Starting on Gun X Sword and finding it an enjoyable, wacky ride, I suddenly come across one of the craziest super robot homages ever: El Dora V. Bearing resemblance to Dancougar and GaoGaiGar, El Dora V is piloted by a team whose composition reminds me of the Combat and Voltes Teams of yore (hot-blooded leader, cool guy, big man, little boy, and token sexy girl).
However, the El Dora team has fallen under hard times. Aside from their departed member Chizuru, none of them seem to have any jobs, instead freeloading off their teammate’s granddaughter’s restaurant. Every day, it’s the same fare for them–always rambling about the golden days of their youth while bearing the ridicule of younger patrons.
I think there’s a metaphor here. Anime fans who were inducted during the digisub era are rather intolerant of old anime. They can’t be assed to care about dated animation and long, episodic series that follow tried-and-tested formulas. I see them in the young patrons of Pink Amigo, who regard the El Dora team with disdain, not believing in the greatness of their exploits–after all, where’s this great Armor they keep on talking about? Why don’t they want to show it? I know a lot of old fans who keep on putting the old days of anime on a pedestal; TBH it annoys me, and it’s much more aggravating to those who are ignorant of what the old-timers are talking about.
Nero remarks that Armors aren’t made for showing off, and skepticism grows. Things get violent. At this point, I remember confrontations between old fans and newer ones online, and it always degrades into an argument of tastes. “I’ve been watching anime long before you even saw your first episode of Code Geass,” an old fan might say. “Well, excuse me for not being brought up on a diet of trashy giant robot shows!” the new fan would retort. Oh jeez.
Later, the sheriff is forced to throw the El Dora team in jail for being a repeated cause of the town’s disquiet. A heartbreaking endeavor, as the sheriff had known the team during their heyday. Imprisoning your childhood heroes = not fun. Sure there are people who remember how much the El Dora team has done for the town, but the ignorant ones outnumber them now. The sheriff says that the police are able to protect the town by themselves, and the days of mecha-toting heroes are already over. Again, in relation to my metaphor, the sheriff could be the anime fan who had loved the old super robot shows, but (unlike Nero & co.) kept with the times and is now pained to associate himself with his old favorites.
As expected, a menace does strike the town, a mad scientist who was ostracized by the town for a failed experiment. Completing said experiment, he uses it to exact revenge on the townsfolk, wrecking down buildings with tentacled appendages. The police can do nothing with their puny guns (hah!), and the sheriff evacuates the El Dora team, who decide to save the town with their Armor. Four Armors sortie out of the local Mayanesque pyramid, and after a brief skirmish with the villain’s Armor, combine to form El Dora IV (which bears a striking resemblance to Dancougar). All the whippersnappers are dumbstruck by the truth, that these old washouts were really heroes in their younger days. Gee, I wish all old-vs-new arguments were resolved like this.
Exchanging words, tentacled Armor and El Dora IV battle it out. Despite their age, Nero and the others fight bravely, but their Armor’s power falls short of defeating their enemy–the sheriff explains to the youngsters that El Dora IV is incomplete, and a fifth Armor is needed to use the final form, El Dora V. However, Chizuru is dead, and there’s no one to save the day. Or is there truly no one? Van appears in his Dann of Thursday, and throws the fifth Armor right at the failing El Dora IV. It combines, and El Dora V is formed (now it looks like GaoGaiGar).
The mad scientist laughs. He thinks gattai is stupid and inefficient, but Nero rebukes him by saying advancement happens when the Armor and the human spirit combine. And by putting their BURNING PASSION in one punch, the battle is decided. I swear, someone should have taken lessons in dealing with super robots (don’t allow them to talk, combine, or power up). Peace reigns in the town once more, and the young ones give the El Dora team their well-deserved respect.
So, where does this take us? I liken episode 3 of Gun X Sword to be both a love letter to old anime fans, and an apology to newer ones. The old fans should be glad–the episode was well done, with great attention given to showcasing the old-school awesomeness of El Dora V (the fancy colorful uniforms, the cheesy catchphrases, and the hot blood that we all love). It was enough to make me smiling with glee during the whole action scene. For the new fans, well, the prospect of a deranged madman attacking the blogosphere with giant tentacles is highly unlikely, but it bears noting that despite their cantankerous aura, most old fans mouth off their nonsense to be simply heard. They aren’t all that bad! Maybe they want you to watch the shows they had loved when they were young, or are reminding you that there’s life beyond moe. There’s not much difference between the El Dora team and old anime fans–they’re all young at heart.
Maybe I’m all too optimistic; after all, I don’t really speak for anyone. But El Dora V rekindles my passion for the shows of my youth, as well as remind me how a new anime can create a proper homage while delivering something new to the genre.