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Transforming Mecha

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"Autobots, transform and roll out!"
"Damn! The plane turned into a frikkin' robot!"

If one cool vehicle can help the hero out, then more than one can certainly be better, right? But if the hero is out with one, and needs the other, he's up the creek. Not so, for he's driving a Transforming Mecha, which can mechanically rearrange itself into a variety of different machines for different roles.

The most common form of this is humanoid/animaloid robot to vehicle. The vehicle and humanoid form will most often share parts, characteristics and details. For instance, big tough robots will change into trucks and tanks, while light fast robots will shift into fighter jets or sports cars. The design of the robot form is usually done using elements from the vehicle form, making it at least visually plausible that one can become the other without swapping anything out back at the shop. The vehicle form usually has an advantage, like a higher speed, or the ability to masquerade as a mundane vehicle.


It is, of course, also possible that the two will not resemble each other in any way, and the transformation will be based on matter replication or other semi-magical technology. The advantage to the mechanical transformation is that it's possible to design a toy that works almost exactly like the mecha on the show.

The switchover itself will either be a full-blown Transformation Sequence in Super Robot shows, or a lightning-fast parts shuffle in a Real Robot show. There are sometimes exceptions, as with the Telescoping Robot's ability to expand outwards. A reliable source for Technology Porn.

A variation, sometimes used in combination, is the modular parts system, with which a mecha can re-equip with different tools and weapons for different jobs, like the FAST packs from Super Dimension Fortress Macross or the weapon systems from Centurions. This type of system is in use in real-life militaries, which have such things as up-armoring kits for vehicles and universal hard-points on combat aircraft.


There is also the matter of the vehicle that transforms into the same vehicle, only much cooler. These are more common in shows aimed at younger audiences, but appear from time to time throughout the genre. The typical explanation being that the cooler form is the vehicle's true form, while the ordinary one is a disguise.

The physics and logistics of the transformation concept are tenuous at best. Most of the internal space of the vehicle would have to be taken up by the robot's parts, but they usually seem to have cargo and passenger room much like an equivalent mundane craft. The extra weight of the unused robot components would probably reduce the capabilities of the vehicle form, but in most cases it's faster, tougher and overall better than the non-transforming types. Even when the alternate form isn't a vehicle (such as, say, a different kind of mecha), it would be much simpler to have whatever function the alternate form is designed to do be performed by a separate, additional robot.

Frequently, it is possible to anticipate if a vehicle will transform into a robot form if it contains strangely out-of-place elements in its design, as if its engineers suddenly decided to ignore the laws of aerodynamics. Examples include strange protruding bulges and unnecessary giant hand-shaped areas. Most of the time, if the characters within a show are not aware of the vehicle's ability to enter a robot mode, they ignore these design quirks prior to the robot's first transformation. Much to their surprise, the robot changes form near the end of the pilot episode or the beginning of the second. Note, though, that there are certainly exceptions, with the tell-tale bits instead being alt-mode bits that are obvious in robot mode. (Transformers fans refer to these as kibble.)

For normal vehicles that transform, see Transforming Vehicle, its Sister Trope.


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  • The Taiwanese military now have them. Well, according to this ad, at least.
  • The famous dancing Citroen C4 from this ad.

