Dancouga - Super Beast Machine God (超獣機神ダンクーガ Chōjū Kishin Dankūga?) is a super robot anime television series. (The English name chosen by the Japanese companies is "God Bless The Machine Dancougar". When released on VHS in the USA, the release uses the literal translated title.) The show ran for 38 episodes from 4 April 1985 to 17 December 1985 and was produced by Ashi Productions (also known for their work in the Dorvack series). After the TV series ended, a number of OVAs were created. Juusenki Tai Songs featured music videos of the various theme and insert songs from the series to TV series footage. The 1986 OVA Requiem for Victims featured a recap of the television series and a newly-animated conclusion to the story. Additionally, there was a 1987 sequel OVA (often mislabeled a movie by American fans because it was animated in widescreen) God Bless Dancouga. In 1989 the four-part Blazing Epilogue OVA series presented a new sequel.
A show called Dancouga Nova (directed by Dancouga's original mecha designer, Masami Ōbari) began airing in Japan in March 2007. However, it appears to be related to the series in name and mechanical design only, the overall plot bearing no apparent direct connection to the original and seeming to fans as more of a third season to Obari's Gravion than a successor to its namesake.
The series is about a team of four soldiers; Shinobu Fujiwara, Sara Yuki, Masato Shikibu and Ryo Shiba. They pilot the mecha Dancouga and fight to liberate Earth from alien invaders known as the Muge Zorbados Empire.
Dancouga is an example of the combining robot type of Super Robot. However, unlike the more traditional "component machines struggle against the monster of the week before combining and easily dispatching the monster" format, Dancouga does not combine until midway through the series. This means that, unlike the previously mentioned type of combining robot, where the components were generally of little use, the Cyber Beast Machines were all capable of effectively combating their enemies. The main components of the Cyber Beast mecha were able to follow the emulation of evolution. The mecha started out as four vehicles that could transform into beasts (an eagle, cougar, liger and mammoth respectively) to humanoid robots, and finally combining together to form Dancouga.
Many of the Dancouga story elements revolve centrally around religion (mostly Christianity, although the series also borrows heavily from Taoist philosophy), harmony, and music. The theme of "gods" is heavily present in most of the episodes.
- Shinobu Fujiwara (藤原忍?)
- Kazuki Yao
- Shinobu was born in the mountain regions of Japan. Shinobu was a cadet of the Australian Space Military Academy before the invasion on the Muge Empire forces. After the school was closed due to destruction, he was transferred to the Far East's Special armoured unit, the Bestial Fighter Troop or Jyusenki Tai (Known in the English version as the Cyber Beast Force). His hobby is hang gliding. Shinobu is an extremely talented pilot, but his rash temper and over confidence tends to land him into situations over his head. Nevertheless he is a straightforward character. "Yatte yaru ze!" (Let's do it!) is his, and the series', catchphrase, and in the Super Robot Wars series, he becomes vocal if others say it. His blood type is A.
- Sara Yuki (結城沙羅?)
- Yuriko Yamamoto
- Sara Yuki hails from the Izu peninsula. She was assigned to the Far East Armoured Unit a few days later than Shinobu due to several circumstances. During her days at the Australian Military Academy, she had fallen in love with her Commander Shapiro Keats, before he defected to the Zorbados Corps. Ever since then she had been suffering torn loyalties of both love and hatred towards Shapiro. Sara, like a typical redhead, is known for her fiery temper and enjoys swimming and music. Her blood type is AB.
- Masato Shikibu (式部雅人?)
- Shigeru Nakahara
- Masato was born in the Iwate Prefecture. Masato's father was the President of an arms manufacturing plant, and his family is quite wealthy. Going against his father's wishes Masato entered the academy (6th team trainee). He is the youngest member of the Jyusenki Tai. An active lad, though somewhat immature, Masato's emotional strength makes up for his lack in combat experience. Later Masato's father is killed in an engagement involving a Muge survivor, in "God Bless Dancouga". Masato also is the best friend of Laura Sullivan, and her dog Becky. His blood type is B.
