Machine Robo (マシンロボ) is a long-running toy-based franchise produced by toy company Bandai. It debuted in 1982 in Japan and initially ended in 1989. It was revived several times, and its latest incarnation, Machine Robo Mugenbine, is still being released today. A large portion of the Machine Robo toy-line was exported and sold by Tonka in America as GoBots and Rock Lords, sometimes with major color and mold changes, together with toys developed by Tonka themselves.
Several anime series were produced for it:
Machine Robo: Revenge of Cronos (マシンロボ クロノスの大逆襲) is a Japanese anime television series produced by Ashi Productionsnote . It ran on TV Tokyo from July 3, 1986, through May 28, 1987. Initially, the only western releases were three subtitled DVDs with only 15 episodes released in 2003 by Central Park Media, until Discotek Media announced their licensing of the show for their own release in 2022.
The story of Revenge of Chronos takes place on the mechanical world of Cronos. A band of villains called the Gyandlar have come to the planet in search of the mythical energy, the Hyribead. Rom Stoll is the successor of the Tenkuu Chushinken sword technique after the death of his father in the first episode, kicking the plot. Rom, Drill, Jet and Leina ( Rom's sister) fights again Devil Satan 6, Diondola and their minions to free their planet.
When the series left off, Rom and Leina had crossed a dimensional barrier. Their physical forms changed from robot to human and they were separated with blurred memories. Leina Stol is incarnated as Reina Haruka, a Japanese schoolgirl. As the story progresses, she meets up with Rod Drill, Blue Jet, Triple Jim, and Rom; all of whom are now human. This story is told in "Leina Stoll in Wolf Sword Legend"
This was followed by Machine Robo: Battlehackers (マシンロボ ぶっちぎりバトルハッカーズ), a loose sequel to Machine Robo: Revenge of Cronos, which aired in 1987. This series initially wasn't licensed for a Western release at all, but Discotek confirmed in 2022 that they'd be following up their release of Revenge of Cronos with the first-ever English release of this series later in 2022.
Furthermore, three OVAs were produced under the title "Leina Stoll in Wolf Sword Legend" from 1988 to 1990 that told the further story of Rom Stol and his sister (especially his sister), Blue Jet, Rod Drill, and Tripple Jim.
2003 saw the release of Machine Robo Rescue (出撃!マシンロボレスキュー), a Rescue show which told the feats of a rescue organisation and its Machine Robo helpers. All of the rescuers are kids because the Machine Robos synchronize especially well with kids aged 10-12. This is especially bad since artificial disasters are being caused by a mysterious organization, pushing both the kids and their robots to the limit in order to save lives and thwart the evil.
Although its current incarnation Machine Robo Mugenbine (マシンロボムゲンバイン) does not feature an anime, several CG shorts and a manga were produced, and the current releases feature a story on the boxes.
Both Revenge of Cronos and Battle Hackers provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Leina Stol, esp. in the Original Video Animation
- BFS: Kenro and Nagase
- Big Bad: Gadess in Revenge of Cronos, Dylan in Battle Hackers
- Big Damn Heroes: Rom Stoll's main forte.
- Bishōnen: Guardi Stoll
- Brain in a Jar: Grujios
- Brother–Sister Incest: Leina and Rom are a little too close
- Calling Your Attacks: Rom
- Catchphrase: Rom has a set of it..."WAIT!!!", "*insert speech here, mostly about virtue and justice* People call it *insert meaning here*!", "Scum like you doesn't deserve to know my name!". And to a lesser extent, "SEIBAI!!" (meaning: "PUNISHMENT!!"), usually said after God Hand Smash
- Phrase Catcher: The villain will ask "Who're you?" or some variation thereof.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Leina Stoll
- Cool Old Guy: Kirai Stoll
- Combining Mecha: Devil Satan 6, Land Commander 5
- Dark Action Girl: Diondra
- Death Is Cheap: Devil Satan 6 is finally killed at the end of Revenge of Cronos... except he's back with no explanation in Battle Hackers.
- Deceptive Disciple: Bug Newman
- Delinquents: The entire theme of Battle Hackers
- Drill Tank: Rod Drill and Drill Crasher
- Expy: Rom Stoll/Kenryu/Baikanfu is based on the same toy as Protteser/Delinger/Garbin from Gordian. Tough Trailer and Pro Truck Racer are the same design as Titan Boy from Choushinsei Flashman. The bad guy vehicle Varigale X is just Jaguar Vulcan from Taiyou Sentai Sun Vulcan. (Those last two cases were simply recycled molds on the part of Popy/Bandai in the toyline.)
- Faux Action Girl: Sometimes Leina falls into this category, depending on who's writing the episode.
- Hammerspace: Kenryu and Baikanfu
- Humongous Mecha: Baikanfu
- Long-Lost Relative: Guardi Stoll
- Mask Power: Rom
- No Mouth: Rod Drill, Triple Jim
- Not Blood Siblings: Leina and Rom (revealed in the Original Video Animation).
