Anime / Brave Command Dagwon

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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.

An OVA titled Brave Command Dagwon: The Boy With Crystal Eyes was released shortly after the conclusion of the main series. Taking place an indeterminate but relatively short amount of time after the original anime, the team's return to peaceful life is interrupted by a strange young boy named Kenta, who for some reason can't seem to grasp basic concepts and is being chased by The Men in Black. When Rai unexpectedly returns as the leader of these men, with his own take on the situation, the rest of the team must come to the right conclusion fast before the world is once again put in jeopardy.

Rather unfortunately overshadowed by GaoGaiGar, the next Brave Series show.


Brave Command Dagwon provides examples of:

  • Aliens Speaking English: Played straight in the anime, of course, but in the OVA, it initially seems subverted after The Reveal, since Deandozol was only mimicking a human and had trouble speaking language, suggesting it was struggling to learn it. It gets played straight like the rest in the end, though, since it speaks perfect human language in its final form.
  • 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.
  • Anime Theme Song: Of the Expository Theme Tune variety. It's very heroic.
  • 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.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: Shadow Ryu.
  • Bythe Powerof Greyskull: Try Dagwon!
  • Captain Ersatz: One of Jabba The Hutt appears in episode 20. Dag Drill also bears a slight resemblance to Advenger from the previous installment.
  • Chick Magnet: When Rai arrives on Earth to blend in as a normal student, the female students immediately start going after him to the point it starts to terrify him. And then Maria forces him to reveal he's a textbook psychic to the public.
  • Clip Show: Demakka-seijin tries this, and learns all he needs to know about the Dagwon... then accidentally gives the show a CMoF.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Super Fire Dagwon is a forced combination, and falls between this and Deadly Upgrade. Gets used three times in the show, after which En has to spend some time unconscious.
  • Darker and Edgier: Oh yes. As much as you can get for an anime appealing to grade-schoolers.
  • Darkest Hour: ...Leading up to Dag Base Robo's appearance.
  • Disney Death: En completely shatters as Super Fire Dagwon in order to purge Genocide from Fire Dagwon's systems, with the total breakdown of both mechs killing it outright. Rai believes En to be Killed Off for Real after finding one of the worn-down Space Police badges, but everyone else starts searching and breaking down when they can't find him. Of course, En is not dead; he ejected from Super Fire Dagwon as DagFire and collapsed back onto Earth, and so he returns, beaten, to the place he promised Maria to return his debt at.
  • Drill Tank: Dag Drill. Basically a steam locomotive-turned mecha with a large drill for a weapon. He also likes to tank.
  • Doppelgänger: Kenta's appearance is a Palette Swap of En from when he was a child after Deandozol struck him eight years before the events of the anime.
  • Dynamic Entry: How Dag Base Robo enters Sargasso, fist-first.
  • Elemental Powers: And how! Fire Dagwon is all about the flames, Dag Turbo's is Super Speed, Dag Armor has weapons up the wazoo, Dag Wing can fly and create chilling winds, Shadow Dagwon is a Ninja, Thunder Dagwon predictably brings down lightning, and Dag Drill burrows through the ground.
  • Engrish: Kai's "Don't Say! Four or Five!". And "We Are Dagwon", the English version of the theme song - the lyrics are okay, but it's sometimes hard to understand what they are.
  • Expy: Brave-seijin might just remind you of Eldran or Ultraman. A little bit.
  • Foil: Rai is the unassuming and unaware Chick Magnet to Shin's Casanova Wannabe disposition.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The actual Big Bad, Genocide, comes off as this.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Mind, this is a kid's show. It's typically the aliens that get this.
    • 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.
  • Honor Before Reason: Rai doesn't activate the superweapon to kill Deandozol because the rest of the team is still observing it. Fortunately, this is for the better, given what happens next.
  • Hot-Blooded: En and Geki, Shin to a lesser extent. Fire Dagwon appears to literally have this.
  • I Fell for Hours: Even though En ejected from Super Fire Dagwon while leaving Genocide to crumble to death, they ejected at the stratosphere, meaning that he still took one hell of a fall, and would explain why he's injured in the ending despite having no visible injuries beforehand.
  • Jumped at the Call: At the outset, only En really took being a Dagwon seriously.
    • Geki, upon meeting Brave-seijin for the first time, tells him to "hurry up and make me a Dagwon so I can go save Maria!"