- Ryo Shiba (司馬亮?)
- Kaneto Shiozawa
- After graduating from the Military Academy, he decided to roam about practicing his Kenpou martial arts. When the Jyusenki Tai was formed General Ross Igor asked him to join the force, he meets with his companions in Kansas City after a major battle has taken place. Born as an orphan, Ryo is a quiet man who practices spirituality according to his Chinese Kenpou disciplines. Ryo's blood type is O.
- Shapiro Keats (シャピロ・キーツ?)
- Norio Wakamoto
- Shapiro was a former commander of the Australian Military Academy, before he defected to the Muge Zorbados Imperial forces. Stubborn and intelligent Shapiro is obsessed with becoming the ruler of the Universe and has delusions of Godhood. Unlike most anime villains he is extremely competent, and has actually come within a hair's breadth of defeating the Jyusenki Tai by exploiting his tactical knowledge of Earth and the human condition. His greatest weakness is his own arrogance, which eventually estranges him from his own allies and leads to his downfall—he is shot by Sara in the series. In the SRW series, Shapiro often makes his last stand by piloting a robot.
- Laura Sullivan (ローラ・サリバン?)
- Rie Fujiwara
- Laura is an American citizen of Sacramento, California. Her mother was killed during an attack by the Muge forces. She is found by Sara and is soon "adopted" by the Jyusenki Tai. Laura once had an encounter with Shapiro who taught her a song that he composed. She is never seen without her constant companion, small dog named Becky.
- Ross Igor (ロス・イゴール?)
- Masaru Ikeda
- Originally from Russia, Ross Igor is the commander of the Jyusenki Tai. At first he seems to be harsh and unyielding in his methods, but it is learned that he plan was to buy time in order for the terrestrial forces to rebuild themselves and plan a direct assault to take the battle to the aliens and their homeworld. He dies in episode 29 "General Attack Pt II" trying to save Laura's life.
- Professor Kotaru Hazuki (葉月孝太郎?)
- Hiroya Ishimaru
- Professor Hazuki is the resident genius of the Jyusenki Tai. His greatest accomplishment is the design and construction of the four mecha that form the Super Robot Dancouga.
- Alan Igor (アラン・イゴール?)
- Hideyuki Tanaka
- Alan is the son of General Ross Igor. In the beginning, he is seen more as a nuisance than a help by the Jyusenki Tai. Later, however, they grudgingly accept his help. Also known as the "Black Knight." Alan opposes his father's opinions and starts his own elite corp that believes the battle should be taken to space to fight the aliens on their own turf. Alan dies in episode 35, titled "Moon is Hell". Later in "God Bless Dancouga" his troops form a gang of rebels known as the "Bandits", led by his fiancée; Reimi, and his second lieutenant Francis.
- Emperor Muge Zorbados (ムゲ・ゾルバドス?)
- Shusei Nakamura
- Muge Zorbados is not only the Emperor, but is also the name of the alien race that he rules. It is not until the last episode that the Emperor takes a personal hand in combatting the Jyu Senki Tai himself. His power is so great that when he challenges Dancouga in the area of "Red Space" (An alternate dimension that the Emperor can control at will) he almost manages to destroy it with little effort. It takes the combined determination and will of the entire Dancouga team to deliver the blow that finally defeats him. At first his appearance resembles that of a lion but in the last episode it is revealed that he wears a mask of this design.
- Death Gaia (デスガイヤー?)
- Yūsaku Yara
- General Death Gaia is the first occupational leader to invade Earth, and his primary campaign is an initial success. However as time goes by his hold on Earth territory begins to slip as he misjudges the resolve of the human population as well as the potential of the Jyusenki Tai. His only talent is brute force and he suffers from a bad case of arrogance and insubordination. He pilots the Deathgrome, which serves as his personal machine and then the Zangaioh in Requiem for Victims.
- Gildorome (ギルドローム?)
