Getter Robo, the series that created the trope of robots combing to make even more powerful robots.
It's now unheard of in most anime fandoms and is now sadly, considered a rip off of newer anime and shows that feature combining robots.
Tvtropes page and a basic summery:
Now, the best part about this series is how the series evolved. First it was a shonen (For young adults) manga with no real meaning (Getter Robo - Getter Robo G) to a deep and complicated series (Shin Getter Robo, Getter Robo Go, and Getter Robo Ark) about fate, death, and about life itself.
Now, the original comic was published in 1974 by Ken Ishikawa and his mentor, Go Nagai. Throughout the beginning of the series, it was less about giant robots fighting cyborg Dinosaurs and more about character development set in a very serious tone and mood. This of course, is the polar opposite of his mentor's series, Mazinger Z which started the whole piloting robots trope. Later on, he worked on Getter Robo G which was a direct sequel to Getter Robo featuring new characters, old ones, new enemies, new robots, and the beginning of the transformation of the whole series. Soon after, Ken Ishikawa went to work on other comics, such as the Saga of Nothingness. A series of stand alone novels featuring stories containing Buddhist Monks in space fighting giant god fetuses (no offense to anyone) and ancient Japan with guns and airships fighting time/space traveling Oni. This marked his ever present themes and motifs relating to Buddhist, Shinto, and other Eastern philosophies.
Next, he began work on Getter Robo Go. A sequel to Getter Robo G. It featured even more new characters, robots, and a new enemy. This is considered the highest point for the whole comic series as it reveals some details about the origins of the Getter, what it actually is, and it's sinister plan for humanity. Now, I'll explain it's plan later on. People often consider this the best out of the whole series due to how it basically "ended" the whole series and still left many unanswered questions. Namely, why the hell is there now a Dinosaur/robot/human hybrid on Mars awaiting humanity to find it? Anyhow.
After that, Ken Ishikawa worked on his other novels before making Shin Getter Robo or "True" Getter Robo. This was a prequel to Getter Robo Go and featured the all powerful "True"/Shin Getter. Guys, I'll be honest. This guy is basically what happens if you let Tzeentch go wild on making a robot. Seriously, it planned the whole damn series out basically. Anyhow, it raises even more questions then answered. Like, will Getter really absorb all the sentient minds in the universe and become 1 huge conscious that is stretched across all of reality?
Then came the last Getter Robo comic before Ken Ishikawa's death in 2006. The last canon comic written by him was Getter Robo Ark/Arc/Ah. It was a sequel to Getter Robo Go and was made to answer all the questions regarding Getter. Namely, the fate of the whole universe since the Getter has been set free. Well, sadly it was half completed and featured Getter Emperor, the final form of the Getter Robo. It was epic, and sadly there are no translations for it. Let's just say this. Getter Emperor commands humanity to go and exterminate all alien life.
Anyhow, let's discuss the anime and movies. The anime and movies are basically a whole new series. The original anime was decent and featured a very toned done cast and enemies. In the comic, one of the main three, Ryoma Nagare was a teen martial artist who avenged his father and had no reason to live anymore and was approached by Dr. Saotome to pilot the Getter Robo. He accepted after a nice nap. Of course, by approached, I mean Dr. Saotome sending 3 hitmen to kill him to test if he's skilled or batshit crazy enough to pilot the Getter. In the anime, he's a teen soccer superstar.
The anime adaption of Getter Robo G was decent as well. But the worst offender is Getter Robo Go. The series didn't even follow the manga that well and featured completely different set of characters. It's considered the worst adaption of all of them.
Now the movies are different. The older movies like Great Mazinger vs Getter Robo or Great Mazinger vs Getter Robo G vs Grendizer was pretty okay for their time. It had a nice action sequence and the plot didn't ruin anything. The voice actors also showed great interest.
The other movies like Shin Getter Robo Armageddon makes as much sense as Ork logic. Yeah, but it features enough action to make up for it. Namely the finale. It's a sequel to a radio drama that was only for Japan featuring a enemy possibly more terrifying then the Nids. The Invaders. Now, it's the first gory/dark adaption for tv of Getter Robo. It was over the top action and it was wonderful.
Sadly the voice acting for only the English Dub was just rancid. I'm okay with Benkei (Umpire looking guy) and Hayato (Guys wearing a helmet) was okay but the rest was just horrible. Ryoma's voice actor over acted sometimes but in this clip was okay.
The next one was Shin Getter Robo vs Neo Getter Robo. It had also good animation and redeemed Getter Robo Go the anime. It's a mix of the comics of Getter Robo, Getter Robo Go, and Shin Getter Robo. The opening was amazing namely for how close they adapted Musashi's sacrifice.
Sorry for the bad quality but oh well.
