Deep in outer space, the emperor Muge plots his next conquest - an out-of-the-way planet known as Earth. Mustering all the forces of his own personal Empire of Death, the Emperor is by far the most formidable foe humans have ever faced. And now he's even more fearsome thanks to the defection of Shapiro Keats, a power-hungry Earthling reborn as an Empire informer. But now there's a team that just might be able to stop them: Shinobu, Sara, and Ryo. Together, they're in command of a new secret weapon developed in a laboratory hidden deep in a lake in Japan.
First some items I need to adress. I'm Dutch to expect some spelling errors, if they are to annoying just message me and I'll fix it. My opinion may vary from others and this is fine. People are different so there is a good chance that I will not like what you love. Deal with it. I'm not telling you that you should hate it too, I'm telling you why I didn't like it. I'll try to keep swearing to a minimum but fail utterly on occasion. In general it is the more the anime pisses me off the more I swear so watch out for the low scored ones. Art: It's bad. I do not know what the budget was for the animation department but it wasn't much. I will explain more in the rant. Sound: Like the visuals it is not good but less noticable for me so not as annoying. Voice acting was meh but the actors didn't have much to work with. Unfortunately my DVD box is very cheap with no extras at all and the sound quality was pretty bad. You could see lip movement without dialogue or the other way around. Every now and then it is out of sinc. Characters: The main character is Shinobu. He is a very skilled but cocky pilot who always appears to be angry. His first response is to throw a punch and so is his second and third and fourth and etc. Sara is a young woman who was part of Shinibu's class at the academy and girlfriend of Shapiro. When Shapiro leaves without her she becomes a bit pissed and later fights against him. Masato is very laid back and a womanizer who doesn't like military strickedness. He joined against the wishes of his father and is part of a very wealthy family. Ryo also is from the same academy and left on a pilgramige after graduating. He is a skilled martial artist and has amazing self control. This is probably why Shinobu gets in so many fights with him. Shapiro is a normal human who believes to be destined for greatness. Believing Earth to be done for her defects with plans to rise in the enemy ranks. Highly intelligent and absolutely ruthless he will allow nothing to stand in his way. Muge Empire. Named after the emperor himself this massive empire is still busy growing by conquering everything around them. Story. One day the people of Earth come under attack by the Muge empire as it comes along to expand its borders. After the initial disastrous push by the empire, Earth is all but defeated. Small clusters of humans are putting up some resistance but it is nothing more than delaying the inevitable. Then a secret military unit is revealed with the power to not only stop the alien advance but, in time, push it back. Rant. Very quickly after I started watching I realised that I wasn't going to like it. As mentioned the animation is very cheap looking. At times it is very minimal with characters stanting around like cut out mannequins untill they get a line and they start to move while the rest stops. Another time you see a character just slide into frame or things like that. Many scenes are simply re-used throughout the series. You will see the same 3 planes get destroyed by missiles many many times. Sometimes a bit to much though such as the time when they showed the same scene 3 times within 5 minutes. I know why it is done so I'm not to mad. Making so many episodes costs a lot of money so cutting corners like this makes sense but they re-use these scenes a lot. Almost every main character sucks or a charicature. Shinobu is always angry, or appears that way. He talks angry and ANY word against him is worthy of a shaken fist or a thrown punch. This one setting he has starts to annoy very quickly. Shapiro knows all! Seriously he knows everything and has been everywhere. Mysterious rare flower on some remote island? Shapiro knows about it and has been there. Secret millitary weapons cache? He knows where it is hidden. Remote cave out in the middle of nowhere? He's been there. It is to make him a viable threat but it is a but much at some point. The stupid is everywhere in this anime. Best episode is with the rare flowers. The pollen of these flowers make women go homocidal so they need to destroy the place they are being grown. Sara volunteers because as the only woman on the team and in danger of being affected she has to go. Fortunately she is save in a tank and perfectly fine. Untill she gets stuck in a ditch. Fortunately she is in a tank able to transform onto another form so she could just walk out the ditch.....or she could just open the canopy and get out....yep, she's infected and going after her team mates. If only they had gas masks which would have kept her save and.....they have gas masks that would have kept her save but for reasons unknown she wasn't wearing one. Stupid. Another thing is that the unit is sent all over the place, usually without their machines. For those who don't know why this is, it is very simple really. The creators want to show us the world and the war but we, as viewers, need someone to follow. So the main characters are sent and we tag along. Which is why you see pilots fighting on the ground as grunts and other places they have no reason to be. They're pilots, they fly or pilot big powerful machines and are good at it. One thing I do want to mention is little easter eggs in the anime. One episodes has characters very reminiscent of Terminator. Another had a character named Dan Ackroyd and many more.
