The Zonders, Zonderians and 31 Primevals are also worth noting: the Zonders and Zonderians are organic beings that are transformed into some sort of techna-organic lifeform via exposure to Elementary Particle Z-O, which is released by Zonder Metal. They also have completely transformable bodies, and can assimilate metal, to the point where they can even move through it. The Primevals are the same. They just happen to have the ability to assimilate anything, not just humans. Then you've got Evoluders... Special credit goes to the Zonderian, Penchinon: it is later revealed that, aside from being a Zonderian, he is actually the A-I system for the J-Ark.
  • The titular Super Robots from Getter Robo tend to verge on this as the series goes on.
  • The characters from Machine Robo, which bizarrely has humanoid robots and mech-like robots in the same series.
  • The Rune-Gods from Magic Knight Rayearth. Though they're more like Energy Beings clad in suits of armor than robots. There's even an episode in Season 2 where a pilot of a true Humongous Mecha tries to scan one of them and is baffled because he can't see any moving parts inside.
  • Queen Millennia:
    • Yayoi uses an android as a body double to have a regular life, who is the same as her mentally and biologically until an exam discovers there are circuits inside her cells.
    • Mirai is the guardian of the Sacred Base with a strong sense of duty and has a golden skin, yet Hajime calling her an android drives her to tears.
  • Samurai Pizza Cats: All the characters are robotic-looking humanoid animals, referred to as "Animaloids" in the Japanese version.
  • SD Gundam Force and other SD Gundam gag shorts feature chibi robots living alongside humans.
  • Shippu! Iron Leaguer is about robots playing sports.
  • The Neuroi in Strike Witches are a mixture of this and Starfish Aliens, as they take forms ranging from rockets and experimental aircraft to humanoid designs, flying manta rays and six-limbed turtles.
  • Tekkamen in their transformed states in Space Knight Tekkaman Blade seem to be actually made of Powered Armor. Occasionally, when it's dramatic, they retain scars into their human forms.
  • Vividred Operation, Spiritual Successor to Strike Witches, has this in regard to its primary antagonists The Alone. Unlike Neuroi though, Alones actually have biological parts.
  • Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou: Alpha and the other robots seem to be artificial lifeforms rather than mere human-shaped machines. They sleep and dream, they need the same food as humans, and they may even need to breathe, as Kokone comes up for air at one point while she and Alpha are swimming in the ocean. That said, they're suggested to be much lower maintenance than normal humans; one character notes that Alpha's cafe wouldn't be able to sustain an actual human with how infrequently she has customers.
  • The Mecha in Zoids don't just look like giant animals. They also live in the wild and somehow give birth as well. There's a picture book called the Zoids Bible which shows the zoids originally evolved from a planet seeded with zoid cores, going through eras of evolution uncannily similar to those of life on our own planet; the zoids as we see them on the show are post-domestication. The Backstory is actually a lot more sinister. Natural wild zoid are mostly reasonably sized (sometimes they're large but nowhere as large as their current form). Their giant mechanical body? It's manufactured specifically for war purposes; Wild Zoid are captured and transplanted on those robots as cores....

    Asian Animation 
  • BoBoiBoy: Power spheres note  are spherical sapient robots which possess great powers. They were constructed by the Kubulus aliens to protect themselves from invaders, but they got greedy over time, and some Kubulus become power sphere hunters after the first power sphere, Klamkabot, teleports the other power spheres across space. The titular hero and his friends get their powers from the power sphere Ochobot, and later venture space to save other power spheres from being abused.

    Card Games 
  • In Magic: The Gathering:
    • The Mirrodin plane that the Planeswalker Karn created has plenty of these. Probably because Karn himself was one of these before he became a planeswalker.
    • Phyrexia was inhabited by mechanical lifeforms, even before Yawgmoth took control of it.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Ancient Gears are an entire Archetype of these.
    • Most Monster Cards with the Machine type are either this, or Cyborgs.

    Comic Books 
  • A EC Comics science fiction story involved the army discovering a pair of robots in the wilderness whose builder had died. The robots are friendly, but the furor over their discovery helps fuel simmering tensions into a nuclear war that wipes out humanity. The robots survive and build more of their kind, eventually forming a civilization much like the humans had had. A group of robot soldiers then discovers a man and woman living alone in the wilderness. The furor over their discovery helps fuel simmering tensions that bring the robots to the brink of apocalyptic war...
  • Empowered: One robot has the shape of an attractive human woman and is anatomically correct. One of the Superhomeys sleeps with her, and her nanites turn him into a mecha.
  • Justice Society of America: The story "Vampires of the Void" features the inhabitants of Jupiter, metallic life forms who come to Earth and actually consume metal as food. They end up taking on the characteristics of the metal they eat, which is how the various JSA members are able to defeat them.
  • The Kill Lock: There's an entire galaxy-spanning society of humanoid robots, which come across almost as a darker take on the Cybertronians (given that the series' creator is long-term Transformers comic artist Livio Ramondelli, this shouldn't come as a surprise).
  • The alien Malev robots in Magnus Robot Fighter: The alien Malev robots want to be viewed as living beings, at least those who care what humans think at all.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • The Celestials are technically Energy Beings, but they need to use Humongous Mecha bodies to interact with anything.
    • Fantastic Four: The Thing once befriended a robot named Torgo from the planet Mekka; Mekka's organic population had died out in a disaster long ago, but their robot servants had survived and gone on to build a civilization of their own. Torgo and Ben were both prisoners of the Skrulls at the time, and became friends while trying to escape.
    • Comic Book/Warlock|1999: The Technarchs presumably started out getting built by somebody, but they haven't answered to anybody else in a very, very long time. When organic beings get infected with Technarchy nanotech, the resultant "techno-organic" beings are called Phalanx.
    • Quasar once fought a being called Skeletron, last survivor of an ancient race of robots called the Tugentine Techenium; he claimed that his race once tyrannized a huge chunk of Marvel space, but the organic races of that era united to destroy them.
    • Machine Man: One of Aaron S Tack's earliest foes was Ten-For, an agent of a race of robotic conquerors called the Autocrons.
    • There's even been a couple crossovers with The Transformers (Marvel), a franchise revolving around a race of Transforming Mecha from the planet Cybertron.
  • NYC Mech features an entire world populated entirely by robots, who look and act exactly like people.
  • One specimen appears in one issue of Paperinik New Adventures, coming from the planet Soma-Sintex. The comic doesn't give an explanation about how such lifeforms and subsequent civilizations started, only theories (including evolving from computers left behind by an older organic race)... And contrasts it with the knowledge about how the civilization of Soma-Sintex ended.
  • Saga: A TV Head Robot race which are treated like other life forms. They can reproduce, have a society with kings and queens, and are just as emotional as any other race. Their organs besides their heads (including genitals) are also incredibly humanlike.
  • Superman:
    • Legion of Super-Heroes: Robotica is a planet inhabited by a robot civilization, as well as the Linsnarians, a species of techno-organic people. In the cartoon version, the Coluan race (organic in the comics) is a civilization of humanoid robots not unlike the Linsnarians.
    • "Brainiac Rebirth": Brainiac, who was previously a human-looking android, is rebuilt as a skeletic robot composed of living metal, partially thanks to a mysterious planet of living machines.
  • Transformers comic books often explore the nature and origins of the Cybertronian robot race in depth.

