Mayoi Neko Overrun, a show that I only knew thanks to its amazing ping pong scene, decided to take a break and air a straight-faced Brave Series homage instead. It is the best episode I have ever watched from the show, and the only one I’ll ever watch from it.
It’s wonderfully crazy. Whoever directed this episode had an acute understanding of how ’90s robot shows worked: All the Brave Series elements are in full force: sentient, talking robots, evil overlords wrapped in capes and perennially gloating at the heroes’ feebleness, gattai upon gattai, a rival character who teams up with the heroes, the laughable animation budget, and an eminent invasion by even more powerful beings right after beating the supposed Big Bad. Yeah, it’s the last episode alright, which doesn’t matter a bit–I probably know everything that happened before. I just do.
For sheer authenticity, they got Yoshiki Fukuyama to perform the OP, which was also played during the episode’s climax, unsurprisingly.
I’d like to compare it to another show-within-a-show, Gekiganger III (of Martian Successor Nadesico fame). Both were throwbacks to simpler, idyllic times when mecha anime didn’t need to include labyrinthine plots and impenetrable themes (the Toei robot shows of the ’70s for Gekiganger, and the Sunrise Brave shows of the ’90s for Grandbraver). However, Gekiganger III aped the material it paid homage to perfection, while Grandbraver incorporates elements from super robot shows of the past decade (Godannar, Gravion, Dancouga Nova), which catered to grown-up mecha fans who have developed other interests, if you know what I mean.
Instead of hot-blooded men with sideburns, we have teenage girls wearing bare-legged pilot suits (which sadly never got featured in the actual episode). Purists will complain, but an episode of Mayoi Neko Overrun will have to feature characters from its own show, right? Right?