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An Extremely Non-Traditional Humongous Mecha anime..... Lord, I REALLY Wish
What would you get if you take a modern-day company and give it a new financial headache in the form of a giant robot slapped together to fight a mysterious alien menace? If you'd say "a new spin on the mech genre, with exciting giant robot battles fought by down-to-earth people", I would answer...

If "exciting" meant dull and "down-to-earth people" meant animu stereotypes, then yeah. This is Dai-Guard, an anime that, like its robot, is a really keen idea (during its first half) done suspiciously half-assed (the last half).

In a nutshell, Dai-Guard is a budget creation with 12 years of poor upkeeping, and not much use outside of being a mascot. But therin lies his charm, as this crumbling clunky metalman must become the hero, using only the most impractical weapons and the wits of his pilots. BUT, with the reveal of its signature weapon, this promising premise vanishes, and battles go from zero to SUPER ATTACK FINISH. This is waste of comedy AND drama, and Dai Guard stops being about a crappy "super" robot having to really earn its victories to being an afterthought.

Which itself wouldn't be terrible, as the bulk of Dai-Guard's story is a "slice-of-life", focusing on its characters. But while two of the characters do get significant development, both are the only ones with any effort put into them. There are times when the writing reveals interesting character tidbits that feel like they could go somewhere, and the ending credits (which is a montage of the characters' life outside of work) themselves are a goldmine of ideas. If this was expanded upon, these could've been great moments with fleshing out the lesser characters. Instead, we get multiple scenes of weak comedy and go-nowhere moments of our heroes' superiors being stupidly incompotent at their jobs.

And the Heterodynes? Turns out these dangerous creatures are thought (or rather handwaved) as forces of nature, despite the fact they adapt and learn. Plot hole?

Despite all the negativity, I still had some fun with Dai Guard, mostly because I am (still) in love with its premise. There are times when it realizes its potential, it just lacks any real follow through. If you're forgiving, it may do enough to warrant one view. If your repeated viewings are like mine though, you might get the idea that it wasn't trying as hard as it could.
It's been a while since I watched it, but I remember Dai-Guard as a very low-key, dryly funny take on how Japan deals with natural catastrophes, from the sufferings of the many, to the heroism of the emergency response people, to the stupidity of the bureaucracies and corporations, with the Giant Robot Deconstructor Fleet and occasional slapstick included for Rule Of Funny, or perhaps as camoflage to keep whoever they thought they were satirizing off their backs. I don't remember it as being quite clever enough or entertaining enough to justify its slice-of-life-ness and deliberate anti-climaticness, but I felt like I got what they were trying to do, and found it a pleasant series to chill out with.

Whoever pitched it to you as RED STAPLER meets DRILL THAT PIERCES THE HEAVENS did the show a bit of disservice and caused you to waste your time on a series that didn't entertain you.
comment #15122 odadune 30th Jun 12
comment #15123 odadune 30th Jun 12
@odadune
  • sigh* Character limit strikes again.

I think you summed it up best, in that what it was trying to do (a merit that I applaud and recommend a viewing for) just wasn't done in a clever way. And a big part of this was how the characters were written. If any of them were remotely "real world" in how they acted, instead of conforming to their archetypes, everything could have worked out real well and would have made events surrounding them much more believable. I look at Dai-Guard and I think of the Patlabor Tv series, a show that in it's best moments, dialed back the character's stereotypes and made them human. This would lead all the other moments (be they funny or dramatic) being much more engrossing and entertaining.

And for the record, this was actually a series that I picked up on a whim from Gamestop back when they were still selling DV Ds. And it does entertain me, even to this day. Just not in the way anime studios should strive to do so.
comment #15130 MrMouse 1st Jul 12
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