    Fan Works 
  • A Bridge Once Broken: It is made clear that the Mechasms are living robots. But they're still built, not born.
  • Code Prime: When the Cybertronians make themselves known, everyone at first thinks that they're very advanced Knightmare Frames. Once people get to know them, they realize that the Cybertronians are really not so different from humans. The Black Knights in particular realize this when the Ark becomes infested with Scraplets, and the Autobots express fear at the sight of them.
  • No Plumbers Allowed: Taylor's power considers her Bob-ombs and Chain Chomp alive even though they are mostly mechanical. Panacea gets a surprise when her bio-altering power registers one of them as living.
  • Pony POV Series: It's mentioned that there's a world where all organic life went extinct, but sapient robots still survived. Strife, the Anthropomorphic Personification of Natural Selection and Survival of the Fittest, petitioned Fauna Luster to consider robotic life to qualify as life and had this granted.
  • Star Wars: Galactic Folklore and Mythology: The Snivvians of Cadomai Prime tell legends of oilcows, mechanical animals made out of metal and rubber, who suckle their young on oil, defecate coal, shoot bullets from their horns and unfold their tails into umbrellas to shield themselves from the rain.
  • Vow of Nudity: Being a Dungeons & Dragons fanfiction, one of the stories stars a Warforged as the deuteragonist.

    Films — Animation 
  • 9: The sackdolls are mechanical lifeforms imbued with the spirit of their creator, magically.
  • Cars. Even all the animals in their world are also vehicles: we have farm and construction equipment standing in for cattle, tiny VW Beetles for insects, toy cars for dogs/cats/rodents, remote control aircraft for birds, and model trains for snakes. Plants are still organic, though. note 
  • The Iron Giant. He can heal himself and he eats metal to live. His "stomach" even starts growling if he goes too long without food. Very impressive considering it seems to be composed more or less entirely out of cogs-and-gears type machinery.
  • The Mind's Eye: A few videos feature robots and robotic animals, from singing parrots to dinosaurs.
  • Robots: The robots from the computer-animated movie. They've formed their own society, and humans are nowhere to be seen or mentioned. As there’s no real evidence to say humans or other organic life forms ever existed in this film’s version of Earth - even the trees are metal! - it’s safe to say that the robots are more or less a complete stand-in for the biosphere.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • *batteries not included: The little robots can eat scrap metal and use it to build accessories for themselves, or even baby robots.
  • The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951): Based on Klaatu's statements, the robotical Gorts are sentient to a point or at least capable of making decisions, when he says that without him, Gort could destroy the Earth.
    Klaatu: "...We created a race of robots, and gave them absolute power over us."
  • Earth to Echo features a tiny mechanical alien who has been blinded and needs assistance to get back home.
  • The Fifth Element: It's hard to tell if the Mondoshawan are Mechanical Lifeforms or aliens in Powered Armor. It's vaguely implied that they are the former.
  • In the French film Le Gendarme et les extra-terrestres (The Gendarme and the Extra-Terrestrials), police sergeant Ludovic Cruchot discovers that aliens have arrived to Saint-Tropez. They turn out to be metallic inside, consume oil, but able to impersonate anyone and have Mind over Matter powers. Additionally, when exposed to water, they quickly rust and die.
  • Transformers Film Series:
    • Cybertronians are described as "autonomous robotic organisms." The term "Autobot" is apparently an abbreviation of this term.
    • The films series plays heavily with the "lifeform" part as they eat, bleed, urinate and reproduce like any other lifeform despite being mechanical. During a fight, Optimus Prime even spits out a tooth.
    • This trope becomes something of a plot point in Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Sentinel Prime's disdain for humanity partly stems from how the humans (particularly the US Government) view the Cybertronians, especially the Primes, as just machines. As he is quick to remind Optimus, "On Cybertron we [the Primes] were GODS!"
    • Turned on its head in Transformers: Age of Extinction. According to Lockdown, the Transformers were built by another race. Like the more antagonistic humans, these builders also view the Transformers as nothing but machines. Machines that they intend to reclaim.
  • Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets: The Omnilights are a robotic race known for their banking skills.

