Don't stay late fighting giant robotsGEAR Fighter Dendoh
is a 38-episode Super Robot anime
directed and written by Mitsuo Fukuda and Chiaki Morosawa, a husband and wife team
more (in)famous in America for Gundam SEED
and Gundam SEED Destiny
, along with Yasuko Kobayashi of Toku
Dendoh tells the story of an Alien Invasion
of Earth by mechanical aliens known as the Galfa and two elementary school kids, Hokuto Kusanagi
and Ginga Izumo
, who are chosen to fight them by a giant kung fu robot called Dendoh. As chosen pilots of mankind's last, best superweapon, they are recruited by the organization GEAR to repel the invaders.
As people familiar with Super Robot Genre
anime can tell, Dendoh is pretty standard
for the genre, and intentionally so. Where it excels is in its storytelling - not being Strictly Formula
- and its likeable cast of characters and their relationships. And of course, tons of Shout Outs
The show's other major distinguishing point is that it's something of a buddy cop
show: Hokuto and Ginga are complete opposites (the former is an introverted nerd, the latter is a boisterous jock) but they're forced to work together because only two people working in tandem can pilot Dendoh.
A sequel was planned at one point, but when that fell through the staff released plot details, character, and mecha designs onto the Internet for all to see.
This show provides examples of:
- Action Mom: Mrs. Izumo is a badass martial artist, and then there's Vega, alias Mrs. Kusanagi
- Alien Among Us: Vega, also known as Hokuto's mom.
- Alien Invasion
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever
- Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Ginga
- Big Bad: Emperor Galfa who intends to slay all human life to preserve environments as he was originally programmed to do such
- Brainwashedand Crazy: Altair who is revealed to be Vega's brother who was being used by the villains. A more prominent victim of this trope though is Hokuto.
- Breather Episode: Episode 12 starts as one, only to become a Wham Episode due two reveals about the plot. Episode 20 is a straighter example.
- Calling Your Attacks
- Char Clone: Altair
- Continuity Nod: Three of the Professional Machines that appear in episodes 9, 10 and 11 also appear in the flashback of the fall of Alktos, destroying many combat robots and defeating and capturing Altair and Ogre.
- The Dragon: Altair, later Zero
- Empathic Weapon
- Evil Counterpart: Gear Knight Ogre, later becomes good.
- Finishing Move:
- Food Chain of Evil: Lagowe does this to the Galfa Soldiers to regenerate.
- It also does it when not wounded and just hungry (as it's a cyborg), and has been used on screen as a threat toward incompetent officers.
- Gotta Catch 'Em All: The Data Weapons
- Goldfish Poop Gang
- Giant Robot Hands Save Lives
- Gratuitous English
- Hero Killer: Lagowe's special ability is to poison and kill the Data Weapons, something that should be impossible.
- Heroic BSOD
- Hot-Blooded: Both the boys, but especially Ginga
- Human Alien: Altair and Vega
- Improbable Weapon User: Vega uses explosive spinning tops, launched with her whip.
- Katanas Are Just Better / Everything's Better with Samurai: Altair
- Kill It with Fire: The Dragon Flare data weapon
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Done twice, both times involving Vega...
- Mask Power: Altair and Vega
- Mons: The data weapons behave like this
- No Export for You: This article brought to you by fansubs, Hong Kong bootleg subs, and a half-translated copy of Super Robot Wars R
- There is a fansub in the works based off the Italian version.
- No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Justified by Dendoh being alien technology that is not fully understood yet... And then subverted by the original builders having created not just Dendoh, but also Ogre and at least four other similar mechas (appearing only in a flashback due having been destroyed in battle by the Galfas).
- Not So Stoic: Vega is usually very composed and cool, but sometimes things are so crazy that she can't help but flip.
- Odd Couple: Hokuto and Ginga
- Older and Wiser: The stillborn second season would have had the original cast acting as mentors to a team of kids piloting Dendoh-based mecha
- Ordinary Elementary School Students
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Subverted by Vega, who wears a wig and contacts in addition to the traditional mecha anime mask
- Post Episode Trailer: (featuring Hokuto and Ginga arguing about something pointless instead of telling you what's going to happen).