But sadly they had to redesign some characters. Some good (Emperor Gore) and others bad (Guy).
The next and finale series was New Getter Robo. This.... This was just amazing. Decent animation, great voice acting, awesome music, and Ken Ishikawa's style fully developed. In the first few episodes it follows the original comic with some variations. Then during episode 6, it starts becoming a huge mess. It starts to reference several of Ken Ishikawa's works and shows his newer style of writing. Things like parallel universes and the evidence of a "Getter" multiverse starts to creep up making you wonder what the Getter will do if uncontained. This is also the most friendly to people who haven't watched to read Getter. Just ignore references to his other works and you'll be fine.
Now onto what I said earlier about the Getter.
The Getter Rays are what powered the Getter Robo. These particles and not rays suprisingly enough were originally thought to be space particles that released enormous amounts of energy and used to power stuff. Slowly, it began to make Dr. Saotome the head of Getter Research turn insane as it began "enlightening" him. He then began pouring everything into the Getter. Making more tests, getting more test subjects and pilots. Soon, he has an entire Getter Graveyard
full of failed prototypes. Filled with thousands of failed projects and each one having a group of men attached to it, you'll realize the amount of people sacrificed to make 1 working model. Anyhow, he soon finds a test subject that responds to the Getter well. Namely because the Getter chose him for many reason. The subject being Ryoma Nagare. Due to his intense training at a young age and without a purpose to live, he became the ideal test subject. Soon the labatory is invaded by Salamanders and Saotome's son is mindcontrolled by them. Saotome's response? Kill his son with a flame thrower and justifies his action. Though this could just be the Getter. Soon after they get another test subject and another and now they have a team. After a few battles against the Dinosaur Empire, they face another foe. The Demon Empire soon intervenes and takes on both the Getter Team and the Dinosaur Empire. After a huge battle that results in Musashi sacrificing himself to protect the new Getter, Getter Robo G. After that the Emperor of Man- I mean Dinosaurkind is killed by the Demon Emperor Brei. But later on it turns out Brei was once a man who stumbled upon some alien technology that showed him what the Getter was and how to stop it. Thus he became the Demon Emperor and tried to stop the Getter. He fails and dies. Soon after the finale Getter, Shin Getter is built and boasts twin Getter Reactors, and the ability to create it's own supply of Getter Rays. Soon after a new enemy appears from time and space known as the Andromeda Flow. These organic insect creatures revived Brei and try to stop Shin Getter. After they fail and Benkei and a few other pilots are killed by the Getter Robo G overloading it's Getter Reactors and falling deep within the Earth. Saotome, now batshit insane. Decides to "save" Getter Robo G. Soon another attack from the Andromeda Flow ensures as they send out Shin Getter Robo. It turns out due to some visions from the futures and warnings from the enemy that humanity and the Getter will destroy the universe and doom all living things to a painful death. The Team ignores this and continues to defend the lab til it appears that Shin Getter Robo is infact, sentient. Ryoma then test Shin Getter Robo's limits which turns out to be limitless. He gets a vision from the future about humanity and what the Getter will turn into. Namely a mechanical Dragon. A Dragon that turns people batshit insane. Sounds familiar? Anyhow, after a huge battle and teh reveal of the Getter Emperor, the remaining Getter Team return to base to find out all of scientists and what not have disappeared and their souls and minds combined into Shin Getter and the Getter itself. Ryoma swears off piloting Getters and Hayato the other pilot decides to continue researching the Getter. Without realizing that the Getter had planned this all along. Skip to the ending of Getter Robo Go when Ryoma, Go, and a psychic Buddhist kid are forced to pilot the Shin Getter Robo and save the world. They soon discover the truth about the Getter. It was actually a being that was born and created right along with the laws and principals of the universe. It was the source of life and plans to make all life return to a blissful state of enlightenment whether it means killing all life or making them all work for it to ensure peace for the Greater Good. So when a nuke is launched Shin Getter Robo races from the base of Mt. Fuji TO SIBERIA WITHIN A FEW SECONDS THEN ABSORBS THE NUKE AND THE ENEMY THEN FLIES TO MARS CARRYING PARTS OF THE NORTH POLE AND TERRAFORMS IT SO HUMANITY CAN COLONIZE IT. That and slowly transform into Getter Emperor.
Now, in the mech community, the people who have read the manga and know about Getter Emperor will tell you it's possibly the strongest mech out there. With abilities such as time and space manipulation, cloning, being made out of a material that is a like a living metal (seriously, it has wires as veins and what not), and being able to open rifts in universes, you should be scared. That and the whole Getter series represents the complete opposite of what most Super Robot series show. Instead of "Fate is what you make it and you control it", it's "This is your fate. It sucks. You can't change it and you better accept this because it's gonna happen whether you like it or not."
Watcha think of it?