ADV Films presents
Dai-Guard #3: Checks and Balances of Terror (1999)
"Dai-Guard is my life!"- Akagi (Kentaro Itou)
Stars: Kentaro Itou, Akiko Hiramatsu, Shin'ichiro Miki, Masashi hiroshige, Ken'ichi Ono, Takaya Hasi, Joey Hood, Lana Lesley, Steve Metz, Mick D'Arcy, Edwin Neal
Other Stars: Michikio Neya, Yukari Tamura, Hiro Yuki, Mayumi Shintani, Katsuyuki Konishi, Makoto Higo, Shoji Izumi, Christa Kimlicko Jones, Larissa Wolcott, Lane West, Shaneye Ferrell, Michael D'Alonzo, Michael Kranes, Corey Gagne, Dan Dietz, Jennifer Haley, Martin Burke
Director: Seiji Mizushima
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (12+)
Run Time: 01h:32m:24s
Release Date: 2003-01-07
DVD ReviewThe third disc in the Dai-Guard series brings a further four episodes of this offbeat giant robot show. With the characters pretty well established, and the Heterodyne enemy-of-the-week formula in place, this disc gets deeper into the political jockeying going on behind the scenes. The humor is still edged by the accounting department, but the administrative side of things takes a back seat to some brewing intrigue and power struggles playing out.
Having gathered the necessary data from Dai-Guard's previous Heterodyne encounters, the ANPO Army introduces its new Kokubogar robot as a direct affront to the civilian Dai-Guard. Despite being seriously ill, this sets Akagi's nose out of joint, causing him to challenge the military's machine to a competition, which the press eats up big time. What he isn't expecting is the pedestrian nature of the contest, in which the Kokubogar handily outclasses Dai-Guard. Adding insult to injury, when another Heterodyne attacks, Akagi and crew do what they do best—ignore orders—charging into battle. Unfortunately Akagi's condition causes a few missteps, further humiliating the civilian team when the Kokubogar saves the day. When Ibuki and Aoyama learn of Akagi's condition, he is hospitalized, which causes some awkward moments as the two copilots run into each other, covering their real reasons for being at the institution.
With Akagi out of commission, Shirota's Kokubogar takes over Heterodyne duty, but orders from Major Busujima cause a serious mishap, and an unpredicted turn of events, which the brass have to cover up at all costs. As a pair of Heterodynes lay waste to the city, including the hospital where Akagi and Aoyama's mother were. Fearing the worst, Shirota has to exercise his only option, and rejoin the Dai-Guard team, employing Domeki's latest gizmo to defend civilization, but as the dust settles on the latest encounter moves are being made behind the scenes, calling for the downfall of some key figures.
While it may seem like a fairly run-of-the-mill, and overdone concept for a show, Dai-Guard continues to surprise in a positive way. There are some great character moments early on, as their individual pride gets the better of them. The large ensemble cast adds complexity to the central theme of humans versus the aliens. The personalities continue to be interesting, as they clash or come together, and the political aspects add a bit of depth to the plot. There is no real urgency to the show's format, and no major cliffhangers between episodes, so I don't know that I'd be chomping at the bit to catch this series, but it does prove entertaining once you settle in, and has enough unique things going for it to keep it interesting.
Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B-
|Aspect Ratio||1.33:1 - Full Frame|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: Image quality is very good, with solid, punchy colors and good black levels. There is very little in the way of aliasing or cross coloration, and no other real technical issues to comment on. A nice presentation.
Image Transfer Grade: A-
|DS 2.0||Japanese, English||yes|
Audio Transfer Review: Stereo audio is available in Japanese and English dub. The soundfield is fairly well utilized, with a moderate amount of directionality in the battle sequences. Dialogue is clean and easy to discern, and there were no technical isses noted on the primary Japanese track, or in spot checks of the dub.
Audio Transfer Grade: A-
Disc ExtrasFull Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 4 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
6 Other Trailer(s) featuring Andromeda, Daimajin, Farscape, Wild Arms, Zone of the Enders, Excel Saga
- Image galleries
- Behind the scenes featurette
- Clean opening and closing credits
A 3m:33s behind-the-scenes featurette includes location footage from Hokkaido and Atami, plus some recording studio shots. This is presented as a montage of scenes driving around a very rainy Japan, with candid shots of what I assume is the cast and crew of the series. The whole thing is set to a song, which is subtitled. While not overly informative, it does give a slice of life in Japan.
The trailer vault includes Andromeda, Daimajin, Farscape, Wild Arms, Zone of the Enders, and Excel Saga.
Extras Grade: C+
Final CommentsDai-Guard continues to entertain, adding some intrigue to the plot while continuing the show's administrative comedic slant. There is plenty of action, offset by some decent character development, and the large cast is settling in to familiarity.
Jeff Ulmer 2003-01-06