As a kid I fell in love with a certain cartoon and I just cannot think of the cartoon's or robot's names. It must not have been on very long. It had to be early 80's.

I remember the robot having a controller... A pilot who would sit within the head of the robot and control it from there. I remember the pilot was a black haired guy who wore a red suit and helmet.

The robot had a distinct look with vertical spike like things going up from the side of its head... one on each side. A similar look to Optimus Prime's head.

I recall one episode where the pilot had been injured and was struggling to fight his pain, get to the robot and stop an enemy.


9 Answers 9


The description seems to fit Tetsuya Tsurugi, pilot of the Great Mazinger. The series was aired around 1975, and I remember a couple of episodes with a wounded or shell-shocked Tetsuya interfacing with the Mazinger pod.

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This is the robot:

enter image description here

  • No. The pilot of this Robot had longer black hair...about shoulder length. The series aired sometime in the early to mid 80's. Commented Aug 21, 2018 at 16:29
  • 1
    Hm. The only longer-haired, red-suited mecha pilot I remember is Duke Fleed (Actarus), pilot of Grendizer. But that's 1977 at the most. You could run a Youtube search for 'anime mecha' and see whether it jogs any memory.
    – LSerni
    Commented Aug 21, 2018 at 16:51
  • A Youtube search for "anime mecha" is probably going to take ages, just saying :)
    – Jenayah
    Commented Aug 21, 2018 at 19:32
  • This is racking my brain. The guy did look similar to voltron commander keith, but piloted a robot by himself. A young guy...man, I can't think of what it was. He would take on other robots Commented Aug 21, 2018 at 20:06

I had the same problem. I could picture the cartoon, the robot, and the controller. I think you’re thinking of Tranzor Z. Got me right in the feels when I saw the intro again.


Was that maybe Tōshō Daimos (1978-79)?

enter image description here

Here you have the transformations scene

The pilot was sitting in the head, the robot has very Optimus-Prime look (it does even transform from a truck) and the "Struggling against the pain" was a must-have part of every episode.

The usual opponents were giant robots created by angel-like alien race that has landed on Earth, somewhere deep in the ocean.


Another option is Robotech: Macross. The primary character, Rick Hunter, is black-haired and sometimes wore a red/white or an orange flight suit:

Rick Hunter next to Veritech Fighter

The mecha in the series convert between planes, Valkyrie (wings, but with legs) and Battloid mode (looks like a robot). When in Battloid mode, two lasers point vertically alongside the "head". This screencap is from an early episode, where moments later we see the head tilt back and the two cockpit seats rise vertically up to allow Rick to get out.

Rick meets Minmei's Apartment building


Know this might be a little late in the piece, but I think you might be thinking of Voltes V (Five).

Check out some videos online, but they did a feature length movie (dubbed in English) which has taken me a long time to find. I used to be obsessed with this when I was younger.

Robot mecha with 5 main characters, each wearing a different color uniform with a V on the front

  • 1
    Hi, welcome to the site. You could improve this answer by editing it to specify the ways in which it matches the cartoon described in the question. Adding a synopsis from a site such as Wikipedia or IMDB, along with a link to whichever page you copied and pasted the synopsis from, would be useful too. Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 8:31

What about Danguard Ace...? I think its head resembles Optimus Prime's to me.

Danguard Ace takes place on a future Earth in which natural resources have been depleted. People have begun looking toward other planets to survive, in particular to the fictional tenth planet, Promete. Although people had hoped to peacefully settle there, disaster strikes as the first explorers are destroyed by betrayal.

After this event, an individual named Mr. Doppler announces that all attempts to reach Promete surrender to his command, those who do not will be destroyed. Using his own resources, Doppler constructs a vast military force greater than that of Earth's. He forbids anyone from approaching the planet, under the insane belief that only he is entitled to it.

To gain control of Promete, the governments of Earth begin constructing massive combat robots. Doppler is able to attack and destroy all of them before they are completed, except for Danguard Ace. The forces sent to attack Danguard's base were destroyed because of the efforts of Captain Dan. Nothing is known of this mysterious man, except that he previously served Doppler while under mind control.

Takuma Ichimonji, son of the man who betrayed the initial Promete exploration team, becomes a cadet at Danguard's base. Ichimonji hopes that he might restore his father's honor by fighting against Doppler's forces.

  • Does it match the description in any other respects though? For example, was the robot piloted by a man sitting within its head? Also, was the pilot a black-haired guy who wore a red suit and helmet? If it does match in those respects, you should edit your answer to reflect that, so as to strengthen the case for this being the correct answer. And if it doesn't match in those respects, then it probably isn't the correct answer. Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 15:14

The description makes me think of Space Emperor God Sigma (the part about the head similar to Optimus Prime), but I don't remember if it was driven from inside his head.

The story is set in the year 2050 AD, and mankind has been steadily advancing its space technology. However, the planet is suddenly set upon by a mysterious enemy: the forces of Eldar, who came from 250 years in the future. In their time, 2300 AD, their planet Eldar was invaded by Earth, and soundly defeated by Earth's Trinity Energy, a mysterious energy used in their weaponry that possesses power many times that of a hydrogen bomb. The Eldar people's objective is to steal this Trinity Energy before it can be used against them.

The Eldar forces begin by taking over Jupiter's moon Io, one of the places humanity has immigrated to by then. After that, they begin to attack Trinity City with their legions of Cosmosauruses in order to steal the Trinity Energy. Toshiya and his friends use God Sigma to protect the planet and the Trinity Energy, and the battle evolves into a long war to retake Io.


I think I've been looking for the same anime.

I think its Gyakuten! Ippatsuman (Sixth entry to the Time Bokan series). Its the only anime that I've come across with a plane that combines with the robot body and then turns 180 back to front to activate the mecha.

Heres a link to a youtube clip of the plane/robot and transformation for anyone interested:

Interesting things about the anime is that its a bit of comedy series. The main character has a special move where he throws a baseball. The Body of the Mecha transforms from a "Dinosaur Car".

Ep 21 - there's a scene where the main character is in hospital and then struggles to get to get in uniform to save the day.

Gyakuten Ippatsuman King Gyakuten


There is a lot of overlap on these (no surprise; a lot of them are inspired by or knockoffs of each other), but, as NKCampbell points out in the comments, Voltron fits, as well, specifically the Lion Force Voltron from 1984 and 1985. (You've commented in the comments on another answer that it was a single pilot, but adding this just-in-case, since, although they technically all piloted their parts, it seems like Keith coordinated it, and, to a kid, it could certainly seem like he was the pilot.)

Take a look; their were 5 pilots, but Commander Keith piloted the unit that became the head (the end of the form Voltron sequence is him saying "and I'll form the head!")

"I remember the pilot was a black haired guy who wore a red suit and helmet."

Commander Keith:
Commander Keith (in Red) image

And minus the helmet, so you can see the hair:
("The pilot of this Robot had longer black hair...about shoulder length.")
Keith minus his helmet

As to the 'vertical spike like things going up from the side of its head', they were curved a bit, but could this be what you are remembering?
Voltron Head Zoomed in

Also very visible on the toys:
Voltron Toy zoomed in on head

There's a link above, but here's a currently available (as of 7/21/21 as of 3/13/23) Youtube video of them forming Voltron:


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