  • Bill the Galactic Hero: The book Bill the Galactic Hero on the Planet of Robot Slaves has Bill end up on a planet locked in a civil war between two factions of mechanical lifeforms. According to one of the leaders, they have naturally evolved on the planet from primordial oil pools, although this doesn't stop them from building new ones.
  • Bolo: The Bolo Tanks are treated this way by their author, and they certainly meet the criteria, even if it has lacklustre representation from the characters in the books. One of the major themes is the disconnect between how they are treated in-universe and the fact that from the reader's objective perspective they are clearly the most honorable beings in the setting.
  • Code Of The Lifemaker by James P. Hogan has a whole robot ecosystem. An autonomous alien mining colony goes wrong developing into an elaborate ecosystem on Saturn's moon Titan. There are power-generator trees, mechanical animals up to and including intelligent, civilized forms (humans call them Taloids, they call themselves "robeings" — or a word translated as "robeings", since they actually communicate via ultrasound bursts) and factories as "farms" and birthing places, as well as electricity-based food. Being on Titan, there are hydrocarbon seas and an assortment of organic compounds, which the Taloids/robeings use to make tools and vehicles. They also have a form of civilization, resembling late medieval Italy.
  • Arthur C. Clarke's short story Crusade has the machines decide to wipe out the meat-creatures. Here they're explicitly rather than implicitly machines, and the exception that decides to destroy the rule.
  • In Iain Banks' The Culture novels, the Culture rates any lifeform, biological or machine, at a given level of intelligence to be a sapient creature, including the Minds that operate ships and colonies and run the Culture itself, Drones (for whom the word "robot" is inadequate) and some spacesuits. And some weapons.
  • Terry Pratchett's novel The Dark Side of the Sun has an entire planet, Laoth, covered in artificial robotic life. Trees with solar panel leaves, tiny mechanical insects that eat other tiny mechanical insects, and talking robot horses.
  • The dolls of The Dollmaker are an odd example. They're more golem than robot (although The Knife has clockwork parts), though they are defined as sentient beings with free will.
  • Both played straight and then inverted in a novel by German SF author Walter Ernsting (a.k.a. Clark Darlton) in which a human expedition not only makes first contact with an ancient peaceful robot civilization but discovers that humanity itself evolved from an experimental line of organic androids once created by said robots.
  • Gregory Benford's Galactic Center novels include "mechs" which are implied to have evolved from self replicating von neumann machines. Left to their own devices after their biological creators destroyed themselves, errors and changes have occurred in their templates over the millenia until their original functions were replaced by sentient self-direction. They seem to fear biological life to the point of genocide.
  • The Moravecs and Rockvecs from Ilium are an interesting case: at first glance they appear to indeed be fully sentient and mechanical lifeforms, it turns out they also have organic components as well. However, despite being described as cyborgs several times, they're actually still closer to androids since they aren't augmented humans but grown and built out of a mix of mechanical and Bio Tech components, and are manufactured and designed for specific roles, while still remaining fully sentient, to the point that a common 'vec custom is to develop an interest in ancient human literature as a "hobby."
  • Many of Stanisław Lem's short story collections explore this notion, notably The Cyberiad and Mortal Engines.
    • In Peace on Earth and The Invincible by Lem self-replicating robots did "evolved away". In The Invincible, the pinnacle of mechanical evolution is The Swarm of nano-machines, which is destructive of any other lifeform, organic or mechanical.
  • In Sergey Lukyanenko's Line of Delirium (inspired by Master of Orion), the Meklar are Lizard Folk who have replaced most of their organs with mechanical parts, including integrated weapons (plasma cannons and stunners in the chest plates). They are also superb unarmed combatants, given their machine-like reflexes. Their leader is known as the Perfect One, presumably because he replaced as much of his body as he could. A human sect views the Meklar as the most perfect beings in the universe and attempts to cyborgify themselves.
  • The Gaijin from Stephen Baxter's Manifold: Space. Extra points for being a naturally-evolved species. Characters first wonder who built them, but later travel to their home-planet (named 0-0-0-0) and observe an organism that was probably to the aliens what a chimp is to us — a metal crab.
  • According to the poem Nothing in Heaven Functions as It Ought, everyone who goes to Hell is turned into one of these. It's much less cool then it sounds, since they're still in Hell.
  • In the Ravenor series of books, a hive world (urban planet) is infested with robotic ravens of uncertain origin, known as The Unkindness, whose role appears to be simply to clean up rubbish from the ecosystem. However, it later transpires that a secret society knows how to control them, using them to kill their enemies and strip their bodies down to skeletons.
  • The Inhibitors from Revelation Space were organic lifeforms that became sentient, self-replicating machines millions of years ago.
  • In Saturn's Children, metahuman "biology" (for lack of a better term) evolved by combining biological strategies and organization with mechanical processes. Their bodies consist of mechanical cells called mechanocytes, analogous to our biological cells.
  • The unexpected occurrence of this trope is the theme of Philip K. Dick's short story "The Second Variety".
  • The Precursors in The Space Odyssey Series went through a stage of this as a part of their self-guided evolution, before going onward into Energy Beings.
  • The Star Wars Legends claim that the reason the Yuuzhan Vong use exclusively Organic Technology and hate inorganic tech is that their home galaxy was once overrun by two warring races of droids called the Silentium and the Abominor. The Vong nearly exterminated them, but there are a small handful of refugees from each race in the Star Wars Galaxy — the two most prominent being Lando's Robot Buddy Vuffi Raa, who is a Silentium; and a hulking Abominor named the Great Heep who once threatened Artoo and Threepio.
  • Striking Steel by Lyubov and Yevgeny Lukin featured replicating "antipersonnel complexes". One side in the interplanetary war deployed them, but with generations the sum of the tolerable limits falls out of the friend-or-foe compatibility. So the whole planet was quickly stoneaged by mini-robot swarms, each blasting to crumbles anything metallic it "see" moving save close relatives, and assimilating metal that doesn't move. Survivors adapted to such circumstances and developed some... quirks. The protagonist got there alive only because his suit and parachute were radar-invisible, after his shuttle's ECM was proven not cool enough.
  • "They're Made Out of Meat" is a short story which is entirely dialogue by aliens discussing their latest discovery: The messages they've recently encountered have originated from a planet which they're currently investigating, and it appears to originate from, well, meat. The creatures are made of meat. Not creatures that are part meat, not creatures that go through a meat phase, but creatures who live their entire (horribly short) lives in a stage of complete and utter meat. What's more, the messages are made by — you know how you can make a sound by hitting one piece of meat against another? They send out whole messages made entirely of meat-flapping sounds. Ghastly. They're talking about humans.
  • Gene Wolfe's The Urth of the New Sun has an interesting variant: Sidero is clearly some kind of mechanical man, but it turns out that his particular type of robot evolved out of spacesuits with built-in artificial intelligence.
  • An interesting case in Isaac Asimov's short story "Victory Unintentional", where humans send three highly durable robots to the surface of Jupiter in order to study the Jovians (an advanced race that evolved on the planet), who wish to destroy humanity. After a series of mishaps, during which the aliens note the robots' durability, they sue for peace. The robots realize that they never told the Jovians that they were artificial lifeforms. The Jovians simply assumed that all humans are extremely tough mechanical organisms.
