As I've said before, I was pleasantly surprised by this series, because it didn't seem like much from looking at the cover. I'd say it's my second favorite mecha series from what I've seen so far. (Yes, I'll be honest and say that as a whole, I enjoyed it more than Gunbuster.)
I thought the monster-of-the-week formula would bore me after a while, but every episode entertained me (except for the recap episode, which I skipped). So it had good consistency. In fact, I thought the two episodes that didn't involve any robot/monster fighting were pretty funny and touching, thanks to the great cast of characters.
But probably what I liked the most is that unlike Gurren Lagann, this show is very down-to-earth. It is not EPIC. It's about normal people living normal lives, whose jobs just happen to involve a giant robot. In fact, at times this show reminded me of an office sitcom more than anything, and one of the main themes of the show is of being able to take pride in your job.
I liked that the Heterodynes ended up being equivalent to natural disasters which humanity will just have to deal with from now on, like earthquakes or hurricanes. The true antagonists were politics and corporate beauracracy. And sometimes the best solutions were to not fight the Heterodynes at all. For the heroes, the focus was always just to help people, not win battles.
Yeah, I consider it a character. What I liked about this mech is that, again in contrast to Gurren Lagann, Dai-Guard is slow, clumsy, and fragile. It's very expensive to run and maintain. It takes some degree of skill and experience to operate correctly, and needs at least three people piloting it. In short, it looks like a super robot and fights like a super robot, but for everything else it's rather realistic. And that made it endearing to me. XD
At first I dismissed him as a typical shounen protagonist, until I realized that he's actually just a mecha otaku working a boring PR office job at a security corporation, not wanting to grow up, and always dreaming of piloting a giant robot, but never really able to. Until finally the opportunity arrives, and of course HE GOES FOR IT! XD He could be childish, annoyingly enthusiastic, rash, and naive, but he's got a good heart, knows what the priority is in a mission, is willing to disobey orders if he disagrees with them, even at the risk of losing his job, and extremely determined. I ended up liking him a lot. My favorite scenes of his: 1)his hilarious monolgue when he was annoying Ibuki in episode 8, and 2)when he climbed down Mt. Fuji in the middle of a snowstorm and nearly died, then escaped from the hospital. LOL.
A quality heroine indeed. I really liked how her subplot ended, in that she realized that her father, who she always hero-worshipped, was only human. And then realized that her step-father, who she acted like a bitch towards for most of the series, was heroic in his own way, by helping people as a doctor. That was really sweet. :D I also liked that she wasn't paired up with Akagi or Aoyama just because she's the main female. (In my mind, I imagine her someday dating that young doctor guy who works with her step-father.)
I didn't care about him as much as some other characters, but I did think it was cute how he'd prefer to let people think he's a coward and a lazy jerk who'd rather chase after girls than work, when really he's taking time off to worry over his sick mother. That was just AWWW. XD Chiaki's crush on him in the second half was cute too, and it'd be pretty adorable if they got together because he's supposed to be a handsome ladykiller type and she's a shy girl wearing glasses. Awwwwwww.
Probably the character who went through the most changes in the show. In the beginning he's constantly SERIOUS and uptight and a pain in the butt, and by the end he's actually smiling and taking it easy more often and disobeying orders. Akagi's influence changes him so much and it's great.
I admit I found her voice annoying, but she was a very fun character. An eccentric 17-year-old genius secretly working in the technology department, sitting in a dark room all day in front of computers and constantly eating junk food. Friggin goes to a bath house in the middle of a crisis to think over a problem, taking her laptop with her. So many lulz. Also, the chief mechanic guy crushing over her was pretty hilarious and cute. I want to see them get together but I'm not sure if she'd ever notice that he likes her. XD
Even though she's a side character, she ended up being one of my favorites. I liked that she was gutsy enough to at one point volunteer piloting Dai-Guard when Akagi couldn't make it, even though she'd never been trained for it. Her joy in finally being able to be proud of what she does for a living is very easy to relate to, and how she wants to protect the city because she's from Hiroshima and grew up hearing about what that kind of destruction could do to people's lives...wow. Also, Akagi/Ooyama OTP. They reeeaally need to get together. I just think she cares about him and believes in him the most, and they compliment each other well. So yeah, it needs to happen. :D
LULZ. I don't even remember her name, but this lady cracked me up. She's just....I don't even know how to describe her. XD
And finally, here's a picture of Dai-Guard that I found on /m/. No idea where it comes from, but I think it's awesome.
So do I recommend it? Yes, if you're looking for a good mecha series to try out, or just a fun anime in general. I'm not sure if I would have shelled out money for it myself, but I am happy that I have the whole thing and will probably rewatch it a few times. Actually, you can buy it pretty cheaply over here. 26 episodes for just under $30. Not bad. :O It's gotten good reviews too from what I've seen, though sadly it still seems very underrated.