Sadamitsu the Destroyer
The `magic warrior' genre is not really the proudest offspring of anime. It certainly has durability though with the familiar elements still being strongly expressed in a variety of modern shows...of which this is one. Then again it does have a couple of elements to extend the traditional formula.
Though this originality is least expressed in the story. The first episode introduces two conflicts. One is Sadamitsu a juvenile delinquent who loves to fight and is rather good at it, although he also possesses a good and honorable nature. For example he generally takes first aid supplies to any gang rumble, so his opponents can patch themselves up afterwards. At the same time as this goes on an armored humanoid and monstrous alien are having a super-powered battle around the city. Naturally enough these two stories simply have to cross over.
And, to the surprise of absolutely no one, they do. With Sadamitsu's intervention being partly responsible for the alien hunter being largely disassembled. Only his helmet remains as the alien looks set to continue its rampage. Luckily the alien space helmet can be worn by a human, Sadamitsu is determined to atone for his earlier error, and the alien is after one of his friends. It looks like Sadamitsu now has both some level of super powers and a job to do. A job that looks to be sizable when the helmet, christened by him as `junk', informs him that there are several million aliens on their way.
Rich in spoilers? not really, because the opening credits to the show basically spell it all out. And, in all honesty, we've seen it all before. An impressively tough and resilient human teenager, with a good heart, suddenly gaining impressive super-human powers. Powers that must be used to fight powerful and diabolical foes. It really does not score at all highly on the subtlety or originality scales. Indeed those who have no tolerance for this `macho' power and posturing style will probably leave here.
As I mentioned, however, it does have some signs to make it clear that it is a modern anime product. The first is some degree of angst and character in Sadamitsu himself. Whereas in the good old days a teenager could simply devote himself to pulping alien nasties it is not so easy for Sadamitsu. For one thing he keeps his `social' life alive, he takes the helmet to school and must interact with fellow students, and the police, giving the show more character work than you might expect. In addition he has his own `feelings' on the matter. While a tough fighter the idea of killing is repulsive to him, meaning that he actually `thinks' and considers about what he is doing.
The aliens also seem to have caught a bad case of `character'. Rather than simply being super-aggressive cannon fodder they have some variety and personality, which is also expressed in very different physical forms. For example while the first alien is a `hunter' the second simply enjoys the thrill of movement and is not, per se, evil. In addition the earth authorities are a little too involved in the story, something going on there. And, to add excitement, it seems the aliens actually have powerful enemies of their own. Enemies powerful enough to cause the helmet to turn chicken. And, as a final twist, it seems like at least some of the alien forces might have hidden themselves amongst humanity. Indeed the enemies of the alien enemies have done the same, ultimately leading to a character cooler, but even more confused, than Sadamitsu himself.
So as a result it does have reasonable elements of plot, character and introspection to give it a degree of depth. Enough to overcome the strong, and slightly corny, nature of the genre? no, not really. The whole `teenage warrior' granted powers to fight aliens is pretty silly in a whole lot of ways. In addition the character work is not terribly deep, or prolonged. While Sadamitsu is somewhat introspective his `fearless' and `never surrender' nature is somewhat over the top. Giving some sort of gung-ho aphorism while attempting to punch out an uber-alien simply makes you regard him as somewhat simple minded. At the end of the day this is a show that, while it will extend the formula somewhat, will follow the familiar pattern.
The production itself is actually pretty good. The design on the suit (ie. motorcycle helmet) is average but some of the aliens look pretty cool. They also move quite well, lots of energy effects and destructive explosions, and even the hand to hand is still quite well done. Quite a lot of blood and gore as well which many will consider as a good thing. To complement the quite decent action it has some reasonably imaginative plotting, good pace, interesting moves and can even generate a nice sense of atmosphere. The voices are a little too direct in many cases, but quite decent. The music is odd but effective, the energetic Southern American sounds in the opening and some quite atmospheric ambients at key points.
No reviews from my regular sources, nor does it have an entry in the Anime Encyclopedia, so it could be fairly modern.