Hi. I’ve been invited here to share a thing with you.
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Choujuu Kishin (Super Beast Machine God) Dancougar is a transforming combining humanoid robot-piloting TV anime series that ran from April to December, 1985. Originally slated to run for 50 episodes / 4 seasons, it was cut down to 38 episodes / 3 seasons because of low ratings. The fans it did have were devoted enough to warrant a handful of follow-up OAVs and two light novels (one novelization of the God Bless OAV and one original story) released over the next five years.
There was also a spinoff comic book series called Dancougar BURN in the late ’90s and a spinoff TV series Dancougar Nova in the mid 2000s, though they have no real connection to the story of the original series.
It’s not particularly well known in or out of Japan, it has pretty janky and cheap-looking ’80s TV animation a lot of the time, and it’s got 80s fashion styling smeared all over it. Its narrative focus on complicated relationship dynamics, grim and serious themes, as well as its delay in pulling out the titular robot (Dancougar doesn’t appear until the second season) made it unpopular with the core “Super Robot” demographic of young boys; but at the same time its look, transforming animal robots and goofier trappings (there is a Mexican cowboy town literally named Tacos) kept it from being a “mature and serious” robot show like the original Gundam or the overtly dark and psychological Evangelion.
I love it. It’s one of my favorite things.
I love the combination of light and dark, the strongly character-driven story and how it deals with some serious issues without being grim and brooding all the time. Something about the series just really clicks with me. The first episode I ever saw (rented on VHS from a local video store in the mid to late ’90s) was in fact the one where they dress as cowboys in a town named Tacos, and something struck me about it even then.
So I’m going to analyze all of it, character by character, episode by episode, in excruciating detail.
This, I guess, is my attempt to explain why, and to share a little love with the world. This is my personal love letter to Dancougar.