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Haja Taisei Dangaioh ( 破邪大星ダンガイオー ) AIC/ARTMIC/Bandai Visual, 1987-1989 U.S. Renditions, 1990-1992 (Out of Print) Directed by Toshihiro Hirano (Hades Project Zeorymer, Fight! Iczer-One) Not Rated (Suggested 13-Up). Contains graphic violence and strong language. (Author's note: This review covers the original subtitled release, not Manga Entertainment's butchered version.) "Cross-Fight! Dangaio!"Cast Mayumi Shou (Yuratei in Hades Project Zeorymer, Chi-Chi in Dragon Ball/DBZ/DBGT) as Mia Alice Akira Kamiya (Roy Focker in Macross/Macross Zero, Ryo in City Hunter) as Roll Kran Maya Okamoto (Emma in Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, Liza in Macross Dynamite 7) as Lamba Nom Naoko Matsui (Katsumi in Silent Möbius, Rally in Riding Bean) as Pai Thunder Takeshi Aono (Dakuan in Ninja Scroll, Katsuhito and Noboyuki in Tenchi Muyo!) as Dr. Tarsan Shigeru Chiba (Shiba in Patlabor, Megane in Urusei Yatsura) as Gil Berg Kenichi Ogata (Genma in Ranma 1/2, Azaka in Tenchi Muyo!) as Galimos Ichiro Mizuki (legendary anime and tokusatsu singer) as Yoldo Mitsuko Horie (legendary anime and tokusatsu singer) as Dira Masako Katsuki (Emeraldas in Harlock Saga, Lucette in Mobile Suit Gundam 0083) as Shazarla Kazuhiko Inoue (Cyborg 009, Jerid in Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam) as Burst. Synopsis 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 Galimos and the Bunker Space Pirates. Story: B- Next to Gunbuster, Dangaio was among the first set of subtitled anime titles in my collection. It's not as good as Gunbuster, but it has a decent plot, great mecha action and okay character development. The U.S. Renditions release is also infamous for mistranslating Psychic as "Side-kick." Aside from that, Dangaio has many elements that giant robot anime enthusiasts love. Unfortunately, the series ended in a cliffhanger that has yet to find a true ending (and no, it's not that poor excuse for a sequel called Great Dangaioh). Animation: A The animation quality of Dangaio is outstanding, even by today's standards. And it's hard to beat Shoji Kawamori's (Macross, The Vision of Escaflowne) design for Dangaio itself. Character designs by Toshihiro Hirano. Supporting mechanical designs by Masami Obari (Bubblegum Crisis, Fatal Fury) and Koichi Ohata (Gunbuster, M.D. Geist). Soundtrack: B- Since the 1970s, Michiaki Watanabe has composed memorable soundtracks for anime titles like Mazinger Z, as well as live-action shows like Jinzou Ningen Kikaider. Unfortunately, he doesn't have much of new material in Dangaio; the soundtrack uses BGM recycled from his other works (the Psychic Wave BGM on episode 1 is taken from Uchuu Keiji Shaider). As a matter of fact, Dangaio's soundtrack would later on be recycled in the 2003 TV series Shinkon Gattai Godannar. At least Dangaio has a catchy opening theme performed by veteran anime vocalists Mitsuko Horie (Choudenji Machine Voltes V, Candy Candy) and Ichiro Mizuki (Mazinger Z, Getter Robo Armageddon). Cross-Fight! Cross-Fight! (Cross-Fight!) Just cross for love Atsuku atsuku atsuku tatakae! Dangaio! The Bottom Line Dangaio is fun for old-school robot anime fans. Too bad you can't get a decent version of this title in the U.S. anymore. Reference Anime News Network