    Anime and Manga 
  • The variable fighters of the Macross franchise, which are transforming fighter jets, with each series's main protagonist always piloting one. The titular Macross class of vessels are the some of the largest transforming mecha ever shown on television. The original SDF Macross was over one kilometer tall. The Battle sections of the later New Macross class vessels, when transformed into humanoid form, are almost a mile tall. Macross Frontier also has the VB-6 König Monster variable bomber, which can transform into a walking heavy artillery platform.
    • Additionally, there is a reasonable explanation for the use of these mechas (well, at least the fighter-jet-sized ones), something not all Real or Super Robot shows care to give to the viewers, mind it. In the first few episodes of the original series, Roy Focker states that the Valkyries were designed to be able to fight "on even grounds" with the Zentradi. While most Giant Robot shows have mechs almost entirely for Rule of Cool, a quick flash of Fridge Brilliance makes one realize that "on even grounds" doesn't mean tech-wise, but the fact that using Variable Fighters (VF-1's) is the only way to engage in true infantry-based-warfare with the Zentradi, while their jet-based primary form is to provide fast, long-distance travel that would normally be provided by transport planes/choppers, and the Gerwalk transitional form exists (as stated in the show itself) as a VTOL form for difficult terrain when taking off in the Valkyrie form and landing in the Battroid form. There is a certain degree of Mundane Utility to the Gerwalk mode as well, as some supplementary materials state that this is the mode that they use to transport Valkyries around the hanger for maintenance outside of combat; it's also often used to pull off maneuvers that wouldn't be possible with a regular jet, like using the leg boosters to quickly reverse direction and get behind an opponent.
    • The original Macross transformed into a humanoid configuration due to losing a lot of its power conduits during the space fold disaster: the human shape was them taking advantage of the modular nature of the ship to connect the remaining conduits to fire the Macross Cannon. That it looked human-shaped when this happened was apparently coincidental. Later Macross and New Macross class vessels keep the transformation because... uh, well, they never really say. Rule of Cool, perhaps. Or because it's the only way to pull off the Macross Attack that was pioneered originally as the Daedalus Attack as a desperate move in the original series. It does work.
    • While not the Ur-Example of this trope, Macross may be responsible for popularizing it (especially the "realistic vehicle transforms into robot" version) , not just because it was brought over to the west as part of Robotech, but also because the success of Takatoku's Macross toy line led to Takara releasing their Diaclone line which became the basis for Transformers. In fact, the Autobot Jetfire was made from the same mold as the VF-1 Valkyrie from Macross.
  • Daimos: The titular Humongous Mecha was one of the first ones. He could transform into a rocket-shaped spaceship.
  • Getter Robo in all its incarnations was both a Combining Mecha and a Transforming Mecha, with three different forms (usually a flying strong form, an ultrafast but land-bound form, and a water-capable tank form, though there have been exceptions) depending on the order the Get Machines combine in. The Getter Rays's status as a Sentient Cosmic Force sometimes takes the transforming gimmick too far, though: some of Getter Robo's more esoteric models have been known to forgo form-switching altogether and just sprout parts from the other modes on top of the current one, reality be damned.
  • Getter's gimmick was later reused by the Aquarion franchise, whose main mechs have the same "three jet, three different forms depending on combination order" signature ability. One core difference, however, was that the transformations actually worked with no telescoping needed, thanks to Macross creator Shoji Kawamori's technical know-how.
  • Many of the LFO mechs in Eureka Seven can transform into land vehicles.
  • Zoids were mostly monoform, but Liger Zero from Zoids: New Century has a modular swap-out system. The Murasame Liger from Zoids Genesis took it a step further, being a piece of Lost Technology whose "Evolt System" uses nanomachines to outright rebuild the machine into other forms on the fly.
  • In Sonic X, Tails's plane Tornado II transforms from a plane into a really fast plane. Later, he adds a bipedal mecha transformation. These come from directly from the games: Sonic Adventure features Tails's Tornado transforming from one plane into another (with no actual effect, really), while Tails runs around in the bipedal mecha in Sonic Adventure 2.
  • Many robots in the Brave Series (such as King of Braves GaoGaiGar) could transform. And then they started combining with each other and bolting extra bits on.
  • Another very early example was Pook (from the slavic (or was it Celtic?) word Pooka, a type of animal spirit) from Astroboy, a robot kid who could turn into a variety of animals before his transformation system was destroyed by trying to change into too many things too fast. In the GBA game he also becomes a Combining Mecha, gaining the ability to change into the "heart" of the planet destroying alien robot Garon. Transformers show up a few other times in Astroboy, including Odette, a robot ballet dancer who turns into a swan who was created for a fairytale theme park attraction based on Swan Lake.
  • The Super Robot Raideen, who debuted around the same time as Getter Robo, was probably the first straight-up example of a giant robot who became a vehicle, turning into a bird-themed aircraft.
  • Gundam: In "rough" order.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam: The original (titular) RX-78-2 Gundam straddles this trope and Combining Mecha thanks to its core-fighter and G-Fighter components. Unlike many, it's a single suit with one mode.
    • Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam:
      • The titular Zeta Gundam is this series' primary example and one of the first traditional Transforming Mecha in the franchise, transforming into a Waverider Mode for greater speed and athmospheric reentry capabilites.
      • Other mecha in Zeta that can transform include the Methuss, Gaplant, Asshimar, Hambrabi and the Messala. The Hyaku Shiki was designed as a transforming mecha but it didn't quite work. The Advance of Zeta side-stories add even more. There's also the Psycho Gundam, which first appears as a massive Mobile Armor before transforming into a 40-meter tall Mobile Suit, dwarfing what are already Humongous Mecha.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ: The ZZ Gundam's G-Fortress mode. The Gaza series (the Gaza-C debuted in Zeta, but the series gets mass-deployed with the improved Gaza-D and the Ga-Zowmn here) also counts. The Bawoo has a split module transformation like the original Gundam above.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack has the ReGZ, which transforms by attaching it's shield as the plane nosecone.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn: continues the trend with the Loto (MS to Tank), Delta Plus (upgraded version of the Hyaku Shiki from Zeta with restored transformation) , ReZEL (a development of the ReGZ, itself a development from the Zeta) and Anksha (MS to Flight Form - a development of the abovementioned Asshimar); the latter two can carry friendly MS into battle while transformed. The titular Unicorn also transforms, from an ordinary mobile suit with a Unicorn horn to a red-glowing Gundam of death.
    • Mobile Suit Victory Gundam: Victory 1 & 2 Gundams which transform and combine. Some Zanscare mobile suits, such as the Zolo line (top and bottom module similar to the Bawoo) and the Tomliat (attack helicopter to Mobile Suit) also transform.
    • Mobile Fighter G Gundam: The Nether Gundam, which can turn into a windmill (yes, really). The Heaven's Sword Gundam, which has a bird-like flight mode and a fighter mode. And then there's the Devil Gundam, which keeps coming up with more and more new forms as the series goes on.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: The titular Gundam (known in series as "Unit 1") can go from Bird mode to Mobile Suit mode and back, and Wing Zeronote  could transform as well. Epyon transformed into a dragon-shaped mecha. Gundam Wing Endless Waltz changed the designs, however, and Wing Zero lost its transformation for a while, until Gunpla kits gave it a new one.
      • The Taurus as both mobile suit and mobile doll had a "fighter" mode capable of atmospheric flight and higher speeds. The Aries also transforms into a flight mode which essectially ammounts to flipping the feet around and deploying a pair of wings.