- Masaharu Satō
- General Gildorome is the second General of the Zorbados corps. His specialty is psionics and mind control. After the defeat of Death Gaia by Dancouga, he assumes command. He is a proud individual and is vehemently opposed to the idea of Shapiro being one of the Emperor's commanders.
- Helmut (ヘルマット?)
- Issei Futamata
- Helmut is the third and most bloodthirsty of all the generals in the Earth occupation command. While his actions are direct they are well thought out. His weakness is his impatience. While calm and cool while things are going his way he soon starts to break down and lose his rationality once things start straying from his plans. He dies on the Lunar surface in a kamikaze attempt initiated by Alan Igor.
- Luna Rossa (ルーナ・ロッサ?)
- Saeko Shimazu
- Luna acts as a liaison specially assigned to Shapiro's command after he defects to the Muge. At first she genuinely starts to have feelings for Shapiro, but as he becomes more ruthless, she realizes that her love is unrequited. She eventually betrays him, on the auxiliary base at Mars. She perishes while trying to return to the Muge homeworld when the sonic wake of the Dancouga passes her ship and disintegrates it.
Note that each of the machines used in the forming of Dancouga is capable of changing between Vehicle, Beast and Humanoid forms, as well as combining to form Dancougar itself.
Piloted by Shinobu Fujiwara. Modified by Professor Hazuki from Shinobu's fighter, a standard model used at the Australian space military base. While the fighter is in "open mode," a powerful barrier is formed that makes it impenetrable to enemy fire. Triggering of this mode utilizes the "Aggressive System," activating automatically when the pilot reaches a certain level of anger. The Eagle Fighter forms Dancouga's head.
- Fighter mode: Full length: 6.9 m
- Total weight: 2.6t.
- Flying speed: Mach 1.65
- Humanoid mode: Full length: 6.7 m
- Armament: Various missiles and gatling cannons; Aggressive System
A special tank designed exclusively for Sara Yuki's use, and piloted by her. When transformed into Cougar mode, the mecha has a leaping locomotive ability that gives it the advantage of covering long distances in a short amount of time. The Land Cougar forms Dancougar's left foot (as vehicle form).
- Tank mode: Full length: 8.3 m
- Total weight: 21.3t
- Top speed: 118 km/h
- Cougar length: 10.2 m
- Humanoid mode: Height: 10.1 m
- Armament: Burst Gun x1; Anti-Aircraft Beam Rapid Firing Gun x1; Aggressive System
Piloted by Masato Shikibu. Similar in movement operation to that of the Land Cougar, though with different armament. When transformed into Liger Mode, the mecha has a leaping locomotive ability similar to that of the Land Cougar. The Land Liger forms Dancouga's right foot (as vehicle form).
- Tank mode: Full length: 9.75 m
- Total weight: 24.2t
- Top speed: 105 km/h
- Liger length: 10.2 m
- Humanoid mode: Height: 10.3 m
- Armament: Blaster Gun x1; 150 mm Cannon x2; Anti-Aircraft Beam Rapid Firing Gun x2; Aggressive System
Piloted by Ryo Shiba. The machine's name is derived from the Words "Big" and "Mammoth". Essentially a heavily armed tank with the capability of transforming into a gigantic mammoth. The Big Moth forms Dancouga's main body (as humanoid form).
- Tank mode: Full length: 13.5 m
- Total weight: 60t
- Top speed: 82 km/h
- Mammoth length: 16.25 m
- Humanoid mode: Height: 18.6 m
- Armament: Various missiles and heavy cannons; Aggressive System
The combined form of the first four Jyusenki Tai vehicles. Derives its power from the spiritual energy of all of the vehicles' pilots in unison, making it greater than the sum of its parts. Indeed, it is capable of destroying - with a mere sweep of its arm - entire waves of attacking enemies.
