El Dora V: Love Letter To Old Anime Fans, Apology To Newer Ones

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).

Takahiro Kimura is God

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.

Stubborn old men

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.

I approve of this Armor

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).

Chizuru's ghostChizuru’s ghost: +50 morale

Hot Blood: 2x damage on next attackHot Blood: 2x damage on next attack

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.

The bygone daysOld memories they may be…

New memories made…new ones we can always make!

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10 Responses to El Dora V: Love Letter To Old Anime Fans, Apology To Newer Ones

  1. ghostlightning says:

    Hmmm, seems quite interesting. Do you think I’ll like it as whole and not just for this homage?

  2. schneider says:

    The show has very good entertainment value. It’s also ridiculously over-the-top. Watch eeeeeeeet

  3. That totally went over my head when I watched that episode. I do agree, though, the whole “lololdshit” crap can get pretty annoying, even though I’ve only started watching old shows recently.

  4. OGT says:

    I meant to watch more than one episode of GUN X SWORD when it aired, and I failed to do so. I have kicked myself since.

    With the old fan vs. new fan dynamic, I, too, feel somewhat caught in the magnetic field between two repelling poles. I tend to waver between the two–closer to one here, closer to another there–but never really sticking with either, and feeling less at-home the closer I get to either pole.

    I think there’s a lot of those in the industry who think more like Goro here, though–JAM Project did an amazing remix/karaoke of Motteke! Sailor Fuku (I can never get enough of the choral intonation of “KAWAIIIIIII” towards the end) and generally bring passion to whatever they do, be it the SHIN MAZINGER SHOUGEKI! Z-HEN OP or the Scrapped Princess OP (which, honestly, is one of my favorites of theirs). I personally loved the Miura and Chico Umino cover swap in their respective Young Animal series (Berserk and 3-gatsu no Lion respectively)–the Umino cover was delightfully cute, and even if Miura refrained from drawing the cast of 3-gatsu no Lion as muscular bloodstained soldiers, the notion that two very different mangaka can do something like that seemingly spontaneously and friendly heartens me.

    That, and the Hidamari SketchDeath Note crossover doujin that made the crack about Golgo 13’s true ability. That still cracks me up today.

  5. I enjoyed this episode, but I never got beyond the first disc of the show. There’s a funny, but rather darker, take on mecha fans in particular in the tenth episode of s-CRY-ed, if you haven’t seen it already. (Later on s-CRY-ed tackles the harem genre, in a similarly cynical manner.)

  6. Tachyon says:

    I enjoyed reading this post and appreciate the thought that went into it. I enjoyed the Gun X Sword series but the topic of this post, the conflict between old vs. new anime fans gave me a lot to think about. I’m in my 30’s so not really all that old but I’ve taken a shine to older anime.

    The ideas and style of the older anime has a lot of appeal for me and the lower animation quality and older animation techniques never bothered me. Although I don’t fit squarely into the “old camp” I lean towards it more than the new.

    I’ve shied away from online anime communities because I got tired of all the new anime fans insulting people who like the older stuff. If it’s true that the fans of older anime are equally insulting than that’s a shame.

    • schneider says:

      Thanks. As for myself, I’ve been brought up on old anime, and consider it a special stage in growing up. I didn’t become a serious fan until 2005, but I was grounded enough in the classics to give respect where it’s due. As long as a show is good, I’ll like it despite its age.

      As for cancerous online communities, most of the belligerent fans hang out in anonymous imageboards anyway. My experience is that the mudslinging is equal between old and new fans, and it gets really ugly. However, the blogosphere is tamer compared to such places, and you can always choose not to read blogs that annoy you.

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