    • After War Gundam X: Both of Witz Su's Airmaster Gundams have plane-shaped flight modes, as the name would imply. Olba Frost's Gundam Ashtaron also has a mobile armor mode that evokes the many aquatic mobile armors of the original series.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED: A large number of them, to the point that most of them transform. The Strike Gundam (the one operated by the protagonist) uses Mecha Expansion Packs. Orb's military force mainly consist of Murasames, mass-produced transforming mobile suits, in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny. There are other examples in ZAFT and the Earth Alliance as well, namely the Impulse Gundam and BABI for ZAFT, and the Destroy Gundam and Wild Dagger for the Alliance.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam 00: The Flags (and their European counterpart the Enact) have robot mode and a vaguely airplane like mode, as do the Kyrios and Arios Gundams. The final episode of Gundam 00 contains what has to be the best, albeit likely unintentional lampshading of this trope ever, when Big Bad Ribbons' Mobile suit transforms from a Mobile Suit into . . . a slightly different Mobile Suit.
      • The Flags and Enacts are odd examples because rather than transforming mid-battle like pretty much every other example on this page, they have to be "converted" between forms while at an airbase, because an attempt mid flight would put a lot of stress on both the suit's joints and the pilot's body. Graham Aker is the first pilot to attempt a mid-air transformation, and by the time of The Movie, the Braves (successors to the Flags) are all capable of doing so.
    • SD Gundam Force: Captain Gundam has a Gunvehicle mode.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam AGE: The Gundam AGE 1 has two Mecha Expansion Pack that actually replace the arms and legs. The AGE 2 fits the more traditional transformation meaning by transforming into a plane mode, in addition to using removable parts like the AGE 1. By the time the AGE 2 is constructed, it appears that the Red Shirt mecha for the Earth faction can use similar designs to the AGE 1. The Red Shirt mecha that accompany AGE 3 are the traditional plane/mech model. The Unknown Enemy also known as Vagan has several mecha which can transform into dragons.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans: The Gundam Kimaris Trooper, piloted by Gaelio Bauduin, can transform into a centaur-like hover mode. The Gundam Flauros (aka the "Ryusei-Go IV") can transform into a four-legged version meant to provide extra stability when it fires its gigantic back-mounted rail gun, turning the Gundam into a fixed-position artillery unit.
    • Gundam Build Fighters: Ricardo's Wing Fenice... does not transform, contrary to the kit it was based on. This is partly because of its Fashionable Asymmetry putting both of its wings on one side, and partly because it has no shield, which would be required to transform it anyway. The later Fenice Rinascita does have a transformation though.
    • Gundam Build Fighters Try: Yuuma's Lightning Gundam, based on the Re-GZ from Char's Counterattack and given several upgrades, features a similar transformation. Fumina also has one in the Star Winning Gundam, an SD that turns into a more normal Mobile Suit.
    • Gundam Build Divers: Ayame's RX-Zeromaru has three forms, a normal SD form, a Mobile Suit form, and a Bird-like "Armed Armor Hattori" form. The two Co-Dragons of Avalon also use two variants of the Impulse Gundam which they can swap parts with, and their boss Kyoya's AGE-2 Magnum is based on the AGE-2.
    • Gundam Build Divers Re:RISE features many variations on suits that already transform, but also has its own fair share: Hiroto's Core Gundam II can turn into a plane by combining with its shield, and both versions of Core Gundam can combine with different "Planet Units" to change into specialized units. Kazami's Aegis Knight retains the transformation of the original Aegis Gundam. The obligatory SD kit, the Valkylander, also has a slight twist on the idea, as it goes from SD form to Dragon form.
  • A mild example, Sonic Divers from Sky Girls can transform between Glider Mode (read: jet mode) and Armor Mode (read: mobile suit mode). These transformations are more for functionality than visual, because of their aerial exoskeleton armor structure, Sonic Divers can't perform a flashy transformation without grinding their pilots into meatbag.
  • The QT Arms in The Girl Who Leapt Through Space. They start off as a spaceship with a circular set of rocket boosters on the back, but can transform into a sort of centaurian humanoid form utilizing the boosters as a set of legs.
  • In Viper's Creed, the mechs can transform into a motorcycle-like form for added speed, but the catch is that they can't be too high from the roadway or they can't gain their energy through wireless power. Enemy mecha mooks, on the other hand, don't have this limitation.
  • The vehicles form RideBack can switch between a Segway-like standing mode where they have wheels instead of feet for better agility; and a bike like form equivalent to a human doing the splits-which has higher speed.
  • Phoron of Polyphonica has a bike that can transform into some sort of piano-based music center. Since Magic Music is fundamental in the world of Polyphonica, this is definitely a good thing.
  • Lagrange: The Flower of Rin-ne has the Vox units, which transform from a plane into a mecha.
  • In Code Geass, Gino's Tristan can turn into a jet and back.
    • Lelouch/Zero's Shinkirou could also transform into a Jet/Submarine "Fortress Mode". The MR-1 frames seem to be a mass-produced civilian variation of this, going from truck to mecha.
  • In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, The Arc-Gurren and Super Galaxy Dai-Gurren are multi-kilometric spaceships that double as Meta Mechas (the latter, apart of being a Meta Mecha of the former, can ALSO become the Moon.
    • Most of the Four Generals seem to have multi-mode mecha. Adiane's Sayrune mecha can go from a Winged Humanoid shape with a talking vagina to a hulking scorpion monster. Guame's Gember can switch between a hulking ape-like mode and some kind of woodlouse thing, and Cytomander's Shuzack changes from a Winged Humanoid to a disembodied skull with wings and scythe-arms.
    • The Kiyalunga combines this with Mecha Expansion Pack in that it can transform into a lance and shield that can then be wielded by the King Kittan to form the King Kittan Deluxe.
  • Team Rocket in Pokémon has made several of these, including a recent one that goes from digger to piloted mech. They're not as durable as most examples of the trope.
  • Argento Soma: The SARG robots can switch between being a plane and a robot.
  • Nekketsu Saikyo Gosaurer has a bunch of mechs that go from being an ELEMENTARY SCHOOL to a bunch of robot dinosaurs.
  • The titular characters from Karas can change into jets or tank-racecar hybrids. Their actual transformations are a bit cheaty, as they go through a portal and come out changed on the other side. In the end, though, it doesn't really matter due to Rule of Cool.
  • Genesis Climber MOSPEADA features two types: the MOSPEADA, motorcycles that can turn into powered armor, and the Legioss, which are similar to the Valkyrie fighters from Macross. This was one of Kenichi Sonada's first jobs in animation, and he liked the concept enough to reuse it for...
  • The Motoslaves that the Knight Sabers ride from Bubblegum Crisis. Transformed, they can either act as independent combat robots or as extended power suits to provide their riders with additional firepower and some aerial mobility.
  • Mazinger Z gets in on the action in Shin Mazinger by having the titular mech turn into a giant fist.
  • The title mecha of Ninja Senshi Tobikage.
  • Fairy Tail: Jose Porla can transform his entire castle in a giant mecha.
  • Panzer World Galient: The titular Humongous Mecha is capable of transforming into a red-and-white jet fighter.
  • The☆Ultraman has a powerful mechanical juggernaut monster called Dragodos, who assumes the form of a flying saucer for travelling around, but transforms into a serpentine form (bristling with weapons, including two Power Pincers and a buzzsaw tail) in order to battle Ultraman Joneus.
  • Beethes, aka Beethoven (yes, that Beethoven) from Classicaloid creates these from large, mostly mechanical objects with Magic Music. This goes from Rule of Cool to Rule of Funny when he gets turned into a fish temporarily and makes a crab mecha out of an oven and kitchen equipment.
  • In ID-0 the former racer Rick Ayer has a custom I-Machine that is able to transform into a fast and manoeuvrable jet-like vehicle
  • 1990s anime fandubbing house Seishun Shitemasu (guilty of, among other films, the Parody Fandub Ranma 1/3: Notes from the Closet) included the phrase "It even turns into a giant robot!" as an inside joke catchphrase, a reference to its first project, the Gunbuster fandub Robotech III: Not Necessarily the Sentinels.
  • Thanks to his magic, Henry from Black Clover can transform the Black Bulls' hideout into a humanoid bull to fight or a four-legged bull for transportation.
  • Cross Ange: Rondo of Angels and Dragons: Para-mails and Ragna-mails can switch between two forms, the flying motorcycle-/plane-like 'Flight Mode' and humanoid 'Assault' or 'Destroyer Mode.'

