A mysterious alien race known as the Heterodyne suddenly arrive on Earth, wreaking havoc and destruction. In response, the 21st Century Security Corporation develops Dai-guard, a giant robot to counter the threat; but the Heterodyne vanish as quickly as they appeared and Dai-guard becomes nothing more than a publicity tool for the corporation that developed it. Twelve years later, the Heterodyne return – but unfortunately, Dai-guard has fallen into disrepair. What’s more, no one knows how to pilot it... that is, until three public relation workers from the company unexpectedly find themselves in the driver's seat! It is now up to Ibuki, Akagi, and Aoyama to prove that office workers can save the world!
Disaster From the Sea
The Fort at Night
Circumstances of a Hero
The Heroine's Melancholy
Can't Run Facing the Setting Sun
Memories Taught Me
Fire and Ice
A Strange Day
Explosion! Knot Buster!
Wages That Correspond to Justice
Alibi: Two Heterodynes Attack Tokyo
Shinjuku at Night: Big Battle
Dai-Guard beats your average super robot with one hand behind its back. And it doesn’t do that by being more durable than Mazinger Z, more powerful than Voltron or bigger than Macross. No sir; it is better by being… the exact opposite. Believe it or not, Dai-Guard is very weak, very fragile, very slow, and uses all the classic attacks in a very sloppy way. For example, it does have a rocket punch. It rips off its hand and throws it at its target that is. And it does have a drill weapon. One that it has a hard time keeping in its hands with a high probability of dropping it because it shakes a lot. Heck, it can’t even walk on a mountain slope without falling down. Oh, and not to forget that it also needs to combine from different parts in the beginning of each battle. Not with transforming airships but like a big plastic toy, with the aid of several cranes and many workers who use bolts. It doesn’t even have proper air-conditioning and the pilots are sweating while a tiny fan is working right next to them. All that make Dai-Guard by far the weakest super robot I have ever seen in my life. And this is why it is so great. You actually see it getting constantly damaged, constantly malfunctioned and constantly in need of refuelling, all within a few minutes of battle. The procedure of coping with each problem is what makes each encounter with a monster a joy to stare at. I mean, it gets tiresome if the lead robot is all-powerful and never damaged, like in classic mecha. But here, it is actually a marvel to see how they need to deal with each challenge, as trivial as it may appear to be. Dai-Guard is a very down to Earth mecha show that practically makes fun of super robots. It is all one big “What if super robots could be created, would they really be like that?” It even goes to show other aspects, such as a company which needs to constantly pay for its maintenance. Which is ran by a bunch of bureaucratic capitalists who care more about profits and public image, rather than saving the world from monsters. Who in turn are in cooperation with the military, a bunch of stuck-up slaves to loyalty and orders. Who don’t take initiative without authorization, even when the proper thing to do is right before their eyes. All that creates a setting which feels far more realistic and comical at the same time, as even a super robot needs to wait for paperwork to be completed before it gets green light for going to battle. Heck, even the three pilots of the robot are nothing but low-paid office workers, who are forced to do all sorts of dull shores like clipping paperwork and stamping letters when there is no world threat out there. It is plain hilarious. Down to its core Dai-Guard is more of a comedy than an action or a drama series and one should be aware of that if he wants to enjoy it fully. There is a battle going on in every episode yet the actual confrontations are as I said far less exciting than all the procedure taken towards them. The monsters, no matter how powerful of intimidating they appear to be, are dealt with easily after their weak spot is located (which conveniently is always a few minutes before the episode is over). That makes them very weak antagonists despite being immune to all conventional weapons. Heck, they don’t even have personality or an ulterior motive other than destroying cities and being attracted to energy sources. Another thing that one should be aware of is that the show is still a tribute to all mecha that came before and is no surprise to see many scenes to be allusions to classical titles. Also, the overall feel of the animation and the shapes of the monsters will constantly remind you of a lighter and cheerier Neon Genesis. All that make the show to feel much less if you are not versed in many retro shows. CHARACTERS: 6/10 The heroes are not ideal or perfect; each has their own ups and downs, theirs own problems at home, and their own messy personal life. It is really interesting to see how they deal with issues that seem petty before protecting the world but they are still very important in their personal lives. They feel far more real and likable this way. They are still following the archetypical cast of most classical shows and yet are given far more personality and backdrop by being… imperfect. In other words, the entire show is good for being full of minor problems the heroes need to constantly take care of. Not just defeating monsters; that is actually the most direct and easy one. They also need to keep the public opinion positive for all the destruction they cause while fighting, or else their company will not fund them further and the military will take over. And if you so much wonder why that is such a bad thing to do, well, you actually see that scenario as well. And it is baaaad. In fact, the entire show is in favour of doing what you feel is right and not following procedures. They are too time-consuming and usually too inhumane, as the higher-ups in corporations and the army care only for fame and profits and not for human lives. The heroes are thus the usual bunch of over-idealistic youths that do what they feel is right and constantly save the world (and their pay checks) by stopping a crisis before the destruction a monster would cause gets bigger than the one they cause. It’s another charm the show has. STORY: 5/10 The story is another thing to take light. Although it appears to be complicating at first, in its execution it plays out quite simplistic. There is an overall plot but it is nothing much as most of the progress will be about the characters opening up to one another, some ephemeral disputes being formed within ranks, and of course the main robot getting extra weaponry. All the talk about politics and profits and army plots are just fluff. Other than that, it follows the typical monster-of-the-week format and ends almost like nothing much has changed. The director of the show, Mizushima Seiji, is definitely not someone who can make something great out of any premise. Although his roster involves the older anime adaptation of Full Metal Alchemist, all his other works are nothing much of notice and always seem to have good premises that are handled poorly (Generator Gawl, Gundam 00, UN-GO). And yes, even FMA went haywire after awhile so not even his most famous work is not an exception. ART: 5/10 The production values are average. The characters look lively and the backgrounds are usually detailed but there is an awful amount of frozen panels and stiff characters in it too. Plus, there are many scenes where the characters are drawn disfigured or with very thick outline, all because of animators being cheap with the budget. Unfortunately the animation studio, Xebec, never had high budgets and thus all its works look average to bad (this though is amongst their better efforts). It is the details you should be noticing in the plot and not how well they look; it is a shame to pass the show because of that. SOUND: 7/10 Voice acting is otherwise good, the main music themes are cool tunes and the whole atmosphere looks like it was given enough attention to suck you in. VALUE: 4/10 Down to it, the show is great for its great character interactions and bad for its simplistic plot and short battles, which in effect drags down the chances of rewatching it. It otherwise gets a pass from me if your expectations are not too high. VERDICT: 5.5/10 SUGGESTION LIST Neon GenesisArgento SomaPlanetesPatlaborTitan Maximum (western cartoon series)
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