Checks and Balances of Terror is the third of six volumes in the twenty-six episode Dai-Guard series, which originally aired in 1999. Included here are episodes ten through thirteen, titled:
Episode 10: Wages that Correspond to Justice
Episode 11: Alibi: Two Heterodynes Attack Tokyo
Episode 12: Shinjuku at Night: Big Battle
Episode 13: Things that can be Forgiven, Things that can't be Forgiven.
Agent Shirota's plan is finally revealed, as the army unveils its own mech, named Kokubogar. With Kokubogar, the 21st Century Defense Security Corporation and Dai-Guard are technically out of the game, but Akagi refuses to give up. After a contest between the two, Heterodynes attack Tokyo. Kokubogar is possessed in a battle that follows, and to save the pilot inside, Dai-Guard is again activated, with Agent Shirota once more lending his military expertise.
The episodes on this new volume keep up the standards set by the first two, again boasting a good amount of humor and some great writing. It's also evident that the show has plenty of surprises left in store, judging from the climax of Episode 13. While not to the degree of the previous volume, each character is again given some additional back-story and personal conflicts that keep up the interest. Dai-Guard seems to 'borrow' quite a bit from other anime, but usually throws in a twist or spins it somehow, which brings me to my only 'gripe' with this new volume. The part of the series with the Heterodyne possessing Kokubogar and the ensuing rescue mission by Dai-Guard is directly lifted from Neon Genesis Evangelion in the set-up, conflict, and resolution. While it is still fairly entertaining, one hopes for a bit more originality in future episodes.
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, twenty-nine production sketches, trailers for other ADV releases, and a three-and-a-half minute 'Behind the Scenes with Dai-Guard in Japan.' With no dialogue and set to music, it has the animators traveling around Japan gathering 'research' for the show's design.
Dai-Guard is a well-written and often humorous anime that explores some of the business aspects of running a giant mech. 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.