Reviewby Nick Creamer,
Sub.DVD - The Complete Series
Daijiro Kyougoku has recently inherited his familial sweets shop, making him the latest bearer of a noble Kyoto tradition. But when Daijiro discovers a strange robot beneath the floorboards of his shop, he will take to the skies in Doamygar, defending his home and delighting the populace through the creation of delicious traditional snacks. Can Doamygar's might stand against the power of the mechalossi, and what other sinister forces might be lurking in the distance? Tune in next time to find out!
It's a little surprising to me that a show like Doamygar-D would get a western release at all. The show is unabashedly insular - starring a young Kyoto confectioner known as Daijiro Kyougoku, it riffs on super robot cliches from nearly half a century ago, mixing them with semi-educational “attacks” focused on creating a variety of classic Japanese sweets. Its theoretical audience would seem to be “people who have a nostalgic fondness for the early days of anime and/or people with a vested interest in Kyoto sweets,” neither of which are strongly represented among anime's foreign fans. But for what it is, Doamygar-D accomplishes its goals with reasonable confidence.
The show intentionally apes both the style and structure of early super robot shows. The first episode offers a fair example of everything to come: Kyoto is briefly menaced by a mecholossus (mecha colossus) demanding local sweets, Daijiro shows up in Doamygar and vows to stop the beast, then the enemy is defeated through the creation of a supersized treat (starting with sakura mochi, moving on to a variety of other snacks). The monster explodes, Kyoto is saved, and the show is played off with a cheesy ten-second ballad.
It's a very close replica of early shows designed to sell toy robots to kids, meaning it's more a campy riff on convention than a satisfying story in its own right. As the episodes pile up, a mysterious antagonist is revealed to be a figure from Daijiro's past, the history of Doamygar itself is revealed, and Daijiro ultimately has to confront his own ego, his family history, and a nefarious American interloper. Every beat of Doamygar's plot is designed to stand as the most archetypal possible echo of early anime hits, from the preoccupation with fathers and sons to the show's consistent enemy-of-the-week structure.
Doamygar hews close enough to this classic pattern that it comes off more as celebration than parody. If you replaced Doamygar's spoon and steam oven with a sword and laser cannon, it would just be another entry in its genre - Daijiro suffers the same conflicts as any other robot-piloting young man, and his conflicts are resolved with barely a hint of self-awareness. The fun to be had is mostly in seeing a modern production contort itself to come off as intentionally retro.
The show's aesthetics are central to its ambitions. The show's actual content is constrained to a classic 4:3 format, with the blank space on either side of the screen filled in with fun facts about either the snacks being presented or Kyoto itself. The animation is intentionally limited, and at times the lip flaps seem designed to sync poorly with the dialogue. There are a bunch of repeated cuts of animation, from the shot used to announce a new monster to Daijiro's consistent final attack. The show even includes heavy visual noise over its frames, imitating the look of worn-out cels and imperfect photography.
Doamygar-D's music is similarly minimalist on purpose - there's a couple standard electronic tracks, but the only memorable song is the battle anthem used both for “last time on Doamygar-D” and Daijiro's victories. Overall, Doamygar-D successfully creates an aesthetic atmosphere appropriate for a show with episode titles like “Exposed! The Dart Gun Man's True Identity!” and “Hand in Hand! The Bond Between Father and Son!”
Doamygar-D's packaging is as bare as can be - a simple slipcase and DVD case containing just the DVD itself, with no digital extras and no dub. That makes sense though; Doamygar-D is an incredibly niche production, offering very little of interest to anyone not seeking a goofy love letter to classic super robot shows. In the end, that's all I can really say of the show. If you are deeply invested in old-fashioned robot shows, it's a harmless half hour diversion. Otherwise, there's not much for you here.
Overall (sub) : C
Story : C
Animation : D
Art : B
Music : C
+ Offers a fond throwback to the simple days of classic super robot shows
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