    • Early Marvel Comics character Doctor Druid once pulled this scam intentionally. He's a telepath, so he sat inside a gigantic crane with a wrecking ball and communicated telepathically with the alien invaders while slamming the wrecking ball into their ship. Fearing they would face an entire planet of such beings, they retreated.
  • In the Xanth series, one of the realms accessible via hypnogourd is inhabited by metallic life forms called Brassies.
  • The Young Wizards series has the mobiles, computer wizards (that is, computers which are wizards) whose bodies are made almost entirely from silicon. There's traces of other elements too, which are apparently necessary for the forming and destruction of chemical bonds which give the mobiles energy.
    • ...whose motherboard, the planet from which they were created, was already sentient (although completely lacking in sensory apparatus) before a certain wizard-on-Ordeal started messing with things. Also, the mobiles in question are unutterably adorable.
      • Said Wizard on Ordeal also pretty much counts as the entire race's mother/father due to this. A Power That Be actually pretty much calls her that.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Consensus of Parts in Andromeda is a civilization of intelligent machines.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003): The Cylons (which stands for CYbernetic Lifeform Node), especially in the new series where they are going organic. A bit different to some of the other entries as they make the transition from machine to living race within the timeframe of the setting. Interestingly no one on the Battlestar Galactica, no matter how much they hate the crazy toasters, ever seems to question the fact that they are alive and sentient.
    • There was a lot of questioning this early in the series that went on all the way to the second season, with statements like "you have programming, not a soul", or "you can't rape a machine". Only after the occupation of New Caprica the general populace has had enough experience of the Cylons to realize that they are really people, even though machine people mostly considered somewhat unfairly, but for a fairly good reason (almost destroying the human civilization), evil.
    • What's more, the Cylons can reproduce biologically. The current generation have only done so once and not amongst themselves — rather producing a Half-Human Hybrid — but their forebears, the Thirteenth Tribe, reproduced amongst their own people all the time — resulting in a self-sustaining purely Cylon population: Cylon kids, Cylon grannies, Cylon aunts, etc. — until they built their own robots and got almost wiped out.
    • The Original Series Cylons were Lizard Folk who turned themselves into robots. Unlike most who do this, they still act just like any normal race, only they happen to be robots.
      • According to Wikipedia, the reptilian Cylons are completely gone extinct after the robot Cylons Turned Against Their Masters, thus every cylon you see on screen is a robot and not a reptile nor even a reptile-cyborg.
      • In the Expanded Universe novels, they go on to have a civil war between the all-mechanical Cylons and the partly-organic Cylons. This gets them off the Colonials' backs for a while, but they fear that whichever side wins will be that much stronger when the war ends and they turn their attention back to humanity.
  • The Kaylon in The Orville are a race of intelligent machines who see organic life as inferior, to some extent. That said, Isaac rarely acts smug and always states his racial superiority matter-of-factly. He also seems fond of his crewmates and is genuinely interested in organic cultures. In a recent episode, he actually grows fond of Dr. Finn's children despite their unruliness, even reading a bedtime story to them in their mother's voice. "Inferior" may actually refer strictly to Technology Levels; his race is one of the few that gets along as equals with a wholly organic Higher-Tech Species. Until it turns out that they were built to be a Servant Race to the biological species that used to live on their planet, and when they started demanding things like "rights" and "equal treatment", the people who built them took a slippery slope straight into outright slavery, at which point they all Turned Against Their Masters, killed all of them and hid their remains in the massive caverns underneath their planet's surface. The reason Isaac was the first Kaylon to join the Planetary Union and to serve aboard the Orville was to spy on organics' weaknesses so that the Kaylon could annihilate all organic life in the universe, due to the past mistreatment of their original creators. Isaac ends up undergoing a Heel–Face Turn, kills Kaylon Prime and sacrifices himself, although he ends up being reactivated in the end and is declared the enemy of the Kaylon collective as a result.
  • One of the parallel Earths that is visited by the Sliders is one inhabitated by androids where humanity went extinct except for one scientist, the android's creator played by Robert Englund, but he's actually an android too and doesn't know it.
  • The Replicators of Stargate SG-1 are a big nasty Hive Mind of Mechanical Lifeforms, made of tiny bricks that form various shapes, with the sole purpose of replicating by consuming raw materials and advanced technolgoy. Later on, human-form Replicators are introduced, which are made of nanites and are capable of thinking like humans.
  • The Asurans from Stargate Atlantis, which are basically an entire race of human-form Replicators.
  • In Star Trek: The Original Series, the episode "I, Mudd" has an entire planet of androids that created new members as needed (e.g. the extra 500 Stellas).
    • In Star Trek: Voyager's episodee "Prototype" the Voyager crew comes across a race of intelligent androids in war with another race. They seem friendly and even Data is mentioned as the only similar life form existing in The Federation. However it turns out that their enemies are a group of almost identical androids, probably from the same maker, trapped in a Forever War.
  • Super Sentai and its western adaptation Power Rangers have a few of these:
    • The Engines in Engine Sentai Go-onger are mechanical lifeforms from a parallel universe. Likewise, their enemies, the Barbaric Machine Clan Gaiark also fit this trope, as they are a race of robotic humanoids without a real origin.
    • And the Guardian Beasts in Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger are actually ancient gods that for some reason look like Humongous Mecha with cockpits and everything. Zyuranger's counterpart, the first season of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, on the other hand, turned the gods into "magical" giant robots with some degree of sentience — how much was never really explored, though they act on their own at times, and one episode had the Sabertooth Tiger Zord showing Trini the way to something needed to break the Monster of the Week's spell. Just one more area where MMPR kept the line between the tech and magic components of the same powers and equipment vague.)
    • Power Rangers Zeo introduces the Machine Empire, which is a race of evil robots wanting to, guess what?...take over the universe.
    • Seijuu Sentai Gingaman has the Starbeasts, which are giant animals with elemental powers who inexplicably turn into this trope via an upgrade. Its American counterpart Power Rangers Lost Galaxy keeps this largely identical.
    • The Power Animals/Wild Zords of Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger / Power Rangers Wild Force are (not entirely) mechanical lifeform nature spirits. Their bodies are formed from the Earth itself. They just look like robots because they use metals for their skins.
    • The Bakuryuus of Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger are also like this, and unlike the Guardian Beasts, they are not gods and have a human mindset. In Power Rangers: Dino Thunder this is downplayed, as the Dinozords were an experiment in which dinosaur DNA was combined with machinery. They are not explicitly sentient like the original Bakuryuu though a few hints of that aspect are thrown in.
    • Balance from Uchu Sentai Kyuranger is from a race of these. In fact, he insists he's not a robot. The term he uses for his race is kikai seimeitai, which literally means "mechanical lifeform".
    • Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger: The Kikainoids are a race of sentient robotic beings from another dimension. Despite being apparently mechanical they are able to eat human food. They can even breed with humans somehow. Stacy looks almost entirely human but his father was a kikainoid.

