Just a reminder that there IS a robot in this show.
One of my associates made a rather poignant statement when he expressed the appeal of Kenzen Robo Daimidaler. He noted it was a love letter to all the shitty OVAs released in the 1990s. I don’t think the word ‘love’ aptly describes the contents of the letter Daimidaler wrote. Instead of wistful nostalgia and gentlemanly kisses to a long ago love, the ‘love’ letter is written crudely with a lot of eager rhetoric detailing weird, bizarre things it wants to do with said shitty OVAs in lurid detail. In fact, if you turned over the love letter there’s a set of crude drawings Daimidaler made that explicitly chronicles what would be a long, arduous, and weird love making session; complete with penguin role-playing, massive groping, erotic martial arts, and something known as the Gulliver Stick.
After watching all 12 episodes of Daimidaler, I can say those are all good things. Pretty much panned moments after it premiered, Daimidaler provides one gigantic middle finger from a hand protruding outside its pants zipper to anyone with pearls to clutch. Don’t get me wrong; as much as people hate it they are absolutely right about what it’s about, the thing is… THOSE ARE WHAT MAKE THE SHOW GREAT! In an industry where really GREAT comedy anime is mired with mundane slice-of-life, imouto complex-laden, and nebbish-led harem shows, Daimidaler’s disposition to own up to its profoundly shameless, absurd, concept is a breath of fresh, perverted, panty-scented air.
The show’s been critiqued as a disparate mishmash of stuff just plugged in at random, and while that can be a recipe for disaster, Daimidaler gets behind their creative decisions, firing on all cylinders, and finding ways to shore up a pleasant surprise. Oh yeah, there’s a Penguin race with giant boners and penguin-themed mecha, and yet they ramp the concept up a notch through cultural mores, backstories, pathos, and awkward malapropisms. The outrageously gregarious and polite nature of the multitude of Western-named Penguin commandoes makes for exciting viewing as every minute they are on screen gets my full, undivided, attention. What are they going to say? What are they going to do? Those questions were raised at the back of my mind throughout my viewing of the series, and there is always something enjoyable to witness like their top flight website design to a wonderful cultural greeting that I dare not share for fears of ruining the surprise.
Heck some of the protagonists are pleasantly wonderful in their own quirky way, and serve as an effective foil to the Penguin Empire. They are rife with motivations like vengeance (through a cultural greeting that mentally scarred the character Sonan Kyoko’s father), eager fervor to youth and lust (played with utter conviction by Koyasu Takehito), and charming perversion (the main protagonist Madanbashi Kouichi). Like the Penguin Empire, they take their roles seriously in the realm of the show, and have their own righteous causes which in any other show would cause a lot of Bobobo-esque gawking and wimpy beta-male bawling. Sure they’re kinda shallow and two-dimensional for all intents and purposes, but then again if you’re looking for depth in an anime that has a preteen scientist whose dialogue is 90% sexual malapropisms then clearly you’re looking in the wrong one.
Clearly you were expecting a dark, shadowy, past involving abusive stepdads and heroin with this character.
Yet it is not just Daimidaler taking itself seriously that makes it so goddamn fun, it’s also how it does so when taking the piss out of every anime convention it utilizes. Mark my words it does it exceptionally well and in the best tongue-in-cheek way thanks to a very blithe Narrator and little touches throughout the series. Madanbashi may be our hero, but the show has absolutely no qualms in acknowledging his behavior is deviant. Kyoko may have the drive to avenge her father, but the show openly shoots down the idea of her role being more meaningful than fondle material. Finally, when it comes to the love story (yes there is a love story), the show possibly accomplishes many firsts in anime. One accomplishment is perhaps being the first anime to openly acknowledge Japan’s declining fertility rate; another is perhaps being the first anime to have a character be a stand-in for all those otaku who absolutely despise lovey-dovey couples; and finally I could swear that ending arc is a very big dig against Cool Japan. There’s much to respect in an anime where the characters take their fucked-up universe seriously, while the gods above (the Narrator and production crew) don’t to the point that they will occasionally turn to the audience and acknowledge that it is all quite silly.
If there is a low point to this anime it’s probably the animation and the music. Character designs (aside from the dapper Penguin Empire) are rather uninteresting and procedural, as is the music aside from the opening and the ending. There are a lot of corners cut here and there based on the number of still frames and limited movement found throughout the show (there are some AMAZING seagulls around Episode 4), yet when animation matters like in crafting unique fight scenes and the like with its own iconic mecha, the show steps up to the plate when it matters. Even then, I cannot really say if these elements are even a low point. For an anime that wants to take the piss out of other anime and its conventions (as well as do the nasty with a certain set of them), imitation in this regard is the best form of flattery, right down to a rushed reconciliatory ending where everybody is friends and ongoing plot threads are resolved in a the most convenient of ways.
Yes yes, it is all rather crazy that I would sing the praises for such depravity, but quite frankly with the shticks it will pull; the lengths it will go; and the insanity it will unleash? Kenzen Robo Daimidaler is always a shallow, entertaining watch just to remark in the biggest shit-eating grin possible: “I can’t believe they just did that.” If you’ve clutched your pearls like those mentioned above, or you don’t like the show’s brazen, unashamedly ribald disposition? This anime ain’t for you. However, if you’re a fun person who likes his anime to take the piss with much vim and vigor? Well this Kenzen Robo Daimidalar is never a Daimidullard.
I will never regret making that pun.