[[quoteright:320:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Dai-Guard_6216.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:320:To Serve and Defend [[ObstructiveBureaucrat (but not to spend)]].]]
-->''Office workers saving the world!''

This is the motto of ''Dai-Guard'', an extremely non-traditional HumongousMecha {{anime}}. Set in [[TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture the year 2030]], the show focuses on three employees of the 21st Century Defense Security Corporation, a company that owns a giant robot named Dai-Guard. Dai-Guard was originally built by the military to protect the world against Heterodynes, aliens from another dimension that show up to destroy everything they can get their hands on. However, the first and only attack occurred 12 years ago, and when the series starts, Dai-Guard has been retired and is seen as little more than an overblown corporate mascot.

When a new Heterodyne suddenly appears, the protagonists -- young and brash Shunsuke Akagi, rational and hard-working Ibuki Momoi, and aloof and cynical Keiichiro Aoyama -- activate the dormant robot and defend the populace. They become instant heroes, but there is the small matter of dealing with the [[ObstructiveBureaucrat Board of Directors]], who are [[BotheringByTheBook real sticklers for the paperwork]] involved in using and maintaining an 80-foot-tall robot. Then they have to figure out [[HeroInsurance who's going to pay for all this collateral damage.]] Then they have to get some weapons that are ''not'' AwesomeButImpractical. Then they have to smooth things out with the military, who want the robot back now that it's actually useful. Then they have to figure out where on the SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism they're supposed to stand. And when they finally get things relatively ironed out, [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotPolitical things get political.]] How ''do'' you classify a {{Kaiju}} attack? Invasion? Disaster relief? Weapons that can beat giant monsters could ''kick'' '''serious''' '''''ass''''' on the modern battlefield - how does the [[{{Eagleland}} world's last empire]] handle a rival having them? What is the purpose of such a military in peacetime, anyway?

''Dai-Guard'' plays a lot of standard trope arrangements, but approaches them from both ends. It puts a [[RealRobotGenre Real Robot]] in a [[SuperRobotGenre Super Robot]] package and drops it in alongside the standard [[MonsterOfTheWeek crazy monsters from another dimension]]. It uses [[PowerTrio common character arrangements]], but avoids many anime stand-bys, employing relatively little FanService or {{UST}}. It alternates its focus between the day-to-day "realities" of a company utilizing a giant robot and said giant robot punching things in the face.

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!!''Dai-Guard'' provides examples of the following tropes:

* AHouseDivided: Surprisingly, the Heterodyne are a serious threat for only the first nine episodes... out of ''twenty-six.'' At the end of episode nine, the behavior and weaknesses of the Heterodyne have been figured out, and one gets [[OneHitKill one-shotted]] for the first time in a repeatable fashion... only for Shirota to stab the team in the back and assist in the military's attempt to hijack the operation. It takes four more episodes to iron out the mess, after which they pull off a perfect Heterodyne elimination with ''zero collateral damage...'' only for the [[PointyHairedBoss company executives to screw things up in an even more spectacular manner.]] It takes four ''more'' episodes to clean ''that'' mess up, just in time for things to go ''international;'' EagleLand purposefully interferes with a Heterodyne attack in the hopes of capturing one for study, then spins the resulting near-attack on their spy plane into a diplomatic incident and threaten Japan with war while they continue the capture attempts. While a Heterodyne is wandering around that can ''freeze entire cities solid.'' Safe to say, the Dai-Guard team spends at least as much time arguing with megalomanical authority figures as they do fighting monsters.
* AndTheAdventureContinues: It seems that the Heterodyne will ''never'' stop appearing. Like earthquakes and hurricanes, monster attacks are now a fact of life in 21st century Japan. Now that they've developed the tools, skills, and attitude to handle them, the story is over.
* AscendedFanboy: Akagi. He's wanted to pilot a HumongousMecha his entire life, to the point of taking an otherwise useless college course to learn how to do it and spending years in a dead-end job just to be around the only one in existence.
* AttackItsWeakPoint ForMassiveDamage: Hitting a Heterodyne in its its central Fractal Knot instantly destroys it and causes its body to either melt away, or explode into [[DefeatEqualsExplosion a huge fireball]] or [[DisappearsIntoLight white light.]]
* BadAssNormal: Dai-Guard's pilots may only be Public Relations office workers, but they eventually prove themselves to be better than the military's pilots.
** Dai-Guard itself in a meta-sense. Despite the SuperRobot setting and [[{{Kaiju}} enemies]], what the heroes are piloting is very much a RealRobot without any PsychicPowers, GreenRocks or even AppliedPhlebotinum to their name.
* CombiningMecha: At first, Dai-Guard has to be carted to the battle site in pieces and assembled. Eventually the pieces are outfitted as vehicles in their own right, presumably to avoid this hassle, but they have to transform back to their "parts" form in order to assemble, and are demonstrated to lack weapons or any other non-transportational functions.
* CoolBigSis: Ooyama is specifically called out in this role during the RecapEpisode.
* DarkSkinnedBlonde: Tanigawa.
* DeadpanSnarker: Secondary co-worker Irie.
* DeconReconSwitch
* DudeWheresMyRespect: When not saving Japan from giant, extra-dimensional monsters, the heroes are buried in endless paperwork.
* GadgeteerGenius: Rika Domeki.
* GlassCannon: Dai-Guard in both the series and ''VideoGame/{{Super Robot Wars Z}}2'' can dish out a lot of pain, but it gets damaged extremely easy and isn't very fast.
** MagikarpPower: While it is noticeably weaker than most other Super Robots in the beginning of the game, Akagi has a unique ability that allows him to gain vast amounts of Pilot Points to put him head-over-shoulders above other pilots.
* GunsAreWorthless: Dai-Guard uses only physical melee weapons, stemming from the limitations that A) the 21st Century Defense Corporation isn't the military or the police (and this is Japan) and B) Heterodynes can only be destroyed with an accurate strike to their Fractal Knot, which melee weapons are better at.
** Subverted when [[spoiler: The ANPO jets use missiles to ground an aerial Heterodyne long enough for Dai-Guard to finish it, and in the final battle when Kokubogar stuns the EvilKnockOff with a rocket and saves Dai-Guard.]]
* HandsomeLech: Aoyama. Though his flirting always seems to have a business purpose behind it. Then, when the office suspects he has a girlfriend because he's always talking on the phone and disappearing, [[spoiler: it turns out it's his mom, who's in the hospital]].
* HeelFaceTurn: Shirota eventually loosens up and comes around to the protagonists' way of thinking.
** The same happens with [[spoiler: Saeki, Shirota's "apprentice"]] and [[spoiler: Kokubogar's main pilot, Akagi's former professor]].
* HeroInsurance: [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] and averted in turns. The insurance requires ridiculous amounts of paperwork, and the damage cause by Dai-Guard still ends up costing the company a buttload of money. In fact, the aversion fuels a lot of the show's non-monster conflict.
* HiddenDepths: Turns out Shirota's really good at decorating cakes. Everyone's pretty surprised, not least Shirota himself.
* HonorBeforeReason: Akagi ''insists'' on using Dai-Guard at every opportunity and refuses to accept that sacrifices must be made. Shirota hates this, but it usually works out anyway.
** And by "works out," we mean nobody dies. Dai-Guard frequently ends up getting beat to hell and back.
** This tendency is [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] in one episode where Akagi doesn't want to destroy a Heterodyne that is sitting quietly and not hurting anyone. Everyone is pretty surprised.
* HotBlooded: Akagi... oh, Akagi. The boy refuses to realize that he's in a RealRobotGenre show. It all works to his advantage, though.
* HotSpringsEpisode: Subverted. Tanigawa and Ijuuen visit one just in time to be interrupted by a giant balloon Heterodyne, but little skin is shown and in Tanigawa's words, they had "separate rooms and boring conversations".
* HumongousMecha: Strangely, it's the rare [[RealRobotGenre Real Robot]] that ''looks'' like a [[SuperRobotGenre Super Robot]]; Dai-Guard was designed for the very specific purpose of getting in close enough to a Heterodyne to destroy its Fractal Knot.
* IJustWantToBeNormal: It takes Aoyama a long time to get used to piloting Dai-Guard; in episode 3 [[TenMinuteRetirement he quits the company]], and in one pre-episode recap, he asks the viewer if ''they'' want to fly a giant robot.
* IndyPloy: This is all Akagi does, much to the horror and annoyance of his coworkers.
* JurisdictionFriction: The EvilArmy and the 21st Century Corporation are frequently at odds about who should really be using Dai-Guard.
* {{Kaiju}}: The Heterodynes