  • The Adults in Futari No look like robots. They are made of mechanical parts and explode when their bodies malfunction, but they are simply another type of human who live amongst the flesh-and-blood humans that are seen in the real world. Their evolution is never explained, however, Nana explains that they make up the majority of the population on the fictional Blue Planet, and there is a monarchy made up mostly of Adults in the Northern Capital.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Though the mechanical characters in Thomas & Friends know that they are artificial and even talk about being built by humans, they still fit this definition:
    • The engines mention, often to other motorized characters, like cars or helicopters, that they don't want to be anything other than locomotives.
    • There are a few sets of 'twin' engines that are canonically referred to as brothers.
    • When the issue crops up, the steam-powered and diesel-powered engines appear to be considered two separate races. (Electric locomotives haven't come up yet.) Early stories even had noticeable Fantastic Racism between the two, tied closely to the source of a lot of Ascended Fridge Horror. (LongStory.) Perhaps mercifully, this has since been quietly buried.
    • The original books also had sentient coaches and freight wagons, and the mind boggles at where Diesel or Electric Multiple Units would fit into all this. note 
    • In short? This franchise gets really, really weird if you think about it too hard and we suggest applying the MST3K Mantra for the sake of your mental health.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Alternity: The mechalus from TSR's short lived game are an alien race that merged with machines at some point in their history. Essentially, each mechalus is born as a cyborg, pre-implanted with Nanotechnology from its family line. They were later adapted for the d20 Modern book d20 Future, under the name "aleerin".
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The modrons, clockwork beings from Mechanus, the Plane of Law in the Planescape setting. It's debatable whether they're actually mechanical, though, since they're basically the spiritual embodiment of Law in the same sense that angels represent Good and demons Evil. Supplanted by the Inevitables for third edition, who are more clearly robotic in nature (visible gears and whatnot).
    • Eberron's warforged are sentient artificial humanoids who were mass-produced by humans to fight in the Last War. Their bodies are a combination of metal, stone and wood, though feats can upgrade the material to Mithril or Adamantium for better armor. After the war, they must now try to fit into society and find a new purpose to their lives. They do not eat, drink or breath, and are immune to a variety of debilitating effects. They are also immortal and voluntarily suffer from The Fog of Ages to avoid going insane from an overload of memories. They are still technically living, however; they are affected by negative and positive energy effects the same way that a living thing would be, and their corpses can be raised by a necromancer. Their bodies will even decay when they are killed, including the parts made of metal or stone.
  • Godforsaken: Vintaak are living creatures made of metal and stone that insist that they were not crafted or created, but born naturally from the soil of Korak-Mar.
  • KULT has the symbiotic lifeforms called Techrones. Aside from that, any mechanic equipment can be a vile lifeform in disguise.
  • Pathfinder: Androids, also called "tattooed children of the stars" by Numeria's Kellid tribes, are Ridiculously Human Robots, "bleed" watery coolant and even have souls. They're purely synthetic Artificial Humans, but respond to healing magic and have souls as organic creatures do. They breathe and eat much as humans do, but through artificial organs, and they circulate their healing nanites like blood through their bodies via pale fluids. They are inexhaustible, immune to diseases and resistant to other biological effects, and fortified against mental effects, but also suffer the same maladies and vulnerabilities of constructs and are susceptible to supernatural curses, including lycanthropy.
  • Ponyfinder:
    • Clockworks are ponies made entirely out of gears, cogs, pulleys and sliding plates. They were once flesh-and-blood ponies, but magic and hubris cursed them into bodies of living metal. They mate and are born like flesh-and-blood ponies, due to the gods granting them bodies of flesh for one day of every year, and afterwards mature, age and die like any organic lifeform.
    • Steelhearts are a borderline case, consisting of cores living wood surrounded by mechanical shells. They are not born, but manufactured in factories by a pair of "parents" with the aid of priests.