  • Large Ham: Geki shows shades of this as a Dagwon.
  • Laser Sword: Galaxy Luna has one of these.
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: En gets the best toys to play with.
    • 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: Waffles with the Mugenhou; Super Liner Dagwon and Shadow Dagwon together are blown away when they try to use it, while Fire Dagwon can withstand the recoil but slides back an enormous distance. Power Dagwon's Super Strength is shown off by being able to fire the Mugenhou with no recoil at all once it plants its shovel in the ground behind it.
    • Note that everyone is tuned to their own weaponry, and the trope is otherwise played straight.
  • Logical Weakness: Being a possession-based entity, Genocide is killed when his struggle with En begins to shatter Fire Dagwon, the mech he possessed, as the latter ejects from Power Dagwon unscathed.
  • The Magnificent Seven Samurai: Well there are seven of them...
  • Male Gaze: Galaxy Luna has a brief one when she transforms.
  • Meaningful Name: All the characters.
  • Midseason Upgrade: Super Liner Dagwon and Power Dagwon. Super Fire Dagwon actually averts the typical Brave trend where it would be one of these by instead being an 11th Hour Superpower, with En continuing to use Power Dagwon as his primary form even after getting it.
  • Motion Capture Mecha: The characters directly fuse with their Dag Vehicles post-transformation.
  • 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.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: One of the reasons the last episode hits hard. Kai starts crying for once despite having hated En the whole time, Yoku starts to destroy his work, Shin and Geki are visibly deflated, and Maria starts to forget about the fact that En's late to the meeting he promised, even in jest. Rai is pessimistic from the start, after he finds the worn down Space Police badge from Fire Dagwon's chassis. Ryu is the only person not affected by this (whether or not the scene where he asks his sister if she dreamed of En coming back counts is up for debate.)
  • Power Glows: And burns, for Fire Dagwon.
  • Psycho Rangers: The team encounters a Defector from Decadence named Deathcop, who is essentially an evil generic Dagwon that also has a mech to fuse with like the rest of them.
  • The Power of Friendship: Dag Base Robo, when running on this, is capable of ripping an asteroid apart from the inside.
    • This is what causes Deandozol to spare Earth and assimilate into the human race in the OVA; it's far too grateful for meeting young En and his dog Kenta in order to explore humanity.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: The last thing En yells as a Dagwon: I'M! A! DAGWON!
  • 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.
  • Recruit Teenagers with Attitude: Essentially what Brave-seijin does.
    • 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. The team also has three of their own in the form of the Shadow Guards.
  • Rocket Punch: Fire Dagwon is designed in such a way that would allow this, but it's sadly averted.
  • Shout-Out
    • This show is basically Super Sentai fighting Angel-style alien invaders.
    • 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 Ultraman Shout-Out, right down to the "Tearduct Eyeholes" at the corners of his eyesnote  (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.
    • One of Dagshadow's attacks has him combine the powers of Heaven, Earth, and Man.
  • Something Person: Not quite how it usually works, but naming scheme is "Element-Name", ie: Turbo Kai.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": It's written 'Da-gu-o-n', but 'Dagwon' is the official romanization.
  • Spoiler Opening: Combined with Bait-and-Switch Credits: the opening prominently features Super Fire Dagwon from episode 31 onward, despite Super Fire Dagwon being another ten episodes away and only appearing three times in the whole show. Rai and Thunder Dagwon are also shown in the opening four episodes before his official appearance.
  • Stock Footage: Well, yeah - it's a mecha show.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: All of the characters have their own themes for each individual combination. Genocide also gets one when he possesses Fire Jumbo, gaining a muted version of the Kaen Gattai theme.
  • 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.
  • Too Awesome to Use: Super Fire Dagwon's extremely rare appearances might be related to the fact that it's ridiculously overpowered.
  • 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.
  • Transformation Trinket: The Dag Braces.
  • Transforming Mecha: Of course! This does lead to some possible Body Horror, however...
  • Would Hurt a Child: Rai is not afraid to aim his upgraded guns at Kenta to kill him in the OVA. Subverted when it's revealed it's Deandozol using a discolored version of young En's appearance to mimic Earth's lifeforms.

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