Friday, March 11, 2011

Dai-Guard Review

Make the coffee!
File the paperwork!
Save the world!

Every once and a while, I watch something that completely catches me off guard.  Dai-Guard did just that.  As soon as I watched the opening, I found myself being filled with the spirit of JUSTICE.  The opening song invaded my head for at least a week, playing especially loud while at work, and I would find myself humming along to it in public.  Needless to say, the show grabbed my attention.  I had previously looked at the boxed set a view times and had seen some screen shots, but I had no idea what I was in for.

Anyway, for those who don't know, Dai-Guard is a mecha show centered around the members of 21st Century Defense Corporation's Public Relations Division, three of whom become the pilots of Dai-Guard, a giant robot built for battling strange, multidimensional invaders known as the Heterodyne.  Out of any mecha show you watch, this one is likely going to be the only one that will take into account things such as paperwork, damage claims, red tape, public relations and so on.  I'm sure this doesn't sound exciting, but the results are often quite funny.

Office workers saving the world!

The Heterodyne themselves are somewhat reminiscent of the now-typical mecha anime monsters such as the Angels from Eva.  The designs are strange, ranging from a giant ball of dirt to a giant mushroom to a huge floating pyramid to a vase-like shape with thin, flailing arms, etc.  You get the picture...weird and almost random designs.  Their purpose is eventually revealed to be something disappointingly simple.  I won't spoil it, but I suppose in a way it was nice that the show didn't try too hard to be deep.

The main character, Shunsuke Akagi, is fun and almost child-like for an office worker.  He usually leads the way into battle as Dai-Guard's main pilot, uttering often-humorous justice-infused lines.  My favorite is, "You Hetero bastard!  Take this fist of justice!" simply for the possibly-unintentional homosexual connotation.  What bothers me about Akagi, though, is that he is fairly static throughout the whole series.  The other two Dai-Guard pilots get quite a bit of development, but by the end of the series, all we really know about Akagi is that he grew up watching giant robot anime and that he's pretty much fulfilling his childhood dreams by piloting Dai-Guard.

There's also not much resolution in the end.  After the nature of the Heterodyne is revealed, things just kind of boil down to Heterodyne conflict will keep on happening intermittently and indefinitely.  The End.  It has its own appeal, I suppose, in that Dai-Guard and crew will continue having crazy and silly adventures for a long time to come, but I'm not sure it's quite the way I would have liked it to end.

Baa ba ba baa, ba ba baa....

When I watch anime, I typically watch the dub if it is available, and this was no exception.  I was very pleased with the overall quality.  My favorite dub voice is Shirota, hands down.  Everything he says is so deliberate, so official.  Those who watch it will see exactly what I'm talking about.  Also, Kokubogar is one of the most awesomely silly names for a robot I have ever heard.  I love saying it.

Overall, Dai-Guard is just plain fun.  It never stopped being a blast to watch.  The show isn't perfect by any means, but it should prove to be refreshing to most mecha anime freaks such as myself.  If I were to give Dai-Guard a rating, I'd give it a solid 4/5.  It isn't as easy to snag a copy of it on DVD since ADV went under, but there should still be some floating around out there.  Do yourself a favor and watch it.