Synonyms: Darosu, Battle for Moon Station Dallos
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Dec 12, 1983 to Jul 21, 1984
30 min. per episode
PG-13 - Teens 13 or older
L represents licensing company
Score: 6.171 (scored by 405 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
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SynopsisAt the end of the 21st century, Earth had to confront the problem of population increases combined with shortages in resources. Development of the Moon was seen as the way to solve the situation. The Moon's mineral resources reinvigorated the Earth and brought prosperity. However, the achievement of that vision proved painful for those who'd left their home world to settle on the Moon.
One of Man's greatest dreams has become a nightmare for those who have been forced to live it out. Shun Nonomura doesn't realize it, but he's about to discover a weapon - one that can overthrow the oppressive Monopolice and bring freedom to the lunar colonists. The growing resistance movemnt is quick to adopt it, along with its creator, into their ranks as they rally around the mysterious alien monument known as Dallos...
Dallos was made in 1983 by Studio Pierrot, becoming world's first OVA series. It was also the directorial debut of Mamoru Oshii, who would later go on to direct such films as Angel's Egg, the first two Urusei Yatsura movies, and Ghost in the Shell.
Related AnimeSummary: Dallos Special
Characters & Voice Actors
After watching Dallos, I was a tad disappointed.
I put too much hope in it, I suppose...
Think about it: the first ever OAVs, an ambitious director - Mamoru Oshii - who successfully directed at first Urusei Yatsura: Beautiful Dreamer, a newborn studio, some noteworthy collaborators like Hiroyuki Namba...
So why did it bomb ? In my opinion, this title was full of potential, but clearly misguided. Studio Pierrot is not Madhouse, if you catch my drift. While SP's staff isn't incompetent nor inexperienced, they're not flawless. Look at animation: it is painfully ropey, specially during action scenes. I'm not exacting about it, but it frankly remains a key aspect, in this very case. Too bad because they're not too shabby, apart from that...
I'll be abrupt though: Dallos would even be way better if they were more unobtrusive. Instead of focusing to McCoy's radical group combat against Moon's directorship, drama needed more work. In fact, I can hardly sympathize with miners' disputations: they don't seem to starve to death, they live on nice, spacious, clean adobe houses with all their families, they're allowed to worship Dallos, they have a beautiful park with frisking swans...
Of course, a miner's life is far from being paradise, but this is close to be the best that can be offered to them. ID headbands for everyone ? Isn't this because of said terrorist group ? If earthlings are proslavery, it doesn't show well.
Now, allow me to draw a parallel between Dallos and a book from Emile Zola, Germinal. In the latter, workers' daily life is depicted with heaps of details. As you finish to read, you get their motivations to stand against their rulers: mutual and blatant incomprehension, miserable wage just high enough to survive, absurdly high working hours, no possible labor union, outdated conditions of work...
You understand what I imply by "misguided", now ? That's right, I think it could have been finer if half of serie was centered around average Lunarians point of view, putting aside actual battles. Hell, even Dallos point of view would cut it. In the actual anime, we're left clueless about its condition. Is it a monument, a temple, an actual God ?...
To think it's only scripted as a sentient battlefield is sad.
And you know it's bad when you find yourself rooting for Alex Riger in place of Doug and Shun ! Yay, they're supposed to be the good guys, after all.
Imagery is beautiful. Shots of the moon stations, vessels, Dallos Itself...
But as I stated it doesn't particularly strengthen the drama. Definitely lacks depth in that regard. Same with the characters, they try to sound stylish, but I don't stick with their respective ideology to begin with. They're boring for the most part.
The sole breath of fresh air is Alex. Because he's not your generic evil bureaucrat. At some point, he even questions legitimacy of his function. That makes him remotely likeable, unlike rest of the cast. Also, he may have tight jodhpur pants but he has sideburns. Sideburns are manly, therefore it's dope :s
I don't have much to say about character design. It's simple, functional, devoid of out of place fantasy. It's good by my standards. On the other hand, general mecha design betrays title's age. Not like it's important since storyline doesn't dwell on showcasing different technologies used by our futuristic civilization, anyway.
Music wise, it's groovey. Synthetic boogie will accompany you throughout the four episodes. Deal with it. If you don't have a knack for it, Hiroyuki Namba's score will likely annoy you. As an enthusiast retro watcher, I do enjoyed it. In any case, opening theme has my total approval ! It has that mystic and yet dramatic tension tied to it...
Too bad entire soundtrack wasn't composed with that main idea in mind.
All in all, it's an affair of genre development: Oshii wanted to appeal both scifi fans and drama lovers at the same time. Former aspect isn't far from being subpar, latter isn't very well conducted, not enough to highlight Dallos' contribution in Japanese animation History.
It's a forgettable, inconclusive, sometimes tedious show. I can't say it blew my mind. However, it's unfair to say it completely sucks. It doesn't...
