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 is an anime television series, produced and animated by XEBEC, and directed by Seiji Mizushima. It aired from October 5, 1999 to March 28, 2000 on the TV Tokyomarker, ran for 26 episodes, and 6 volumes of videos were released on VHS and DVD. The series also had a very brief run (two episodes) on Cartoon Network through Toonami's "Giant Robot Week."


Series background

The series is based around three office workers of the 21st Century Defense Corporation who, with the company's giant robot, Dai-Guard, fight interdimensional alien beings called "Heterodynes". Unlike most giant robot anime, Dai-Guard performs on much more realistic physics, making it heavy, slow and a hassle to control. Also, the Heterodynes seem to be the least of the 21st Century Corporations problems as they experience opposition in the form of massive damage claims, lawsuits, rivals and a jealous and antagonistic military who wishes to take back Dai-Guard for themselves.

  • Backstory
On February 24, 2018, in the Northwest gap of the Sea of Japan, a giant creature appears and goes on a rampage, destroying a major city and killing countless people before being destroyed itself by a weapon of mass destruction. In the aftermath, a giant robotic weapon system, code-named Dai-Guard, was developed by the military as an alternative to the future use of such weapons. However, further attacks fail to occur, and no further sign of the creatures is seen for the next twelve years.

The company that built the robot for the military is compensated by allowing them to keep the useless weapon as a corporate mascot. However, during a security exposition in 2030, a Heterodyne attacks, and the robot is taken into battle ill-prepared and unarmed due to the headstrong nature of one of its pilots. However, that pilots same headstrong nature, combined with the talents of his fellow pilots, enable surprising victories to be made against the invaders, to the consteration of the military that spurned the '100 foot sales gimmick'.

As the Heterodyne are a dangerous and adaptable foe yet not an ineffable enemy like the Angels of Neon Genesis Evangelion, potent weapons are developed by the corporation's technical support teams, the grudging assistance of military advisors lead to the discovery of clever tactics, and Dai-Guard's alien fighting soon begins to take a backseat to the bureaucratic troubles and office politics that the Corporation faces. Although just about every personality in the cast shares the common goal of protecting the country from the Heterodyne threat, their personal beliefs often clash with each other, causing the show's real conflicts.

  • Ending
Intriguingly, the series ends its run not with the final elimination of the Heterodyne threat, but in an epiphany shared by all of the former rivals: The Heterodyne, although a threat that must be faced with impressive technology, are simply yet another disaster to be faced in a dangerous world-no different from earthquakes or typhoons. And in a disaster, you don't have to argue about who is in charge, you are all in danger, and you all do what you can to help-and everyone has the ability to do so. There is no need to force a controlled peace, to suppress conflicting opinions, in order to apply personal solutions-all have potent capabilities with which to battle the Heterodyne, and all wish to do so with a minimum of collateral damage-so there is no real conflict after all.

Characters

The Dai-Guard Piloting Team

  • -- Pilot


Headstrong, idealistic and impulsive, 25 year old Akagi can be seen as the heart and brawn of the three Dai-Guard pilots. Beforehand, he was merely an office worker for the 21st Century Defense Corprotation, but he manages to achieve his (anime) dreams of becoming a "Giant Robot pilot." During the return of the Heterodynes, he and his two friends Ibuki and Aoyama become the pilots of Dai-Guard, and intend to put it to use in order to fight off the Heterodyne threat. Akagi loves his job a little too much and manages to stick out among his fellow workers as the more enthusiastic one. However, he is usually at odds with the more bureaucratic methods of his company and his superiors, especially with his recounting of battle reports. Akagi always has the best intentions, even though they usually get him into trouble on occasions. Intriguingly, his distinctive personality makes him a natural as Dai-Guard's primary pilot-he is such a dedicated otaku that he has practically memorized all of the robot's functions and knows exactly what it is capable of at any given time. Additionally, his cartoon-samurai ethical code quickly win him a place in the hearts of the public-he will simply refuse to take or allow actions that will endanger civilian lives and or property if there is any alternative whatsoever. He is voiced by Kentaro Ito.

  • -- Navigator


Years ago, during the last Heterodyne attack, Ibuki's father (a scientist whose theories predicted the appearance of the Heterodynes) was killed in the attack. Ever since that incident, Ibuki wanted revenge against the Heterodynes. She becomes the navigator of Dai-Guard for this very reason. However, she learns the less than heroic truth about her father, and it leaves her without an emotional anchor. Ibuki has a rather strained relationship with her stepfather, who at first is against Ibuki piloting Dai-Guard, but becomes the person who helps her understand her father and fight her personal demons in time to save the world with much more clarity. As with Akagi, her personality meshes well with her position as Dai-Guard's navigator-she is so obsessed with details that she can make quick and precise summaries of a Heterodyne's abilities, often noticing subtle flaws in a given Heterodyne that allow the team to destroy it with minimal casualties. She is voiced by Akiko Hiramatsu

