Note: Review copy supplied by MVM Entertainment
Title: Dai Shogun: Great Revolution
Anime Studio: J.C. Staff
Publisher: MVM Entertainment
Genre: Action / Harem / Historical Mecha
Released: August 19th, 2019
Extras: Clean OP and ED, Trailers
In a world where history took a different path, Japan has been isolated from the outside world by steam-powered robots that repel all invaders. Inside Japan, however, the people are divided into fighting feudal factions. Feisty Keiichiro dreams of changing this and unifying Japan, and he just may be the one man who can use the legendary giant robot Susanoo. Unfortunately, just touching a woman makes him break out in hives, and the Susanoo ALSO requires a female co-pilot. In VERY close quarters. And just to twist the katana, while there seem to be plenty of women who might covet the co-pilot’s seat, not all of them have his best interests at heart! Who can he trust? Kiriko the Ninja? Chiharu the fox-demon?
Or will Keiichiro’s rash ambitions be thwarted by rashes and a totally rational phobia of the female form? It’s a giant robot show like no other as the birds, the bees, and the giant robots take flight!
Originally airing in 2014, Dai Shogun was produced by the studios A.C.G.T. and J.C. Staff. I will admit, I’m not familiar with the first of those. J.C. staff though have quite an impressive back catalog of series to their name, including modern hits like of Flying Witch and Amanchu!, and older classics like New Dominion Tank Police. The whole premise of mystical mecha battling around an alternate Japan in 1875 is also just plain cool. Throw in that the series was directed by Takashi Watanabe of Slayers fame, and we should be in for a fun series. Somehow though, this all went terribly wrong.
Starting with the visuals, the mechs, known here as Onigami look great, and they move well in fight scenes. The character designs are generally okay, but certainly don’t do anything to elevate themselves above being fairly standard. Where it all falls apart is the animation of everything other than the fight scenes. When you watch the show, it feels like it has been put together using flash animation and a tight budget. It’s minimalist but lacks the substance needed to come across as stylized. The result of that is a show that looks cheap. When you look at the visual pedigree of the studio involved, it’s really quite shocking.
From an audio standpoint, the soundtrack is largely forgettable. The upside to this is that nothing came across as bad enough to stand out, but on the flip side, nothing popped as integral to the action on-screen either. The voice cast puts enough effort in to sound competent, but the script they were stuck with did them no favours.
The truth is, for all the fun the concept the show was based around could have provided, it went off the rails very quickly. What story we were given quickly drowned in a sea of poorly animated fan service that I can imagine even the most forgiving ecchi fans struggling with. The characters themselves slide into generic harem tropes but lack any form of heart, essentially rendering them a mix of dull and borderline irritating. The show also sees rape used as a weapon. Worst of all, it’s not just the bad guys that do so. In fact, one character is assaulted by the villain, goes ahead and carries out her orders, only for one of the heroes to use the same tactic when interrogating her. That just doesn’t sit right for me.
So, how do I summarize this? The basic idea and some cool fight scenes prevent me from dropping this to a zero rating. However, the overall execution combined with some questionable themes severely lowers the score. If it had been a newer studio and a less experienced director, I may have been more forgiving of some things, but given those involved, this should have been a lot better. This one gets a dire 1 out of 5 from me.