* MidSeasonUpgrade: Notably, Dai-Guard gets this in SRW with "New Dai-Guard", which has the [[PileBunker Great Knot Punisher]] and accompanying flywheel always attached. It allows the team to perform attacks making unique use of [[RammingAlwaysWorks both]] [[EverythingsBetterWithSpinning weapons]].
* MonsterOfTheWeek: The Heterodynes again, although they are more of a FramingDevice for the main conflict.
* NamesTheSame: The monsters share a name with the family of ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'' characters. Almost certainly a coincidence.
* NobodyCanDie: Everyone is ''always'' evacuated before the Heterodyne (or Dai-Guard) can start smashing the place up. No one's ever caught in the crossfire, and the few times someone ''does'' get trapped under falling rubble or somesuch, don't worry, rescue crews will be along shortly. Justified as Japan is known for having a ''really good'' disaster alert and response system to begin with, and within ''weeks'' of the pilot episode they've isolated the warning signs that precede the arrival of Heterodynes. Episode 8 is simply [[ADayInTheLife A Week In The Life]] of the Dai-Guard team during which they get nothing but repeated false alarms... and have to stay at their posts for hours on end waiting for the threat to emerge to no avail.
* NoIndoorVoice: Akagi, to the point of misunderstanding the correct manner of using a TV mic with deafening consequences.
* NoSocialSkills: Domeki. She means well, and she's generally nice enough in person but she doesn't seem to understand social interaction, and doesn't seem to notice or care when she screws up. [[spoiler: "Oh, you think your Dad's a hero? Well, I'd hate for you to labor under a false impression! Let me help you with that. [[HeroicBSOD Whoops.]] Well, that's to be expected. You'll get over it."]]
* NonLethalWarfare: Because it's operated by an insurance company in Japan, Dai-Guard doesn't use ordnance of any sort. This has the side effect of keeping collateral damage to a minimum (in theory!).
* NuclearWeaponsTaboo: The first Heterodyne was destroyed by an "O.E. Weapon", which stands for "Over Explosion". (It's never actually confirmed to be nuclear in nature - and appears to be some other type of explosive - but its use will leave an area uninhabitable for a period of time in addition to the massive collateral damage.)
* OnlySaneMan: In one of the early introduction episodes, Aoyama remarks on Akagi and Ibuki's unstable nature and heroic tendencies and declares, "I am the only sane person on this robot, and there's nothing I can do about it, except hang on and enjoy the ride."
* OurMonstersAreWeird: The Heterodynes. No two are quite alike in design, shape and abilities, but are all based on the same basic composition which is equal parts fungus and octagon-shaped crystal (the "Fractal Knot"). They then form a body out of surrounding matter, making no two quite alike. They can move freely (some even fly), are ''usually'' attracted to EM waves and often have odd powers to defend themselves. That's about ALL they have in common.
** Which causes a great deal of surprise when one shows up that is an exact copy of the very first one.
** They are considered straight-up monsters by the general population, but specialists consider them tantamount to natural disasters, as they don't appear to have a particular purpose or capacity for thought.
* PileBunker: Knot Buster and Knot Punisher.
* PostEpisodeTrailer: Complete with the page quote as OnTheNextEpisodeOfCatchPhrase.
* PowerTrio: Akagi, Ibuki, and Aoyama.
* RagtagBunchOfMisfits: All of Public Relations Division 2.
* RealRobot: One of the most credible RealRobot series out there, SquareCubeLaw aside.
** Alternatively, a [[GenreDeconstruction deconstruction]] of the SuperRobotGenre.
* RealityEnsues: Pretty much the main appeal of the show. Fighting with a giant monster destroys the city? Insurance claims and repair costs quickly follow. Trying to equip new parts and weapons on your HumongousMecha? Have fun trying and failing to properly align the weapon slots on your 150 ton mecha. Just put a drill arm on Dai-Guard? The massive torque causes the robot to lose control like crazy.
* RunningGag: Early in the series, Dai-Guard loses an arm in basically every fight.
** And to effectively use most of its weapons it has to give up ''at least'' one usable hand. Later in the series a new weapon is developed that takes away ''both'' hands.
** Aoyama even comments on this once: "It wouldn't be a fight if we didn't lose an arm."
** Then they upgrade their arms to simply house their main weapons to [[GenreSavvy get over the hassle of having to rip Dai Guard's arms out all the time.]]
* {{Salaryman}}: The main characters -- even though they frequently protect the country from Heterodynes -- and their co-workers.
* ScaryShinyGlasses
* ShipTease: Akagi had this with Ibuki but has much more teasing with Ooyama, the final shots of the cast in the final episode even has the two of them standing rather close together as Dai-Guard is repaired. Nakahara and Aoyama would also count, except that the tease only applies to Aoyama, Nakahara's feelings are made quite blatant later on.
* SquareCubeLaw: Ultimately abused but recognized in early episodes where simply walking around too much could threaten to shake Dai Guard to pieces and punching Heterodynes only broke his own arms.
** Even later episodes reference it, as Dai-Guard tries to move as little as possible. One of the things its military counterpart does is re-work and reinforce the hell out of the robot's internal structure to account for this.
* VideoGame/SuperRobotWars: Making an unexpected debut in ''VideoGame/{{Super Robot Wars Z}}2''.
* TallDarkAndSnarky: Aoyama.
* TalkingToHimself: Aoyama with [[MobileSuitGundam00 Lockon Stratos]] [[spoiler:both of them]] and then later [[FullMetalPanic Kurz Weber]] in VideoGame/{{Super Robot Wars Z}}2.
* ThemeNaming: The pilots and some other characters are named after colours. Akagi- Red, Aoyama- Blue, Momoi- Pink, Shirota- White, etc.
* TokyoIsTheCenterOfTheUniverse: In the anime, no mention is ever made of Heterodynes appearing ''not'' in Japan. The manga does mention that there are Dai-Guards stationed around the world, as the warps that bring the Heterodynes to Earth are related to earthquakes, which, while most frequent in Japan, can also happen in other parts of the world.
* TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture: The series is shown in the 1st episode to take place in 2030, with the first Heterodyne appearing in 2018.

