Dai Guard Vol. #5 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: C
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 13 & 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. #5

By Chris Beveridge     March 14, 2003
Release Date: April 01, 2003


Dai Guard Vol. #5
© ADV Films


What They Say
The danger keeps getting worse. The pressure from the bosses is too intense. The DAI-GUARD pilots have more than enough reason to look for new jobs. But a real hero never lays down his robotically enhanced weaponry until the last foe falls. And these three pilots are all the hero the world needs. Can they prove themselves as the final battle for humanity becomes even scarier? Find out in the fifth death-defying volume of DAI GUARD!

The Review!
As the series gets closer to the end, more revelations are made, but for the most part we continue to get a solid enjoyable series.

Audio:
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.

Video:
The transfer here continues to be pretty much flawless. It’s one of the best looking TV series transfers I’ve seen.

Packaging:
Going for a more psychological look, we’ve got the outlines of a few characters with the dark imagery of the Heterodynes and the destruction they cause meshed into those outlines in full color, giving it a really eerie look with Ibuki’s one eye.. 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.

Menu:
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.

Extras:
The extras are back down to regular status as we continue to get the textless opening and ending sequences. The other extra is the 31 production sketches, broken down into three sections.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Dai-Guard continues to be one of those series that just feels like it’s being overlooked as there is often so little discussion on it. Part of that is likely due to the fact that there’s little to complain about with the story, as it is admittedly fairly standard, but it’s just so well executed that it’s a pleasure to watch it.

There’s a rather good mix of episodes with this volume. The opening episode brings to conclusion the interesting small arc that has the entire Public Relations 2 department being spread across the country after Dai-Guard went fully into the service of Saeki and his somewhat twisted view of Shirota’s ideals. There’s been a lot of bad things going down in the month since the new president took over the company and set this plan into motion, particularly with the new Dai-Guard crew not being able to win against any of the heterodynes. The news reports, which we see through the eyes of all the cast members, really hits it home in just how bad this new team is.

Ooyama and Akagi really need to get together. In fact, I really like how they’re playing up most of the relationships as the show progresses because there is almost no tension in a sexual way between the lead three characters. All interest is either self-centered or it’s the secondary cast of women who are falling for them. Domeki’s relationship with the chief mechanic is also one that’s a source of continual amusement. That guy, while likely in love, must have a lolita complex with the way she dresses.

One of the more amusing episodes has the Dai-Guard being contracted out to the city of Sapporo for their annual snow festival where they build all their ice sculptures. This tends to be a traditional episode for many series, and it’s particularly amusing since a good chunk of this episode was something we just saw in the most recent Patlabor volume, with a fair number of similar jokes to it. The two do diverge nicely, as this episode gets into the reasons behind the self defense forces inability to actually get into a fight and help out against the heterodyne as well as bringing some politics into the picture. The bigger view of the world comes into play here, particularly with other nations and their desire to get their hands on some of this stuff.

This episode also brings in someone from Kei’s past which allows us to see just how he’s changed over the years and also pushes forward a new potential love interest for him, if he’d open his eyes enough at least. Some of this two-parter doesn’t work well, such as having the ever trusting Akagi show one of the self defense force members his keycard that starts up the Dai-Guard, but you can sort of see how it would fit in his nature of just being excited to talk to someone about the entire thing. The defense force members come off particularly well here, though I’m not surprised at that since it seems to be really rare for any anime to really say anything bad about them.

The final episode was a very good one in that it revisits Ibuki’s past and her memories of her father after Domeki realizes that Ibuki is the daughter of the author who gave her this new mystery to unravel. Domeki amusingly mentions how she knows everything so she was thrilled to find out about this new discovery of the heterodynes, which is why she’s so into it. Domeki also starts playing psychiatrist here and purposefully says a few key things to Ibuki that causes her to reexamine her past. There’s a lot of excellent set up here for things as we go into the final volume where I’m betting we’ll learn some new twists on the entire concept of the enemy.

Whenever this show comes in, I can’t help but to get it into the player quickly and just sit back, relax and enjoy. With the fantastic transfer making it easier to get into the show itself, it just continually brings a smile to my face as it hits its marks perfectly. This twist on the giant robot genre is spot on, right down to the unintentional hilarity of the ice sculpture looking like it’s giving everyone the finger.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Clean opening and closing animation,Production sketches

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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