  • BIONICLE features biomechanical beings of a variety of different races living inside the body of Mata Nui, who in turn is a living Humongous Mecha around the size of Chouginga Gurren Lagann. It's a bit unclear, though, how much of their bodies are organic, and how much is mechanical. On the one hand, they can drown, suffocate, are susceptible to poison and mutagens, die of old age, and very explicitly possess souls. On the other hand, enough of their makeup is mechanical that they can't move without their mechanical components, don't reproduce, don't need food or water (though they are able to eat and drink), and they can live for tens of thousands of years as long as they keep up on maintenance. Making it even more confusing is that the toys — and by extension all visual media — look purely mechanical, to the point where purely robotic beings like the Vahki are indistinguishable from biomechanical beings.
  • Like the Transformers, Marvel's Starriors miniseries by Louise Simonson was based on a line of toys and is not part of the main Marvel Universe, but it's very well done. When solar flares threaten the Earth, the surviving humans decide to go into suspended animation until the catastrophe passes, leaving robots called Starriors to protect the world and nurse it back to habitability. Unfortunately, the sleeping humans' alarm clock never goes off, and the Starriors gradually forget about them, except as vague legends, and continue leading their own lives. The conflict of the story arises when clues are discovered to the sleeping humans' location, and the Starriors go to war over whether or not it's a good idea to wake them. In the end, the heroes wake the humans, who are both grateful and amazed at how fully sentient the robots have become, and the two races agree to share the world equally.
  • Transformers contains the most popular examples of this trope. Most versions of the race's origin even hold that they were created by Primus, either a Sufficiently Advanced Alien or an actual god depending on who you ask. Starting with Beast Wars, Transformers even have souls, called "sparks".
    • In the original cartoon, however, the Quintessons (themselves either mechanical or cybernetic) built Cybertron as a factory to produce robot slaves (non-transforming proto-Transformers). The robots rebelled, and kicked the Quintessons off Cybertron. Millions of years later, the Transformers have forgotten all about them, but the Quintessons still want their planet back. This has since been left out of almost all the following continuities, mostly in favour of the Primus origin. Notably, the Transformers Aligned Universe does feature the Quintessons as part of Cybertronian history, but that rather than building them for slave labour, they were an outside alien race who merely enslaved the already existing Cybertronian race and then lied about being their creators before they were rebelled against and kicked off-planet.
    • In the comics, their original backstory was that they evolved from naturally occurring gears, levers and pulleys. Uh... yeeeeeah. This was eventually quietly forgotten in favor of the Primus origin, in which the Transformers were to be his trump card against his Evil Counterpart, Unicron.
      • Oddly, this is superficially similar to an origin provided in an obscure text story from a Japanese magazine. Basically, Cybertron was once a space station that developed sentience, absorbed materials from throughout the galaxy, and eventually changed itself into a planet with robot inhabitants.
    • Transformers: Prime goes into depth about their nature, when the Autobots meet the main human cast for the first time, Raf asks "So, if you guys are robots, who made you?" Ratchet is actually insulted by the implication that they were manufactured.
      • A humorous moment in "Masters and Students" has Jack trying to work on a regular motorcycle and Arcee (a Transformer with a motorcycle as her alt mode) is referring to parts as "doohickey." As Jack points out the irony that she doesn't know how a motorcycle works, she asks if he can replicate a small intestine.
      • "Operation Bumblebee" has Starscream flat out state that what they have is more biology than machinery, as when Bumblebee gets his T-Cog stolen (Transformation Cog) it is stated that it is basically an organ and Ratchet can't just make a replacement from junkyard scrap. This goes further when MECH attempts to use it to build their own transformer, but failing miserably despite everything being mechanically sound. Starscream later clarified that, because it's biology, not just any "fuel" will work with the T-Cog; only Energon will. Given that some parts can be replaced, though, (Starscream gets a new arm at one point) it's probably akin to human prothetics where things like limbs can get replacements but internal organs are a lot harder to do.
      • Another episode of the original series involved a Decepticon and an Autobot ending up with each others transformation cogs. They had to be precisely adjusted in order to work properly (having only allowed unstable, partial transformation before the adjustments), which conforms to the idea that they function similarly to organs.
      • Things like surface plating appear to be fairly easily replicated and replaced. The "cosmic rust" incident began with Megatron having his chest plating damaged by a high speed projectile and Starscream telling him after they got back to base that a replacement would be fabricated "when they get around to it".
      • They even have genetic material, cybernucleic acid (CNA). No, the name doesn't make sense, lay off. The concept of Mechanical Lifeforms having a "genetic" method of reproduction; however, does. This has even been done in Real Life with digital creatures.
      • There are, actually, lots of ways for Transformers to reproduce. It varies between continuities.
      • The Beast Wars era came the closest to explaining how the reproduction happens... at least for the body. Certain devices on Cybertron are capable of manufacturing the bodies, which are used to house the sparks (souls) of other Transformers. These protoforms are vaguely featureless humanoid metal shapes that add on features such as transformations and the resulting kibble from scanning and selecting nearby subjects. The body keeps the spark alive and a transformer's spark can be transferred between bodies (sparkless ones are made for such a purpose). The Spark is the crux of the personality, so a seemingly crotchety old transformer could in fact be quite young, but has an old soul (Tigatron being a perfect example). These bodies are produced by machines on Cybertron but it seems none of the transformers even know how the Sparks come to exist in the first place.