M.D. Geist: Collector's Series (M.D. Geist: Director's Cut + M.D. Geist II: Death Force) ( M.D.ガイスト 1-2 ) Nippon Columbia/Denon, 1986/1996 U.S. Manga Corps, 1992/1996, 2002; ADV Films, 2009 Directed by Koichi Ohata (Gunbuster, Ikki Tousen) (M.D. Geist originally directed by Hayato Ikeda) Rated 16-Up for extreme violence and gore, nudity and profanity. M.D. Geist (装鬼兵MDガイスト) In the distant future, mankind has colonized other planets in the universe. While many planets lived in peace, one planet has been ravaged by decades of war. Geist, an enhanced soldier, wakes up from his cryogenic sleep to engage in another war. This time, to help the army stop the planet's central computer from activating a doomsday device. M.D. Geist II: Death Force (装鬼兵MDガイスト2) After unleashing the Death Force machines, Geist has kept himself busy by dismantling them one by one. But now he faces a formidable opponent in the form of Krauser, another enhanced soldier who has aligned himself as the only savior of mankind. An instant flop in Japan in 1986, M.D. Geist was picked up by U.S. Manga Corps in the early 1990s as the company's corporate logo. Because of their obsession with Geist, U.S. Manga Corps gave creator Koichi Ohata (Aim for the Top! Gunbuster, Genocyber) a fat paycheck to refine the OAV and produce a sequel. The results can be found in this DVD package. Cast Norio Wakamoto (Coach in Gunbuster, Chiyochichi in Azumanga Daioh) as M.D. Geist (original 1986 version) Kazuhiro Nakata (Ron in Outlaw Star, Bear in .hack//) as M.D. Geist (Director's Cut and M.D. Geist II) Fumi Hirano (Lum in Urusei Yatsura) as Vaiya (original 1986 version) Rica Matsumoto (Jim in Outlaw Star, Aoi in You're Under Arrest) as Vaiya (Director's Cut) Rica Fukami (Myung in Macross Plus, Minako/Sailor Venus in Sailor Moon) as Vaiya (M.D. Geist II) Akio Nojima (Aaron in Armored Trooper Votoms, Alexander in Eureka Seven AO) as Kurtz (original 1986 version) Unshou Ishizuka (Jet in Cowboy Bebop, Guld in Macross Plus) as Kurtz (Director's Cut) Kaneto Shiozawa (1954-2000) (Rei in Fist of the North Star, M'quve in Mobile Suit Gundam) as M.D. Krauser Story: F What story? All I see is brainless, gratuitous violence. Animation: D M.D. Geist: Director's Cut has crude, low-budget OAV animation, and the colors of the added footage do not mix with the old footage. M.D. Geist II has cleaner artwork, but suffers from, well, lack of animation. Roughly 80% of the OAV consists of just still shots. And you'd think U.S. Manga Corps would spare no expense on their corporate mascot... Soundtrack: D- Bad enough that you see bad animation in M.D. Geist. Worse is that you have to put up with some cheesy music to go with it, along with some crappy songs about the guy. I feel sorry for the great Hironobu Kageyama (Dragon Ball Z, Mazinkaiser), who recorded the theme songs. This is, by far, the worst original Japanese soundtrack for any anime. Sub vs. Dub Quite frankly, the voice acting is laughable. And I'm talking about both English and Japanese versions. DVD Extras: B Apparently, U.S. Manga Corps still worships this title. In 2002, they released the Collector's Series version of this DVD, phasing out the mediocre Image Entertainment version. With that in mind, U.S. Manga Corps went all-out by remastering the picture quality. (Wow - M.D. Geist II was done in 1996 and the quality's already deteriorating?) Also included in the two-disc set are the following features: Commentary by creators Koichi Ohata/Riku Sanjo (In Japanese) Alternate angles (using the graphic novel published by CPM Manga) Storyboards Art gallery Geist Rider Scrapbook - A look at the customized Harley Davidson bike inspired by the anime A really, really stupid music video So far, Netflix sent me disc one only. From what I've read, disc two just has more artwork from Ohata. And I have absolutely no time to view that. The Bottom Line U.S. Manga Corps needs a new corporate mascot. I'll take the Geist Rider, though. On a side note, imagine if Central Park Media decided to produce a live-action M.D. Geist movie. It would probably star Dolph Lundgren as Geist.