    Asian Animation 
  • Cubix: Robots for Everyone:
    • The eponymous character is a robot who can assume the forms of a jet, a drill tank, a hoverbike, a laser cannon and a helicopter chair.
    • Maximix has a car mode.
    • Quixtreme 5000 aka Cheetah, the robot of Connor's rival Charles, can transform into a robotic cheetah and an open-wheel car.
    • Kilobot gains the ability to transform after copying some of Cubix's data. He has taken the form of a jet and can also assume the form of any robot whose data he has copied.
  • In Happy Heroes, the Car Knights all have a vehicle form and a battle form.
  • Mechamato: Payapi, the firefighting robot, looks like a firetruck, but he can change between this form and a more humanoid one.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • A Crown of Stars: In this story Asuka has a red Humongous Mecha capable to turn into a jet fighter with space-travelling capabilities.
  • Theecat's totemen in The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World. They can shift into all kinds of useful forms, and can also combine to make more useful forms.
  • As Code Prime is a crossover between Code Geass and Transformers, the Autobots and Decepticons, as usual. In R2, five of the Black Knights' Knightmares — the Shinkiro, the Guren S.E.I.T.E.N., the Lancelot Albion, the Raiden S.E.I.T.E.N., and the Gawain Nerion — are able to transform due to being made from Cybertronian Protoforms. The Shinkiro can become a shuttle, the Lancelot and Raiden can turn into jets, the Gawain Nerion can transform to a hovertank, and the Guren can turn into a car.