  • -- Engineer


Both a veritable ladies man and also somewhat mysterious, Aoyama is the engineer of Dai-Guard. Most of the time, Aoyama disappears after work. While his friends believe he's off womanizing, it turns out that Aoyama is caring for his sick mother. (Who personally doesn't want to become Aoyama's top priority over piloting Dai-Guard) As his experiences grow during the course of piloting Dai-Guard, he meets more people from his past that he once again crosses paths with. Like both his fellow pilots, he possesses personality traits that assist him in his role as Dai-Guard's engineer. He is always looking for ways to save time and effort, so not only does he regulate the robot's systems with clockwork proficiency, but he will intuitively notice methods by which the team can accomplish its goal with less effort. He is voiced by Shinichiro Miki

21st Century Defense Security Employees

  • President Ookouchi


The president of 21st Century Defense Security. He was previously an army officer, and was the one responsible for ordering the use of OE Weapons during the Heterodyne attack twelve years ago. Because of this, he is determined to avoid the use of these weapons again, and is thus very supportive of the Dai-Guard team. He was briefly voted out of office by the company's board of directors, but was reinstated when the company began to flounder without him.

  • Haruo Oosugi


The chief and supervisor of Public Relations Division 2. He has a very easy going personality, and is always supportive of his staff. He is voiced by Masashi Hirose.

  • Shinyu Yokozawa


The aid to Chief Oosugi, who also helps oversee Dai-Guards' operations. He is married with a young daughter. As his daughter has a sickly constitution, he is often concerned with the safety of his family.

  • Noriko Ooyama


At 28, she is the oldest of the girls that work in the Public Relations Division 2 office, and is seen as an older sister figure to the other employees. Her hometown of Hiroshima helps inspire her to help people, on account of what happened to the city during the War. Among the girls employed by the division, she is the most responsible. She is often concerned about the well being of Akagi. She is voiced by Michiko Neya

  • Chiaki Nakahara


Despite being the second oldest of the office girls at 25, she is very shy and is easily flustered. However, she is very dependable at doing her job, being the head of accounting for the division. She has a slight crush on Aoyama. Chiaki is voiced by Marina Ono

  • Iuuka Tanigawa


Tanigawa is the most outgoing of the office girls, and has a hyperactive personality. She is somewhat of an office gossip, often repeating dubious information heard from other parts of the company. She is voiced by Yukari Tamura

  • Shizuku Irie


Notable for her calm demeanor, Shizuku most often speaks in a low, almost emotionless, tone. However, she occasionally, and randomly, acts out various other characters' behaviors. She is voiced by Rumi Kasahara

  • Tomoyoshi Ishizuka, Tomorou Taguchi, and Hirotaka Ijyuuin


This trio of salary men have almost identical physical appearances and personalities; all three are overweight and easygoing. They are all 27 years old, and began working for the company at the same time. As a result, they work well together. Ishizuka is in charge of the office work, Taguchi is the events planner and coordinator, and Ijyuuin is in charge of domestic public relations. They are voiced by Shoji Izumi, Makoto Higoi, and Katsuyuki Konishi respectively.

  • Younei Sumida


The head of Dai-Guard's ground crew, who oversees the repair and maintenance of the robot. His crew is also responsible for the construction of Dai-Guard's new parts and weapons. He is often seen assisting Prof. Domeki, on whom he has a crush on. He is voiced by Hiro Yuki.

  • Rika Domeki


A 17 year old child genius, who is the head of the Technology Division, and the company's resident scientist. She insists that others refer to her as "Professor". She is an expert on the research of Heterodynes, and is also the one responsible for designing new parts for Dai-Guard. She often takes advantage of Sumida's willingness to help her. She is voiced by Mayumi Shintani.

ANPO Army

  • Shirou Shirota


An army officer who is assigned as the Tactical Advisor to the Dai-Guard team. He is originally very strict with regulations, and insistent that civilians should not be allowed to handle the Heterodyne crisis. However, his interactions with the employees of Public Relations Division 2, especially Akagi, causes him to change his views. He eventually becomes one of their biggest supporters in the army, and often risks his own career to help them. Shirota is voiced by Kenichi Ono.

  • Toru Saeki


Shirota's former subordinate who is eventually assigned to assist him at 21st Century Defense Security. He is very much like Shirota was at the beginning of the series, obsessed with regulations and rules. He can not understand why Shirota's beliefs have changed so much. Saeki is voiced by Tsutomu Kashiwakura.

Mechanics

Dai-Guard

Dai-Guard stands 25 meters high, and weighs 156 tons. It is composed of multiple pieces, which were originally transported to the site of battle, and assembled on location. Later, it was divided into only three pieces, each of which was able to move on its own, thus eliminating the need for outside transportation. Both of its arms can be removed, and replaced with various arm attachments which form the majority of its weapons.

  • Drill Arm - An arm attachment that consists of a rocket-boosted oversized drill common to anime-style giant robots. Unfortunately, such a weapon is in reality quite impractical as it is basically a massive gyroscope, and is incredibly difficult to wield due to the torque it produces. This is demonstrated quite explicitly in Dai-Guard's second battle, which results in the near-total destruction of a dockyard. However, the pilots eventually develop the skill to make limited use of this weapon, and it is later seen in several combats where other weapons are unavailable.


