The Spring 2014 Anime Preview Guide
Daimidaler: Prince vs. Penguin Empire
Review: For a show whose shtick is to be as obvious and as open as possible about its pervertedness and fanservice, Daimidaler tries way too hard. Every corner of the show, from the robo dick-cannons to the random bad guys (wacky dudes dressed in penguin bodysuits with giant front-facing "tails" [read: boners]), to the fact that the "normal high school student" male protagonist has superpowers called "Hi-ERO" (get it?) that get charged when he gropes boobs, screams of "I'm so random!!! I'm SO WEIRD! PLEASE LOOK AT ME!!!" It's like an entire boardroom of writers sat down and loudly declared, "Story? Who gives a f—! Just make it weird! People love weird! MAKE IT WEIRD!!!"
The end effect is a show that reeks of desperation, trying vainly to mimic money-makers of anime yesteryear, but not understanding the difference between eclectic humor/metaphor and unconnected gibberish. It cobbles together a hodgepodge of things that people enjoy—robots, penguins, world domination, boobs—and smashes it all together into something that doesn't really resemble any kind of story, but fulfills the requirement of lasting 22 minutes long. Along the way, it tries to milk as much fanservice as possible, but it's all things we've seen before. Some unwanted breast groping? Some panty flashes? Please.
If this review hasn't listed a synopsis yet, it's because one isn't really needed. Some mysterious organization of penguin people (and dick-cannon robots) is trying to take over the world, and the only thing that can fight the robots are special mechs, which are powered by Hi-ERO particles. Thus the groping.
The entire show is a messy affair, lurching from one wackadoodle thing to the next, praying that one of the many story elements will stick. Sadly, even with all the random things that take place in the series, all of it is impossibly tame. If there's a lesson to be learned from all of it, it's that you can't make a series interesting just by throwing in disparately interesting items into it. It just ends up looking like a teenage boy's geometry class notebook doodles.
Pro tip to men: aggressive groping of breasts rarely produces the near-orgasmic results that anime would lead you to believe. Just some free advice for the next time you're in bed with a lady.
Review: This is a disaster. How did this happen? This is some 2-episode yaoi OVA level of broken animation and hideous art, and its name is Daimidaler: Prince vs. Penguin Empire. To start with, the character designs, in theory, seem to be some hideous approximation of 90s-era Sunrise mech pilot designs, and the show's opening theme definitely suggests that's the vein they're trying to tap, but the result is jaw-droppingly repulsive. Our "hero," a reprehensible nitwit named Kouichi, barely looks like he belongs in the same world as his female classmates who are straight out of a half-price bishoujo game, but that's if any of them can stay on-model for more than two seconds. There are spare moments of competency, but for the most part, Daimidaler's animation chugs to a crawl and falls back on speedlined still frames and melting proportions to struggle its way to a complete episode. The mech Kouichi pilots is so laughable it looks like the unpainted skeleton of a robot in its natal development stages, despite being built up futilely as the "ultimate weapon" for fighting off our antagonists, an evil race of boner-penguins that are neither funny nor threatening.
All of this catastrophic ugliness is nearly forgotten, however, in the wake of a mid-episode CG car chase that recalls memories of Polyphonica's infamous QUALITY van. From the second our heroine Kyoko pulls up in what can only be described as a Pepto-Bismobile and shrieks down the road at bizarre angles, sometimes with tire-spinning animated and sometimes without, it's impossible to look away, impossible to think of anything to say except "How did they let this happen?"
Well, the answer is that Daimidaler comes to us courtesy of Studio TNK, shepherds of a great flock of barely-animated skeevy creations from Itsudatte My Santa! to School Days. Much has been said about Daimidaler's repugnant anti-comedy content, and it can't be understated that the writing and premise lambasted by other reviews are indeed god-awful, but it's the 10-yen production values that pull the whole experience down from terrible to tragedy. This one's a real trainwreck.
Daimidaler: Prince vs. Penguin Empire is available streaming at Funimation.com.
Rating: 1.5 (of 5)
Review: The first indication of what a viewer is in for here should be that this new manga-derived mecha series is helmed by the same creative team which adapted High School DxD. The second is the rampant fan service in the show's first couple of minutes, and the third is that the giant enemy robots use crotch-mounted guns.
Oh, yeah, this one isn't going to be subtle. And that's without getting into the apparent aliens and their “front tails” or how the hero powers up by doing perverted things to women. (In this episode it involves fondling the female lead's large breasts.)
But the whole thing is clearly intended to be silly, from the parody of old-school mecha opening themes to the ridiculous naming conventions. Something called the Penguin Empire is threatening mankind, and the secret organization standing against it is called the Beauty Salon Prince Intelligence Agency. Daimidaler is the ungainly-looking robot which serves as BSPIA's front-line defense, but it requires a Factor as a pilot, someone who can emit high levels of Hi-ERO particles, and busty Kyoko apparently isn't strong enough. Thus she seeks out Factor candidate Kouichi, a pervy delinquent who does not seem promising in an initial encounter with Penguin Empire agents (who are just as pervy as he is) until he steals an opportunity to fondle Kyoko, and that's when his real power shows up. He apparently needs to get stimulated to get his power charged up, but when he does so he can use Daimidaler to defeat an enemy giant robot.
Daimidaler is clearly aiming to be a fun, fan service-laden spoof on classic mecha series, but even by the standards of fan service shows it is quite tasteless; High School DxD was a work of elegance by comparison. Also not helping is that its design style makes both the character designs and the service it offers less aesthetically pleasing. The biggest strike against the series, though, is that protagonist Kouchi has shown no signs so far of being anything more than a complete ass. As clichéd as the good-hearted perv character is in anime, there's a very good reason why such characters are good-hearted: because they are insufferable if they aren't, and this is Example A.
The content is silly enough that the series could still be entertaining as long as it never takes itself seriously, but even fan service series have standards and this one largely fails.
Daimidaler: Prince vs. Penguin Empire is currently streaming on Funimation.com.
Review: Let me tell you something about being a guy. Just because a show has boobs and dick jokes doesn't automatically mean we'll love it. They have to be quality boobs and dick jokes. And Daimidaler ain't got the quality. Daimidaler wants to be a throwback to—or perhaps a parody of—the Go Nagai school of wacky, libidinous super-robot shows. You can tell by the main character's eyebrows. And by the crude sexual humor. And by the opening sequence's enthusiastic retro robo theme. And, of course, by the ludicrous plot. In a world threatened by a penguin-themed extraterrestrial empire, humanity's only hope is a line of experimental mecha run on a high-energy substance called Hi-ERo particles. The particles are generated by special humans, and buxom Kyoko is on the hunt for a good source. She finds it in Koichi, a perverted high-schooler who bleeds Hi-ERo energy—but only when he gropes a good pair of knockers.
This is all meant to be high-energy, juvenile fun. And it is energetic—there's hardly a breath taken between gags and robo-rumbles—as well as deeply juvenile. It is not, however, significantly fun. For all the show's headlong pace, it lacks the invention and visual energy of, say, a Yasuhiro Imagawa super-robot homage. Or a Godannar. Or even a slice of latter-day Go Nagai robo-porn. Junji Gotō's female designs are downright boring, and the fan-service is rote and wooden, which renders the ecchi content largely unenjoyable. As for the show's crude humor (the penguin enemies, even the mechanical ones, all have “front tails” that look like, well, you know), it's less rudely funny than it is just plain tasteless. Maybe if I was still in middle school, and had never seen any of the superior examples I just mentioned, Daimidaler might do it for me. If that's you… I still recommend Godannar.
Daimidaler is available streaming at Funimation.com.
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