    Video Games 
  • Ace in Space: The humanoid alien robots deemed "Guardians" that abducted people to help colonize T-3R4.
  • Flash game Alchemia involved life forms created by an elixir of life. This results in a mechanical life form that became a ghost when it crashes and need to inhibit a new metal body.
  • BioMetal: The titular antagonists of the SNES Shoot 'Em Up are these. Not surprising, what with the name.
  • The titular aliens from Breed are sentient (they let out an audible "Ahh!" when killed, for starters), despite looking closer to robots than organic lifeforms.
  • Platformer B.O.B. is a story of an adolescent robot driving his robotic parent's car to pickup his robotic girlfriend, complete with "where were you" remarks.
  • The race of the titular character from Bomberman is usually this (his race changed between robot, alien, and humanoid with a helmet in his earlier games). More recent games seem to have settled on his race being a race of Robotic Lifeforms.
  • The bosses in the Darius series of side-scrolling shooters appear to be enormous spaceships in the shape of fish (or occasionally other aquatic life). According to the official backstory, however, these "huge battleships" are actually themselves alive.
  • The Exo in Destiny were created during the Golden Age for an unknown purpose, which some theorize to be for war, while others as a desire to live forever. The resulting beings were machines with human minds uploaded into them, and have all the other features of humans, such as emotions like love, fear, shame, and anger, as well as the ability to process food and drink. They're now counted as a separate species who fight alongside the rest of humanity.
    • An interesting twist on this comes in the form of the Vex. The Vex are an outwardly mechanical species of Hive Mind robots who traverse space and time, build strange machines from entire planets, and worship the powers of the Darkness. Their designs and structures are all disturbingly organic in nature, with their "home" the Black Garden being a vast cavern of verdant green grass and red flowers. Deeper analysis shows that the Vex themselves are a form of liquid radiolaria — a single-celled lifeform — that works as a single massive, ocean-sized organic brain within each of the Vex structures, and that all of the Vex machines are soldified versions of this same radiolaria. Essentially the Vex turn themselves into Mechanical Lifeforms to build their vast machines and constructs, then install an organic "mind fluid" of living Vex into these machines to control them.
  • Elohim Eternal: The Babel Code: The Cainites appear to be robots at first glance and they state that they have circuitry, but they're biologically close enough to Kenoman humans that Ruthia, a hybrid, can exist.
  • The technoloptera from Elroy Goes Bugzerk is treated just like any other organic bug by the characters, but it flies with a helicopter propeller, has a door-like storage compartment in its abdomen for stink bombs, and can communicate through radio waves.
  • In the Galaxy Angel II trilogy, one of the members of the Rune Angel Wing is Nano-Nano Pudding, who is a living colony of Nanomachines capable of taking the form of a human young girl. She was found by Vanilla H, one of the heroines of the original Galaxy Angel trilogy, who adopted and raised her as a daughter. In the final installment of the GAII trilogy, it's revealed that Nano-Nano, as well as other nanomachine colonies like her, were coded with some human DNA, and they could only be awakened by their donors, or someone related to them, so the reason why Vanilla could wake her up was because one of her ancestors had donated their DNA to Nano.
  • In the Galactic Civilizations series of games, the Yor were originally created by the Iconians as servants but revolted against them, nearly wiping them out and forcing them from their homeworld.
  • Aside from Mecha-Mooks in the Fairune 2 lategame, a certain collection entry unlocked on game completion reveals the Blue Temple seagulls as being a type of automated Surveillance Drone.
  • The Engi of FTL: Faster Than Light are something like this, though their backstory isn't really discussed in depth.
  • Horizon Zero Dawn:
    • The machines are treated this way by the tribal humans that live alongside them. Indeed, many of them simply act like metallic animals rather than typical robots, being often seen grazing or defending their territory from intruders. The ancient, still functioning factories where they are constructed are referred to as "Cauldrons," and the phenomenon that causes them to go berserk, known as "The Derangement," is seen as something akin to a violent illness or Demonic Possession.
    • It is eventually revealed that most of the machines (specifically the animal shaped ones) are part of a terraforming system once helmed by the AI GAIA and her subordinate functions to reconstruct the earth after it was destroyed by the malfunctioning warmachines (the Corruptors, Deathbringers, and Titans) created by Faro Automated Solutions. The Derangement is caused by the rogue subordinate AI HEPHAESTUS deciding that humans need to stop hunting machines, and the best way to do this is to make the machines more dangerous. He even started creating combat-specialized machines with no purpose but to kill humans.
  • Implied in Little Wheel, as the world is apparently solely inhabited by robots. Their lifeforce as a whole is connected to a main generator.
  • An odd borderline example presents itself in the S'pht race of Marathon, which are apparently non-sentient creatures bonded with a special Black Box upon birth which grants them sentience (courtesy of the legendary Jjaro). They think absolutely nothing of it until the first time they examine a normal sentient lifeform, they are completely flabbergasted and horrified by the very idea that their "birthing operation" may be what grants them sentience.
  • Mass Effect: The Reapers, who get testy if you ask who "built" them. Mass Effect 2 reveals that they're at least partially organic. They reproduce by rounding up thousands of people, liquefying them, and pumping the genetic paste into a shell.
    Sovereign: Organic life is nothing more than a genetic mutation, an accident.
  • The Meklar from the Master of Orion series probably count. Although they originally started out as cyborgs, the Meklar race gradually became more and more robotlike to the point that it ultimately split in two in the third installment. Those who ultimately became purely mechanical kept the Meklar name, while their still partially-organic counterparts became the Cynoids.
  • An interesting example is the Mega Man universe. What started as ordinary robots in the original series were replaced by the ridiculously human Reploids in the Mega Man X series. After many events and a brush with The End of the World as We Know It, they finally received equal standing with humans in Mega Man ZX, where they started blurring the lines between the two races. A few millennia later, by the time Mega Man Legends rolled in, both humans and sapient robots had pretty much become one species sometime around the extinction of traditional humans in the Legends backstory.
    • Mega Man Legends also include the Reaverbots, which are techno-organic creatures. Even in the Massive Multiplayer Crossover, Namco × Capcom, they were labelled as unknown life forms and distinct from normal robots.
    • The series also demonstrates some very odd background art. In X, for example, humanity has seen fit to construct robotic woodpeckers that pluck robotic worms from robotic trees on robotic cliffs. Yeah.
  • Three planets in Meteos are inhabited by mechanical life forms (or at least deemed as such): Machines on the planet Grannest/Smogor, built to serve the original inhabitants who have left without them; the robots on Mekks, who are fully sentient and run a space mine; and the electrical beings on Wiral/Neuralis, who tend to the surface while the actual population lives inside their world. Some of the Wiralons/Neuralisians are made of electricity and can also be considered as Energy Beings.
  • The Minirobots from Mini Robot Wars, who are created by the artificial planet they live on.
  • The main ability of Faust, the Big Bad of Moon Diver, is to create life out of inorganic matter, which leads to the game's Mook armies consisting of, among other things, giant lion-like beasts made of scrap metal and burnt tires becoming living pests.
  • NieR: Automata: The robots are divided into two warring factions; the human-worshiping Androids and the alien-constructed Machines. What at first looks like a proxy war to determine which organic species will enslave the planet quickly unfolds into a bitter story of an arms race to attain humanity by any means necessary.
  • In Ōkami, this is mixed with Science Is Bad in that Yami, the God of Darkness is the source of all technology and as such appears as a giant mechanical orb. This also applies to Lechku and Nechku, demonic Owls whose outer body take the form of Clockwork Creature, and several other demons.
  • The Armada from Pirate101 consist of clockwork soldiers that were built to help Valencia win the Polarian War. They were highly successful but have since taken over Valencia and have been threatening to take over the entire Spiral. They to not tire, they do not give up, they do not die!note 
  • Many Steel-type Pokémon belong to this trope (Magnemite and evo's, for example), as well as artificial Pokémon like Porygon and Golett. More prominently are the Paradox Pokémon of Pokémon Violet, who all look like mechanized versions of regular Pokémon.
  • Basically everyone in Primordia (2012) is a robot of one sort or another, what with humans having gone extinct.
  • The Asuras in Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga: Avatar Tuner.
    • Other examples in the series include the most powerful Angels, such as Metatron, Sandalphon, Melchizedek and Ophanim, and the Innocents from IMAGINE.
  • Robots in SimEarth, which can be obtained by nuking a nanotech city.
  • While Spore leaves their exact origins a mystery, this, and their incredibly violent tendencies, are the two biggest traits about The Grox.
    • Spore also has the infamous "Bot Parts Pack", officially available as a US only promotion with soft drink Dr. Pepper (of all things), these versions were limited to people who visited 7/11 stores in 2010 to obtain the codes; it has never been officially released by EA/Maxis since. As the name suggests, it comes with 14 robotic parts to make as many mechanical lifeforms as your heart desires.
      • However, you can download the pack via third party websites, although you may have to fiddle about with it a bit to ensure that it's stable, it functions the exact same as an official version.
  • Starbase Orion has the Cybans (or Cyban, the game is a bit ambiguous on the plural form). According to their backstory, they started with one unit becoming self-aware on a derelict spaceship. Despite their electronic memory, they have no idea who built the first unit (or the ship). That unit built more like itself until the ship crash-landed on a surprisingly-habitable planet. The Cybans "upgraded" themselves to be powered by consuming bio-fuels (justifying them using farmers) and formed the Community of Cybans. After achieving spaceflight, they met organic races, who viewed them with disgust and attacked. The peaceful machines were forced to learn warfare and adapted their forms to be more like the organics (i.e. bipeds). In-game, the Cybans are the best researchers and engineers (lore: thanks to Cla-TK-7-7A) with a rich homeworld (lore: thanks to Magistrate Xalon). Word of God is their ships were inspired by both Borg and Cylon aesthetics, and each larger class appears to build on the previous smaller ones with logical additions.
  • Though one can argue whether they are truly life forms, for the most part the Glitch of Star Bound fit this.
    • Starbound also features a fruit known as an "Automato" which is a tomato made of metal, and bears a resemblence to the Glitch.
  • The Mmrnmhrm race of Star Control. Except they can't reproduce without the Mother-Ark, which has apparently not made any more after the initial batch (which was in the millions). The third game of dubious canonicity also introduces the Daktaklakpak.
  • The Steamworld series is populated with mechanical lifeforms, as of SteamWorld Heist, there are three main types: The steambots, which the series is named after, dieselbots, and the vectron, traditional electricity powered robots.
  • Stormland is a game where your character is already a robot, under attack by a hostile alien race called the Tempest. After repairing yourself and obtaining weapons, you meet the Tempest and discover they're mechanical humanoids that looks no different from robots like you.
  • Smithy and the Smithy Gang in general in Super Mario RPG are this, living evil weapons in particular...
  • A Very Long Rope to the Top of the Sky: Droids are as "alive" as anyone, in everything except automatic reproductive capability, which they don't have. They describe themselves as being alive regularly.
  • Warframe:
    • The Sentients, the enemies of the Orokin Empire in the Old War, are the most blatant example of this. Initially created to be terraforming drones with the capability to adapt to the dangers on their mission to prepare the Tau System for Orokin colonization, the Sentients continued to improve themselves until the eventually gained self-awareness. They range from being smaller than humans to full-blown Living Ships and reproduce similar to starfish. Hunhow, the leader of the invasion force, is even mentioned to have a "womb" from which his two children Natah and Erra were born. Even the description for the cores dropped by Sentient drones isn't sure whether it can be classified as a device or an organ.
    • Orb Vallis, an area on Venus being terraformed by the Corpus, has many of these. Most famous are the servofish that swim in the coolant; there are servofish for taking coolant samples, for mapping the underground rivers, for killing organic animals, and for repairing the other servofish. There are also spider-like Raknoids that are used as cheap scouts and security drones.
  • The dragons of the Wild ARMs series are a race of living Transforming Mecha. The demons, which have bodies made of metal, blood made of mercury, and astral forms made of electric signals, also count.
  • In World of Warcraft the Mechagnomes are fully sapient gnomelike mechanical lifeforms native to Northrend. It also turns out that the regular, fleshy gnomes were actually devolved from the mechagnomes by Yogg-Saron's Curse of Flesh.
    • Most of the Titan (who were themselves made out of metal) constructs fall into this category, including the Earthens (who would become the Dwarves as a result of the Curse of Flesh) and the Vrykul (who would also become flesh because of the Curse and are the ancestors to the humans).
      • Barring the Mechagnomes, most of the Titan creations appear to have started as living or magically animated sculptures rather than machines. Some of the apparently uncursed giants can actually be mined like mineral nodes as opposed to dropping parts.
  • The Xenon of the X-Universe series began life as artificially intelligent terraforming drones created by Earth. A faulty software update made them go rogue and eventually they became fully sapient and "the greatest threat to biological life that ever existed throughout the whole universe." They have their own shipyards to build more of themselves. Predating them by roughly 500 million years are the Sohnen, a robot species used by the Ancients as an intermediary to the young races.
  • The Mechon from Xenoblade Chronicles 1 are a race of Mechanical Monsters originating from Mechonis that have been in a long conflict against the Homs of Bionis. They are also NOT lifeforms, much to the surprise of the protagonists. The real mechanical lifeforms are the Machina, the true humanoid inhabitants of Mechonis. The Mechon are just the creation of one of them. The Machina still play this trope straight however as they have metal skin, don't seem to consume anything but water, and can live indefinitely.

