Friday, April 8, 2011

Great Dangaioh Anime Review

Great Dangaioh
Viz Video
Volumes 1-4 - 13 episodes
325 minutes - 4 discs
$24.98/ea. ($99.92 total)
ISBN 782009100492 782009100690 782009100898 782009101093
English/Japanese Audio - English Subtitles
Director - Toshiki Hirano
Studio - AIC

Synopsis: A mysterious explosion devastates Futagami Island and one girl is the sole survivor. Investigation into the phenomena leads to the creation of a powerful robot - Dangaioh! Three individual robots combine to form the powerful mecha and are piloted by teenagers: Kuya Amagi, Mishio Manami, and Chidou Hitomi. Kuya's older brother died while test piloting the original Dangaioh robot.

Ten years after the original explosion a shadow organization emerges to threaten the world.  Headed by defamed and former Dangaioh research head - Doctor Kadou! Battling the good doctor is only the beginning for the team as new threats continue to appear. The ultimate threat drops from space to reveal Dangaioh's true enemies.

What secrets are hidden deep within the Futagami base, who is the true enemy, and is Kuya's brother really dead?

Pros: Character designs and interactions were okay, perverted robot was funny (although voice was terrible on both original Japanese and English dub - I checked), a few decent plot twists

Cons: Mecha designs are lame, ending was abrupt, soundtrack is weak, Dangaioh actually shoots its fists out to clobber enemies *groan*

Mike Tells It Straight: Incredibly mediocre giant robot fare - this show was mildly entertaining, but left no lasting impression. Each episode has a new menace for the three teenaged pilots to defeat by combining into Dangaioh - they always win and the villains are steadfastly one-dimensional - "now is our time to rule the world - attack!". I laughed at the perverted little robot (always lurking below some female character's desk "observing" her panties), but its voice was awful.

This show is related to the original three-episode Dangaioh OVA (released in the late '80s/early '90s on VHS with a poorly executed DVD release in 2003 - Dangaioh: Hyper-Combat Unit) and revelas itself to be a sequel halfway through the story. Shoji Kawamori did mechanical designs for the first OVA, but he is completely missing from this sequel (although it appears the creator/director are the same).

Great Dangaioh was originally slated to be 26-episodes, but was cancelled halfway through due to poor ratings (which completely explains the abrubt ending). No complete collection was ever released and the individual discs are dirt cheap. Dangaioh is a doomed franchise - don't waste your time.