    Film — Animated 
  • Finn McMissile from Cars 2, who can actually transform from a car to a submarine. His sidekick Holley Shiftwell can transform into an aircraft.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Spaceballs, the villains' Spaceball One flagship transforms into Mega-Maid, a giant Fembot equipped with a vacuum cleaner to suck up Druidia's atmosphere.
  • The agents' cars in Men in Black can transform from a mundane car (an LTD in the first film, a Mercedes-Benz in the second) into a superpowered jet-propulsed car at the touch of a Big Red Button.
  • In the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me, Bond's Lotus Esprit can also become a really fast submarine.
  • Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004) had airplanes that could transform in mid-dive into submersibles. The hero doesn't bother pointing this out to the Damsel Scrappy who's in the cockpit with him, so she's rather annoyed.
  • Centauri's car in The Last Starfighter took the angular wedge design of the DeLorean, turned it Up to Eleven, then made it a transforming Flying Car and Cool Starship.
  • The titular Taxi deploys spoiler wings and gains about 500 hp at the touch of a button.
  • In Big, a prototype toy transforms from a robot into a skyscraper, and Tom Hanks' character suggests that the robot transform into something more fun, like an insect or a dinosaur.
  • Downplayed in the Star Wars prequels with the Trade Federation "Vulture Droid." Although primarily used as a fighter, its "wings" can reconfigure into four legs. However, this is only seen in a couple of shots.