Not too demanding science-fiction afficionados who digs depressing ends to their animes would surely wanna keep it for rainy days. read more
How could a show with ravenous cyberdogs and rocket-propelled moon-skiing be anything other than great? I guess when the story is less about those novel ideas and more an epic tale of Proletariat v. Bourgeoisie in Space.
Earth hasn’t been the happiest of planets these days. Lacking sufficient energy and dealing with increased pollution meant we had to look outside our pale blue dot to survive. Fortunately (or unfortunately as Dallos shows) that last hope happened to be a little dusty ball orbiting roughly a quarter-million miles away.
Sometime in the 21st century, the Moon was heavily colonized and turned into the biggest mining operation this side of the solar system. Things are finally getting better on terra firma, its inhabitants able to regain the idyllic days they used to know. Life on the Moon could hardly be worse. The Lunarites used to be hailed as heroes back home, but now everyone is so used to the return to prosperity that no one pays them any heed. Worse still, the ruling party on the Moon itself is treating them like worthless insects. So what is a subjugated group supposed to do?
Apparently if you’re not part of a union, it’s best to grab a gun.
Which is just about where I start asking little logical consistency questions I probably shouldn’t. Why are there any sorts of armaments on the Moon to begin with? Certainly there were no indigenous tribes of lunar rocks that needed quelling. That whole ‘vacuum of space problem’ necessitates that a strong infrastructure be developed before a single person is living lunarside. So wouldn’t you just arm your law enforcement with batons or cattle prods and call it a day? Aren’t you worried that a stray bullet or laser rifle pulse would blast a hole in the city’s protective dome and vent everyone faster than the air escaping this plot? And why the devil do you need fast hover cars with retractable stilt-legs when the population’s preferred form of locomotion are feet and the subway. And you do know where the latter stops occasionally, don’t you?
Characters also take a backseat in Dallos’ plot-driven narrative. It’s all about the struggle of the rebel workers against their overlords. Everyone is merely an archetype: the impressionable youth, unsure which side is right; the rebel leader with his insistence that the Lunarites deserve independence; the villain who must confront these rebels and a growing suspicion that the establishment may be unjust. While there are moments when they are conflicted as individuals, there is hardly much proof that they are anything other than pawns in the story’s telling and are ultimately interchangeable.
Even the plot feels strained. Granting that the present situation is sensible without argument broaches the question: why is this happening? Is there any benefit to the maltreatment of the Lunarites? How are they being hurt? All the men have barrel-chests and forearms as big as thighs, so they are obviously not being starved. There isn’t much romance going on, but there is nothing pointing to the fact that people are forbidden from falling in love and starting families. As best I can figure, the Lunarites just aren’t allowed to go back to Earth, but no one really seems to want to other than the nostalgic elders pining for halcyon days. This lack of concrete evidence really hampers one from hating the ruling body or cheering on the rebels.
Since this has been dubbed the very first OVA, I feel like I’m treading on hallowed ground and to be critical is to be sacrilegious. The plot and characters are shallow. That much is clear. The technical and artistic production, however, is fantastic. The animation is surprisingly fluid and the action constructed better than shows that were made a decade later. It’s violent, without being graphic. People die, but the carnage is understated. Costume design is… a little absurd, but forgivable.
Only in the 80s can you still get away with giving a girl a pink spacesuit without being laughed at or having your face slapped.
Instead of a desiccated series of moonbases on the lunar surface, the inhabitants live in built-up craters encased in bubble domes. There’s a breathable atmosphere, blue sky and clouds, and homes erected all along the inner walls that look like adobe pueblos out south-western America. Call it terraforming on a tiny scale, minus the greenery.
There really is a Man in the Moon too. For some reason, left unexplained, a mechanical face rests at the bottom of one particular deep crater. The Lunarites think it might be a god. Despite the mystery we never learn much about it, although I will say that it results in maybe the single coolest visual change to occur in an OP. Great imagery is the best Dallos has to offer. At one point we see a statue depicting a host of people either climbing towards, or being crushed by, the Moon. Even the lunar graveyard is hauntingly poetic, impotently staring at the planet it cannot reach and unable to turn away due to synchronous rotation.
The music is so totally 80s. You just can’t not love it. From the grand sweeping orchestration of the OP with its violins and flutes to the slightly-poppy synthesizer bits throughout. It makes you wonder why dramatic moments in today’s shows always have to sound so, well, dramatic. Where has the sense of fun gone? Why can’t action have a happy theme song?
Dallos stops short of being a space-based rumination on communism, but it also stops short of a lot of things. What moments of poetry and introspection exist are not woven into a pleasing whole. I can’t recommend it, but I can’t dissuade you from it either. If you’d like a quick two-hour hop into an action-centric show, you’ll probably be entertained. Anyone searching for further depths will only find the cold depths of space.
Explore at your own risk. read more
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