Notice: This review covers all specials of the franchise, which consist of the main series, a few extra OVAs and a mini series. STORY SECTION: 4/10 [Same old shit; but with a lot of drama on top for flavor.] - Aliens attack Earth and a team of teenagers pilots super robots in order to stop them. Where have I heard that one before? - No side stories. Besides the 4 youths and the megalomaniac renegade, the rest of humanity and the entire alien empire are cardboards that are there simply to be killed without a second thought. - On the good side, the story does not begin in the usual way. It is a bit more realistic than your average mecha series. We have more than the clichéd professor, who simply invites the youths over to his lab and gives them the robots. It takes about 10 episodes for the team to come together under the same roof; plenty of time for developing their personalities and the main story. The army is involved in everything and every battlefield is based on a real location. Vague strategies and explanations also make the story half-gullible while we get to see plenty of war drama involving civilians and plain people, whose lives are ruined by the war. - On the bad side, we have the same old bullshit all idealistic series share. How the hell do 4 robots beat an entire interstellar army? Especially when they are made of plain Earth technology (which is of course inferior to the alien) and are not part of some weird godly or superior alien power? And why do the villains keep making the same mistakes? And why are normal civilian rebels carrying rifles a hundred times more effective in battle than veteran soldiers in aircrafts? … Reason committed suicide. - The first 10 episodes are excused as the gathering of the team. The rest up to the last two, do not. Twenty-six episodes of mostly repeating plot, boring battles and cheesy teen drama is more than enough of an excuse to start skipping entire sections. Don’t worry; besides some forgettable character coloring and the occasional pointless power-ups, there is nothing there. No scenario development at all. The only reason I give it a half score is because of the continuation of the story in the OVAs. It would be far better if they were included in the main series instead of those fillers.- And then we have the conclusion in the last two episodes … Or maybe not? … NO CONCLUSION! You are supposed to watch the OVAs for that. Producers’ thoughts: “Ha! In your face, silly viewers! Buy more merchandise! Make us richer!”- The conclusion of the final battle is just a single OVA named “Ushinawareta Mono Tachi e no Chinkonka”, where the leading mecha takes on the remaining bad guys in their stronghold. And still wins, despite the myriads or traps they have laid there, just because the human pilots have the power of love, God, or whatever idealistic nonsense comes to your mind. A quite lame conclusion to an otherwise “interesting but quickly got boring” mecha series. We get 30 minutes of evil aliens playing it hard to get, preparing with all they have, being ready to take the entire universe… and being defeated within one minute with some ridiculous “goodness and love are always stronger than instant regeneration and an army of ghosts up your ass.” I don’t know if that is enough of an excuse for you, but I personally think a single bullet is stronger than any idealistic, romantic or otherwise righteous person in the world. And if might isn’t right, piloting a huge mecha with the power to level entire planets isn’t the proper way to make your point.- There is another follow up, simply called “God Bless Dancouga”. Another single OVA, where the crew returns to Earth and tries to live a normal life. But several humans are acting quite like dicks and make fun of the people who saved their planet. And there is a sinister plan lurking in the background. It sure was a lot more interesting than the final battle with the alien invaders. The enemy is ungrateful humans instead of generic evil aliens, and the power to defeat them isn’t a huge sword and the power of love, or something. The characters get fleshed out a bit more and the ending offers kind of a true conclusion for the heroes.- As if that wasn’t enough, after that we get yet another follow up titled “Hakunetsu no Shuushou”. A small series, where the renegade human is still alive and gathers the heroes, who retired and live normal lives, for one last slug fest. Far more interesting than the series and as nice as God Bless Dancouga, and with longer duration to boot. We have a bit more fleshing out and one royal showdown for the franchise. It may seem ridiculous to have the renegade alive again for the sake of a sequel but, hey, it’s just a silly mecha show, bear with the inconsistency. CHARACTER SECTION: 5/10 [Boy, all this fuss just for that?] - Nothing much to remember about how they look. - Stereotypes! At least, they aren’t the usual 5-member team of clished mecha. They are more of a military nature but even that is not much. The team is made of 4 members, because the fifth deserted to the enemy early on; was a surprise! And the woman in the team actually kicks ass and is in love with the renegate instead of the perky leading male; another surprise! The rest of the 98 characters in the series… are not really characters. Just brainless alien generals, patriotic military officers and wimpy civilians. It won’t take more that 5 seconds to forget them… Forget? … Forget whom? … There were more than two characters in the show? … I don’t remember… - No backdrops. We, the good Earth people. They, the bad aliens. Next!- Every major character has “highlight episodes” where he or she temporary becomes the center of attention. He or she gets to show off some new weapon or reveal something of his/her past. And then drops back into the stunt section for about 30 episodes. Seriously, only the female member and the renegade male actually develop. The rest don’t change even a shirt! Not to mention the anti-climactic and lame way most of them die. They were talking big and yet kick the bucket in situations that scream, “I am stupid”. - No catharsis in the series but if you watch the OVAs and the mini series then indeed, they feel like they found their piece of heaven. ART & SOUND SECTION: 5/10 [Something between the Power Rangers and J.I.Joe.] - The mechas are rather detailed and the explotions look nice half the time. Too bad the huge amount of repeating footage and the “yellow circle” explotions overshadow all that. And I’m not so sure if many people dig animal-themed Earth robots and demon-themed alien ones. - Military bases were given attension in realism, alien bases on the other hand are pathetically simplistic and impractical in arangement. - Character figures are pretty generic. Female charactrs had way too big eyes and aliens were nothing more than grey-skinned humans. Hooray for originality! - Voice acting and music themes were decent but not memorable. 80’s J-pop and edgy teens are out of fashion for over a decade. VALUE & ENJOYMENT SECTION: 2/10 [Generic series #569853265.] The initial and ending episodes were really good. But the boring in-between episodes and the undeveloped cast of characters made most of the series to feel stupid and pointless. Thank goodness I didn’t miss the extras because at least I got a conclusion there. As for the action part, I lost my interest in “lion or mammoth looking robots that combine into a bigger humanoid mecha” after the first dozen seasons of Power Rangers. VERDICT: 4/10 Autobots, transform! … I’m way too old for this shit. Plus, there are hundreds of better series than this one. SUGGESTION LIST Macross and Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann if you fancy classic mecha formulas. The Vision of Escaflowne, Brigadoon, Neon Genesis Evagelion, Ghost in the Shell, Zegapain, Ergo Proxy, Argento Soma, Betterman, Soul Taker and Rahxephon if you are looking for some substance.
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