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Episode 1: Born! Brave High School Students

 

Review by Chris Guanche

September 25, 2004

 

Summary

 

In space, an Earth satellite crashes into the asteroid prison Sargasso. One of Sargasso's bays opens, and two alien criminals known as Sandoll escape and head for Earth. In Japan, a jumbo jet disappears in an energy vortex, along with several bullet trains and a jet fighter. At a local arcade, En Daidouji plays a 3-D space shooter game. His game is interrupted by student council chairman Kai Hirose, who tells En he is supposed to go home as punishment for getting into a fight. On a nearby street, Shin Sawamura stops a purse snatcher and asks the girl who owns the purse if she wants to go karaoke with him. Kai and En walk by, and Kai tells Shin not to use Judo for violence. On a nearby rooftop, Ryu Hashiba watches the sky. At the corner bookstore, Yoku Kazamatsuri finds a real bookworm in a book. En, Kai and Shin find a girl named Maria Tobe examining tire tracks in a street. Shin offers to help her, but she smacks him for stepping on the tire tracks. She explains that she's investigating paranormal phenomena because a fire truck and ambulance suddenly vanished yesterday along with planes and trains. Shin laughs at her and asks if it was a ghost that made everything disappear. Yoku warns them to move quickly when an energy vortex appears behind them. The missing fire truck and ambulance emerge from the vortex before in vanishes. Elsewhere, the jumbo jet, fighter jet and bullet trains all reappear in the same spots they vanished the day before. On the street, giant columns of sand begin to rise out of the ground like a spout of water. Maria wonders where her little brother Gaku is when he calls her from a nearby payphone. She sees that he is trapped in a phone booth surrounded by rising sand levels. She tries to run over to where he is, but the police block her. Ryu jumps out of a window and uses a fire extinguisher to break Gaku out of the phone booth. More sand spouts appear, forcing Ryu and Gaku to hide in a building. En jumps into a police car, and Kai gets in to stop him. En takes off and drives towards the building despite Kai's protests.

 

En drives the car over to the building and tells Ryu and Gaku and jump in. As they drive back, a wave of sand overwhelms the car. En and Kai try to open both doors, but they are stuck. Suddenly, the two Sandoll crystals crash in the street and one of them takes on a giant humanoid shape. As it is about to attack the police car, the robots Guard Tiger, Guard Wolf and Guard Hawk attack it. With the Sandoll distracted, Shin, Yoku and Maria run over to help the others. Maria and Gaku escape, but the other Sandoll crystal is about to crush them from above. An energy vortex appears below the police car and whisks it and the five of them away. En and the others find themselves in a mysterious void filled with altered copies of the missing vehicles. A strange light scans the police car and makes a copy of it. A green alien calling himself Brave appears and explains that he is from the Space Police Organization. He explains that alien criminals are escaping from the space prison Sargasso and will attack Earth. The Space Police don't have time to send their Dagwon heroes, so they are giving special powers to the teens to defend Earth. While En is anxious to fight, the others question Brave and tell him he should do something himself. He explains that he already sent them guardians in the form of the robot animals. He bestows the Dagwon powers onto them, giving them power armors and the names Fire En, Turbo Kai, Wing Yoku, Shadow Ryu and Armor Shin. The five return to Earth to fight off the Sandolls. They use special attacks to destroy their bodies, but the crystals remain and combine into one giant form. The Sandoll grabs En and squeezes him, but his police car drives up a wall and breaks him free. He fuses with the transforming car to become the robot DagFire. Using his Star Burn and Fire Blaster, DagFire destroys Sandoll.

 

Commentary

 

For your standard opening episode of a super robot series, this is pretty good. We're introduced to the five teenagers who form the sentai team. Of course, right now they're all caricatures of typical super robot hero characters. En is the enthusiastic hero, Kai the disciplined type, Yoku the nerd, Shin the loud guy and Ryu the loner. The idea behind the power armor and combining with transforming vehicles is reminiscent of the Japanese-only 1980s Transformers Masterforce series, though thankfully none of the heroes here are young children. Also, this episode takes the wise choice of not cramming in all five robot forms and instead focusing on just En. I guess these Space Police aren't the best at their jobs if they have to turn five Earth kids into robots to fight off aliens from their own prison. The basic plot here sets up the enemy-of-the-week escaping from Sargasso, but hopefully the series won't dwell on this pattern too much.

 

Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

3 out of 5 stars
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Dagwon Episode 1 Dagwon Episode 1
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