They are the most unlikely of heroes, a dysfunctional family that can
barely talk to each other, much less work together as a team. When
they get selected by the Galactic Federation to be Earth's defenders, and
get the chance to earn some serious bucks in the deal, who can resist to
call to glory? Comic high-jinx abound in Geneon's latest release,
The Daichis: Earth Defense Family.
The Daichi family doesn't get along. Mamoru and Seiko, the mother
and father, have been having problems for a while and only seem to scream
at each other. He's a spineless computer programer who has
his head in the clouds, and she's headstrong go-getter who is only interested
in how much money the family can bring home. The children are no
better. Their son, Dai, is a juvenile delinquent who runs through
the halls at school lifting up girls dresses to expose their panties, and
Nozomi is a virtual slave, doing all the cooking and cleaning. After
years of suffering, Mamoru has filed for a divorce and the papers have
come through. All that's left is to sign the papers and split up
Before pen can touch paper though, they get a strange fax. All
it says is "Save the Earth." But as they stare at it the ink starts
to swirl and a disembodied voice announces that they have been chosen to
fight for the Earth. They are going to receive battle armor that
gives them super-human powers and all they have to do is fight off alien
invaders. Oh yeah, and they get 9.8 million yen (about $100,000)
for each mission they successfully complete. Their first job is on
the way, a giant space monster is heading straight for Japan.
So they jump right into action. At least most people would, but
not the Diachis. They get into a fight. Mamoru doesn't want
to risk her life fighting monsters, Nozomi won't even power up, and Seiko
can't reason with either of them. Dia of course goes zooming into
battle with his flying surfboard and laser sword, quite oblivious that
he's totally outgunned.
The family somehow manages to defeat the monster, and completes a few
more harrowing missions but a big surprise is in store. When payday
rolls around they find out that they don't get any money. In fact
they owe some. 99 million yen to be exact. Every time they
use one of their weapons or technological devices, the cost is deducted
from their earnings. If they quit now, they'll have to pay the balance
by doing hard labor on the planet Siberia for 100 years. So now they
are trapped into fighting, but they can't use their weapons if they ever
want to get out of debt.
This is a really fun show. It has a lot of energy and action
mixed with a liberal dose of humor. If I had to describe it (which
I guess I do) I'd say it was a cross between Married with Children and
Power Rangers. The Diachi's have cool power suits and attacks, which
gives the show a lot of action, but their constant bickering and screw-ups
add a lot of humor. An interesting show that looks like it'll be
a fun ride.
Unlike many recent releases, the English dub was in stereo surround
sound, not 5.1. The original Japanese track is also pro logic surround.
I viewed the disc with both soundtracks, and I enjoyed them equally.
This would have sounded better in 5.1 since there is a lot of loud dynamic
fight scenes, but the supplied audio tracks were sufficient. There
was a fair amount of dynamic range, and audio defects were nonexistent.
A good sounding disc.
The was a great looking disc. The colors on this full frame image
were very bright and dynamic. The blacks of space were deep and solid,
and the sky was bright blue. The image was only marred by some light
aliasing, which was fairly minor. A excellent looking DVD.
Extras on this disc include a non-credit opening, two minutes worth
of Japanese promotional spots, and 30 production drawings. Pretty
standard extras, but interesting none the less. Including an Earth Defender
card in the case would be a cool extra that they'll hopefully think to
include in future volumes.
This humorous take on group action shows is quite good. It's fast
paced and hectic, with a lot of humor and action. Be warned, there
is a lot of low brow bathroom humor, but the kid in me really enjoyed that
aspect. Well worth taking a look at. Highly Recommended.