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A Rocket Punch?! That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard!

June 14, 2009

“Office workers saving the day!”

Shunsuke Akagi, Team Dai-Guard

Well I’ve had some time to finish Dai-Guard which I’ve been watching for quite a while now. It’s definitely way out of range of your standard super robot show, but Dai-Guard’s just awesome in that way itself. Instead of diving into monster fights (which are just 10 minutes + at the most) you’re given the personal struggles of the people working to move the giant robot (yes, you need more than a moronic teen to move a robot), as well as the enormous crew needed to support its operations. In fact, Akagi, the main pilot of Dai-Guard, seems to be the only one who’s immune to emotional turmoil; yet is is quite obvious that he is maturing over the course of the series, from brash and hot-headed to driven and STILL hot-headed. He’s not your indestructible pilot of God, but he’s cool enough with the things he needs to do.

Then there’s the antagonistic side, which is the military and official governmental forces. Special Agent Shirota heads the anti-monster part of the army, and right near the beginning he’s often in conflict with Dai-Guard, never fully seeing why Akagi wants to take his robo out for a walk so badly. He often stands on the side of the army in trying to restrict Dai-Guards in the hands of “mere civilians”, but when be has to pilot Dai-Guard in Akagi’s stead he comes to a partial understanding of just how much the Dai-Guard pilots are willing to risk their lives to save the city and possibly the world. Military orders conflicting with his new beliefs keep him from fully understanding, however, until he is forced to call in Dai-Guard to clean up a mess initiated by the army.

The myriad of other characters in the show all have their own personalities. While major character development is mostly restricted to Dai-Guard’s team and their immediate teamates, certain side characters who’re usually stuck handling the paperwork borne of massive public destruction also get their moment to shine through. All that is just a side dish to the main theme of the story however, which is: How do you save the world, and whose methods are right?

The main monsters in the series are called Heterodynes, very reminiscent of the Angels from Neon Genesis Evangelion. Of course, they’re noticeably less malevolent towards mankind that the latter, but just their natural behaviour alone gets destructive real quick. The show takes an interesting viewpoint on these “alien” by not classifying them as an extraterrestrial attack, but as natural disasters, like earthquakes and typhoons. Indeed, the Heterodyne are born out of earthquakes that give out a certain frequency of EM waves, making them natural disasters given form.

This allows the series to concentrate on the side-effects of fighting an enemy inside a city; the incredible damage cost to public infrastructure, the hundreds of insurance claims to Dai-Guard’s operating company,  all the people displaced and/or injured by the assault, and the military force’s repeated attempts to upsurp Dai-Guard from its throne of monster-beater.

All these factors together combined with an uplifting and inspiring musical score at the right times makes for a series that’ll bring you through one hell of a ride, despite the monster-busting taking a backseat. It is heartening to see Akagi and the military working side by side for the first time to bring down a Heterodyne, or Akagi and his fellow workers go around making sure the refugees have their blankets aand canned food, or even just to see Dai-Guard’s operators and the military affirm that they’re all out to save their nation, and that there’s no need to race each other to who’s first. While not your SCREAM OUT LOUD GO ROCKET FIST robot show, Dai-Guard takes a very mechanical approach in all things regarding the series and gives a logical explanation, yet it is evident that the wills of people willing to put their lives on the line are what really keeps the show moving forward.

*Just to affirm; the show is distributed by ADV if I’m not wrong. That was a dub well done.

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