animefringe january 2003 / reviews

Dangaizer 3 Vol.1
Format: bilingual, 4 eps., 120 min.
Production: Right Stuf International
Comments: A quality production with a bad plot.
Animefringe Reviews:
Dangaizer 3 Vol.1

Three teenage girls.
One destiny.
Skin tight clothing.

No this isn't Sailor Moon, nor is it Magic Knights Rayearth... this is Dangaizer 3. These girls are Hina Mitsurugi, Cindy Shahani and Reika Fou, and these clothes are tight, flattering and don't get in the way while you're kicking all kinds of virtual ass.

It all began with a typical day in Neo Hong Kong... well, at least it was typical for our heroine Hina Mitsurugi. Late to a concert with her friends, Hina already had her share of butt kicking for the day, as her scantily clad battling character showed a few amateurs a lesson in combat. Reprimanded for her tardiness, but full of high expectations, the last thing she expected is to be teleported away from her friends, away from all that is familiar, and strewn into a fight she had no foreseeable chance of winning.

Perverse women, mechas, and confusion overwhelm Hina as she struggles to understand why she is being hunted down by the 'Gomas', only to learn that the Gomas are an organization intent on destroying Dangaizer so they can gain ultimate control of the earth. But hey, shouldn't we be used to this sort of thing by now? It happens in every other anime. But these bad girls and guys are oddly unique. Each of the Gomas is in control one of the 5 elements, the elements being earth, water, wind, fire and wood. With each of the Gomas and their elements come their own mechas, which they use with the same power that the Dangaizer girls use to pilot theirs... Yeah, I don't really understand it either.

But once Hina steps into her Dangaizer, and gets yet another skimpy body suit for 'efficiency,' her body starts reacting to the machine as if she had piloted and fought within this mecha before. To make matters weirder, as she tries to cower from fighting, the Dangaizer speaks to her and demands that she serve her purpose and fight until her mission is completed. Instincts and adrenaline kick in as the girls struggle to guide Hina to use the Dangaizer and remember her past, all the while fighting off the onslaught of the Gomas, the mechas, and a mysterious Angel of Destruction that looks eerily similar to Hina.

Beautiful women, fetching designs, and outrageous battling situations are all part of this four-part OAV series from Masami Obari, director of two beloved episodes from the original Bubblegum Crisis, as well as having fame with Fatal Fury. Excessive and unnecessary nudity, semi-nudity, cleavage, camel toes, boob jokes, lecherous dialogue and points-of-view which could only be fabricated by a male mind are predominant in this show, with exception to any scene involving a man, for we all know that showing men in any sort of scantily clad predicament is just dirty.

However, I must admit that what the girls lack in personality and modesty, they make up for in costume and detail. The costume changes and intricate designs of all the characters in the show, not just the heroines, are all painstakingly detailed and unique. Borrowing concepts from video games and ancient Roman attire and revving them up to be modern and new, the clothes fit the characters like a glove -- and sometimes the outfit comes out to be composed of less fabric than a glove, as well.

Despite how the plot and intention of the anime fails, the quality of production flourishes. Art direction is flawless, beautiful, detailed and very pleasing to the eye. The mechas are unique in design as each of them have a personality and fighting style of their own, tied to their pilot (Reika, Cindy, Hina) or their element (Earth, Wood, Fire, Water, Wind) The city of Neo Hong Kong is as sleek as it promises to be, with futuristic domes and entertainment complexes, but still retaining the similar housing style and living quarters.

When it comes to voice acting, Dangaizer 3 had a dub that I wasn't too hasty to shut off after the first few minutes of listening. The female voice actors are all very well in their element, and it doesn't seem that any of the major characters under or overact. Hina is carefully given a childish, but softer toned voice, as it is often hard for a North American voice actor to replicate the pitch and tone of a Japanese voice actor, and it works very well. The male voices in this show were adequate, but not up to the same par as the women. D.D simply didn't seem as smooth or capable in the English dub; his voice work seemed to lack the confidence of the Japanese counterpart. Overall, I often left the dub track on, without realizing it, as it was fairly pleasing to the ear, and because Deene, one of the Goma Divas, has a lovely voice that gave the ultimate feel for her conflicted character.

Dangaizer 3 is the kind of show for guys who want to pretend they are going into the anime for the substance, mechas and the plot, but forget to mention the small thrill they get out of watching gorgeous well animated women, in a variety of skimpy outfits, combined with excessive panty and cleavage shots.