Them Vehicle Zords, Humanoid Zords And Animal Zords
As a child, I remembered all that confusion I had when watching Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers without knowing its origins (because I was too lazy to read the credits as a child) introducing the dinosaur type mecha (Dinozords) was a deviation from the standard use of vehicle mecha. It wasn't until later I discovered post-Jetman Super Sentai and pre-Jetman Super Sentai that started my journey of "zord evolution".
In the past, most Super Sentai "zords" started with vehicles rather than animal mecha. Okay, I know the first Megazord namely Battle Fever Robo had no gattai sequence while Denziman was the first transforming Megazord but the trend ended up with most secondary robots for the show. Then we had Sun Vulcan's first well super-awkward Megazord combination with Sun Vulcan Robo. Goggle V up to present had different methods to combining vehicles into the season's Megazord. For the the best shows with the best-looking vehicle mecha were Bioman, Flashman, Jetman, Carranger, Megaranger, Gogo-Five, Timeranger, Dekaranger and Boukenger.
The rise of animal zords
The start of the use of animal names started with Sun Vulcan and Changeman but neither team really used animal zords. The first Super Sentai team that actually used animal based zords was Liveman. Crude-looking and awkward as they looked, they were really a huge new ground for animal zords over vehicle zords. Okay, they're still "vehicles" but they were more animal based than vehicle based. Then we'd get to see more of it with Zyuranger, Dairanger, Kakuranger, Ohranger, Gingaman, Timeranger (only for Time Fire's mecha), Gaoranger, Hurricanger, Abaranger, Magiranger, Gekiranger, Shinkenger, Goseiger, Kyoryuger, Ninninger and as of late Zyuohger.
My best picks for the best looking animal mecha are with Zyuranger, Dairanger, Kakuranger, Gingaman and Gaoranger. After that, I felt most of the mecha weren't as good. Abaranger and Kyoryuger had interesting multi-gattai combinations while looking like they were from Barney and Friends in contrast to Zyuranger's more badass looking mecha. Hurricanger's mecha imo tends to look even goofier than Liveman's mecha. Gekiranger's were okay but they don't really stand out either design-wise.
Vehicle and animal mecha combination types used
After looking at both animal and mecha combination, we had several combination types that went throughout the years. Earlier on, we didn't get the primary and secondary robots combine until Liveman and Turboranger. We've also had the primary, secondary and fortress mecha combine into an Ultrazord. Years later, we'd get multiple gattai where body parts were replaced with another mecha or added to the primary/secondary combination to perform a different finishing move.
Humanoid zords that turn into one Megazord
There were also what I'd dub as the "humanoid zords that combined into one Megazord" which composed of five humanoid shaped robots (all the same size) and they end up transforming into different components to form one powerful mecha. The concept feels like it was taken straight from Transformers but ironically the size of the Megazord was not much bigger than the five human zords prior to combination. Kakuranger's primary Megazord the Muteki Daishogun was the first in the list. Ohranger's Oh Blocker was their secondary combining robot.
Mixing zord concepts in just one show
Some shows ended up combining both animal and vehicle mecha into one show. Dairanger had Ryuseioh and Won Tiger having both animal mode and humanoid mode. Ohranger had Ohranger Robo having three animal zord components and two vehicle zord components. Carranger's VRV Robo had five rescue vehicles that both turned into warrior mode and combined into the VRV Robo. Ninninger also had the same with Shurikenhaoh's components (plus it had a humanoid zord as well). Before that, Megaranger's secondary Megazord the Galaxy Mega had four vehicles plus one humanoid zord as its components and later, Go-Busters followed the same for their main robot Go-Buster Oh had a weird combination of a humanoid mecha, a vehicle and an animal mecha.
Go-onger soon combined animals and vehicles into the zords known as the Go-on Engines. Although they are technically "cars" but you get animal mecha integrated into them. The concept was soon integrated with what I'd dub as "animal mecha plus something". Shinkenger combined animals and the concept of origami. Zyuohger combined animals with Rubik's cubes and Minecraft mayhem to create their own kind of zords. I felt all these I have just mentioned were as if they were designed to be in a pre-school educational show than a Super Sentai show.
So what are your thoughts?