Dai Guard Vol. #6 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Dai Guard

Dai Guard Vol. #6

By Chris Beveridge     May 16, 2003
Release Date: May 27, 2003


Dai Guard Vol. #6
© ADV Films


What They Say
So far; so good. The DAI-GUARD pilots have beaten back the enemy. They've saved mall after mall from certain destruction. They even found time for a tune-up. But the battle for the human race is about to enter its final stage and all of humanity is one breakdown from defeat. Can our trio of heroes go the distance? Who will be left standing and how much will their insurance rates go up? Will they be given a heroes' welcome? Or will they have to work overtime, holidays, and weekends? The only way to find out is to watch. The final episodes of DAI-GUARD are in your hands!

The Review!
The final volume of Dai-Guard provides plenty of solid moments and continues to mark this series as one of the more underappreciated ones of the past year.

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. Aliasing is pretty much non-existent, cross coloration is at zero as far as I can see. Colors are rich and vibrant. This transfer is just a joy to watch.

Packaging:
The front cover here is the classic good kind of cover that features the Dai-Guard as the backdrop while having virtually the entire full cast covered all over him. There’s a lot of character art here and some amusing bits, from the kids playing at the top to the lovely couple falling down. 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 five 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 again at 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)
With the final volume of Dai-Guard, the show goes on in a way much like the rest of the series. As with earlier episodes, it really all comes down to the characters, though the action is often fun and well done.

After the events of the last volume, things move far too quickly here. We’re reminded of the images of the trio on Dai-Guard with the red warning lights bathing them and all three looking bloodied and unconscious. Instead of spending some time dealing with them being injured and problematic, it really gets cut down to a few seconds with Ibuki being the only one we see, and mostly just her hearing about the others being severely wounded.

This brings the focus squarely on Ibuki as she gets out of the hospital and tries to deal with what happened, since she blames herself for everything (even though it’s really Rika’s fault, since she brought out the “flaws” that Ibuki didn’t even know she had). She ends up essentially disappearing by taking a sudden vacation from her job. This causes a fair amount of problems, though it’s a classic Ibuki technique, as the team struggles to deal with her absence. This becomes a real priority since the heterodyne that did the damage to them is still out there.

The rebuilding of Ibuki’s identity through this episodes is fairly well done, it’s just the beginning that feels overly rushed. Her trying to come to grips with her father being just human as opposed to the hero she always imagined him as being isn’t something easy to deal with, and it’s usually worse for daughters and fathers to deal with. I was pretty pleased with the outcome of it all, since she didn’t become reliant on anyone on the team but instead to those who actually raised her since her fathers’ death.

With the series getting close to the end, we do end up with a nice multi-episode piece that provides quite a bit of action and forces the hands of several characters into directions they likely never thought they’d go down as we knew them at the beginning of the series. With the arrival of a very powerful heterodyne that quickly dispatches the 21st Century headquarters and then begins to sink itself into the entire city, Tokyo once again finds itself under siege and its citizenry fleeing to the hills.

This lets the entire cast get really involved through the remaining episodes. While the bulk of the cast really comes through in providing relief and assistance as the 21st Century Defense company, the main trio plus Kokubogar make their way 5,000 meters up to the top of the massive structure that the heterodyne has built to try and find the original knot that they must destroy. These episodes play out very well, with the main players providing the big action sequences against a heterodyne that’s an organic version of Dai-Guard itself combined with the Devil Gundam while the rest of the cast deals with the threat of OE weapons being used on the city itself.

While things do play out as a race against time, the show does continue its strong sense of humor with Akagi going into the final battle by calling the enemy the “final boss level”. The sense of humor for this show has been nice and solid and mostly subtle, which has worked very well in its favor. The way Akagi is made is pretty much the same as when we first made him, but he understands the consequences much more now but still retains that heroism that the young kids watching this show will want to aspire to. Dai-Guard has been a really fun show to watch with its nice twist on the giant robot genre and the monster of the week. Plenty of the episodes were done by the book but with enough quirks and enjoyable characters to make it fun. Add in the lack of a serious romance between the lead characters and you avoid something that usually takes down many other series.

Dai-Guard likely slid past a lot of people. This series was definitely one of the better by the book ones of recent years and its twists were solid. Good character designs, nice action sequences and a great reworking of the classic giant robot design into a realistic manner. Those who made it through the end are likely feeling the same way I am about it; while there is no real conclusion to the series, it was pretty plain early on that it wasn’t about the invaders but rather the characters and doing what’s right. Dai-Guard is definitely a feel good series.

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

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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