12 July 2007 | taring_naga
Dai-Guard is a rare series, almost underground and virtually unknown outside of Japan. Sure, it aired on Toonami's "Big Robot Week" (which is where it caught my attention, all those years ago), but other than that it has had little to no international exposure. Do a google search on it, and you'll find only a few pages worth of information - usually nothing more than character or plot summaries, nothing too in depth. Nothing like the tidal wave of character shrines from Naruto or Rurouni Kenshin, or fanclubs of Gundam or Evangelion.
Which is a shame. This series is simply amazing; it really grows on you. It takes a different view on the archetypal mecha series that has characterized Japanese animation for decades - a view that is, in many ways, much more realistic. Not only do the characters have to worry about the monsters they're fighting, but they're forced (by lawsuits, an angry military, an overactive press, and the tenets of simple human morality) to take into account the actual surroundings of their battlefield. If it's in a city, the main goal is to prevent as much civilian property damage as possible; the first operation almost always involves safely evacuating the populace before a showdown.
In this way, Dai-Guard is much deeper and realistic than Gundam, Evangelion, etc. While in those animes entire cities are reduced to rubble, with little to no consequence in the afterthought, the 21st Century Defense Corporation - the company that created, sponsors, and pilots Dai-Guard - is constantly under pressure to prevent as much unneeded damage or loss of life as possible. Dai-Guard takes into account the financial, economic, and social strains of unleashing a giant robot into one of the most densely packed countries in the world - and while this may sound boring, the series integrates it into the plot by mixing it with enough humor and vibrant characters that the viewer is still able to remain engaged.
The only bad thing I'd have to point out is the shortness of the series - Dai-Guard is only a mere 26 episodes long. That, and the dubbed version. In comparison to other dubbed animes (most notoriously One Piece or Neon Genesis Evangelion, two animes that've been basically butchered by heavy editing), Dai-Guard does a fantastic job. The main character, Akagi, makes you laugh a LOT because of his quick humor; the voice actor, Joey Hood, does a really great job of making the character flow naturally. And this really extends to all (or at least most) of the other characters. Of course, the Japanese original oozes an unexplainable passion in the voice acting that has yet to been met by their American counterparts, but honestly this is one of the rare animes that has a really, really good dub.
There are a few problems where too many people are talking at once, so if you really wanna hear what they're saying you gotta rewind to hear it. Yet the main thing is how some of the characters simply cant pronounce Japanese names; one of the characters, "Tanegawa"(Tah-neh-GA-wah), is pronounced "tuh-NEH-ga-wa", with the stress in the wrong spot. This is a constant with city names as well, which can really irk you; but other than that, the dubbing is pretty smooth.
It's pretty funny too; the dub takes into consideration Western notions of humor. I've watched the Japanese version, and a lot of the jokes and puns in the English version are missing; not that that'd a bad thing, but just that the dub is a great way to make the anime more enjoyable, because the actors know how to relate to the audience.
All in all, Dai-Guard was a great anime. I'd give it a 9.5, but I cant, so a 9 will settle. Really, check it out and spread the word; hopefully Dai-Guard will reach the States one day.