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 to restore his father's 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.
Planet Robo Danguard Ace features examples of:
- The Ace: Takuma. However, Captain Dan is even better.
- After the End: The premise of the series is Earth has become uninhabitable.
- 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-.
- Force Five: One of the five shows that were showcased in that program, Danguard Ace was aired on Mondays.
- 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.
- 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.
- Except that it's established early on that Jasdam (the Japanese project) is basically the only space programme left capable of reaching Promete - Doppler had taken out or intimidated all of the others and the series is basically him trying to wipe out the last of the competition. Not hard to police when you remove the means to get there at the source! (Especially if you factor in he's been kidnapping/brainwashing most of the pilots and scientists working on the project for the past 10 years...)
- Not to mention that there is no stealth in space, and it isn't hard to have telescopes constantly watching Earth for engine burns.
- '70s Hair: Takuma's sideburns are... thick. And spiky.
- Super Robot Genre: The only Super Robot anime that Matsumoto did.
- Transforming Mecha: Danguard has two shapes: space-ship and giant robot.