Dokkoida anime review

Dokkoida anime review
Suzuo Sakurazaki just moved into the big city from the countryside, but has had no luck in getting a job. Meanwhile, the Galaxy Federation Police (GFP) is in desperate need of cleaning up their flawed reputation and a toy company representative named Tanpopo needs someone to fit into her prototype power suit to win a mass-production contract with the GFP. At the last minute, Tanpopo recruits Suzuo to become the diaper-clad superhero Dokkoida in exchange for a place to stay. However, in order to keep his room, Suzuo must keep his identity a secret above all else; especially since his new rivals and some intergalactic criminals live in the same apartment building.

Dokkoida looks to be an entirely predictable sort of parody, and it almost is. Almost.

If you were to glance at the box, you would expect Dokkoida to be yet another series about an unassuming young fellow who gets roped into playing superhero in a dorky-looking costume, and you would be right. You would expect it to feature a collection of flamboyant supervillains with personality quirks, and you would be right. You would expect at least one episode involving all the female characters, a hotspring, and voyuerism, and you would be right.

You would probably expect Dokkoida to be juvenile, unoriginal, rather tame, totally predictable, and pretty much yet another generic anime parody. This is where you would be wrong.

See, Dokkoida walks along the well-trod "superhero who isn't really super" path, but it does so in a drunken stagger that keeps lurching off into the shrubbery, and it sure doesn't keep off the grass. One episode will race past so fast that the punchlines are trampled and the gags seem to be out of breath, the next will be mellow and oddly melancholy, and after that it'll take an obvious set-up and do something equal parts standard turnabout, totally hilarious, and rather horrifying.

To start with, Dokkoida manages to elevate the anticlimax to an art form. It may look like it's full of somewhat goofy action, but more than half the episodes don't even have a battle, and every single one that does actually doesn't. Oh, they try, but the weather is too hot to bother fighting, the villains are so distracted they wander off halfway through, or their evil powers are malfunctioning so badly that the heroes just go home.

Then there's the fact that a series with no nudity at all (not even a transformation sequence!), no functional romantic tension, no traditionally crude jokes, and what would superficially seem to be elementary-school sensibilities is somewhere between dirty and way dirty. It probably sets the record for "most dialogue with a guy in a gimp mask onscreen," and if it doesn't, I certainly don't want to know what does. In fact, pretty much every moment the largely-mute (he's gagged, after all) Pierre is onscreen borders on horrifying.

On the far opposite end of the spectrum, you have the reality TV episode, which savages the obligatory hotspring trip as the base pandering it is. The cameramen (creepy little dudes hiding in the bushes, of course) take every possible opportunity to leer at the female characters in the most obvious and unsavory way. That alone was effective enough at making the sort of cheap thrills so many male-oriented series go for simultaneously funny and un-thrilling, and then it takes the fanservice gut-punch a step farther. The thing is, although they're age-ambiguous aliens, two of the girls appear to be way below the age of majority, and not only does Dokkoida most definitely go there, it proceeds to cut to the Reality TV audience and beat the viewer over the head with just how depraved you are if you were thinking along those lines.

Oh, and there are also innuendo-laden previews which, while not breaking any new ground, left me feeling like I needed to take a shower at least twice. So inappropriate.

Whether all this so-dirty-it's-not-at-all-erotic content is hilarious or horrifying is up to you (I vote both), but it's sure impressive. If nothing else, the preposterously busty Dominatrix deserves points for bordering on naked every minute she's onscreen yet not seeming at all like fanservice--in part because the rest of the cast is proportioned something like actual humans, she actually works as a parody, rather than an excuse for gravity-defying cleavage.

On the more conventional front, there's the superhero business, which in fact isn't super or heroic at all. If you boil it down, the whole thing is a test project for a government contract, including the well-regulated villains, so the few people they manage to save (which isn't many) were only in danger in the first place because the government put them there. The titular protagonist is, if you read between the lines, essentially a marketing tool for a toy company whose superpower is the placebo effect. His heroic competition, Neruloid Girl, is well-funded, well-armed, better-looking, and basically totally outclasses him in everything but stupidity.

And in the end, Marronflower--seemingly the totally stock mad scientist--turns out to be by far the most competent member of the entire cast. He, of course, has a somewhat creepy fascination with dating sims, but that doesn't change the fact that he's the only serious one in the lot. In fact, he and his robot-in-a-maternal-but-attractive-body sidekick Kurika have the only dramatic bits in the series.

The bottom line here is that for such an apparently generic series it's amazingly unpredictable and darned funny for it. It also does enough just-plain-wrong things that it gets my seal of "Seriously Messed-Up Humor" approval... you've been warned.

The technical end of things is about par for this sort of TV series; the animation budget is good enough to support what little action there is, and sufficient to keep the visual gags and pratfalls lively. The character designs aren't original, but they are distinctive and likable. The mechanical design is generally ridiculous, which it's supposed to be.

I haven't watched the dub, but the Japanese version has plenty of variety in the veteran-heavy ensemble cast. Most importantly, the comic timing is good, though when it comes to really manic strings of gags it does trip over itself on occasion. Drama-wise, all you've got is Kurika and Marronflower, who are voiced capably by Sayaka Ohara and Kenichi Ogata. As for the two leads: Daisuke Namikawa (Suzuo) is well-cast as an everyman "hero," but sometimes sounds a little lower-energy than I'd have liked; Sawa Ishige is perfect as Tanpopo, the little girl who's not--appealing without being at all annoying.

Put everything together and you've got the framework of a generic comedy with so many tweaks on expectation, borderline-disturbing moments, and hilarious-if-you-really-think-about-it situations that it ends up being surprisingly unpredictable and usually darned funny. It's got so much going on it trips over its own momentum occasionally, but I'm more than willing to forgive that for something this unexpectedly funny.

Better than review, is a Trailer video of: Dokkoida. Watch it now:
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