Dancouga – Super Beast Machine God
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|Dancouga - Super Beast Machine God|
Screenshot of the series' logo
(Chōjū Kishin Dankūga)
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Seiji Okuda|
|Original run||4 April 1985 – 17 December 1985|
|Original video animation|
|Requiem for Victims|
|Directed by||Seiji Okuda|
|Original video animation|
|Original video animation|
|God Bless Dancouga|
|Original video animation|
|Released||December 1989 – 1990|
Dancouga - Super Beast Machine God (超獣機神ダンクーガ Chōjū Kishin Dankūga?) is a super robot anime television series. (The English name chosen by the Japanese companies is "God Bless The Machine Dancougar". When released on VHS in the USA, the release uses the literal translated title.) The show ran for 38 episodes from 4 April 1985 to 17 December 1985 and was produced by Ashi Productions (also known for their work in the Dorvack series). Although the series was planned for 52 episodes, it was ended abruptly before a finale could be reached. Despite this, the series garnered enough popularity for the development of multiple OVA's. Juusenki Tai Songs featured music videos of the various theme and insert songs from the series to TV series footage. The 1986 OVA Requiem for Victims featured a recap of the television series and a newly animated conclusion to the story. Additionally, there was a 1987 sequel OVA (often mislabeled a movie by American fans because it was animated in widescreen) God Bless Dancouga. In 1989 the four-part Blazing Epilogue OVA series presented a new sequel.
A show called Jūsō Kikō Dancouga Nova (directed by Dancouga staff member and design supervisor Masami Ōbari) began airing in Japan in March 2007. However, it appears to be related to the series in name and mechanical design only, the overall plot bearing no apparent direct connection to the original and seeming to fans as more of a third season to Obari's Gravion than a successor to its namesake.
The series is about a team of four soldiers; Shinobu Fujiwara, Sara Yuki, Masato Shikibu and Ryo Shiba. They pilot the mecha Dancouga and fight to liberate Earth from alien invaders known as the Muge Zorbados Empire.
Dancouga is an example of the combining robot type of Super Robot. However, unlike the more traditional "component machines struggle against the monster of the week before combining and easily dispatching the monster" format, Dancouga does not combine until midway through the series. This means that, unlike the previously mentioned type of combining robot, where the components were generally of little use, the Cyber Beast Machines were all capable of effectively combating their enemies. The main components of the Cyber Beast mecha were able to follow the emulation of evolution. The mecha started out as four vehicles that could transform into beasts (an eagle, cougar, liger and mammoth respectively) to humanoid robots, and finally combining together to form Dancouga.
Many of the Dancouga story elements revolve centrally around religion (mostly Christianity, although the series also borrows heavily from Taoist philosophy), harmony, and music. The theme of "gods" is heavily present in most of the episodes.
- Shinobu Fujiwara (藤原 忍 Fujiwara Shinobu?)
- Kazuki Yao
- Shinobu was born in the mountain regions of Japan. Shinobu was a cadet of the Australian Space Military Academy before the invasion on the Muge Empire forces. After the school was closed due to destruction, he was transferred to the Far East's Special armoured unit, the Bestial Fighter Troop or Jyusenki Tai (Known in the English version as the Cyber Beast Force). His hobby is hang gliding. Shinobu is an extremely talented pilot, but his rash temper and overconfidence tends to land him into situations over his head. Nevertheless he is a straightforward character. "Yatte yaru ze!" (Let's do it!) is his and the series' catchphrase, and in the Super Robot Wars series, he becomes vocal if others say it.
- Sara Yuki (結城 沙羅 Yūki Sara?)
- Yuriko Yamamoto
- Sara Yuki hails from the Izu peninsula. She was assigned to the Far East Armoured Unit a few days later than Shinobu due to several circumstances. During her days at the Australian Military Academy, she had fallen in love with her commander, Shapiro Keats, before he defected to the Zorbados Corps. Ever since then she had been suffering torn loyalties of both love and hatred towards Shapiro. As opposed to the fiery temperament most often associated with redheads, Sara is usually very balanced and civil, only occasionally quick to anger. Nonetheless, she is very spirited in her missions and fierce in combat. She also enjoys swimming and music.
- Masato Shikibu (式部 雅人 Shikibu Masato?)
- Shigeru Nakahara
- Masato was born in the Iwate Prefecture to the President of an arms manufacturing plant and lives in a wealthy family. Going against his father's wishes, Masato entered the military academy as a 6th team trainee. He is the youngest member of the Jyusenki Tai and often the comic relief. Despite his lack of experience, he holds his own on the battlefield and proves himself to be every bit as competent as his allies. Later, Masato's father is killed in an engagement involving a Muge survivor in God Bless Dancougar, which Masato comes to regret after having argued with him earlier. Masato is very close friends with Laura Sullivan and the two spend much of their time together.
- Ryo Shiba (司馬 亮 Shiba Ryō?)
