Robots and Artificial Intelligences are supposed to be these cold and calculating beings bound by carefully constructed programming and code. Sure, they could display emotions, or at least something resembling them; but love? That one emotion even organic beings have trouble understanding? Surely that has to be a totally different story, right?
Well, it turns out that isn't always the case, and love can bloom amongst those cables and sensors.
Robo Romance covers those moments where non-organic beings, be it robots, AI, or anything along those lines, display romantic emotions towards a fellow mechanical being. Love Tropes can apply just like they would with any regular romance, meaning we can wind up with all sorts of situations, such as both growing to love each other, one of the involved malfunctioning at the other's presence, or one side's romantic advances being thoroughly ignored by lack of interest, emotions, or any trace of sentience whatsoever.
Not to be confused with the Robot Romance Trilogy.
- The 1980s series of Astro Boy had an episode called "Robio and Robiette", which was a retelling of Romeo and Juliet featuring robots.
- Battle of the Planets has 7-Zark-7's robot girlfriend Susan, whose voice we hear over the computer, but whom we never get to see.
- One episode of Space☆Dandy is about QT having a romantic relationship with a sentient female coffee maker machine, though ultimately she chooses another robot over QT.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL, Orbital 7, a robot built by Kite to help him retrieve Number cards, ends up falling in love with Lillybot, a litterbot Yuma had previously taken in, after a Crash-Into Hello. A series of misunderstandings leads Orbital 7 to believe Yuma is abusing Lillybot, leading to him challenging Yuma to a duel to save his love. By the end of the episode, things get cleared up and him and Lillybot are finally formally introduced. The two are later shown in the epilogue of the show with a bunch of robot baby hybrids, implying they are now an Official Couple.
- In DC Comics Presents: "Whatever Happened to ... Star Hawkins?", Star's robot secretary Ilda marries Automan, Robot for Hire, from Tales of the Unexpected.
- In Madman, two robots, Astro Man and Mechania, become lovers. Extra points go to the fact that they were made by other robots and were programmed to have emotions, resulting in, for all intents and purposes, sentient organic beings.
- Later in the run of Marvel's Micronauts comic book, Microtron fell in love with a female robot named Nanotron. The two automatons remained a couple until they eventually sacrificed themselves to revive the conscious of Arcturus Rann's robotic companion Biotron.
- Cybertronian society in The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye has Conjunx Endura, which is basically a marriage between two bots. Chromedome and Rewind are one such couple. Chromedome, in fact was notable for having had a total of four partners when most bots went their entire lives without having one. This was because when each of his previous partners died, he used mnemosurgery on himself to erase his memories of them.
- In Empath: The Luckiest Smurf, Clockwork Smurf and Clockwork Smurfette's relationship results in the creation of their offspring Baby Clockwork Smurf — plus a hundred other Clockwork Smurfs.
- Nelvana made a robotic version of Romeo and Juliet called Romie 0 And Julie 8 which had this as its theme. The two androids are from different manufacturers, and androids in general aren't supposed to feel love.
- WALL•E: The focus of the entire plot is the romance between the title WALL•E and EVE. In their case, their concept of love may have come from the Hello, Dolly! clip WALL•E showed to EVE.
- The little floating robots in *batteries not included can not only fall in love with each other, they can even procreate.
- Bicentennial Man: When Andrew first sees Galatea it appears as though he has found the Fembot of his dreams, only for him to quickly realize she is just a shallow personality program on a normal robot. In fact, within five minutes or so of having met her, he considers her too annoying to tolerate.
Andrew: (to Rupert) Shut her off, or I will.
- Heartbeeps: The robots Val Com 17485 and Aqua Com 89045 meet at a factory while awaiting repairs and fall in love. They decide to escape and set out on a journey to find a place to live as well as a supply of electricity. They assemble a robot out of spare parts and treat it as their child, this becoming a Robo Family.
- The Spike Jonze short film Im Here revolves around a romance between two robots... one which takes a turn for the self-destructive when it turns out the female robot is an adrenaline junky who keeps getting damaged by her stunts, forcing her lover to remove his own body parts as replacements, since they’re poor and can’t afford new parts.
- In The Matrix Revolutions, Neo comes across a pair of Programs named Rama Kandra and Kamala in Limbo. Despite their artificial nature, they state they love each other and have created a daughter Program they call Sati to raise. Neo is a bit surprised at seeing emotional expressions from an A.I., but Rama Kandra says that "love" is just a concept, not something distinctly human.
