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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Another production from the Tsuburaya company (Megaloman etc) This is
clearly a low budget monster movie segmented into different episodes.
After millions of years, dinosaurs start wreaking havoc on earth, under
the guidance of inflexible emperor Ululu. Their claim ( as in Go
Nagai's animated series "Getter Robot" ) is that earth should once more
belong to them. From their underground "kingdom" ( underground kingdoms
of all sorts abound in 1970's Japanese cartoon & else productions ),
dinosaurs start to strike.
Their enemy is a special squad called "D group": a man ( Zen Tachibana ), his sister Ai, plus two supporting characters: the short & chubby Ippai and the old & skinny Barra. Their weapon is an armored tank, which is composed of two distinct vehicles. The second vehicle (Izen II ) can also fly: Barra & Ippai are its crew. The first vehicle (Izen I ) can turn into some sort of flying drilling machine ( ala Atragon ). Yet Ai and Zen can fight after the transformation for only 3,3 minutes.
Ai & Zen are in fact cyborgs, not humans. After an accident, professor Torii, the scientist-leader of the group, had given them new bodies.
The series is part cartoon (EG characters are cartoons. You get mixed scenes where cartoon are superposed to miniatures etc )
and part a (very) low budget Godzilla kind of movie, with miniatures, men in suit etc (Tsuburaya was the man behind Godzilla's & other Toho movies SFX ).
The series develops a series of clichéd characters, namely the quick tempered yet wise Zen, the sweet and compassionate Ai, the clumsy Ippai and the quiet Barra.
Are dinosaurs there on their own? The series is divided into 2 segments. At the end of the first, emperor Ululu ( A talking T-rex ) must confront its master, who at first talks from behind an idol, but in the end appears as Gottes, a humanoid with superior powers coming from the black nebula.
Ululu is finally killed, yet Ai is seriously wounded and she's dying. A fortunate coincidence wants that a power surge get in the way, giving her superior strenght. The next battle sees a new hero in town: a giant humanoid called Superizen, who can fight with dinosaurs toe to toe using various weapons, EG blades. Now Ai & Zen can transform into the giant Superizen. New dinosaurs look at times more like Mechagodzillas than else.
Gottes got himself a wife, in the meantime: Zobena. Zobena is the greatest breeder and trainer from the black nebula...and Izenborg must face outer space monsters, not only dinosaurs. At times Zobena & Gottes star in clumsy scenes.
In the end Zobena is killed and Gottes must deal with another avenger from outer space: a mysterious man named Musashi and his giant (yet friendly) dinosaur Golder. Musashi joins forces with Izenborg and together they assault the underground kingdom. Golder is killed trying to protect Superizen, and Musashi himself dies to allow Superizen to kill the (apparently) immortal Gottes.
As a way to thank Musashi for his sacrifice, Ai and Zen leave earth on a spaceship to take Musashi's place as upolders of justice in the universe.
It heavily relies upon standardized character; SFX are good budget, era & genre-wise. Many episodes revolve around personality or psychological conflicts. Character development (as in many Japanese cartoon of the era ) is rather wooden and stereotypical. Still better than some Toho or Daiei production upto that date. However, it's still men in suit & garage sale toys ( 100x more like The Mysterians than Final wars ). In at least one episode whom ought to be 30 meter tall giants fighting in a cave look 110% like men in suit wrestling on the grass. An English dubbed partial adaptation exists as Attack Of The Super Monsters.
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