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There is a school of thought that supposes that part of the appeal of Humongous Mecha is... well, being humongous. A giant robot fight in the middle of a city or far above the earth allows for martial arts action coupled with lots of crazy weaponry, and plenty of property damage. However, now that the show's winding down and all the opponents are either dead or good, the Big Bad Eldritch Abomination or Sufficiently Advanced Alien of the day has shown up, and... well, it's kind of extra humongous. What's the solution?

Well, heroes are always cooler when you put them in giant robots, and your average giant robot is itself a hero, only fifty feet tall and metal, so...

This is basically what happens when you take this to its natural conclusion: a mecha which itself is riding in an even bigger mecha, or at least a mech-sized suit of Powered Armor. Sometimes there's a valid reason for this, but it's always at least part Rule of Cool.

Compare with Combining Mecha and the Mecha Expansion Pack.

Examples of Meta Mecha include:


Anime and Manga

  • The Ur Example is the Gordian, from the show of the same name, a dude inside a Motion Capture Mecha inside a Motion Capture Mecha inside another Motion Capture Mecha. The design was later reused with some modifications as Vi-Kungfu from Machine Robo: Revenge of Chronos, but with one less mecha.
  • Gundam SEED Astray, as well. Initially, when Lowe makes the 150 Gabera Straight (which, by the way, re-redefines the BFS - it's an orbital katana 150 meters long), he has to put his Astray Red Frame into a Junk Guild Power Loader (pictured above) just to swing it.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 00 has a surprise somewhere in the middle season: the Mighty Glacier Gundam Virtue is revealed to be just a Powered Armor of a smaller Fragile Speedster, Gundam Nadleeh. Dropping Virtue's armor off enables Nadleeh's pilot to play Judge, Jury, and Executioner on his teammates if he's dissatisfied with them.
    • Season 2 has the same in the form of the Seravee Gundam carrying the smaller Seraphim Gundam folded up on it's back. Or to be more exact, the two have the same cockpit but Seraphim is facing backwards (though it doesn't need the cockpit to operate; Seravee can launch and remote-control it). Unlike Nadleeh, Seraphim doesn't need to drop Seravee off piece by piece; it can simply eject and unfold. The Mobile Suit Variations line introduces an alternate version of Seravee that carries three weaker versions of Seraphim.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has the Space Ganmen, which are essentially up-scaled Ganmen capable of fighting and moving in space and piloted by regular Ganmen, which are then piloted by humans.
  • Bubblegum Crisis had the Motoslaves, Cool Bikes that transformed into Powered Armor for the Knight Sabers' Powered Armor.
  • Getter Robo has the awesome-slash-Nightmare Fuel ability to crash into any material, including organic masses and then reform them around itself into a larger Getter with the original buried in the center.
  • Martian Successor Nadesico has the Black Selena, a mecha inside a mecha inside a ship.
  • So, your resident Orange has just pledged his allegiance to your cause out of LOYALTY to your family? Now, we just need to give him a good custom mech, hmm... Hey, I've got it! Let's take the original Sutherland frame he piloted in the early series, and make it into the central core unit of the rebuilt Siegfried he became famous for at the end of the last season! Ladies and Gentlemen, I present - for your humble consideration - the STORM OF LOYALTY Sutherland Sieg! Basically, Jeremiah controlled the Siegfried through the core Sutherland Unit, which was itself outfitted with the Siegfried's telepathic controls (Rakshata is mentioned as being "disappointed" that the system isn't feasible for mass-production). When the Siegfried is destroyed, the Sutherland unit activates and comes into play. And it. Is. AWESOME.
  • Guyver has the Guyver Gigantic, which is this trope applied to Organic Technology Powered Armour.
  • Heroman gets powered armor near the end of the series.
  • In Machine Robo: Revenge Of Cronos, hero Rom Stol can pilot a giant mecha named Kenryu.... and generally gets a sound butt whupping before summoning a giant mecha for Kenryu to operate, Vikungfu.
  • In a directly-related example, the designs of Rom, Kenryu and Vikungfu were retooled from the designs of the protagonist of an older anime/toyline, Gordian Warrior, in which the human-sized robot Protteser, who would hop into the larger mecha Delinger, who would then hop into the largest mecha Garbin.