- Kaneto Shiozawa
- After graduating from the Military Academy, he decided to roam about practicing his Kenpou martial arts. When the Jyusenki Tai was formed General Ross Igor asked him to join the force, he meets with his companions in Kansas City after a major battle has taken place. Born as an orphan, Ryo is a calm and sensible man who practices spirituality according to his Chinese Kenpou disciplines. It was him who named the sword of Dancouga as Dan Kuu Ken 断空剣 with the meaning of "A sword that cleaves evil space".
- Once the war against the Muge Empire was over, Ryo heads out to Mexico to start a relationship with Daniella, a woman he'd become acquainted with during a mission earlier in the series. In the God Bless Dancougar OAV, he begins visiting her regularly and eventually marries her. He makes his living as a military instructor training new recruits.
- Shapiro Keats (シャピロ・キーツ Shapiro Kītsu?)
- Norio Wakamoto
- Shapiro was a former commander of the Australian Military Academy, before he defected to the Muge Zorbados Imperial forces, where he would quickly rise through the ranks as its commander. Stubborn and intelligent, Shapiro is obsessed with becoming the ruler of the universe and has delusions of godhood. Unlike most anime villains, he is extremely competent, and has actually come within a hair's breadth of defeating the Jyusenki Tai by exploiting his tactical knowledge of Earth and the human condition. His greatest weakness is his own arrogance, which eventually estranges him from his own allies and leads to his downfall. Sara shoots him in the back as he celebrates an early victory, killing him.
- Laura Sullivan (ローラ・サリバン Rōra Sariban?)
- Rie Fujiwara (TV series), Hiroko Kasahara (God Bless)
- Laura is an American citizen of Sacramento, California. Her mother was killed during an attack by the Muge forces. She is found by Sara and is soon adopted by Professor Hazuki. Laura once had an encounter with Shapiro who taught her a song that he composed. She has a very strong bond with Masato, and is almost never seen without her companion, a small dog named Becky.
- Ross Igor (ロス・イゴール Rosu Igōru?)
- Masaru Ikeda
- Originally from Russia, Ross Igor is the commander of the Jyusenki Tai. He is harsh and unyielding in his methods, and almost invariably upset whenever the Black Knight is mentioned. This is because the Black Knight is his son, Alan Igor, whom though estranged from him, he still very much cares for. Although it appears as though the two have a stark contrast in methods of leadership and battle strategy, it is learned that General Igor's plan was to buy time in order for the terrestrial forces to rebuild themselves and plan a direct assault to take the battle to the aliens and their homeworld; roughly the same as Alan's. He dies in episode 29 "General Attack Pt II" trying to save Laura's life.
- Professor Kotaro Hazuki (葉月 孝太郎 Hazuki Kōtarō?)
- Hiroya Ishimaru
- Professor Hazuki is the resident scientist, engineer, and technical genius of the Jyusenki Tai, as well as Laura Sullivan's adopted ward. His greatest accomplishment is the design and construction of the four mecha that form the Super Robot Dancouga. Upon General Igor's death, he assumes command of the Jyusenki Tai and the Gandor as its captain.
- Alan Igor (アラン・イゴール Aran Igōru?)
- Hideyuki Tanaka
- Alan is the son of General Ross Igor. In the beginning, he is seen more as a nuisance than a help by the Jyusenki Tai. Later, however, they begrudgingly accept his help. Also known as the "Black Knight." Alan opposes his father's opinions and starts his own elite corp that believes the battle should be taken to space to fight the aliens on their own turf. Alan dies in episode 35, titled "Moon is Hell" in a kamikaze attack against Helmut. Later in "God Bless Dancouga" his troops form a gang of rebels known as the "Bandits", led by his fiance, Reimi, and his second lieutenant Francis.
- Emperor Muge Zorbados (ムゲ・ゾルバドス Muge Zorubadosu?)
- Shūsei Nakamura
- Muge Zorbados is not only the Emperor, but is also the name of the alien race that he rules. It is not until the last episode that the Emperor takes a personal hand in combatting the Jyu Senki Tai himself. His power is so great that when he challenges Dancouga in the area of "Red Space" (An alternate dimension that the Emperor can control at will) he almost manages to destroy it with little effort. It takes the combined determination and will of the entire Dancouga team to deliver the blow that finally defeats him. At first his appearance resembles that of a lion but in the last episode it is revealed that he wears a mask of this design.
- Death Gaia (デスガイヤー Desugaiyā?)
- Yusaku Yara
- General Death Gaia is the first occupational leader to invade Earth, and his primary campaign is an initial success. However as time goes by his hold on Earth territory begins to slip as he misjudges the resolve of the human population as well as the potential of the Jyusenki Tai. His only talent is brute force and he suffers from a bad case of arrogance and insubordination. He pilots the Deathgrome (sometimes translated as Deathglome), which serves as his personal machine, and then the Zangaioh in Requiem for Victims, where he is finally vanquished once and for all by Dancouga.
- Gildorome (ギルドローム Girudorōmu?)