- Power of the God Hand: The Baikanfu's Finishing Move is named God Hand Smash.
- Robot Girl: Leina Stoll
- For that matter, Leina's is the only major female character in the series. Though far from the only one.
- Something Else Also Rises: Provides the picture, if not any actual examples.
- Super Robot
- This Is a Drill: Rod Drill
- Transformation Is a Free Action: Played straight with the shows (see below for why).
- Transformation Sequence
- Transformation Trinket: Kenro the Wolf Sword.
- Transforming Mecha
- Villain Decay: Devil Satan 6 was Put on a Bus for a while.
- Yakuza: Jingi, Kina, and Koron in ROC; Yasando in Battle Hackers
Machine Robo Rescue provides examples of:
- 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: The robots are handled with CG instead of the traditional 2D animation of the previous series.
- 11th-Hour Superpower: Jet Robo's upgrade into Shuttle Robo can be removed once the business is done.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The Big Bad is revealed to be an AI developed to protect humanity from disasters, but has deemed humanity to be the biggest threat to the Earth instead.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Rin loves her family, but their over the top cheering of her makes her want to strangle them as well.
- Ambiguously Brown: Jay, implied to be the child of mixed parents on an international space station.
- Ambiguously Gay: Ken. Averted with him crushing on Nina, a ghost.
- Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: Shoh and Ken start marketing themselves as this.
- Born Lucky: Taiyo got into a hell of a lot of accidents before joining MRR, but he's survived all of them and helped people to boot.
- But Not Too Foreign: Arias "Ace" Honoh.
- Chinese Girl: Haruka Rin.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Rednote , Bluenote and Yellownote , just like in the OP. The bad guys are technically black, the Stealth team is purple and navy blue while the Evil Twin bots are black repaints. Then Jay joins up and Stealth Robo gets a free white repaint.
- Combining Mecha: Hyper Mode allows each Machine Robo to combine with their helpers to form a bigger, stronger unit. They can even exchange parts to, for instance, allow Hyper Fire Robo the ability to fly using Jet's legs.
- Discard and Draw: After Stealth Robo's Tank bots are destroyed and he is rescued and recruited, he gets a repaint and a bunch of new add-ons that serve as his new Hyper Mode limbs.
- Evil Twin: Black versions of Fire, Police and Drill Robos are busted out to battle our heroes - and steal their support Robos before getting their own.
- Finishing Move: "Finger Flash" has the Machine Robos fire off energy projections of their team's symbols. Yes, they're killing people with Rock–Paper–Scissors.
- They work like the actual game does as well. Drill is more powerful than Jet, but when they fire their finishers at each other...well, Jet's paper, Drill's rock.
- Identical Twin ID Tag: Half of the Blue team is twins Susumu and Tsuyoshi, who merely mirror their hair partings.
- Kid Hero: All of the MRR kids, because apparently Machine Robos can synchronize best with kids.
- Lonely Rich Kid: Sayuri Suizenji.
- The Lost Lenore: Blue leader Makoto gets to know this gifted girl who's a qualified doctor while being the same age as him. Turns out she'd gone full-bore into medicine to help others before her own terminal illness got to her. Yeah, this can only end one way.
- Macross Missile Massacre: Hyper Stealth Robo is capable of unleashing a huge barrage of missiles. No wonder its support bots are all kept away to prevent Stealth from accessing Hyper Mode.
- Meta Mecha: Machine Commander Robo is an even larger combining mecha, with each of its three main parts housing one of the base Machine Robos. It can even combine with Hyper V Stealth Robo to further enhance itself.
- Mythology Gag: Nearly all the Robos are based on the classic Machine Robo designs with the leading mechs of the Red and Yellow teams being expies of Blue Jet and Rod Drill from Revenge of Cronos respectively, leaders and identical drones alike, sometimes with drastic color changes. Those police bikes are based on Cy-Kill, for one thing.
- Naïve Newcomer: Jay, after he joins the Machine Robo Rescue squad.
- Robot Buddy: The Machine Robos tend to be partnered with the guys of each team. Jay and Stealth Robo are the straightest example here. They do have transforming handphones that turn into minibots but those come standard.
- Sad Clown: Shoh. He lost his older sister at sea.
- Ship Tease: Taiyo and Rin get a lot of moments over the series, even with their young age. It continues even when they're all grown up.
- My Significance Sense Is Tingling: Taiyo's special ability. He instinctively knows if somebody's in danger or is CAUSING it.
- The Smurfette Principle: There is only one girl in each team. There's even just one woman in the command staff!
- Super Prototype: Stealth Robo is revealed to be the first-ever Machine Robo developed, only designed as a weapon rather than as a rescue vehicle.
- Token Heroic Orc: One of the Gara-Goros, the usual trouble-causing Mooks, gets taught the value of rescuing people, and ends up defecting to assist MRR on the side.
- Transforming Mecha: Every Machine Robo and their helpers can transform between a vehicle and a humanoid form.
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: With the kids all grown up and leading their own teams across the whole world.