- TRON: Tron and Yori are one of the earliest film examples, depicted as a parallel to their Users who are also a romantic couple. Unfortunately, come TRON: Legacy their Users are Happily Married, but there is no word as to what became of Yori and if what happened to Tron is any indication, her survival odds appear dim.
- In one short story by Robert Sheckley, a successful businessman decides to court a successful businesswoman but since he has no time for proper courtship, he has a specialized "lover" android built in his likeness and sends him on all the dates. One day, the android doesn't return from a date, and it soon turns out that the businesswoman had no time, either, and also sent a "lover" android looking like herself. The androids simply decided to run away. Later on, when the two (human) protagonists are married, the woman has a nervous breakdown when she realizes that they are the robots, while the androids they built are real people who live for love.
- In the third Jack Blank book, The End of Infinity, Virtua, a Projected Woman, acts unusually possessive of Jazen Knight, a Ridiculously Human Robot, when he ends up in trouble. They had hooked up offscreen between the end of the second book and the beginning of the third, but it never came up to mention it until the end.
- In the short story "Love and Sex Among the Invertebrates" by Pat Murphy, humanity has wiped itself out in nuclear war. A roboticist dying of radiation poisoning creates robot dinosaurs to pass the time while musing on her sexuality, and gives them non-functional sex organs as a joke. As she's breathing her last, she's shocked to realize they have somehow successfully procreated and realizes that they will become humanity's successors to Earth.
- In Fritz Leiber's Silver Eggheads, sentient robots can have sex with one another (it includes connecting wires), and have their own complex sexual culture, complete with romance novels and fanservice.
- Andromeda: In "Star-Crossed" the Andromeda's avatar "Rommie" fell for an android she found in a wrecked starship, unfortunately he turned out to be the leader of an eco-terrorist group and tried to kill her. Interestingly their actors would later get married.
- Eureka: Android Deputy Andy developed a romantic relationship with Carter's house, SARAH. They almost got married too, but SARAH had cold feet.
- Get Smart. In "Leadside", the Villain of the Week sabotages the CONTROL Master Computer. As the computer stutters out its Last Words, 99 asks if there's anyone the computer wants to be notified of its passing. The answer is: the CONTROL cigarette vending machine!
- In one episode of How I Met Your Mother, Barney produces and stars in a deliberately terrible one man show, which includes a skit where a robot falls in love with a toaster.
- An episode of the Logan's Run TV series had an android therapist (she was the last remaining staff at a sleep therapy center) and Rem (who was essentially an android butler and maintenance man) start an odd flirtation. Neither of them understood humans very well, so they thought the idea of a robo romance was odd, but intriguing.
- Red Dwarf
- In one episode, Kryten meets a female android (played by Kryten actor Robert Llewellyn's own girlfriend.) She turns out to be a hideous artificial lifeform, but he keeps the relationship going until she leaves the ship so as not to hurt her.
- The ship's computer Holly claims to have once had a love affair with a ZX Spectrum, and falls in love with his female counterpart Hilly in a parallel universe. A Skutter also falls in love with one of the parallel Dwarf's pink Skutters, and has a litter of mini-Skutters.
- The idents for BBC 2's Red Dwarf Night had a Skutter form a relationship with the 2 (not the actually robotic one, which came later, but a bouncing CGI one with an antennae), eventually getting married and, similar to the above, having a litter of mini-Skutters and 2s.
- In Season VIII, Lister's contacts among the Skutters include Bob (from "The Last Day") and Madge, who is "Bob's missus".
- Star Trek
- In Björk's music video for "All is Full of Love" from Homogenic, two robots (allegedly both of them were modeled on Bjork) kiss and embrace each other.
- Depending on whether the "she" mentioned in the lyrics is another robot or something else, "Space Robot 5" by BraveSaintSaturn could be a tragic example.
- "Don't Unplug Me" by ALL CAPS, features a Robo Romance as its subject matter.
"I remember our software was compatible
I think I felt my circuit board ignite
You held my hand in your metallic grip
We may be machines, but I'm in love tonight"
- Implied in Chrono Trigger at the Geno Dome with Robo and Atropos. One of the endings features them sitting side by side watching the Epoch fly by.
- Detroit: Become Human: It's possible for the androids Markus and North to fall in love with each other depending on choices taken by the player controlling Markus that deepens his relationship with North, and will kiss during the final battle.