  • Older Than Television: In what may be the earliest example of this trope, there was "The Terror", a vehicle from Jules Verne's Master of the World (1904) which could become an airplane, a submarine & some kind of tank/armoured car that could move so fast it could not be seen by the naked eye.
  • Travis S. "Doc" Taylor used transforming mecha in his One Day on Mars series of Hard Sci-Fi books. Marine issue Mechs had 3 modes: Fighter, Bot and a hybrid Eagle mode with talons hanging down. Army tanks would switch into 2 modes: Hovertank and Bot. Justified throughout the book as assisted by AI and made enemies worry about 3 different styles of attack, rather then one.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Ambassador Magma, by Osamu Tezuka is the possible Trope Maker. The giant robot was capable of transforming into a rocket.
  • Most seasons of Super Sentai and Power Rangers have at least one mecha that can both combine and transform on its own.
    • The Rescue Megazord from Power Rangers Turbo and its counterpart VRV Robo from Gekisou Sentai Carranger is a Combining Mecha made of five Transforming Mecha.
    • The Dinozords from the first season of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers combined into a tank which would then be transformed into the humanoid battle mode, often without ever firing a shot. There was an instance of it transforming back to tank mode to knock down a giant Goldar before switching to battle mode again.
    • One pre-Power Rangers Sentai, Denshi Sentai Denziman, had the Daidenzin, which could transform from the space shuttle-like DenziFighter into the Super Robotesque Daidenzin.
    • Of particular note there's the Astro Megaship from Power Rangers in Space, which besides being a transforming robot and the main Megazord of the season, were the only additional component was a shuttle that formed its head, was also the base of operations for the Space Rangers. Its counterpart in Denji Sentai Megaranger, the Galaxy Mega, was not as prominent.
    • Tokumei Sentai Go Busters sees the mecha of the Rangers having more independent action than in other seasons, this is partially due to the fact that that their mecha all have vehicle and animal modes they can transform to, with Red Buster's mecha having an additional humanoid mode. Its adaptation as Power Rangers: Beast Morphers keeps this, albeit to a slightly lesser degree.note 
    • Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger is a special case; most of the Rangers in the team are a race of robots from another dimension and their Ranger forms are based on mecha from previous shows. As such, the mecha of the team are the Rangers themselves enlarged and transformed into other forms (a tyrannosaurus, a lion, a dragon and a dump truck) and two of them combine to form the collectively known ZenkaiOh, which has four configurations depending on the Rangers that form it and two of it can around at the same time. Twokaizer has a more traditional mecha formed by his crocodile-shaped aircraft turning humanoid with the head being formed by one of his mechanical younger twin brothers.
  • Some of the Kamen Rider series in the Heisei era have these, albeit in a smaller scale compared to its sister series Super Sentai. Examples include:
    • Kamen Rider 555 has Autobajin, a motorcycle that can transform into an autonomous human-sized robot which can assist the eponymous Rider in combat. Kamen Rider Kaixa has one that changes into a bipedal walker that specializes in the Macross Missile Massacre trope.
    • Kamen Rider Gaim probably has one of the stranger examples of this trope, as the Riders are able to summon a giant transforming watermelon. It can transform to either a humanoid robot mode or a flight mode. And despite possessing one of the most ridiculous concepts for a Transforming Mecha, this series is known for being one of the darkest installments of the Kamen Rider franchise.
    • In some Kamen Rider series, the heroes are able to utilize small robotic allies that usually disguise themselves by transforming into everyday objects. Examples are the Disk Animals in Kamen Rider Hibiki, the Candroids in Kamen Rider OOO and the Foodroids in Kamen Rider Fourze
  • Knight Rider managed to include this in a couple ways. In the original series, the fourth season introduced both "C" mode (Convertible) and Super Pursuit Mode. C mode had the hardtop (with t-tops) somehow folding away behind to make a convertible out of KITT. SPM had various pointy bits and a rocket booster pop out of places to allow a huge speed boost. In the new pilot, KITT did something of the reverse - he was able to disguise himself as a more mundane, base model Mustang to avoid standing out quite so much. It's unknown at this time how much that particular transformation might impact performance, or what other transformations might be possible.
    • In the series proper, KITT transforms into other Ford Product Placement Opportunities - er, I mean vehicle types, for specialized situations, like an F-150 for off-road.
    • KARR in the new series could transform from a Mustang like KITT into a very scary wheeled exosuit bristling with machine guns and missile launchers. In the original series as well as the new, KARR is voiced by Peter Cullen which makes this a very full circle Shout-Out to the man and one of his most famous roles.

