Four psychic teenagers—Mia Alice, Roll Kran, Lamba Nom and Pai Thunder—are brainwashed by the scientist Dr. Tarsan as pilots of his greatest experiment—the giant robot Dangaioh. But as their memories slowly return, these pilots use their abilities and Dangaioh to combat the tyranny of Captain Garimoth and the Bunker Space Pirates.
- Title: Dangaioh (Hajyataisei Dangaioh)
- Series: OVA Series
- Episodes: 3
- Status: Finished Airing
- Release Date: Sep 27, 1987 – July 25, 1989
- Producers: AIC
- Genre: Adventure, Mecha, Sci-Fi, Shounen, Ecchi
- Rating: PG-13
My past three reviews have all been on shows that Masami Obari himself had directed. In the case of Dangaioh, I’m cheating a bit, since he did not direct it, but was instead the mecha designer and animation director of it instead. Still, I feel it still qualifies for the theme I had for the month due to the sheer similarities between how Dangaioh fights and attacks in comparison to the mecha in the other shows I have covered.
Once again jumping straight into the review, I will go over the production aspects of this short OVA series first. This is a 3 episode OVA series and it was brought out over a course of 2 years by AIC, which is still producing anime as of this writing. I will say that aside from Dangaioh’s combination sequences, there is nary any stock footage to be seen, which is actually quite refreshing to see after the past few weeks. The mecha fights and other action sequences are pretty well animated for the most part, though maybe there are some instances of too many closeups being used. Also, if you keep your eyes peeled, you can see some attack cues that would be reused in Gravion, as Dangaioh’s Psychic Slash and Gravion’s Super Heavyweight Slash look almost the same. This is mainly due to Obari’s influence. The music is pretty well done, with Mitsuko Horie and Ichirou Mizuki performing the first Opening song and Mitusko performing the first Ending song. For some reason though, the last episode has a different opening and ending song, done by someone named Hidemi Nakai. Her songs are a different flavor and are more rock than anything else, which I suppose fits the darker tone of the last episode.
Like with Dancouga Nova, Dangaioh has four main characters, each one a pilot of Dangaioh, those four being Miya, Roll, Lamba, and Pai. In about every episode, you learn about one of the pilots and their backstory, though the first episode doubles up by covering both Miya and Pai’s backstories. They are not the most original of characters, but they are not completely flat portrayals at least. I should also point out that Miya is considered the team leader and the girls are as powerful as Roll with their psychic powers, which is a nice change of pace when it comes to portrayals of women in these types of shows. There is not much in the way of side characters in this series, with the exception being Professor Tarsan. He starts out as a villain but becomes the team’s mentor, which is kind of ironic with how they easily forgive him. As for Tarsan himself, he is usually not treated well by the rest of the cast, on both sides of the spectrum at that, though he does redeem himself by the show’s end.
The villains in this series are the Bunker Space Pirates, who go around and loot planets of their resources, blowing them up after they are finished with them. They are headed by Captain Garimoth, but he is not focused on very much, with the most consistent villain being Gil Berg, who is a cyborg and Tarsan’s former bodyguard. He develops a hatred of Miya, seeing her kind attitude as a weakness and also despises the pity that she shows him at one point. The other minor villains are people who have some ties to the other pilots before they were brainwashed by Tarsan and they provide some nice conflict and angst, if that is what you are looking for.
The story isn’t really anything to write home about, as it is mainly about the Dangaioh team fighting against the Bunker Space Pirates as they try to regain their memories. However, since there are only 3 episodes, the series ends on a cliffhanger and since it is 2012 as of this writing, a continuation does not look very possible at this point in time. However, it isn’t unheard of to have an OVA series to just end like this, as I’m sure there are plenty of other shows that have ended like this. Still, I think the ending does not hurt the enjoyment of the series, as you are mainly in it for the action and the sexy character designs for the women anyway.
In conclusion, since it is only 3 episodes long, I would go ahead and recommend Dangaioh as a watch if you want a quick fix on some mech action. However, it could prove quite difficult to get this series by legal means, as the official DVDs and VHS tapes in the states are out of print as of this writing.