- Masaharu Satō
- General Gildorome is the second General of the Zorbados corps. His specialty is psionics and mind control. After the defeat of Death Gaia by Dancouga, he assumes command. He is a proud individual and is vehemently opposed to the idea of Shapiro being one of the Emperor's commanders. As the Cyber Beast Force would continually find ways to overcome his mind control techniques, he becomes increasingly exasperated and orders an all-out attack, which fails and forces Shapiro to relieve him of duty. Towards the end of the series, he regains the emperor's trust and faces off against Dancouga one last time in his signature mech, Gilbauer. His mind control attempts were broken by a last resort Gandor blast, which propels Dancouga into the Muge dimension and disintegrates Gildorome in the process.
- Helmut (ヘルマット Herumattu?)
- Issei Futamata
- Helmut is the third and most bloodthirsty of all the generals in the Earth occupation command. While his actions are both direct and well thought out, his weakness is his impatience. His calm and collected demeanor easily breaks when things aren't going his way, which causes him to lose rationality and act erratically. He dies on the Lunar surface in a kamikaze attempt initiated by Alan Igor.
- Luna Rossa (ルーナ・ロッサ Rūna Rosa?)
- Saeko Shimazu
- Luna acts as a liaison specially assigned to Shapiro's command after he defects to the Muge. She is very competent in gathering intelligence and is known to house secret information. At first she genuinely starts to have feelings for Shapiro, but as he becomes more ruthless, she realizes that her love is unrequited. She eventually betrays him on the auxiliary base at Mars by aiding Sara in finding and confronting him. After the conflict, she attempts to escape in a transport ship and begins planning a new conquest using the influence of powerful men. This never comes to fruition, however, as she perishes during her interdimensional trip to the Muge homeworld, disintegrated by the sonic wake of the Dancouga team traveling toward the same destination.
Note that each of the machines used in the forming of Dancouga is capable of changing between Vehicle, Beast and Humanoid forms, as well as combining to form Dancougar itself.
- Eagle Fighter
- Piloted by Shinobu Fujiwara. Modified by Professor Hazuki from Shinobu's fighter, a standard model used at the Australian space military base. While the fighter is in "open mode," a powerful barrier is formed that makes it impenetrable to enemy fire. Triggering of this mode utilizes the "Aggressive System," activating automatically when the pilot reaches a certain level of anger. The Eagle Fighter forms Dancouga's head.
- Land Cougar
- A special tank designed exclusively for Sara Yuki's use, and piloted by her. When transformed into Cougar mode, the mecha has a leaping locomotive ability that gives it the advantage of covering long distances in a short amount of time. The Land Cougar forms Dancougar's left foot (as vehicle form).
- Land Liger
- Piloted by Masato Shikibu. Similar in movement operation to that of the Land Cougar, though with different armament. When transformed into Liger Mode, the mecha has a leaping locomotive ability similar to that of the Land Cougar. The Land Liger forms Dancouga's right foot (as vehicle form).
- Big Moth
- Piloted by Ryo Shiba. The machine's name is derived from the Words "Big" and "Mammoth". Essentially a heavily armed tank with the capability of transforming into a gigantic mammoth. The Big Moth forms Dancouga's main body (as humanoid form).
- Dancouga (断空我 Dankūga?)
- The combined form of the first four Jyusenki Tai vehicles. Derives its power from the spiritual energy of all of the vehicles' pilots in unison, making it greater than the sum of its parts. Indeed, it is capable of destroying - with a mere sweep of its arm – entire waves of attacking enemies. Its primary weapons are the Dankuken, a sword contained within its right leg, and the Daigan, a large beam cannon formed from the handheld weapons of its component machines. With energy from Gundor the Dankuken can be charged up into the much more powerful Dankukougaken. Dancouga can also be equipped with a flight pack.
- Black Wing
- Developed by Ross Igor's son Alan, and piloted by him. Like the Jyusenki Tai mecha, the Black Wing is transformable and has both a fighter and humanoid mode. One feature that this mecha lacks, however, is the Aggressive System, since it was not developed by Professor Hazuki. The total length is slightly longer than that of the Eagle. In the Super Robot Wars series, it can further combine with Dancouga, latching onto its back to form the extremely powerful Final Dancouga.
- A huge, gray spacecraft built and commanded by Professor Hazuki. It can fire a powerful main energy cannon from its "mouth" (Gundor Hō 「ガンドール砲」). It transforms into a huge winged dragon and serves as the new base of operations for the Jyusenki Tai after their original operations center is destroyed.
- Final Dancouga
- The combined form of the final five Jyusenki Tai vehicles. With Black Wing serving as a new flight pack, Dancouga's aerial performance is greatly increased. In addition to all of Dancouga's normal weapons, Black Wing's head can split open into an enormous upwards-pointing cannon able to project a large red beam. This can either be used to directly attack the opponent as the Final Dancouhou, with the beam firing straight into the air before taking the shape of a dragon and crashing down on the target, or used to charge up the Dankuken into the Dankukougaken without needing energy from Gundor, this version called the Final Dankukougaken. Final Dancouga was not present in the TV series or OVA's, but its concept art made its way into the Super Robot Taisen series of videogames as a playable unit.