Hostile Takeover is the first of six volumes in the twenty-six episode Dai-Guard series, which originally aired in 1999. Included here are the first five episodes, titled:
Episode 01: Disaster from the Sea
Episode 02: The Fort at Night
Episode 03: Circumstances of a Hero
Episode 04: The Heroine's Melancholy
Episode 05: Can't Run Facing the Setting Sun
Designed to combat Heterodynes, the one prototype Dai-Guard was relegated to being a public relations tool after their disappearance twelve years ago. The Dai-Guard is the responsibility of the P.R. department of the 21st Century Defense Security Corporation and three of the staff – Akagi, Ibuki, and Aoyama – are on duty as tour guides at a convention where the Dai-Guard is displayed as an exhibit. However, when a Heterodyne suddenly appears, instead of activating the Dai-Guard, a giant three-person mech, the military orders an evacuation of the area. In order to save the civilians, Akagi disobeys and starts the Dai-Guard with help from Ibuki and Aoyama. Together, they repel the Heterodyne, but when it and others appear again, can they get past the red tape and bean counters in order to save the citizens?
Though it is reminiscent of several other anime series, such as Neon Genesis Evangelion, Patlabor, and Martian Successor Nadesico, Dai-Guard is still quite entertaining. The series, thus far, boasts a good amount of humor, some great writing, and three fairly interesting characters. Perhaps the aspect of Dai-Guard that I enjoyed the most, though, was that it was more grounded in reality than, say, Evangelion. In that, I mean it showed some of the business side to running and maintaining a giant mech, as the bottom-line is much more important to the 21st Century Defense Security Corporation than public safety. The three pilots also have to contend with injured civilians, rescue operations, destroyed property, insurance claims, and lawsuits, which both add to the action and comedy aspects of the series.
Dai-Guard is presented in 1.33:1 full frame. The transfer is terrific throughout with vibrant colors and no instances of cross coloration. There is some aliasing; however, it is relatively minor and rarely distracts.
Dai-Guard is presented in Dolby 2.0 Stereo in Japanese or English. The stereo track is solid with some good instances of directionality. Dialogue is crisp and clean throughout with no distortion. Optional subtitles in English are included.
Extras include clean opening and closing animations, thirty-nine production sketches, and trailers for other ADV releases.
Dai-Guard is a well-written and often humorous anime that explores more of the business aspect of giant mechs. Fans of anime, especially mecha-oriented anime, should definitely give the series a look, as ADV has provided a great audiovisual presentation and a few extras at a reasonable price.