Brave Command Dagwon (Yuusha Shirei Daguon) is a 1996-97 anime, the seventh entry in Sunrise's Brave Series.Whereas in past entries the protagonists tended to be self-aware robots, the primary characters in Dagwon are high-school students who, after transforming into their Dag-(insert your favorite element here) forms, and then fuse with their mecha - they don't pilot their mecha, they are their mecha.The show first aired at around the tail end of Neon Genesis Evangelion, and is clearly influenced by it - think "well-adjusted high-schooler Shinji" and that's half the show. The other half being an invasion by alien prisoners from the Sargasso prison in nearby space, a plot closer to standard Tokusatsu fare.Rather unfortunately overshadowed by GaoGaiGar, the next Brave Series show.Brave Command Dagwon provides examples of:
Animal Motifs: Fire Dagwon is a ...bird of some sort. Shadow Dagwon is a dragon, a tiger, a wolf, and a hawk. Power Dagwon is a dinosaur. Lian is... a Lion sword.
BFG: Gunkid, a newly-created gundroid with the personality and self-control of a 5 year old. Transforms into the Mugenhou - the "infinity cannon" - and can cheerfully blow away a mountain.
BFS: Lian, a surviving Ken-seijin ("Sword-Alien", so... "Swordian"?). Can alter his size in sword form, anything from Fire Dagwon-sized to Fire En-sized.
Big Damn Heroes: En and the Dag Base. Everyone else is captured and paralyzed by the Big Bad in Sargasso. En can't do anything except shout out "Move! Move!" at the unresponsive Dag Base. Then they fuse.
Bishōnen: The main characters were designed this way (even Geki to an extent), and are proportioned fairly realistically. The effect is... actually a little jarring in a mecha show.
Example: there's a train car-sized bug on some train tracks. A commuter train is about to collide with it. Armor Shin shows up, opens fire, (cut to GDS), and the train passes safely over the bug-colored splatter on the tracks.
However, this is in the sense that his mecha are the most well-rounded. Super Liner Dagwon is better at fighting multiple targets at once, Shadow Dagwon's Ga-oh Giri can destroy without collateral damage, and Thunder Dagwon is incredibly fast and agile in air or space.
Law of Inverse Recoil: Subverted - Fire Dagwon and Power Dagwon can fire the Mugenhou just fine (from the right hip and left shoulder while using his shovel as a ground, respectively), but when Super Liner Dagwon and Shadow Dagwon try it (together!), they get blown back onto their asses a considerable distance away.
Note that everyone is tuned to their own weaponry, and the trope is otherwise played straight.
NINJA: Shadow Ryu, Dag Shadow, Shadow Dagwon... Ryu himself, when he feels like it.
Oddball in the Series: Dagwon, from top to bottom, does not resemble most other entries in the Brave Series and suffered in ratings as a result. That said, its successor, GaoGaiGar, actually took some of the better ideas and refined them into the Crowner we know it to be.
Ramming Always Works: Drill Geki and the Drill Liner live and breathe this trope. And, in order to stop Arc-seijin from freezing the world, En has to use the Fire Jumbo this way.
Reconstruction: This show came out a bit before Evangelion ended, and while it liberally borrows visuals (quite a few of the aliens could pass as Angels) and some other ideas, it wholeheartedly rejects the self-destructive nature of that show. Especially in the endgame. If you look closely, you can even see some of the elements that made it over to GaoGaiGar.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: Kai is the Blue Oni. The Red Oni is... everyone else, really, but mostly En.
Red Shirt Army: The Zagos-seijins are based on ants, and fight with numbers.
Subverted slightly, though - the teens he picked actually had useful skills, but with the exception of Ryu these don't really match the powers and equipment he assigns them. Kai is pretty good with a wooden sword, but becomes the speed-themed Dag Turbo, who doesn't have a sword.
Robeast: Occasionally, but most of the invaders are intelligent.
Rocket Punch: Fire Dagwon is designed in such a way that would allow this, but it's sadly averted.
The Mouser-seijin mecha attempts to use the Chou-Denji Spin on Fire Dagwon - complete with a Choudenji Tatsumaki-style holding effect.
Brave-seijin is pretty obviously an UltramanShout-Out, right down to the "Tearduct Eyeholes" at the corners of his eyesnote The original Ultraman costumes, had little holes in the lit-up eyes, close to the nose, with the effect being that they were cross-eyed (only visible in closeup, though).
The Thunder Shuttle is summoned with "Come here! Thunder Shuttle!" and one of Thunder Dagwon's finishers is the Moon Attack. The Thunder-Lancer-from-the-chestplate thing is probably too broad to be a shout out, though.
The Power of Friendship: Dag Base Robo, when running on this, is capable of ripping an asteroid apart from the inside.
Theme Naming: The 7 main characters all have single-kanji personal names related to the element or style of their Dagwon battle armor. Geki is the exception, since his name refers more to his attitude.
Transformation Sequence: Human -> Dag Tector battle armor, for the 7 main leads. Unlike most examples however, the sequences aren't overly flashy - pull the bracelet, suit comes on, easy peasy - and are Sentai-derived.