Yūsha (or Brave, also known as the Brave Series) is a franchise that Takara and Sunrise created after the Generation One anime ran its course in Japan. The Brave Series consists of eight individual series that were released one after the other from 1990 to 1998 with corresponding TV shows in Japan.
Although none of the series storylines are connected to one another the basic format of each series is similar. Usually a kid befriends/creates/becomes a sentient robot, and together they fight a great evil threatening the Earth. The main robots combine with other vehicles and robots to become larger robots, and additional teams of sentient robots combine amongst themselves to form larger robots as well (This structure is the same as the one used by the Autobots from Victory). The Brave Series has been described as a cross between Transformers and the Super Robot genre of the late '70s and early '80s. Technically, the Transformers are the forerunner or even a predecessor of them in some ways.
Toys for these robots were created in two versions: D.X. ("'Deluxe") that contained more gimmicks and more complicated transformations, and S.T.D. ("S'tandard") that contained fewer gimmicks and more limited transformations, but often also higher accuracy in reproducing the look of the robot from the anime series. Generally, the transformation of the robots was created by Takara, while the look of the robots was created by Kunio Okawara, a legendary Sunrise mecha designer.
Known Series Released
During 1990–1997, 8 series were spawned in total:
- Brave Exkaiser (1990-1991)
- The Brave Fighter Of The Sun: FighBird (1991-1992)
- The Brave Fighter Of Legend: Da-Garn (1992-1993)
- The Brave Express Might Gaine (1993-1994)
- The Brave Police J-Decker (1994-1995)
- The Brave Fighter Of Gold: Goldran (1995-1996)
- The Brave Command Dagwon (1996-1997)
- The King Of Braves: GaoGaiGar (1997-1998)
Series Not Televised
These series did not appear on screens for a variety of reasons; the most notable was that the Beast Wars were helping the Transformers brand win back Japanese audiences, in the same year GaoGaiGar aired:
- The Saint Of Braves: Baan Gaan (1998; This series was instead transfered to PlayStation as the main series that the Brave Series game, New Century Robot Chronicles: Brave Saga, would focus on)
The initial concept designs for Exkaiser, the first Brave Series, were intended to be Transformers designs. While one of the characters, Ultra Raker, the combination of Blue Raker & Green Raker, was very far along at this stage, the Max Team, comprised of their leader Sky Max, Drill Max and Dash Max and King Exkaiser, the combination of Exkaiser with his 1st auxiliary unit King Roader, bore little resemblance to their final designs.
There are also similar design elements between the Brave toys and Generation 2/Beast Wars Transformers, which were released around the same time as the Brave toys. For example, many of the Da-Garn toys have light-piped eyes thanks to transparent pieces of plastic in their heads, a design element which many Generation 2 Transformers share. The Goldran DX toyline contains many projectile launchers, something Generation 2 shared as well. In particular, the Goldran toy "Advenger" contains a rotor-launching gimmick identical to that of Rotor Force from Generation 2. Lastly, the elbows of Leon from DX Leon Kaiser contain ball joints, a design element that gained much broader use during Generation 2 and even more so during the Beast Wars toy line.
The Brave Series also reused character designs and toys from previous Transformers series. (A complete listing of those reuses follows in the section below).
Similarly, subsequent Transformers lines have also been influenced by the Brave Series. The Japanese Mini-Con Kingbolt's coloration and characterization are homages to the title character of Exkaiser. Also, the Cybertron cartoon featured many homages to GaoGaiGar, most notably the way Optimus Prime combines with Leobreaker and Wing Saber, which is similar to the way GaoGaiGar combines with GoldyMarg and Stealth Gao. The cinematography for Energon Optimus Prime's stock-footage combination sequence with his Prime Force limbs is also very reminiscent of Brave series stock footage.
The series Car Robots (Robots In Disguise) which aired 2 years after GaoGaiGar ended has a very similar premise to many anime of the Brave series including train-based characters and a train-based combiner, a police-car based character and repaints/remolds of G1 characters.
One striking difference between the Brave Series and Transformers is that very few villain robots were released for the former. This is in sharp contrast to most of the Transformers series, for which heroes and villains were and are released in relatively equal numbers (with the exception of Zone and Battlestars). Generally speaking, the lack of villain toys is more the norm for such toy lines in Japan, with the various Transformers lines (save for aforementioned two) being the exception there rather than the rule.
Another consideration is that Animated takes partial cues from Brave, most notably with Jetstorm and Jetfire and their combined form Safeguard who all take cues from Exkaiser and GaoGaiGar, and the Autobot generic Dug Base, whose name is derived from DagBase from Dagwon.
Toys And Character Designs Recycled From Existing Molds
- Ptera Geist - Swoop
- Thunder Geist - Sludge
- Horn Geist - Slag
- Armor Geist - Snarl
- Red Geist - Deathsaurus (without the Eagle Breastplate)
- Hiryu - Sonic Bomber
- Mega Sonic 8823 - Sonic Bomber
- Goryu - Dai Atlas (without handle for his shield)
- Atlas Mk.II - Dai Atlas
- Atlas Epsilon - Dai Atlas
- Shadow-maru - Sixshot (featured significant remolding to incorporate a ninja motif)
- Kagerou - Sixshot
- The Micromaster Stations 1234(sans Micromaster and including non-Transforming Brave Police figures; never appeared in the show)
- Duke Fire - New Rodimus
- Revibaron - Hybrid of Deathsaurus, Sonic Bomber, and Dai Atlas
- Zazorigun - Scorponok
- Death Garry Gun - Sky Garry (neutered trailer launchers)
- Thunder Dagwon - Galaxy Shuttle (significant remolding, including a an additional motorcycle/Brave, DagThunder, that combines for the shuttle's robot mode)
- DagBase - Grandus (significant remolding, does not combine with [[Optimus Prime (G1)#Battlestars|Star Optimus Prime)
Note: Italicized names are non-toy characters.
- Although the storylines are not interconnected, there are some small connections between the series. For example, the reason Fighbird joined the Space Guards is that he admires Exkaiser (This connection is stated in the Encyclopedia of FighBird, published by Keibunsha, a Brave encyclopedia that contains everything related to FighBird). Also, there are some small cameos of human characters between shows, and some character models such as Dry Earth and Guard Diver are reused in subsequent series. Lastly, the Brave Saga video games retcon the storylines of the shows so that they link up.
- Official Sunrise Brave Series website
- Brave Series Wiki
- The GaoGaiGar-Betterman Wiki - A wiki with everything related to GaoGaiGar
- MAOMAO2's Room (Japanese)
- EvaTType01's Brave yuusha mecha database fansite
- The TFW2005 forum Brave thread