Great Dangaioh Vol. #4 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: C

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  • Audio Rating: A
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: C+
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 24.95
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Great Dangaioh

Great Dangaioh Vol. #4

By Luis Cruz     October 15, 2003
Release Date: May 20, 2003

Great Dangaioh Vol. #4
© Viz Media

What They Say
As the Dangaioh Units go through repairs after their last battle, we find out the past of Miya and Kuya, along with how they came to be involved in the Dangaioh Project, and with that, the secret origin of the Agwarda Organization! Before long, a new threat arrives, and this time the enemy is another Dangaioh! To make matters worse, the pilot of the new threat sounds like Kuya?s brother who died during the original Dangaioh Project! If the new enemy is in fact Kuya?s brother, how will the Dangaioh pilots fight him? As eminent danger threatens the Dangaioh team during their final battle, a new hero arises: Great Dangaioh!

The Review!
The final three episodes are upon us, and the result is thoroughly disappointing. Many mysteries are solved, but the series ends as undramatically as it began. One is left wondering why anyone should care that Great Dangaioh lives on after a decade of silence.

For my primary viewing, I listened to the Japanese audio. There is nothing I can say about this track that I have not already said in my previous reviews. It is a solid audio track with no discernable problems and is one of the best features of the entire series.

The video has been the other best feature of this series and continues to impress in the final volume. There were no issues while viewing and provides plenty of eye candy for mecha enthusiasts.

For the final volume, Great Dangaioh stands defiantly with Dangaioh and Dangaioh Ur flanking him. The large volume number appears for the last time in the bottom left corner. The back cover contains an episode list, a description of what to expect in this volume, a few stills, and an extensive listing of production credits. Inside is a one-page insert that contains the front cover image on one side and a listing of episodes and chapters on the reverse side.

The main menu consists of a list of episodes; each episode has an option to play the episode or go to that episode's scene selection menu. Rounding out the main menu are options to go to the language and extras menus. The same issues from my reviews of the previous volumes still apply.

The extras consist of line art galleries for the characters and episodes as well as textless opening and ending sequences. The textless opening and endings were not listed on the back of the DVD however.

Content:(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
We reach the end of Great Dangaioh; as billed on the back cover of each volume, this series was the culmination of years of questions and excitement from fans on both shores. As the final credits rolled, I had one remaining question ? ?why was this series even made??

The Past Returns starts off the final volume by revealing a lot of detail about the events ten (or is it seventeen?) years ago. We learn who ?she? is, where ?she? is from, and how Miya is connected to her. The reason for the devastation of Miya?s town is explained along with how and why the Dangaioh project came into existence. Also explained is why Kuya, Hitomi, and Manami were chosen out of a group of ten million elite people.

Some questions still remain after this episode of exposition; the one foremost in my mind is whether or not the writers even bothered to look at their previous scripts to keep some form of continuity present in the show.

While recounting the tragic events that brought Dangaioh into being, Miya mentions that they happened seventeen years ago. In episode one, we were told that ten years passed after the explosion and before the first appearance of Dangaioh. If another seven years have passed, why has no one aged on the show? It is clear from the rest of the series content that not much time is passing between episodes. When exactly did we gain seven years in this series?

This may be a small continuity gaffe, but it is indicative of the writing problems throughout the entire series. We move right along into The Threat of Ur. In this episode, the Dangaioh prototype Ur returns and appears to be piloted by Kuya?s brother. Kuya is overjoyed to find his brother is alive but is baffled as his brother begins to beat on him physically and verbally.

Kuya cannot stand up to either assault and Dangaioh falls; Ur is about to strike the final blow when eight more ?Exceptions?, the alien creatures from volume three, land on Earth. Ur takes off to intercept them leaving the Dangaioh team to lick their wounds. Meanwhile, a large alien spacecraft heads towards Earth.

Great Dangaioh Cometh ends the series with a whimper. Kuya and the Dangaioh team head off for a final showdown with Ur; as expected, Kuya manages to pull himself together and defeat Ur. Their victory is short-lived as three entirely new and powerful creatures descend to Earth to pummel Dangaioh.

And pummel them they do; Dangaioh manages to defeat one of them but at a heavy price. Dangaioh is down for the count, and defeat looks certain for our three heroes. Enter Great Dangaioh! Great Dangaioh is twice as powerful but with two-thirds fewer calories? I mean pilots. Our mysterious man in shades is named Reisen Kyoji and defeats the remaining creatures easily using Great Dangaioh?s impressive arsenal. After telling our heroes that their journey ends here, he flies off into the sunset while Yonamine remarks that the true battle is about to begin.

And that is how the show ends; as the credits rolled, my only thought was that I had been duped and cheated. The ending left me feeling that the series was merely a setup to create a new cash cow. They left enough unanswered questions that could easily bridge into another series, but I found myself not caring at all if another series is being made or already exists.

Throughout the series, there were many plot devices that went nowhere. A prime example of this is in episode twelve. Kuya is moping about his defeat at the hands of Ur and his brother; Hitomi drags a reserve pilot that has a secret crush on Kuya to Kuya?s quarters. Meanwhile, Reisen is leading Manami away from the infirmary. After Hitomi confronts Kuya in his quarters alone, they walk out to find Manami in her flight suit following Reisen; Manami says good-bye to them and begins to walk away. Kuya yells at her to not go.

Where was Manami going, and why? And why did Hitomi drag that other girl along? We will never know as the writers did not even bother to follow up on these points in episode thirteen. We see at the end that Great Dangaioh is piloted alone, so why was Manami in her flight suit and saying good-bye? She clearly was not needed by Reisen to help pilot Great Dangaioh.

In the end, this series was a disappointment despite some great mecha designs and a few signs of life. Poor writing and character development plagued this entire series. There were too many pointless, undeveloped secondary characters and plot points, and the ending is unsatisfying. Unless you are a huge mecha fan, you are sadly not going to find much to enjoy in this last volume.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Mitsubishi 27" TV, Pioneer DVL-919, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Bose Acoustimass-6 speakers, generic S-Video and audio cable.


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