Planet Robo Danguard Ace
(惑星ロボ ダンガードA(エース), Wakusei Robo Dangādo Ēsu) as well known as "Danguard Ace" is a Sci Fi Super Robot Genre Anime
series created by Leiji Matsumoto
with Dan Kobayashi in 1977.
Danguard Ace takes place on a future Earth in which nearly all natural resources have been depleted. People have begun looking toward other planets to survive, in particular the tenth planet, Promete. However, before plans for peaceful settlement can begin, the first explorers are betrayed, and the first ship journeying to Promete is destroyed.
After this event, an individual named Mr. Doppler leaves toward Promete on his own ship, and declares himself Chancellor of the planet. Using Promete's resources, Chancellor Doppler constructs a vast military force greater than that of Earth's and he forbids anyone approaching the planet, under the insane belief that only he is entitled to it.
To gain control of Promete, the governments of Earth begin constructing massive combat robots. However, Doppler attacks and destroys all robots before they are completed... except for Danguard Ace. The forces sent to attack Danguard's base were destroyed because of the efforts of a mysterious, masked man called Captain Dan. Nothing is known about him, save that he previously served Doppler while under mind control.
Takuma Ichimonji, son of the man who betrayed the initial Promete exploration team, becomes a cadet at Danguard's base. Hoping restoring his fathers honor, Takuma will pilot Danguard Ace to fight against Doppler's forces.
"Danguard Ace" was licensed by Jim Terry Productions as part of the Force Five promotion. English dialog was written for re-dubbing by Lynn Garrison who then combined a number of episodes into a feature length presentation which gained a cult following on the Showtime network during the eighties. The titular robot also appeared in Marvel Comics
Shogun Warriors series, as well as the toy line of the same name. In 2009, William Winckler Productions produced three all new English dubbed movie versions edited from the original series. Producer William Winckler, known for Tekkaman the Space Knight
, wrote, produced and directed the English films, which are seen on broadband in Japan.
Some of the main characters designs were similar to characters appearing in Space Battleship Yamato
, another seminal anime that Matsumoto worked in (Takuma Ichimonji Susumu Kodai; and the doctor on the show resembles Dr. Sakezo Sado from "Yamato"). Danguard Ace also was a major influence to the popular GunBuster
- The Ace: Takuma. However, Captain Dan is even better.
- After the End: The premise of the series is Earth has become inhabitable.
- Badass Moustache: Captain Dan. It is magnificent!
- Big Bad: Chancellor Doppler
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Captain Dan had been mind-controlled by Doppler.
- Conveniently an Orphan: Takuma's father is dead or so he believes.
- Green Aesop: Due to overpopulation and overexplotaiton of natural resources, Earth had become a ravaged, unihabitable planet, forcing humankind to find another world to inhabit -hopefully without plundering it, too-.
- The Atoner
- Force Five: One of the five shows that were showcased in that program, Danguard Ace was aired on Mondays.
- The Hero: Takuma.
- Humongous Mecha: Danguard
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Captain Dan Ichimonji Dantetsu, the hero's long-lost father turns up with an un-removable mask after 10 years as the villain's mind-controlled slave - the mask has not only removed his memories from before it was put on, but seems (since a convenient memory-viewer establishes that he has no memories prior to the accident that broke the mask's control mechanism...) to have prevented new ones forming - however Dan retains his almost unstoppable willpower, a drive for excellence (and revenge!) AND his ace piloting skills which are practically off the charts... After one too many bumps on the head he gets better.
- Latex Space Suit: Takuma's piloting suit.
- Leiji Matsumoto
- Marth Debuted in Smash Bros.: Danguard, Raideen and Combattler V were part of the "Shogun Warriors" toy set Mattel introduced into the States in the late 70s - which also included bizzaro versions of Mazinger Z and the various Getters, so if you really want to stretch the trope you could say that a lot of robots "debuted" as oddly huge toys - but the cartoons weren't licensed for American release. Oh no, that would be logical. Instead, the likenesses of the Raideen, Danguard and Combattler robots were licensed to, of all people, Marvel Comics for the creation of a Shogun Warriors American print comic. That eventually featured, among other things, Combattler fighting alongside the Fantastic Four against the gigantic robot minion of, basically, the Star of David. Really, you couldn't make up something like this if you tried. Raideen and Combattler's shows never made it to the US (well, Raideen aired in three cities on local Japanese language commmunity channels, but the majority of the Union and 99% of the public never got to see the show); Danguard eventually made it to American TV with the franchise name intact as part of the syndicated Force Five cartoon package (alongside Grendizer from above), after the toys and comic went out of production.
- Mecha Show
- Red Is Heroic: Takuma wears a red helmet, and a red-and-white costume. His robot's helmet and several ornaments are also a deep red.
- Scifi Writers Have No Sense Of Scale: Doppler forbids anyone from approaching Promete? Really? Exactly how does he plan reinforcing that? We are talking about a whole, freaking planet! Can he keep the whole place watched the whole time? Not matter how vast is his army, the odds of anyone slipping his watch, landing on a random continent and hiding before he can find them are astronomically high.
- The Seventies
- '70s Hair: Takuma's sideburns are... thick. And spiky.
- Super Robot Genre: The only Super Robot anime that Matsumoto did.
- Toei Animation
- They Wasted A Perfectly Good Character: Captain Dan is the best pilot in the whole series, drop dead gorgeous, tormented beyond the dreams of even the most ardent Condor Joe wannabe, with a deep, tragic and heart-rending backstory (mind-controlled, forced to kill his fellow test pilots, mind-wiped and tortured/enslaved for 10 years, missing out on his son's growing up, forced to hide the return of his memories and enduring several potentially career-ending injuries). To top THAT he's a determinator and all round bad-ass who could put Captain Harlock to shame - none of which is fully realised given the times and the demographic.
- Transforming Mecha: Danguard has two shapes: space-ship and giant robot.