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Episode 1: A Message from the Earth

 

Review by Arshad Adel Abdul-Aal

April 1, 2015

 

Summary

 

In the morning, Seiji Takasugi's alarm clocks all go off at once but he silences them and goes back to sleep. His childhood friend Hikaru Kosaka bangs on his window and warns him to wake up or they'll be late for school. Seiji hastily gets up and prepares breakfast while listening to a recorded message from his mother Misuzu about her having to stay up late at the TV station to work on a story. He turns on the TV just in time to see Misuzu present her show the SRBC Morning Scoop. Misuzu reports that the Global Defense Organization has begun military maneuvers in response to a UFO. In the skies, jet fighters chase after a glowing energy ball. Seiji finally leaves with Hikaru and they run into local police officer Nemoto Tadashin. Seiji leads Hikaru to a shortcut through a temple to reach school on time. They run into Hotaru Sakurakoji staring solemnly at a withered tree. Suddenly a strong gust of wind blows and when it's gone so is Hotaru. They rush to class and find Hotaru and everyone else watching Misuzu on TV, who reports that the GDO fighters that chased the UFO were all destroyed. The report switches to special correspondent Yamada at the GDO headquarters in Australia, where Seiji's father colonel Koichiro Takasugi will be making a statement. Koichiro reveals that they sent six jet fighters after the UFO and they were all destroyed, making this an act of war against Earth. The report switches back to Misuzu who says that the UFO's current trajectory will place it in Japanese airspace soon. Homeroom teacher Morisawa Moriyama enters the classroom and declares a free study hour because all the teachers are having a meeting. Hotaru opens a window and lets in a strong wind. Seiji shuts it and asks what she's doing, to which the latter replies that the Earth is crying for help. Classes get cancelled because of the UFO and Hikaru runs after Seiji because she promised Morisawa she'd take Seiji to her house. Seiji doesn't think there's anything to worry about but Hikaru suddenly spots the UFO flying over the mountain and heading straight towards them.

 

The UFO flies past the pair over the temple and towards the city where it reveals its true form as a star shaped saucer that transforms into a robot. Seiji thinks it's friendly and tries to wave it over despite Hikaru's objections. Jet fighters fly towards the robot just as Tadashin arrives in his police car and warns Seiji and Hikaru to evacuate. The robot destroys one of the jets and a piece of it crashes near Tadashin, knocking him unconscious. Seiji and Hikaru run towards the temple as the robot destroys the remaining jets. A stray shot hits the ground near them and knocks Hikaru unconscious. Seiji carries her out of the flames and back towards the temple stairway. Suddenly a voice calls out to Seiji and instructs him to step into a pillar of light. The light envelops Seiji in a sphere and takes him underground, where a glowing stone called the Aurin says that the Earth is in danger and it's entrusting him with the power to fight to protect it. Seiji grabs the Aurin and finds himself back on the temple grounds. The Aurin glows and shoots a beam at a Buddha statue inside the temple, causing a Brave Stone lodged in its head to fly out and enter Tadashin's police car. The car revs up and drives onto the temple grounds before transforming into a robot! The robot identifies itself to a shocked Seiji as Da-Garn and asks for his orders. Seiji is still confused and tries to escape with Hikaru but gets cornered by the saucer robot who had noticed Da-Garn's appearance. The robot is about to fire at Seiji when the latter asks for help in desperation. Da-Garn responds to his command and distracts the robot with his Da-Garn Bomber attack before jump kicking it to the ground. The robot tries to retaliate but Da-Garn dodges behind it and knocks it down again, forcing the robot to transform to saucer mode and try to ram him. Da-Garn slows the robot down with shots from his Da-Garn Magnum before delivering a critical shot to its chest and destroying it. Up in space, invasion commander Redlone watches the battle and notes that none of the data they collected on Earth indicated the existence of a robot like Da-Garn. He is however intrigued that someone on Earth would dare to stand up to him.

 

Commentary

 

Director Katsuyoshi Yatabe slips a Brave show back on like comfortable gloves and goes over the usual beats. You've got your spunky kid protagonist and his female friend, as well as a tendency for mundane people to just happen to have very exotic sports cars that serve as bodies for the hero robots. I'd sure like to know why a koban officer has a very Lamborghini-ish vehicle as his squad car, and I wonder if this predates the popularity of such police vehicles in racing games like Need for Speed and the subsequent real life occurrences. That's not to say Da-Garn is completely rehashing Exkaiser and Fighbird, even if the Brave Stone concept doesn't sound terribly different from the Space Police's cosmic energy beings on the surface. You'd also think that with having a military man for a father and a news anchor for a mother, Seiji would turn out to be a loner but he seems perfectly fine with it. On the whole, we're off to a good start. Like Exkaiser, since Da-Garn doesn't have a human body like Fighbird; his car form gets the spotlight this episode while the combined form will debut in the next.

 

Overall Rating

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3.5 out of 5 stars
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Da-Garn Episode 1 Da-Garn Episode 1

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