- Legends of Runeterra has a Follower unit called the Slotbot, a flashy slot machine robot who, for some bizarre reason, is one of the only robotic characters with a voice and a personality based in sapience. He has many interactions acknowledging them when played, and about half of them are very flirty in nature (whether the other robots are even capable of reciprocation is unknown).
(to a Golden Crushbot) "You could 'crush' me anytime!"
- Mega Man X: The romance between Zero and Iris shown in Xtreme 2 and X4 plays a part in Zero's plot over the games.
- In Poker Night 2, Claptrap of Borderlands fame has a crush on Portal's GLaDOS. The crush is extremely one-sided, with every single one of Clap's advances being answered with even more apathy than usual from her. However, she does say his diesel fuel-scented cologne drives her insane — Lizzie Borden insane.
Claptrap: I might as well say it now. I've always loved you, baby.
GLaDOS: Were I outfitted with a dry-heave subroutine, I'd activate it now.
- In Manly Guys Doing Manly Things the Commander apparently helped GLaDOS break up with AM at some point, which is why she lets his interns live when they use the portal room for training.
- Questionable Content:
- A minor side plot involves a robot romance between background characters Seven and Jeremy.
- There's also at least one relationship between a human and a robot that's highly romantic on the robot side, but that doesn't strictly fit within the trope definition.
- R.A.M. the Robot: When R.A.M. and the ship's fighting gets to be too much for Jake and Jean they reprogram the two A.I.s to get along better, but overdo it a little.
- One episode of a later Flintstones series has Fred living an idyllic, lazy life because he owns a robot that goes to work in his place. This ends when Barney buys a robot of his own, which turns out to be female, and brings it to Fred's house. Cue both robots immediately escaping to pursue their romance.
- Futurama: The robot of the cast, Bender, has many "love" affairs with other robots. It isn't very romantic until the crew's ship is upgraded with Artificial Intelligence. They form a romantic relationship, but she suffocates him into leaving... that is, if his own adulterous nature didn't do it first.
- Most adult robots seem attracted to other robots, while Robo Sexual relationships are controversial. In one memorable instance, robot duplicates of Fry and Leela hook up before their human counterparts finally do.
- All of the above is justified by the fact that robots can reproduce sexually in order to meet a demand too large for factories to supply on their own. It's worth noting that the definition of "robots" extends to all technology in the 31st century, which comes equipped with Artificial Intelligence by default; in "The Bots and the Bees" Bender fathers a child by a vending machine.
- Hanna-Barbera's The Jetsons has the episode "Rosie's Boyfriend", where building super Henry Orbit builds a robot assistant named Mac. Mac meets Rosie, the Jetsons' robotic maid, by chance, and starts malfunctioning much more than usual.
- The Looney Tunes short "Robot Rabbit" has Bugs disguise himself as a female robot in order to lure Elmer's pest-control robot into a pile driver.
- The Third season of Ninjago introduces P.I.X.A.L. (short for Primary Interactive External Assistant Lifeform) as a love interest for Zane.
- Phantom 2040 pairs up Heisenberg and Pavlova, the first two robots to gain self-awareness.
- The Phineas and Ferb episode "Love at First Byte" has Norm fall in love with a beautiful female robot named Chloe. He spends the rest of the episode trying to impress her. Dr. Doofenshmirtz supports him until it is revealed that Chloe was created by Rodney.
- The Smurfs (1981) has Handy build Clockwork Smurfette to be Clockwork Smurf's companion. She initially falls for her creator instead, but after helping Clockwork Smurf defeat Gargamel, her affections turn towards Clockwork Smurf for the rest of the series.
- Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go!: SPRX-77 and Nova are two robotic monkeys with an ongoing Belligerent Sexual Tension.
- This is not uncommon in the Transformers franchise in general.
- Transformers: Generation 1: Optimus Prime and Elita One, the female Autobot leader, were in a Long-Distance Relationship, since she and the other female Autobots had remained stationed on Cybertron.
- Beast Wars: Blackarachnia and Silverbolt's relationship was one between two opposing factions. Airrazor and Tigatron was also a prominent same team pairing.
- Beast Machines: Rattrap and Botanica spend the latter half of the show in a Slap-Slap-Kiss situation before becoming official after the day was finally saved.
- Most incarnations of The Thirteen have the doomed romance between Megatronus Prime and Solus Prime end up as a key factor that leads to The Thirteen being split.