Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Anime REVIEW: Daimidaler the Sound Robot

Daimidaler the Sound Robot (Kenzen Robo Daimidaler)

The Spring 2014 anime season has been a pretty interesting one for me. Among the shows I've actually been watching we've had Marvel's Avengers take on Japan, Bones do mecha the way only Bones can, Soul Eater make a return after a lengthy absence and even Elfen Lied 2.0 arrive on the scene in the form of Brynhildr in the Darkness.Then of course there's Daimidaler the Sound Robot (or Kenzen Robo Daimidaler if you'd prefer the Japanese title), which isn't quite like anything of these things. A 12-episode series from the studio TNK, this is a completely insane show that smashes together classic style super robots and hardcore ecchi in way you'd completely expect it to. If you're planning to check this out, make sure you grab an uncensored copy or you're going to be missing A LOT out...

Protagonists round 1: Koichi & Kyoko
Starting as it means to go on

Jumping in right at the deep end, it doesn't get much more insane than the basic plot of Daimidaler. In their battle against the invading Penguin Empire, an organisation named Beauty Salon Prince draft perverted highschool deliquent Koichi Madanbashi to pilot their giant robot - Daimidaler, as a line of defence. What makes Madanbashi special is his ability to produce Hi-ERo particles - a power source that appears as he does perverted things such groping his hapless partner Kyoko.

Despite being unable to produce Hi-ERo particles of their own, the Penguin Empire have their own weapon in the form of Rikantz Seaberry - a young girl deeply in love with all things penguin. As their battles go on and casualties occur, another Daimidaler pilot enters the fray - Kiriko Kiyuna. Despite having left the organisation, she is persuaded to return with her boyfriend Shoma when their romance also proves to be able produce vast amounts of Hi-ERo particles.

Protagonists round 2: Kiriko & Shoma
A different kind of perversion

Sounds like a rather ridiculous ride doesn't it? Daimidaler certainly doesn't start off slowly, plunging you straight its own brand of craziness instantly in the first episode rather than building things up. It gives you a pretty good idea of what you're in for, so if gratuitous fanservice isn't for you than it really isn't worth carrying on. The robot designs are pretty awful (though later ones show a vast improvement, it's too little too late) so the amount of bare breasts is the thing taking centre stage. In the end it's a show about vulgarity, lust and love - so you can't really blame it for sticking to its guns even if the end product is nothing more than another flash in the pan piece of juvenile ecchi anime.

But although the robot designs are mostly bland and uninspired, the writers' do show a clear love for the super robot shows of old. If the general hot headedness of lead pilot Madanbashi wasn't enough to give you that idea, then just look to the three scientists that created Daimidaler - a sexualised parody of the three scientists featured in Mazinger Z. So perhaps rather fittingly, the characters themselves are about as paper thin as the ones you'd find in a Saturday morning monster-of-the-week show. Madanbashi is a hot headed pervert, Kyoko is essentially a talking pair of boobs, Kiriko and Shoma are disgustingly affectionate couple etc.

Rikantz Seaberry
Top hat jailbait

Which brings us neatly on to the Penguin Empire, who are far more likeable characters despite being made up of faceless people with giant boners (or "front tails" as the show puts it). Despite being painted as the villains in early episodes, it soon emerges that despite aims of world domination aren't actually that bad. They care for each other like family, and make an effort not to destroy things in the middle of robot battles. Unfortunately this is then counterbalanced by a heap of rushed exposition concerning the Emperor Penguin and parallel world nonsense. Rikantz Seaberry is also very much a "love her or hate her" character, unfortunately falling very much on the latter side for myself. She certainly brings out the more human side of the penguins, but is also mostly unbearable to watch and listen to.

And credit where it's due, Daimidaler does a semi-decent job of cramming the story into a short run of episodes. Just when you think you're getting comfortable with Madanbashi, a surprise twist comes around and uproots the whole show, leaving you with a brand new set of protagonists. Moves like that may seem more suited for much longer shows, but it does keep the show somewhat fresh. Sure its still all about the boobs, but at least they're coming in a different way now right? That said, it does all come crashing down in the final two episodes where the frantic rush for a conclusion becomes obvious. It brings everything together nicely, but REALLY doesn't feel like a natural progression of what little narrative there is.


Daimidaler the Sound Robot may be another low-brow ecchi show, but that is something it's very proud of. Its crude, looks bad and falls completely flat whenever it tries to be clever, but somehow manages to come out with an odd sense of charm. It could be me still revelling in the premise, but all in all this is perhaps the first ecchi show I've watched that hasn't felt like a COMPLETE waste of time.

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