Today, I feel like being a yusha. I want mecha action and I want to have multiple mecha and monsters to fight. And we have them commanded by a child. Yes … I smell the Brave Series as we are gonna look a Seiji as he commands his Braves to face the evil of Ohboss and his crew in Brave of Legend Da Garn.
Time to go back to the 1990s. During that the early 1990s, the United States and Japan were dealing with a hiatus of new Transformers content. In the States, the original Generation One cartoon was repacked as Transformers: Generation 2 … showing the original episodes with some new 3D animation openings and eyecatches. Meanwhile, Japan just slowed down with Transformers completely after 1990 for a few years. Yet, there was a replacement for it as we go to the aforementioned Brave Series. The Brave Series was a group of anime that had mecha in it and usually had some kind of human boy or teen commanding it. There were eight Brave series, with King of Braves Gao Gai Gar being the most famous among them. Yet, I am gonna take a look at the third Brave series, Brave of Legend Da Garn.
As I said earlier, Brave of Legend Da Garn focuses on a young fifth grader (goes to sixth grade less than halfway through the show)Seiji Takasugi and his group of Brave Robots. He ends up meeting his main partner and title character, Da Garn, after an attack from General Redlone of Ohboss’s Army decides that its time to take Earth. Da Garn takes over a local police car and transforms into robot mode. As they go along, Seiji and Da Garn fight against many of Ohboss’s Generals … General Redlone, Butcho, Pinky, Violechete and Cyan in order to protect the Earth. Along the way, they are joined by other Braves from the planet Earth, the Sabers, a group of aerial robots (all planes except for their last member) and the Landers (a group of cars, trucks and a drill vehicle). Together, they work to protect the Earth from Ohboss, his crew and this mysterious Power of Legend … which Ohboss covets.
The show was produced by Sunrise, regarded as king of all things mecha anime . And the show might be part of the Brave series but it did have some strong backing. The Chief Director of the show was Shinji Takamatsu, who directed Gintama, Mobile Suit Gundam: War in the Pocket, Gundam Wing, Gundam X and more. Music was handled by Yasunori Iwasaki, who worked on Sailor Moon Super S and Vandred. Yet, the voice acting shines with several big seiyuu (voice actors) on the show.
Playing the title character of Da Garn is legendary seiyuu, Sho Hayami. Hayami voiced such roles as Zarbon from Dragonball Z, Devilman in the Devilman OVA and most recently, was Aizen Sousuke from Bleach. Joining Hayami is Ikuya Sawaki (Fujitora in One Piece) as General Redlone, Shuttle Saber and Red Baron; as well as Kozo Shiyo (most notably known as Majin Buu in Dragonball Z) as Bucho and Takehito Koyasu, aptly known for his roles as Dio in all the Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure anime. Yet, topping off the cast is none other than Rica Matsumoto as Seiji, to play off of Hayami’s Da Garn. Mastsumoto is known far and wide as Satoshi (Ash) in all the Pokemon anime.
So, with some powerful pedigree behind it, how is Brave of Legend Da Garn? Well … it’s a good show. It’s got some great characters within the humans and robots in the show. The stakes start high and get even higher by the end of the show. All our main characters go through some great development, particularly Seiji and Da Garn. Seiji is a typical fifth/sixth grader throughout the show and it shows with his naiveté and his actions. The responsibility of commanding all these robots weighs on him hard. Da Garn goes from a robot that just follows Seiji’s commands blindly (which made me scratch my head)to showing off his wisdom and really caring about Seiji in general. Even the villains … most of them anyway, develop over the course of the show.
This show has very little filler at all, anything close to it being character focus episodes or diving into the main plot or the plot of the arc. The arc set up for the show is solid. Most arcs do not last more than 11 episodes. As the arc goes on, there are things happening that help build the plot or develop the characters or both. One in particular is that Seiji needs to find all the Brave Robots who, in this series, are not Space Police like they were in the previous two Brave series Exkaiser and Fighbird, but actual products of the Earth … on in one case, another planet similar to Earth. I particularly love that the show did give a little time to give each of the robots their own personality. The designs for the characters and the mecha are just great. From Seiji’s outfit as a commander to the mecha … who all combined with other mecha some way, shape or form. And while there are some mecha that are just Transformers remodeled for the show, particularly Shuttle Saber and Redlone’s Red Geist mech, the show does a great job of making the robots unique in some way. Particularly, this show is the own anime I have ever seen with a combining team of robots become a centaur looking robot. Yes. Look up Pegasus Saber to see what I mean. The episodes usually go at just the right pace and the human/robot screen time is fairly balanced.
Yeah. That’s a lot of good. Now, here’s a few bad things about the show. One thing that was kind of annoying is that the Brave Robots would move around but not take any real action unless ordered by Seiji. During the course of the series, that changes but they still make sure to follow Seiji’s commands. The reason … cause the Earth chose him. Yes, that is a plot line. No. I am not going to spoil it.
Another bad thing about the show is that the animation. It goes from okay to fantastic. Yet, there are definite incidents that show that the art suffers A LOT. Particularly, I am looking at the episode which introduces a second commander to the series. The episode before we see a new, combined upgrade for our main character and the episode was beautiful. The next episode with the new commander premieres; it has the WORST art in the entire series. It looked rushed there. And it was annoying.
My final gripe is that while we got to see the robots and their personalities, after a while, a lot of the other robots were pretty much put aside for the main plot or other characters. The balance between human and robot was okay till the later half. And while the main plot is amazing … getting less of Gaohn and the Sabers was pretty disheartening.
All gripes aside, would I tell you to watch this show? Absolutely. It’s pretty great how they work in a fifth grader who is multi-faceted and a great, wise machine like Da Garn. The arcs are well written. The characters are pretty fleshed out, including the villains. And the overall plot is great. While the animation takes a hit in some episodes, over all, it is solid. It’s 46 episodes, so it gives you time to enjoy the show but leaves little time for filler. Honestly, I really enjoyed this show and looking forward to watching more of the Brave series.
That said, it is time for my verdict. I give Brave of Legend Da Garn a solid 4 out of 5. It’s above average but it could be improved.