  • Knot Buster - An arm attachment specifically designed by Rika Domeki to strike and destroy a Heterodyne's Fractal Knot, the weak point of the creatures. It is a claw with an integral explosive-propelled pile driver, far more practical and controllable than the Drill Arm. One simply targets the Heterodyne's Fractal Knot, latches onto it with the claw and triggers the pile driver, impaling it. This weapon was only used once by Dai-Guard before being claimed by the Army for use by its own robot, Kokubogar, as Domeki forgot to actually pay for it.


  • Knot Punisher - Like the Knot Buster, it is designed to strike the Fractal Knot of the Heterodyne. Unknown to the Army, Domeki designed the Knot Buster merely as a prototype for this weapon - which she did pay for. Where the Knot Buster is a single arm attachment, the Knot Punisher utilizes both arms. One arm utilizes the same pile driver-claw utility of the Knot Buster, but instead of an explosive charge, it is driven by a torqueless counter-rotating dual flywheel attached to the other arm. The flywheel is spun up in advance, the Heterodyne's Fractal Knot is grasped with the claw, and the flywheel is inserted into the pile driver's gear port, firing the spike and impaling the knot. Also, the flywheel itself can be used as a melee weapon, as it is quite sturdy and possesses a greater radius than the arm. The only real problem with this system is that Dai-Guard cannot pick anything up with it in place. This is corrected in the weapon's upgrade just prior to the series' final battle.


  • Great Knot Punisher (Knot Punisher 2 in English Dub) - The upgraded form of the Knot Punisher, developed by Domeki with the benefit of a full year of combat data. Though it has far greater power than its predecessor, the real advantage of this system is that both arms retain hands. The pile driver housing has twice the length of all three previous systems, so as to accommodate a claw on one end and a hand on the other. It can be spun on its joint to bring either manipulator to bear. Its flywheel is identical to is predecessor save that it has a hand as well, which is inserted into the gear port to fire the spike.


Kokubogar

When the army realized that they could not seize the privately owned Dai-Guard, they chose to build their own giant robot to compete with it. Based on Dai-Guard's design but built with state-of-the-art technologies, this new robot, christened Kokubogar, was far superior to the twelve-year-old original. Unfortunately, this proved to be beyond the point. As opposed to the independent and idealistic Dai-Guard team, this new robot was piloted by Akagi's former Professor and two fellow students, all blindly obedient soldiers - which got them into hot water after just three battles.

Although its first battle was an outstanding success, the second one was co-opted by interests that wished to study Heterodynes for weapons research, and the creature was captured instead of destroyed. Things went downhill from there. While en route to a third battle, the second Heterodyne escaped containment, and military authorities demanded that the robot ignore the creature attacking the city in favor of destroying the escaped creature - which seemed somewhat antagonized by its capture. It quickly defeated and fused with Kokubogar, then went on a rampage that only became worse when it fused with the third Heterodyne. The military then demanded that the hybrid be destroyed before it could be discovered that Kokubogar had been compromised so as to preserve their public image.

Catastrophe was only averted due to the timely efforts of the entire Dai-Guard team and Shirota's unexpected defection. Once the Army and the team stopped fighting each other, the Heterodyne/Kokubogar hybrid was neutralized with minimal collateral damage, making a fact of the Heterodyne battles perfectly clear. If destroying Heterodynes was the only goal, that could be accomplished with WMDs. Thus, those who fought the Heterodyne had to possess more than just weapons and skill, they had to possess priorities that favored the populace over all else - even over the demands of the authorities.

The robot was out of commission for several months, during which relations between the Army and the Dai-Guard team cooled and mutual respect was developed. The team acknowledged the skills and resources of the Army, and the Army acknowledged the team's ideals - their purpose was not merely to serve their superiors any more than the team's was. All of them - the soldiers, the officers, the Dai-Guard team - in truth served the people of Japan.

The repairs were completed in time for the Army to show their new ideals as they assisted Dai-Guard in the final battle depicted in the series.

  • Knot Buster - Originally designed for Dai-Guard's use, the Knot Buster was seized by the army. It was destroyed in its third engagement.


  • Machine Guns - Kokubogar had powerful machine guns attached to its head.


  • Rocket launcher - In the final battle, the kokubogar briefly fires a volley of rockets saving Dai-Guard from a certain defeat. This weapon is shown firing from the right arm, although it is uncertain if there is another on the left.


Theme songs

  • Opening
  • "Rojiura no Uchuu Shōnen [Back Alley Space Boy]" by The Cobratwisters (Eps. 2-25)
  • Endings
  • "Hashire Hashire [Run, Run]" by Kyoko Endou (Eps. 1-25)
  • "Rojiura no Uchuu Shōnen [Back Alley Space Boy]" by The Cobratwisters (Episode 26)



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