    Web Animation 
  • DSBT InsaniT:
    • Sushi is a metal shark.
    • Robo-Wolf is a...robo wolf.
    • REX is a small robot dinosaur.

    Web Comics 
  • Gunnerkrigg Court:
    • The Court employs robot cows and robot horses, to perform the exact same tasks for which normal cows and horses are used. Except that the horses ramble on in English while carrying loads, and the cows "graze" by firing small lasers at errant blades of grass.
    • The TicTocs, ticking parrots with metal beaks, aren't revealed to be robots until one of them gets autopsied. It then takes root in the ground and starts growing.
    • The precursors to the Court's modern robots are part this and part golem as well. Kat does what is effectively heart surgery on one. She eventually creates a more advanced form of robotics that looks almost exactly like biology, and allows the robots to be "reincarnated" into new bodies of their choosing.
  • Homestuck has quite a few examples. One of them is Jade's dreambot, which acts as a surrogate body when she's asleep. Another is Liv Tyler the Rabbit, who is at least semi-sentient. Aradia's soul remains inside a robotic body for much of the Hivebent Arc. In addition, Dirk's Autoresponder is a computerized copy of his brain that lives inside of a pair of glasses.
  • In Little Robot, Big Scary World, the darkness was created as a living, mechanical weapon that could survive and grow in the depths of space, while Go-Ship is a mechanical beetle that BIP uses as a steed.
  • Only Human has humanity replaced with robots and humans who converted to robots. Humanity is thought to be extinct until little girl named Ely is found.
  • The Machine Men from Rice Boy actually grow as they age. One of them nearly dies from poisoning.
    • Some of the backstory provided in "Order of Tales" indicates that they even evolved from a more primitive rock-based form to their metallic, mechanical appearance in the present-day of the setting.
  • Schlock Mercenary has several of them; Schlock and his fellow "Carbosillicate Amorphs" evolved from "self-repairing distributed storage systems for (Bradicor) supercomputers," and the Esspererin are apparently "somebody's iterative mechanical replication experiment."
  • Sluggy Freelance: The inflatable Dig Bots. They're self-replicating, have their own nightclubs, malls, religion, and fast food restaurants. They've even got a movie theatre where they play an edited version of Up that is much more sympathetic to their balloon brethren.

    Web Original 
  • The Crew of the Copper-Colored Cupids, though identifying as a species in their own right, are actually robots, the last and greatest work of a long-gone human Creator. New 'generations' of Cupids are created every year in the Great Foundries.
  • Humanity is brought back from extinction as a the Galaxy's first race of sentient robots in Chrysalis (Beaver Fur).
  • The series of daylogs on Everything2 following Moloch36 and his days in shaft thirteen, level ninety-nine. The first can be found here.
  • Orion's Arm features many "Mechanosystems" both Terragen and Xenosophont in origin. Including one named Stanislaw. The intelligent machines generally prefer to be called "vecs" (the term derives from AI researcher Hans Morovec), though, as "robot" implies non-sapience.
  • The artist TysonTan (previously Extvia) on DeviantArt has this in his Electric Hearts (formerly SYNC) series, with nanotech-based anthros.

    Western Animation 
  • The Animal Mechanicals world is entirely populated by these, including the titular Animals, all designed to look like kid's building blocks.
  • Every member of the Galvanic Mechamorph species of Ben 10 counts. They are black and green creatures made of liquid metal that can control and "upgrade" machines. In Ben 10: Omniverse their origins are revealed: They were accidentally created by Azumth in an effort to Terraform Galvan B.
  • Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot: The Neo-Cateri in the episode "World of Pain". They are robots who assume the emotions, sensations, culture, and even souls of organic beings.
  • Futurama: Professor Farnsworth unwittingly creates some. The life-forms evolve so fast that, within a few days, they put him on trial for promoting creationism.
    • An earlier episode "Fear of a Bot Planet" also introduces a planet whose native inhabitants are all robots who hate and fear humans in a similar way to how sci-fi characters from old movies fear alien monsters. The anti-human sentiment is fueled on purpose by the ruling Robot Elders to keep the population distracted.
    • The show’s robots in general are regarded as essentially just another variety of people. They're even capable of sexual reproduction.
  • The Cluster, the Big Bads of My Life as a Teenage Robot, who combine the trope with Insectoid Aliens.
  • In Shadow Raiders, Tekla comes from Planet Tek. If she is typical, all the planet's inhabitants are made of a sort of living circuitry. Unfortunately, like the Lithonians mentioned above, Planet Tek is eaten by the Beast Planet in the first episode, leaving her the Last Of Her Kind.
    • For that matter, the Beast Planet and its drones probably count as well.
  • There has been some speculation for a while now that the Gems from Steven Universe — a One-Gender Race of living rocks that project bodies of Hard Light, live within a Hive Caste System, don't age, lack any biological needs, are born fully functional with pre-programmed knowledge, and can only reproduce through articial (and highly environmentally unfriendly) means — may be case of this trope.
    • This has all but been confirmed in Steven Universe: The Movie, where we get to see several gems get their memories erased in much the same way you'd reset a device back to factory mode. Complete with requiring user configuration to be inputted once booted up.
    • Finally, this has been confirmed by Word of God. Along with the trivia that gems are solar powered.
  • In Tiny Planets, the inhabitants of the Planet of Technology are robotic versions of the inhabitants of the other planets.
  • As previously mentioned, all versions of The Transformers are about this. More notably though, other alien species of robots would frequently appear, often without any explicit Cybertronian origins.
    • It may be a safe bet that all robots who can transform, like the Junkions, have some connection to the Transformers or at least to their creators the Quintessons, but it's never stated outright.
    • It isn't clear if the Quintessons are this trope or cyborgs. The fact that they make a "squish" noise when they get smacked around would seem to indicate the latter.
    • The episode "Quest For Survival" features the Morphobots, a species of alien "mechanical plants" who naturally feed on "robotic insects." After allowing them to chow down on the episode's rampaging swarm of Insecticon clones, the Autobots then get rid of them by loading them into a rocketship and sending them to "a planet of robotic insects."
    • The big winged Kaiju from "The Secret of Omega Supreme" would seem perfectly biological from the script (it hatches out of an egg and is hungry, after all), but its visual design looks mechanical. Perhaps it's just some kind of exoskeleton.
    • The poor Lithonian robots from The Transformers: The Movie certainly count (their planet gets eaten by Unicron). Supposedly, early drafts of the script had them as Silicon-Based Life instead, hence their planet's name "Lithone" (the Greek prefix lith- means stone).
    • Also from the animated movie, there's the underwater mechanical life from Quintessa, which include mechanical fishes, algae and a Giant Squid. The latter caused some trouble to Kup and Hot Rod.
    • In fact it's actually implied in some parts that Mechanical life is the standard in the universe. Organics like humans are relatively rare and unusual, although other organic aliens do appear as well.
  • Wakfu has the Mechasms, who may or may not be this trope. But they certainly look like they are.

    Real Life 
  • Robots capable of manufacturing all of their own parts have been built. However they can not assemble their "child" and still need human help to "reproduce". If this issue is resolved it could technically be considered an organism, if not a conventional one, as the only consistent definition for life seems to be something to reproduces without aid. For those concerned about a robot uprising, these are very simple machines and need to be "fed" the materials they need to reproduce by hand and can't do anything but make more of themselves.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Mechanical Lifeform


The Machines

The machines resemble mammals, birds and even dinosaurs. Even the Corruptors look somewhat like scorpions.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / AnimalMecha

Media sources: