"You know Super-Robots are strong and powerful, but that is not enough to be one of them. Super-Robots rank among the brave, just and heartful ones, sharing an ideal of a world in peace."
- Super Robot View Broadly encyclopedia

Super robots are giant robot superheroes from Japanese anime, manga and OVA. Sentai giant robots are generally considered a genre distinct from super robots.

Super robots have their origins in 1963 with the cartoon Tetsujin-28 Go, shown in the US as Gigantor. It wasn't until the 70s that the super robot genre was defined by a series of robot anime created by Go Nagai: Mazinga Z (1972), released in the US as Tranzor Z; Getta Robo (1974); Great Mazinga (1974); UFO Robot Grendizer (1975), aka Grandizer, Goldrake, Goldorak; and Getter Robo G (1975). Other series shown outside Japan included Hyaku JuOh GoLion (1981), as Lion Voltron, Kikou Kantai Dairugger XV, as Vehicle Voltron, and Sei Jyushi Bismark (1984), as Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs.

These anime featured giant robots fighting the forces of evil with weapons such as swords, lasers, spiked yo-yos, missles, drills and firing fists. Series like Getta Robo and Yuusha Raideen (1975) also introduced two other common characteristics of super robots: transformation and combination. Getta Robo featured three aircraft that could combine into three different robot formations, while Raideen could transform into a birdlike aircraft. Super robot designs were often reminiscent of arms, armor and costumes from past cultures, including ancient Egypt, medieval Europe and samurai-era Japan.

By the early 80s, super robots had begun to wane in popularity, displaced by "real robot" series like Gundam and Macross. These shows replaced fantastic, mythical, superhero themes with mecha and plotlines based on extrapolations of real world physics and technology. Cartoons such as Yuusha Oh Gaogaigar (1997) have however carried the tradition of super robots into the 90s.


Super robot toys were hugely popular, and remain highly collectible today. They fell into a number of catagories: ST (diecast metal and plastic action figures complete with weapon accessories and missile-firing gimmicks); DX (larger diecast figures that included more elaborate gimmicks and full transforming / combining action); Jumbo Machinders (huge plastic robot and monster toys, usually around 2 feet tall); and vinyl figures.

Bandai offshoot Popy created and dominated the robot toy market, releasing super robot toys under the Chogokin brandname. Other robot toy makers included Takara, Takatoku, Clover and Nakajima.

Many super robot toys found their way to foreign markets. Bandai released Popy's toys as Shogun Warriors and Godaikins outside of Japan. Many of Takara's Diaclone toys were re-released for the Transformers toyline, along with toys by Takatoku. Bandai's Machine Robo line provided the toys for Tonka's GoBots.

In 1997, Bandai revived the chogokin brandname for its Soul of Chogokin toyline. The SoC toys reproduced classic super robot designs using diecast metal and 90s toy engineering technology.


Sources:
View Broadly Super Robots
ToyBoxDX - http://www.toyboxdx.com
Super Robot Page - http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/Flats/2731/index.htm

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