It is formed automatically when the activation keyword "D-A-N-C-O-U-G-A" is entered into the Eagle Fighter's computer, combined with the proper level of aggression to allow activation to occur. When Dancouga is formed, the visor on Shinobu's helmet turns gold, and a voice announces "cast off the beast and the man! Now, become a god!"
The kanji of Dancouga's name interpret literally as "Severance," "Empty" and "Ego"; each character can be interpreted roughly as "suppressing passions," "reaching the emptiness" and "becoming one." Philosophically, this concept is very Taoist in nature. The in-show explanation was that, since Dancouga was initially unable to fly, such a name would (hopefully) ward off attacks that could not be effectively countered from the ground.
In the Super Robot Wars series of video games, Dancouga can further combine with Black Wing to form the extremely powerful Final Dancouga. Its activation keyword this time is simply "F-I-N-A-L", after Dancouga has already been assembled and Black Wing is nearby.
- Length: 34.6 m
- Weight: 114 t
- Armament: Pulse Laser Gun x4 (mounted in chest); Beam Launcher x2 (mounted on back); Pulse Laser rifle (DaiGun); Sword (DankuKen 「断空剣」, mounted on right hip?); Huge Beam Cannon (DankuHo 「断空砲」, mounted on back).
- Other Armament:
- (Physical Attacks)
- Dancouga has immense physical power, and regularly devastated whole waves of weaker enemies in the original series with little more than punches and slaps. For more concentrated attacks, however, Shinobu would give control of Dancougar over to Ryo, who would then proceed to use his martial arts training to great advantage.
- DankuHo Formation「断空砲フォーメーション」
- Dancougar fires its four Pulse Lasers, twin Beam Launchers and Huge Beam Cannon (DankuHo) simultaneously.
- Dancouga raises the DankuKen sword over its head; On Professor Hazuki's order, Gandor Ho is fired from the mouth of Gandor. This huge beam hits Dancouga, energizing the Danku Ken to create an immense column of energy emitting from the blade. This "energy blade" can cleave enemies in two, even from a great distance.
- Final DankuHo 「ファイナル断空砲」
- Attack seen in Super Robot Taisen Alpha 3. When Final Dancouga is formed, the Black Wing spreads apart, the aggressive energy from all five pilots accumulated into the DankuHo to fire a massive energy beam that causes the enemy to almost vanish within it.
- Final DankuKogaKen 「ファイナル断空光牙剣」
- Attack seen in Super Robot Taisen Alpha 3 , Super Robot Taisen XO and Super Robot Taisen J. A much more powerful version of the DankuKogaKen that utilizes Final Dancouga, though the outward appearance of the technique is otherwise visibly identical. Alan orders Shinobu to use the DankuKen when this attack is used.
The final element that gives the Dancouga flight capability. It is replaced with built-in wing thrusters in the GOD BLESS OVA.
- Equipment: Mega Booster flight pack
- Armament: Long-range Pulse Cannon x2
Developed by Ross Igor's son Alan, and piloted by him. Like the Jyusenki Tai mecha, the Black Wing is transformable and has both a fighter and humanoid mode. One feature that this mecha lacks, however, is the Aggressive System, since it was not developed by Professor Hazuki. The total length is slightly longer than that of the Eagle. Destroyed near the end of the original series. In the Super Robot Wars series, it can further combine with Dancouga, latching onto its back to form the extremely powerful Final Dancouga.
- Armament: Vulcan cannon x2 (mounted on front); various types of missiles
A huge, gray spacecraft built and commanded by Professor Hazuki. It can fire a powerful main energy cannon from its "mouth" (Gandor Hō 「ガンドール砲」). It transforms into a huge winged dragon and serves as the new base of operations for the Jyusenki Tai after their original operations center is destroyed.
- Total length: 1.4 km
- Total height: 600 m
- Armament: Long-range Hyper Beam Cannon x2; Pulse Laser x26; Vulcan Cannon x2
- Speed: 20 km/s
- Chôjû kishin Dancouga at the Internet Movie Database
- The Dancouga Database
- Dancouga – Super Beast Machine God (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia