By Paul Browne.
With the world under the threat from the mysterious Penguin Empire, it’s up to secret organisation Prince Beauty Parlour and their giant robot Daimidaler to stop the Empire in its tracks. The imposing Daimidaler combats the mecha menaces that the Penguin Empire throws against the world. The only snag is finding the right ‘Factors’ (or pilots) to take Daimidaler into battle. It’s a problem that vexes Prince member Kyoko Sonan, until high school student Koichi Madanbashi arrives.
Initially reluctant, Koichi isn’t interested in the fact that he’s one of the few people who possess Hi-ERo particles – the power source of Daimidaler. It’s only when Koichi discovers that his lewd behaviour (read: groping a reluctant Kyoko) engages these Hi-ERo particles that he decides to join the fray.
While other anime titles might weave in elements of fan service in a subtler manner, Daimidaler versus Penguin Empire opts for laying it on with a trowel. If the scenes of jiggling boobs don’t drive that point home, then the Penguin Commandos and their proudly displayed ‘front tails’ gives a clearer indication of the anime’s moods and themes…
Outside of the pervy antics, the series still finds time to mine the rich history of robot anime for parody and humour. From the ridiculously complicated launch sequences through to the melodramatic dialogue that have been essential tropes of mecha anime since the year dot. Daimidaler also has a suitably bombastic theme song. There’s also a gag about 1990s-style websites, such as MySpace and GeoCities – a joke that’s carried over on the official website for the anime.
One the whole however, Daimidaler versus Penguin Empire delivers a gag-fuelled series in which much of the humour revolves around sexual innuendo – even exploring the etiquette of perversion. In one scene, members of the Penguin Empire are idly flicking through Koichi’s porn mag collection when the call to battle is sounded. Naturally, our front-tailed friends all agree to first discreetly put back Koichi’s porn on the understanding that: “If one reads anther’s porno magazines, it is proper courtesy to put them away neatly”.
In fact a large portion of the jokes in the series are delivered by our Penguin Commando chums, particularly when the character of Likantz Seaberry aka ‘Ritz’, a female Factor who’s waving a flag for the Penguin Empire, joins the action. The feisty Ritz acts like a cheerleader for the penguins, even while she’s putting the beat-down on Daimidaler.
Nobunaga Shimazaki delivers a suitably scenery-chewing turn in the role of Koichi. The voice actor has previously clocked up voice-acting roles in Gotta be the Twin-Tail!!, Kuroko’s Basketball, Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash and, more recently, a role in smash hit anime film Your Name.
The put-upon Kyoko is voiced by Yoko Hikasa, who has an extensive voice-acting CV, including roles in the likes of K-On!, Little Witch Academia and Infinite Stratos.
Meanwhile, the energetic Ritz is brought to life by Aya Suzaki, already a veteran of such anime as The IDOLM@STER, Kill la Kill and Knights of Sidonia.
Put together by anime studio TNK, Daimidaler versus Penguin Empire also reunites the team that previously worked on High School DXD, including director Tetsuya Yanagisawa and character designer and animation director Junji Goto. High School DxD played with similar themes to Daimidaler, so fans of that series will find themselves on familiar ground.
The design of the series is serviceable anime fare, although Daimidaler’s imposing build is quite distinctive – particularly when viewed against the simple designs of the Penguin Empire equivalents. Meanwhile, the battle sequences have a robust and effective weight to them, particularly for a gag series.
Elsewhere, Daimidaler versus Penguin Empire‘s opening theme is a suitably over-the-top affair delivered by Endoh-kai – a new musical venture by Masaaki Endoh (JAM Project).
Whether you’ll enjoy this series depends on your appreciation for both the absurd as well as an abundance of fan service. In its defence, Daimidaler versus Penguin Empire is well aware of how ridiculous it is and wisely aims for an audience that enjoys a hot mess of anime tropes.
Daimidaler: Prince versus Penguin Empire is released in the UK by Funimation.