|Wonderfully Realistic Robot & Series||1 out of 1 user found this review helpful.|
There have been any number of anime series that focuses on giant robots. Mazinger Z, Voltron, and Evangelion are a few that spring to mind. But never has there been an anime series that focuses on a bunch of office workers who save the world from evil monsters using a giant “great useless” robot. That is the premise and probably the secret behind Dai-Guard.
Over a decade ago, a strange unstoppable gigantic creature known as a Heterodyne appeared that forced Japan to use highly destructive apocalyptic weaponry to wipe it out. Afterwards, they decided to create a special response unit, a giant robot known as Dai-Guard was designed to confront and defeat these Heterodynes if they should ever reappear. They never did and ultimately, their creation was shelved and is now used as a giant mascot by 21st Century Defense Corp; the armament company that was given the contract by the Army to build “that great useless thing” as it came to be derisively called.
But when the Heterodynes reappear, the military is helpless before them and only Dai-Guard can save the day! Interestingly enough, the Army has no choice but to allow these amateurs do their job because at first, the machine was so specialized that they had no one who could operate it to start with and 21st Century Corp owns Dai-Guard now because the Army sold it off to them!
There is a genuine plot to these episodes where it’s not so much as the Heterodynes that are the threat but humanity itself. The Army is more obsessed with their rules and regulations as they embark on several attempts to seize control of Dai-Guard or replace the original team with more suitable replacements. The 21st Century Corp Board of Directors become greedy and are more interested in grifting and their profit margins over human lives. There are lots of other things from inane bureaucracy, lawsuits, the economical problems, public relations, and the human factor that the trio of robot pilots find themselves facing as they struggle against the monstrous Heterodynes. And you come to realize that the Heterodynes aren’t really evil but more of a natural disaster like an earthquake or tornado that humanity has to work together to overcome.
With the exception of Shunsuke Akagi who is practically the prototypical brash, headstrong, naïvely idealistic, and hotblooded robot hero pilot; the rest of the cast are surprisingly well rounded and realistically human with their own faults, fears, and strengths as well. And the Japanese voice actors are extremely good at conveying their emotions and infusing genuine personalities into their characters. They and their characters quickly grow on you and you laugh and cry at their triumphs and tragedies.
What I think that I liked the most about Dai-Guard was the realism that they used. Super Robots are great and all, but are they feasible in the real world? It sure doesn’t look like it to the anime where the giant robot is a persnickety piece of junk. It can’t run too fast or it’s own weight will cause it to collapse, it’s hideously complicated process to assemble, and it’s clumsy as hell. Considering how smoothly, gracefully, and otherwise invincible those other giant robots are, Dai-Guard is wonderfully realistic.
The animation is extremely well done, which is to be expected by the folks at Xebec. The character designs are superb, the backgrounds are highly detailed, the effects such as fire, smoke, and lightning are all wonderfully convincing, and most especially the Dai-Guard mecha itself looks amazingly functional like it could actually be built in the real world.
The one weakness of this series is that it only lasted a single season. Considering a bunch of other anime series from Dragonball Z, Naruto, or Bleach which seem to take sadistic enjoyment in stretching out things to last an entire season, Dai-Guard was a mere 26 episodes long and even then, it ends rather abruptly and we never get to find out what happened to the characters. There were hints of a romantic crush between several characters that are never really resolved which leaves the viewers feeling slightly unfulfilled. What happened? Did they ever get together? Married? Divorced? Broke up?
Overall, the series is one of the most realistic robot anime produced, surpassing even Patlabor in realism but not quite surpassing the classic giant robot labor series in comedy. But Dai-Guard is definitely one of the better anime series around and definitely could do with a sequel.
RATING: 4 STARS!!!!