Dai Guard Vol. #4 - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: C
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Dai Guard

Dai Guard Vol. #4

By Chris Beveridge     January 25, 2003
Release Date: February 18, 2003

Dai Guard Vol. #4
© ADV Films

What They Say
The guys in charge said it would never work. Then they did everything they could to make sure they were right. Some days the Dai-Guard crew just wants to call in sick. But defending the world is a full-time job and there's no time off available. It's unfortunate, because a rest would go a long way when you're in a pinch like this one-between duty and valor; between Earth and invading aliens; between fighting for Right and fighting with a cranky board of directors. How can a small team of heroes win the final victory when they have to defend themselves from their own superiors? It won't be easy, but it will be explosive in the fourth volume of DAI-GUARD!

The Review!
This series continues to impress with its solid mix of action, humor and accountancy. While this disc is a bit slower, it does a great job of building up the cast perfectly.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. The show features a solid stereo mix with some good moments of directionality across the forward soundstage. Dialogue is nice and clear while ambient effects and the music make good use of the stereo channels.

The transfer here is pretty much flawless. It’s one of the best looking TV series transfers I’ve seen.

With the head of Dai-Guard looming in the background, the foreground is filled with what you may consider the human enemies as we get the new characters from these episodes looking all smug, though Akagi is his usual wide-mouthed self. The back cover provides a number of animation shots and a solid summary of what to expect from the opening couple of episodes. Unlike other recent ADV releases, there’s no technical listing box here, and it’s even unclear if this is a bilingual release, never mind aspect ratio and other bits of information. The insert uses the artwork from another Japanese DVD release while the reverse side is a breakdown of chapter stops for each of the discs four episodes.

Done up in a sort of construction way, the menus are designed with a lot of metal imagery in mind. Episode selections are along the left while a clean version of the opening plays along on the right. Setup and other features along the bottom. Overall the menu is nice and logically setup with no noticeable slowdowns in accessing various areas.

The extras here are pretty much the same as the previous volume, as we get another thirty three pieces of production sketches and the clean opening and ending sequence. The new piece here on this volume is a four minute long “original promotion video” spot, which shows a number of the TV spots that ran for the show prior to and after it’s original run. Surprisingly, Dai-Guard was a 6 PM show.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
This volume of Dai-Guard gets a bit of a punt from me right off the bat, since the first episode is a recap episode of the series to date. It’s placed at a time when it’s likely to show, so I wasn’t terribly surprised, and they did a decent job of making it an internal in-show report to the new boss of the company. But still, that was an episode that we got through fairly quickly.

With the new boss in place, things are definitely changing at 21st Century Defense. And definitely not for the better. A lot of cost saving measures are seen as going into place, but the main thing that’s happening early on is the arrival of a new point man, reporting directly to the president but working on the same level as Shirota. Saeki’s a protégé of sorts of Shirota whose been brought in from London to deal with the new synergy between the Army and 21st Century. Saeki’s a young up and comer, so he’s doing everything he learned from Shirota over the years to continue and curry favor.

Unfortunately for Saeki, Shirota is nothing like he used to be.

Saeki’s arrival is really to prove that point, though it is something that we got several episodes ago, particularly when Shirota was piloting Dai-Guard himself. But this is the method the writers want to use to let the viewer really be aware of it, and likely for Shirota to really understand it as well. Everything Saeki says and does comes from his lessons given by Shirota, but none of them are being applied to the Dai-Guard project. So Saeki just runs roughshod over Shirota, hoping to wake him up, and uses the sneaky clauses that got added into the new deal to make sure his plans become reality.

Shirota even gets no say when Saeki and the president end up dissolving the Public Relations Unit 2 and disbands the pilots, instead bringing in their own group of military trained pilots. Everyone in the office starts getting their orders that they’re being moved to other divisions within the company, right down to the three pilots. They’ve given up in a sense, but there’s some valid reasons behind it. All of this is very well highlighted in one episode as everyone finds out how well they can still help out, even without Dai-Guard.

With only three new episodes here, this disc flew by fast and was quite enjoyable. There’s just something really fun about this show that brings a smile and keeps me very attentive to the little details. Slick looking animation, excellent voice acting and fun and varied villains that are both alien and human provide a good amount of entertainment. This has really been a surprise series.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Production sketches,Japanese promo spots,Clean opening and closing animations

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.


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