Purging Armour in Mecha Anime

Today I thought I’d talk about something I really enjoy watching in a mecha show. Often when a robot revives a mid-season upgrade it may equip brand new armour/parts that are stronger or even more armour on top of what it already has on. It’s a good method of making the robot look stronger as well as a sneaky way for the sponsors to push out some new toys. Often the more super-like robots take on new forms or parts while the more grounded real robots like the Macross Valkyries or various mobile suits from Gundam shows equip new packs and equipment. The scenes and moments those upgrades debut are quite exciting of themselves, but a great amount of fun can be found from what I’ll be showing you down below.

Spoiler warning if you haven’t seen any of the listed shows.

Okay, so this post is about those final battles of a mecha show, where the leading mecha will get damaged and has to completely purge their upgraded form and ends up having to fight off the ‘big bad’ in their older or weaker form. It gives great tension as the heroes are forced to fight with a weaker mech while fighting an opponent who is often stronger than anyone they have faced before. It also taps in an acute sense of nostalgia, where we see something we haven’t seen for a long time and it”s there at such a critical point. That’s the general idea, there are many different variations and not every single show does it the same.

Nekketsu Saikyou GoSaurer – 1993/94 – Ep 50

Go to 5:00 for the appropriate clip

To start off with here is a show that is part of the Eldran series, a somewhat rival to the Braves during the 90s. The show features an entire classroom of children who have been granted the power to fight alien invaders, with 5 selected to be pilots of the lead mech, GoSaurer. Their mid-season upgrade is called King GoSaurer. However for the final battle, the magical being that granted them these powers, Eldran, converts the entire school into parts that can be combined with to form the ultimate mech, Gakuengar. During the finale battle with the vil Machine God, Gakuengar is blown to pieces as it charges at the enemy and out of the destruction emerges King GoSaurer ready with it’s sword and slices up the enemy for good.

Gaiking Legend of Daikuu Maryuu – 2005/06 – Episode 38

Next up is a clip taken from Gaiking LODM’s penultimate episode where the hero Daiya fights off the final enemy Proist using the upgraded form of Gaiking, Gaiking the Great, as he battles her he has no choice but to go all out and so Daiya charges in with one last attack unleashing all his energy. As he does this, Proist ends up capturing him so with a bit of quick thinking Daiya calls upon the default Gaiking form, ejects and recombines right in front of her and unleashes a point blank energy blast to deal a critical blow. All the while the show’s awesome theme song plays in the background. Now that’s hotblooded!

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann – 2007 – Episode 27/Movie

This one I’m sure many people are familiar with, during the last episode(or in this case, towards the end of the movie), in a moment of epic absurdity, the crew takes the whole ‘giant robot within a giant robot’ concept to even greater levels and forms a robot the size of the galaxy, in their galactic sized battles they receive damage as they go for an all out attack. In receiving a succeeded barrage of attacks – one form emerges from another until all that remains is Simon piloting his tiny Ganmen. Certainly a very exciting way of doing it!

Brave Exkaiser – Jan 1990/91 – Episode 48

In this clip we see the final battle of Exkaiser, a face off on the moon between the heroic Brave Exkaiser and the very evil DinoGeist. DinoGeist has captured the lead character Kouta and Exkaiser chases them to the moon and is forced to lay down his arms in order to save the boy’s life. However as Exkaiser braces to stop the sword slash, he casts off the Dragon Jet part of his upgraded form and sends it behind DinoGeist and turns the battle into a 2 vs 1 situation. With that, he manages to save the kid and prepares to fight off DinoGeist in a duel to the end. I must admit, the armour purge only happens as part of the battle to save Kouta, but interesting none the less.

Nadesico Prince of Darkness – 1997 – Movie

Watch until about 1:00

During the final scenes of the Nadesico Movie, Akito faces off Houkishin and reveals that the ominous and over-powerful Black Selena was in fact just Akito’s original pink Aestivalis hiding under a new bit of equipment.

Gundam 00 – 2007/08 – Ep 10/19

Not quite in line with the theme I was going for, but this does fall into the whole armour purging concept and if Director Mizushima Seiji’s comments are true, he said he wanted to make Gundam 00 more of super robot show, which is perhaps why Tieria’s Virtue casts off it’s armour to reveal the Nadleeh within. Though a better example might have been the ending from season 2 after Setsuna’s 00 Raiser has been destroyed, Setsuna re-emerges on the battlefield with a repaired Exia to face off Reborn’s Gundam.

Redline – 2010 – Movie

I feel I can probably get away with this one, cars are Mechanical after all. As the climax approaches Sonoshee and JP race down the straight as they activate the steamlight, the outer layers peel away and they charge towards the finish line as things get crazier the entire car eventually is blown away and our heroes bound across the finish line with a single leap and win the race. I couldn’t find the right video so this’ll have to do.

Theses scenes are most of the ones I’ve been able to find, I’m told there is a scene in the finale of Zambot 3 where something similar occurs, but I’ve yet to watch that show so I can’t really comment.
Do you know of any other scenes that might fit this criteria? Leave a comment and let me know!

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5 Responses to Purging Armour in Mecha Anime

  1. r042 says:

    The scene in Zambot 3 is a little less like the examples you give; it’s more that the heroes throw everything they can at the enemy until there’s nothing left and then sacrifice their own machine to even stand a chance, if I recall.

  2. Tetho says:

    Everytime I watch Nadesico’s movie I find the final scene so bad. “hey look under the dark armor of the Black Sarena it is Akito’s Aestevalis, AND IT IS CRYING !”. As a metaphor for the whole movie it is so cheesy that I can’t help laughing.
    But well, this is Nadesico’s movie, the whole thing is such a mess…

    What I like about Gurren-Lagann final attack is that it is the Lagann Impact, the very first attack Simon and Kamina did together.

    You’ve got Evangelion ep 19, when the awakened Unit-01 is tearing off her armor and then Ritsuko says this frightening line :
    “That’s not armor plating. Those are restraints that allow us to suppress the Eva’s true power.
    And now those bindings are being undone by the Eva’s own might. We can no longer stop the Eva.”
    Too bad the next ep starts with the damaged Eva in her cage. In the manga Misato have a panel where she is thinking that they needed the whole Tokyo-3 arsenal to stop her and that in fact it may have been created to stop a berserk Eva more than to stop an Angel.
    Quite a subversion of what your talking about, the armor is not here to protect the Eva from any form of attack, its here to protect the NERV from something they do not fully understand and cannot really control.
    The second New Movie did it in an more epic way, with the 01 firing Photon Beams from her eyes and invoking the end of the world as we know it.

  3. schneider says:

    Very lovely examples! I loved the Nadesico movie’s twist, and Gaiking LODM was very, very clever with that finisher. I had played SRW K before watching the latter, and seeing the actual scene that inspired the final attack was an epic treat.

    Might Gaine’s final battle involved purging its armor parts, too.

  4. Zaki says:

    The best final fight in the Brave Saga a.k.a….Gao…GAI…GAAAARRRR!!!

    Cool thing that the opening is shown in this video..quite fitting,y’ know.

  5. Fortress_Maximus says:

    You need to add DANGAIOH OVAs.

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