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech:
    • The first edition featured Land-Air Mechs, which are Battlemechs that are able to transform into fighter craft. The originals were licensed designs based on the Macross Valkyrie Fighters above, though they later received new art original to BattleTech. They also somewhat subvert the trope in that they're acknowledged as highly specialized and somewhat extravagant niche units, not really competitive with either pure 'Mechs or pure aerospace fighters in their respective roles and of course requiring pilots specifically cross-trained to handle them competently in all of their possible modes ('Mech, fighter, and depending on the design possibly a hybrid "AirMech" configuration). The Succession Wars destroyed all but one of the factories that built these advanced mechs, making them all but impossible to keep running due to their Lost Technology, and their virtual extinction was a way for FASA to wring their hands of the messy lawsuit that these mechs and other licensed designs caused. Later editions limited them to the Tech level 3 rules, an optional ruleset for more realism and/or advanced technology.
    • The Novels made mention of a variant developed by the Clans that had two pilots, one a MechWarrior one and the other an Fighter Pilot. Given how marginalised the Pilot bloodlines are in the Clans' eugenics programs, and how badly Clan warriors cooperate is (in general, they don't), it resulted in a rocky working relationship as the best of times and both pilots fighting for control doomed the project.
    • A number of other more recent Land-Air Mechs have popped up but none have reached full scale production and most were Flawed Prototypes at best. The Manei Domini produced three LAM models outfitted with ultra-light weight Clan technology, but outrageous costs and mediocre performance even with augmented pilots made them a rarity. There was a brief attempt to make a flying Spider Tank in the Scorpion LAM, which failed to ever fly, and sat mothballed for close to 400 years; when rediscovered, the prototype was used to improve the ride quality in standard Scorpion quadmechs.
    • It has to be mentioned that with the tabletop ruleset at the time of their introduction, LAMs were a pain to deal with. While they couldn't compete in either Mech or Fighter mode, the hybrid AirMech form was a nigh unhittable Fragile Speedster perfectly capable of taking down 'Mechs twice its weight, thanks to the insane to-hit modifiers their speed provided. Later rules would Nerf them substantially by adding extra modifiers, the result being that they went from one end of the Tier-Induced Scrappy spectrum to the other but never really managed to make it out.
    • Later, the game saw the addition of Quadvees, quadrupedal mechs that could fold up their legs and run on tracks or wheels. While they have a few advantages (they can enter terrain that normal tracked and wheeled vehicles are prohibited in, and if they suffer crippling leg damage they can ignore it by switching to vehicle mode) but they're still generally inferior to standard mechs due to how much of their mass and internal room they need to devote to the converision gear and motive system.
  • The first chapter of Shards of the Exalted Dream features a voidfighter design capable of converting from space fighter to warstrider form. The first prototype was known as the Scarlet Empress, and is so far the only one to be piloted by a non-Solar.
  • Mekton has this, although it can get a bit pricey, especially when you have multiple forms.

  • Transformers, obviously enough, and probably the most famous example in the west. The higher capability is somewhat of a Justified Trope here, as some individual Transformers are older than our whole species. Also notable for being sentient rather than piloted (although half of the original toys were repainted from Japanese toys that were supposedly piloted; the other half were to-scale objects like Penny Racers, radios, cassette players, and even handguns that transformed into robots).
    • Worth noting is that a number of Transformers have more than two modes...In fact, there's a few with six, and one with ten.
      • Later installments into the franchise would go on to show that transformation is not just present in the Transformers themselves, but can be found in almost every aspect of their society. Animal species, weapons, ships, buildings and in certain continuities their entire home planet of Cybertron (also their god, Primus) are capable of transformation.
      • The latest franchise ups the ante with Shifters, a Transformers sub-species that can transform into anything! Understandably, they are Toyless Toyline Characters.
    • The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye put a lot of focus on the influences of transformation on Cybertronian life. Socially, it led to the rise of the Fantastic Caste System of Functionism (which held that your altmode determined the job Primus had chosen to give you), and thus indirectly to the Autobot-Decepticon War, since the Decepticons started as rebels against Functionism before He Who Fights Monsters kicked in. The Militant Monoform Movement consists of bots who had their transformation cog surgically removed; at one point, we meet a Triple-M member who had all his Kibbles and Bits removed because he couldn't stand to look at it. There are also medical conditions related to transformation mentioned, including a disease triggered by transformation, transformation cog burnout (a protester commits suicide by transforming himself to death, while transformation-addicted Tarn harvests his victims' T-cogs to survive), "rigor morphis" (the body's tendency to take its preferred shape at the point of death), and Grimlock's aphasia, which worsens in his robot mode because it puts more pressure on his brain module.
  • The Baterra from BIONICLE could shapeshift into anything, including trees and rocks, but avoided taking on the shapes of other people out of choice. Sadly, they never appeared as sets, although there were plans. Toys that did shapeshift were the Bohrok/Bohrok-Kal (into balls) and the Vahki (bipedal to quadruped).