- Properly Paranoid: Gear has a lot of hardware that would be just plain silly... Except that a plane that fires Dendoh's batteries is useful for in-battle resupply, and the fake Dendoh appearing in episode 9 was surprisingly useful.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Ginga and Hokuto, respectively. Later, partially subverted in terms of their abilities. Hokuto starts out more intellectual, coming up with the solutions to various problems, while Ginga has more strength and skill, but as time passes it becomes clear that Hokuto's combat abilities have increased greatly, while Ginga's intelligence has not, creating a noticeable imbalance.
- Right-Hand Attack Dog: Emperor Galfa's horrific two-headed pet, Lagowe. Somewhat subverted as he wanders on his own.
- Robeast: All the Galfas are technically this. They are divided in Galfa Soldiers, Mechanical Beasts (a Galfa Soldier that has found some technological artifact to absorb to become more powerful), Galfa Guards (a supposedly more powerful version of the Soldiers), Heavy Machines, Professional Machines, and Rasenjo (a spiral-like Big Dumb Object with heavy firepower and the ability to carry a crapton of standard-sized Galfas), plus Aldebaran (a relatively small starship-type Galfa), Zero (similar to a Professional Machine but immensely more powerful), Lagowe (a cyborg) and Emperor Galfa itself.
- Robot War: Technically
- Secret Keeper: Ginga's parents and Hokuto's mother find out that they're Dendoh's pilots pretty fast (actually Hokuto's mother knew since the start, being Vega and all...), but don't tell. Most notable is Ginga's father, who is an Intrepid Reporter and, after finding out, destroys the memory card with the pictures proving it, deciding that the world doesn't need to know yet (and asking Eris to call him first when the world will need to know).
- Super Robot Genre
- Super Robot Wars: R and MX.
- Shout-Out: To just about every Humongous Mecha anime out there. A particularly notable example is this first episode exchange.
- Though they did eventually get the yo-yo.
- Spell My Name with an S: Altea/Althea/Altair, Galfa is also sometimes spelled Gulfer
- Stellar Name: Hokuto means "North Star". Ginga means "Galaxy". Not to mention Vega and Altair...
- Stock Footage: Tons. Taken together with Gundam SEED, it seems to be a staple of Mitsuo Fukuda's directorial style.
- This Is a Drill: The Unicorn Drill data weapon
- Toyetic: The titular mecha looks like a toy, appears to be powered by two giant AA batteries, and can only be piloted by two kids.
- Verbal Tic: Dawa, jyan, bari!
- Wake-Up Call Boss: Altair with Ogre. Before their arrival, Dendoh had little problem with the Galfer. Then Altair shows up with Ogre, kicks Dendoh's ass with little problem and No Sells their best attack at the time.
- Wham Episode: Episode 12. It starts as a Breather Episode made of montage from previous episodes with some elements of future episodes placed in, and then, right at the end, Vega takes off the wig that prevents people to recognize her as Hokuto's mother and confirms that Altair is her older brother, and Eris deduces that there is a seventh Data Weapon.
- What Could Have Been: Some key elements in the show were supposed to be for Sunrise's next Brave show after GaoGaiGar, Brave Saint Baan Gaan, But since the show didn't materialize, said elements came to fruition in this show.
- It also incorporates a lot of unused elements from Project Z, a proposed third GaoGaiGar show, most notably the two protagonists are patterned after Mamoru and Kaidou. The nonsensical idea of two kids being forced to pilot a Motion Capture Mecha together was originally a somewhat more understandable result of the two protagonists having to use their alien powers to fuel the new human-built Gaogaigar's Hell and Heaven attack in the absence of a G-Stone, as the last one was trapped on the other side of the galaxy with Gai and Galleon at the end of FINAL.
- Whip It Good: The Viper Whip data weapon and Vega.
- You Have Failed Me: Emperor Galfa threaten to feed Rasenjo's main underlings to his pet Lagowe as punishment for their failures (and it's implied that the very act of sending Lagowe to fool around inside Rasenjo and on Earth is a potentially lethal punishment, as the monster is liable to eat them just because), but he never gets around doing it due Lagowe and the underlings getting killed by Dendoh.