Souzou Haran was a brilliant scientist that was conducting research on Mars. He created a form of cyborg life with the ability to think for itself. These cyborgs, dubbed the Meganoids, soon ran out of control and killed Dr. Haran along with his whole family, save his youngest son, the 16-year-old Banjou Haran. Banjou escapes from Mars on a rocket with a solar-powered super robot called Daitarn 3, which was built with the special metals of Mars. Now eighteen years old and living on Earth in a luxurious mansion, Banjou fights against the Meganoids with the aid of his faithful butler Garrison and his two gorgeous companions Reika and Beauty. Together they must stop the evil Meganoids which aspire to turn all humans into cyborgs and thus "improve" the human race.
Daitarn 3 has a lot of things going for it, being a 70s episodic super robot show. It is very humorous and will often make you laugh out loud, Watanabe's music is great and some of the tracks are quite memorable, watching the central cast interact is very entertaining, and the typical monster of the week format most of these shows employ has a spin on it making this series more dynamic than most in this sub-genre. Although it does follow the monster of the week model, each "monster" (Meganoid) that Daitarn 3, Banjou, and his group of allies must defeat each episode is given
a unique personality and a human form, and each episode is tailored to reflect upon that episode's villain. The first half of each episode is about Banjou and his allies trying to defeat a Meganoid Commander and his or her henchmen, making it not feel much like a mecha show at all. These segments make the show feel like a Lupin III-esque action show, and portray gun fights, car chases, fist fights, women fawning over Banjou, and various gags. As I mentioned before, much of the show's appeal is in the comedy. The second half of each episode however, is where the super robot battles and attack name announcements come into play. Which are just as fun to watch.
As for the plot, there is some semblance of an over-arching plot going on through the series that is realized at the end. It's not incredibly deep, but over the course of 40 episodes, you're occasionally given bits of information regarding the antagonists and why the main character has so much animosity towards them. Once things begin to wrap up in the final episodes, the outcome is actually somewhat tragic. Not nearly as tragic or intense as Tomino's previous super robot work, Zambot 3, but the series still ends on relatively grim note, which is interesting given the mostly light hearted nature of the series. The characters themselves get little to no development, but they are good, funny characters and that's all that really matters in this case. Garrison (Banjou's butler) is personally my favorite character from the show, but Banjou himself is a great lead character as well. Little can be said about the main antagonists without spoiling the story, but they are pretty solid for a super robot series, albeit being a little under-developed.
The music and animation hold up well for how dated it is, the music in particular. The music is very fitting and just feels classic all around, I personally loved it and even searched out the OST. 70s groovy-ness at it's finest. The animation isn't too much to write home about, but it's very comical which is why I give it praise. Even for late 70s it's a little weak at times, but the strength of the animation comes in the hilarious character expressions and situations they're put in. To it's credit from a critical standpoint though, there are several still-shots throughout the show that look great.
Overall the average anime fan probably won't love Daitarn 3, but any anime fans interested in mecha, or even just comedy, may want to add this one to the list someday. It's a super robot show that people outside the realm of mecha fandom can enjoy despite it's dated elements, episodic nature, and lack of proper plot development.