27 January 2002 | Auximines
Fantastic art, animation and dynamic action-packed battles
If you're looking for Japanese animation with a strong story, intriguing plot and detailed character development, don't bother with Dangaio. If you're a fan of 80s style action cartoons like Thundercats and Transformers, (like me!) you'll love it!
The story follows four teenage-types with super powers, who are brought together by an alien type fellow called Professor Tahssan, and trained to pilot space fighters that combine to form a powerful giant robot, Dangaio. Tahssan plans to sell them to a space-pirate organization, but fortunately the kids don't believe his explanation of their origin... so they escape and set off to find out who they really are.
The whole point of the show is visuals... and most people don't realize the big names who produced it- Toshihiro Hirano (Iczer One, Vampire Princess Miyu) wrote, directed and obviously did the character design. The animation director was Masami Obari, one of the most dynamic animation directors in Japan. (Just watch BubbleGum Crisis 1-4, then compare to vol 5 when Obari took over!) One of the art directors was none other than Hideaki Anno, GAINAX's A-1 director. (GunBuster, Evangelion, etc.) But most importantly, the mecha design- you have not only Masami Obari and Yasushi Ishizu (Gundam, Dirty Pair) and Koichi Ohata (MD GEIST, GunBuster) but Masanori "Shoji" Kawamori as well! (Macross, Patlabor, darn near every famous mecha show) And you even heave awesome monster design by Junichi Watanabe.
Fortunately Anno and company did a great job portraying the designs with great detail in every frame, and Obari really brings them to life; Dynamic battles around every corner, even the sound effects are perfect. And yes, they even go to earth to stomp all over Tokyo for awhile. Unfortunately, this fantastic show is out of print. Volumes 1-3 were released in the US by US Renditions many years ago, subtitled. Though Manga video since picked it up, you want to avoid it like the plague. They dubbed it, and they even cut out the first episode, the best one!
So if you're a fan of beautiful machines stomping the mess out of each other in dynamic action-packed battles in a hardcore-science fiction environment, with some superheroic, slightly underdressed girls thrown in for flavor, you must hunt down Dangaio.