Comic Books

  • Many of Iron Man's special suits are designed to be piloted by Tony while wearing his regular suit, like the Hulkbuster suits.

Fan Fiction

Live Action TV

Tabletop Games

  • The Mekton Plus expansion from Mekton Zeta has this as one of many, many options for its mecha. Of course, that expansion is basically rules for every giant robot trope in history, from transforming, to gattai-ing, to organic ones, so this should hardly be seen as a surprise.
  • the new grey knight Nemesis Dreadknight from Warhammer 40000 uses this, a power armoured super soldier in a even bigger suit of power armour.
  • Exalted has Warstriders, Magitek superweapons which vary between giant powered armors to castle-sized war machines. Exalted also has the Alchemical Exalted -- mechanical demigods with heroic mortal souls, empowered by a titan's Essence. Nothing stops Alchemicals from riding Warstriders... This is actually rather likely, considering the mechanical nature of the Alchemicals' world.

Video Games

  • The -Super Dimensional Gear Yggdrasil IV- in Xenogears plays this trope with an extra layer. You have a giant robot so colossal that it holds, in its hands, an enormous aerial pirate ship, which itself is so colossal that it has a hanger full of building-sized mechs!
  • The Huckebein Mk III from Super Robot Wars is able to equip a suit of Powered Armor called the Boxer Frame. The frame can also detach and transform into a flying surfboard, just for the hell of it.
    • Surfsword, actually. It was constructed from an incomplete mech intended to become a sword for the SRX.
  • The final battle in Metal Wolf Chaos has Richard Hawk's Mini-Mecha climbing into a larger, more powerful quadrupedal mecha.
  • The EXTREME Gundam in Gundam Extreme Vs. uses this: the main mobile suit pilots a larger frame that carries most of its weaponry. It has three of these frames: Carnage (Lots Of Explosions), Ignis (Beam Spam), and Tachyon (BFS).

Western Animation

  • Fortress Maximus, of Transformers Generation 1. A Headmaster, he was too big for a human to transform into his head. So an intermediate robot was made, called Cerebros. His partner, Spike, turned into Cerebros's head, and Cerebros then turned into Fort Max's head.
    • Headmasters in general are this, being small robots that transform into the heads for bigger ones. Some of them appear in later toylines.
      • That varies according to the storyline used. For example, the Western Transformers canon, the Headmasters were organic aliens who wore exo-suits allowing them to transform into the robots' heads. The Japanese Headmasters series (taking place after the movie) had them as a separate race of (human-sized) robots who built Transformers-sized exo-suits to better interact with the Autobots.
  • Transformers Victory features the Brainmasters, which are small robots that turn into the faces of larger robots. Saber then gets extra stuff on him to become Star Saber, and later combines with Victory Leo to become Victory Saber.
  • Transformers Animated, the Autobots' ship transforms in to a huge mecha called Omega Supreme. He has a mind of his own and an interior control console, so it's hard to say how much control the pilot has.
    • It's given more detail in the third season: Omega Supreme's programming was rather simplistic so he needed a second Autobot to pilot and guide him.
    • To elaborate: he's programming is pretty much "kill everything that you are told". So second Autobot is needed to identify targets...
    • This seems to be series tradition for Omega Supreme, the toy of the Energon has a head that can turn into a small robot itself. (The plug for it doubles as a spare, comically tiny head.)
  • The Men in Black Animated Adaptation had some aliens which used Mobile Suit Humans and one race so small they piloted mechs of the first species to pilot the human suits.
  • The first episode of Megas XLR presents the ultimate weapon of the Glorft: the UMD, a Combining Mecha made up of Combining Mecha that were already made up of full-sized Humongous Mecha. In short, it flicks Megas away with its finger.
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