    Video Games 
  • Bulk Slash has you piloting a mech with an alternate jet form.
  • Gun Metal also has you piloting a mech with an alternate jet form.
  • The Neo Geo Beat 'em Up game Robo Army had a power-up that temporarily morphed the player character into a "Power Buggy", an invincible dunebuggy-type car that could barrel through hordes of enemies.
  • The Custom Robo series has the Lightning Sky class of robos, which transform into fighter jets.
  • The Interceptor car in the Spy Hunter series, which can become a boat, a motorcycle, and sometimes a jet plane.
  • A slew of original mecha in Super Robot Wars, notably the Wildraubtier & R-1 (which are Macross or Gundam style planes-to-robots) and the Grungust series (which take cues more from Daitarn 3).
    • Super Robot Wars W contains a ship, the Valstork, that transforms into the giant humanoid Valguard by augmenting itself with its in-house mech Valhawk, which itself has a plane Air Force mode and a humanoid Close Combat mode. When they fuse with the Armstra ship into the even more massive Valzacard, the Arm Arcus transforms into a sword or a bow for it to wield.
    • Aussenseiter and Dygenguar's combination attack, which transforms Aussenseiter into... a giant mecha horse. Which Dygenguar mounts. And then Dygenguar produces a sword no less than three times the length of itself. That's about when Trombe! is reaching its climax in the song, and you REALLY should have been running a long time ago.
    • AND R-GUN! A Gundam-ish mecha transformed into a GUN?! Nice for you to get gunned-to-crap by METAL! GENOCIDER!
  • The three main Agency vehicles in Crackdown all transform into bigger and badder forms as the player's Driving Skill rises. The Supercar turns into a machinegun-packing batmobile, the SUV turns into a monster-truck that can jump and drive up walls, and the Truck turns into... an even bigger and badder truck with a nitro-booster for maximum ramming power. No attempts are made to justify the blatantly impossible transformations. It happens because it's cool.
  • In Gunstar Heroes (both the original and the GBA remake), Green uses an ancient vehicle known as Seven Force. It has seven different variations. And you have to fight them all.
  • Viewtiful Joe has the Six Machine, a transforming vehicle with six forms: A humongous mecha, a car, a jet, a submarine, a subterrine, and a cannon.
  • In Xenosaga, the E.S. Dinah could transform from a starship to a mecha and back; only about half the ship was used in the mecha form, leaving the rest to be used as a large energy weapon or just left floating in orbit. The E.S. Naphtali could also transform from a cruise mode to combat mode.
    • Though the Dinah is more of a combiner, as its head is formed from a flying motorcycle that turns into a bed.
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles X, Skells are capable of transforming into a vehicular mode, depending on their weight type. Light Types transform into nimble motorcycle-esque vehicles, Medium Types transform into slower but more stable four-wheelers, and Heavy Types employ tank treads.
  • In Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, the Empire's Tengus (anti-infantry mecha and anti-air jet) and VXs (anti-air mecha and anti-tank chopper). The Sea-Wing/Sky-Wings are more Military Mashup Machine.
  • Mischief Makers: Each member of the Beastector has their own Transforming Mecha: Lunar has a Cool Bike that turns into a wolf robot, Tarus has a tank that turns into a bipedal robot, and Merco has a flying drill that turns into a bird robot. The three of them can also combine into a large humanoid robot.
  • R-Type TL series fighters transform into mecha when attached to force devices. They also use a different Wave-Motion Gun when transformed.
  • The Terran Viking units in Starcraft II transform from a fighter with anti-air missiles to a mech with anti-ground machine guns. They're best used for raiding as the name suggests, fly up behind the enemy's defenses to their resources and transform to mow down their workers before their forces move back there.
    • The fluff in the campaign mode describes a trait that Vikings have that's somewhat unique to this trope: The cockpit of the Viking transforms, too. Viking pilots have to be nimble enough to avoid the massive pieces of shifting machinery, and most rookie pilots end up losing a limb or two.
    • Hellions/hellbats are a reverse example; originally a fast dune-buggy-like skirmish vehicle, the Hellion was retrofitted with the ability to transform in the game's first expansion, becoming a slower, but tougher close-combat mech.
  • The Guardian Legend's main character, a Robot Girl who takes a humanoid form during the dungeon crawling parts of the game, then switches to spaceship form for some Vertical Scrolling Shooter action.
  • Mr. Heli Robo at the beginning of Stage 6 in Contra: Shattered Soldier.
    • There is also the Super Powered Robot Yokozuna Jr. which serves as the boss for Stage 2.
  • Turbo Man in Mega Man 7 can turn into a car, Ground Man in Mega Man & Bass can turn into a Drill Tank, Galaxy Man in Mega Man 9 has the ability to turn into a miniature UFO, Nitro Man in Mega Man 10 can turn into a Cool Bike, & Impact Man in Mega Man 11 can turn into what looks like a three-pronged pile driver. Ride Boarski of Mega Man X7 also counts, because he can turn into a motorcycle.
  • Lost Planet: Extreme Condition has the GAB-25 Vital Suit that can change from being a quadrupedal mech to high speed Drill Tank. It also has the GTF-13 which can transform between Mini-Mecha and jet-propelled snowmobile modes.
  • Star Fox 2 gave the Arwings and two other spacecraft a walking mech form-convenient for fighting on planets and inside battleships. This feature would later be carried over (along with a transforming Landmaster) to Star Fox Zero.
    • General Pepper's Ace Custom flagship in Star Fox: Assault however, is this, its battle form using its wings as melee weapons.
  • The protagonist of Thexder is obviously inspired by Super Dimension Fortress Macross, transforming from a bipedal robot into a jet fighter. In the sequel, it attacks with Roboteching missiles, too.
  • In Twisted Metal Black, Sweet Tooth's truck can transform into a humanoid robot.
  • In Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love, the STARs are capable of transforming between a traditional bipedal form and a jet-like flight mode.
  • The Eidolons from Final Fantasy XIII, surprisingly enough, turned out to be these.
  • Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army comes with Final Boss the Soulless God Yasoumagatsu and the earlier Soulless God Oumagatsu, monstruous battleship/Evangelion hybrids capable of easily switching between forms. The transformation scene is awesome.
  • Several RAY Series bosses, including Ray Storm's first boss, and Sem-Strut in Ray Crisis.
  • The Vic Viper from Gradius appears in transformable form in Zone of the Enders.
    • Also from the second game is the mook frame, NARITA, preferring to use its entire body as a weapon and transforms to ram into enemies.
    • Tyrant and Nebula from the first game also counts as this which they go into during their second phase.
    • Jehuty itself has a similar transformation by spreading its arms and wings, straightens its legs and its cockpit...faces forward.
  • Yami, from Ōkami as a Sequential Boss. The presence of a Mecha in a game set in Ancient Japan is justified by the implication that Yami, as well as being the God of Darkness is the creator-god of technology.
  • Starhawk, the Spiritual Successor to Warhawk has these as the standard, flying vehicle.
  • C.O.R., a Game Mod for Unreal Tournament 2004, was team deathmatch with transforming mecha, and awesome.
  • Shogo: Mobile Armor Division is a rare case of a First-Person Shooter with Transforming Mecha.
  • Future Cop: L.A.P.D. has the x-1 alpha that transforms between a battle walker and a hover car.
  • Battle Engine Aquila has the battle engines, which can turn change between jet mode and walker mode. However, in flight mode the battle engine must divert its Deflector Shields to propulsion, and even then it can only remain airborne for relatively short periods. In a world flooded by Global Warming, the battle engine must make use of any land, debris, or enemy airship or watercraft to land on to recharge lest it lose power, fall into the water and start to flood.
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising features the Great Sacred Treasure, which transforms into nearly half a dozen modes in the fight against Hades.
  • Anarchy Reigns has Garuda, who transforms into a jet and can be ridden on by his teammates in co-op modes.
    • Aswell as the Gargoyles, who resemble Garuda, except with one eye and plasma arms.
  • The PC Engine shmup Psychic Storm had four ships that could transform into huge bio-mechanical creatures.
  • In Phantasy Star III, the cyborg Wren could transform into an aeroplane, jet scooter and submarine once the required parts are obtained. Unfortunately, the Wren in Phantasy Star IV no longer seems to have this ability.
  • Armored Core features quite a few of these.
    • The most famous example is the final boss of Master of Arena, Nineball Seraph which could often travel faster by converting into a bird-like mode. It's also insanely powerful and sturdy for a transforming mech and is decked out with Beam Spam
      • It also returned as a final boss in ACE: R if the player is on their 11th playthrough and it's been pumped with steroids now featuring Primal Armor from the PS3-era games, a cloaking mode, Attack Drones and a wave motion cannon in its chest. The best part? You get to take it out for a joyride in an unlockable mission.
    • In Armored Core 3, there is a blue MT model possessing a walker and flight mode. Taking it out while in walker mode is a first priority since it unloads powerful beam shots.
    • In Nexus, there is yet another transforming mech which appears to be a prototype for the Pulverizers in Last Raven.
  • Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards features the HR-1, a towering robot that transforms into a rocket-mode for the second half of the battle and attacks using scissors.
  • AirMech, drawing obvious and loving inspiration from Herzog Zwei, has the player piloting a robot that transforms into some kind of aircraft to command a variety of drone units on the ground.
  • Mario & Luigi: Dream Team has the Giant Luigi opponents Earthwake and Robo Drilldigger. The former is a mecha made of buildings that can transform into a flying swarm of them and a gigantic hammer, the latter a robot made of drill pieces that can become a tank or a flying vehicle in order to use different attacks.
  • The Atari Jaguar launch title Cybermorph has the player control a spacecraft that shape-shifts into different forms based on how the player flies. The sequel, Battlemorph, expands the idea with submersible and subterranean modes.
  • Vanquish has the Argus, which transforms between a Spider Tank and a humanoid robot; View Hounds, which transform from helicopter drones to ground robots that use the blades as swords; and the BIA, which transforms from a humanoid to a scorpion.
  • In Time Crisis 5, Robert Baxter has a robot that starts out as a Chicken Walker, but then becomes a giant robot that Robert himself will pilot.
  • Scrap Mechanic, a construction sandbox game, contains the Controller gadget, that allows the players to create their own transforming constructions. With the game's system of Design-It-Yourself Equipment, there's practically no limit on what sort of vehicles the players will be able to create.
  • Strikers 1945 features bosses that appear to be World War II-era war machines at first...before transforming into mecha that could not have been possible with 1940's-era technology.
  • In Overwatch, the character Bastion can transform from his bipedal robot form to a either stationary turret or a tank.
  • Wild ARMs 2 and Wild ARMs 3 feature the Dragon Caliber, Lombardia. He's a living mechanical "dragon" who can transform into a jet, and becomes your Global Airship after defeating him. He even gets a Gundam-style launch sequence in his very first appearance.
  • In The Elder Scrolls series, the Dwemer crafted Numidium is a Reality Warping Humongous Mecha prominent in the backstory, and then as a major plot point in Daggerfall. Tiber Septim used it to complete his conquest of Tamriel, something he likely would not have been able to do without it. It was so massive and so powerful that merely activating it warped time and reality, right up to affecting even the ''God of Time'' himself. Here is a size comparison, with the tiny specks at the bottom being full-sized people. Numidium was usually anthropomorphic, but could apparently change its shape from time to time. Considering its reality-warping abilities and how it was walking exemplification of refutation, it makes sense that Numidium would not necessarily stick to one discrete shape.
  • In Neon Drive's seventh stage, the player controls an expy of Sideswipe from The Transformers, first dodging Klax-style tiles on a conveyor in car mode, then side-scroll platforming in robot mode.
  • The Ninja Warriors Once Again has Raiden, a 4-meter, 32-ton robot ninja who can transform into a Chicken Walker with machine guns and bombs.
  • MechRunner has the XP-41, which can switch between battle ship and dual sword-wielding mecha.
  • Persona 5 has Makoto Niijima's Persona, the motorcycle shaped Johanna, whose ultimate form is the transformed mecha Anat. Its official figure even has that transforming action built into it.
  • TechRomancer, a fighting game for the Sega Dreamcast, features among the selectable robots the Strategic Variable Fighter Rafaga, a very obvious expy of the various Valkyrie fighters from the Macross franchise.

    Visual Novels 
  • While we don't actually see it, Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth has a throwaway gag where a father explains to his son about the miniature courthouse model inside the courthouse he designed and built, but was fired since the total cost for it was just as much as the real thing. He explains that it was because he put in some "special mechanisms". When Edgeworth looks at the model himself...
    Edgeworth: ...Is that a face? And hands? Does this thing transform?
    • Turns out that years later in the sequel, the courthouse apparently liked it as you can ask permission at the front desk to press the button in front of it.
    Edgeworth: (reading an information plaque) "Press the button to activate robot transformation sequence."


    Western Animation 

     Real Life 
  • The J-deite RIDE is the world's first real transforming mecha, going from car to robot in a few minutes. A bit slow compared to the lightning-fast transformations in mecha anime, but it proves that it can indeed be done.


Video Example(s):


Mecha Tengu

Fast-moving, pilot-assisted robots that can assault by land or sea, or turboboost to the skies.

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