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!!These tropes can be seen in individual episodes of ''Dai-Guard'':

* ChristmasEpisode: One with a decidedly western (that it, non-romantic) feel to the holiday.
* DaddysGirl: We see in one episode that Ibuki used to be one until her father died in the first Heterodyne attack. When she realizes her biological father only studied the Heterodyne ForScience, she has a HeroicBSOD in the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izAdFAkz_MI very next battle]]. When she realizes her stepfather's heroism is real, she's one all over again.
* FlashBack
* HeyWait: "Your lens cap is on."
* HeroicBSOD: Ibuki after [[spoiler: she learns the truth about her father]].
* NeverTellMeTheOdds: Inverted when the odds are so bad, Saeki refuses to tell the pilots what they are.
* OffModel: The entirety of episode 23.
* TheOnlyOne: For several episodes, the military replaces the normal pilots with three "simulator jockeys," as Aoyama calls them. They turn out to be utterly useless in a fight because they don't understand [[ThePowerOfFriendship teamwork]] or have the proper intuition to pilot Dai-Guard.
** Averted once the military realizes that idealism is ''not'' for kids. Akagi's mecha piloting teacher and classmates are right there with them kicking ass in the final episodes.
** It doesn't help that the "simulator jockeys," in the same episode where Akagi wants to leave the sleeping Hetrodyne alone (which turns out to be a very '''good''' idea, since if it's destroyed [[spoiler:there would be a larger-than-Kyoto crater under Kyoto]]) they decide to [[spoiler:wake it up so they can fight it]]. If they ''were'' heroes, we've have had a fun big-time case of NiceJobBreakingItHero.
* RamenSlurp: Domeki usually does this while hunched over in her HackerCave, analysing the newest Heterodyne or designing parts for Dai-Guard.
* RecapEpisode
* RightBehindMe
* RocketPunch: Not an actual mechanical ability, but the next best thing: Dai-Guard takes off its hand and ''throws it at the monster''.
** Faithfully recreated in ''VideoGame/{{Super Robot Wars Z}}2'' as part of the drill arm's animation against air units.
* TakingYouWithMe: A hilarious subversion: a Heterodyne falling into the ocean grabs Dai-Guard's hand. Akagi just detaches it.
* ScrewTheRulesImDoingWhatsRight: In the series finally [[spoiler:Shirou Shirota disobeys orders to stop a [[NuclearWeaponsTaboo Over Explosion Bomb]] from being dropped on Tokyo to stop the MonsterOfTheWeek from covering the world. His plan works, but the bomb might not have.]]
* TenMinuteRetirement
* ThemeTuneCameo. Cellphone ringtones. Baa, ba ba Baa, ba ba Baa, ba ba Bara rara rara ra...
* ThisIsADrill: And drills are AwesomeButImpractical. [[YouFailPhysicsForever Ever heard of "torque"]], [[GadgeteerGenius Domeki?]]
** It's even Lampshaded. After their first attempt at using it everyone's reaction was "Why the hell did we think that would work?"
* VerySpecialEpisode: When Ibuki finds out the truth about her father.
* WhoWantsToLiveForever (the line, not the trope): Akagi whips this one out when it looks like Dai-Guard will plummet three miles to Earth and certain death. Ibuki and Aoyama protest that they would very much like that.
* YoureInsane: An affectionate hero-to-hero use.
** Or ''not''. Ibuki and Aoyama tend to get ''really'' pissed at Akagi's repeated use of the IndyPloy.
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