Ah, the series that started the whole Yuusha franchise... Yuusha Exkaiser is the 1st installment of the 8 Yuusha (Brave) series that have been released.
For those who don't know about the Yuusha series, here's some brief information on it. GaoGaiGar, being arguably the most well known out of them all, Yuusha series all involve giant transformable mechas (robots) that basically fight evil and save the world. Although they all have "Yuusha" in the title, they are not connected to each other story wise. Here are all the series listed chronologically.
You could say that I basically grew up watching the Yuusha series! I decided to write a review on Exkaiser first as although it's not a popular one, it is the one that started it all.
This series is aimed towards children. The episodes are not related to one another for the most part. Most episodes follow a same formula. I will not get into the specifics of the story as I don't want to spoil anything here, but basically, you could skip a couple episodes here and there and you really wouldn't be lost until you get to the later part of the series when the storyline really starts to count. If you try to have a marathon of some sorts, you might get kind of tired of it as it does kind of get repetitive.
This is an old school anime. The transformation/combination scenes are still quite impressive, bust just don't have a high expectations. When you look at the character designs, there's definitely that 80's~90's feel to them. The characters designs remind me of Hayao Miyazaki’s characters. The animation’s nothing too extraordinary, but it really isn’t too bad if you think about when it came out and how many episodes there are. Now, the highlight of the series: the mechas! Many of them transform from vehicles to robots (should remind you of Transformers) and they combine to form bigger and more powerful robots. I’ve always loved combination sequences... The animation and art quality is much better in those scenes as they are reused. The mechas are quite nicely designed and although I would be biased in saying this, I do like them better than the Transformers franchise.
Voice actings are well done as they are done nicely to fit into the show smoothly (kind of cheesy as the intended audience is children, but it’s not too terrible). The soundtrack’s quite nice and they kind of have that nostalgic feel to them. Unfortunately, the OP and ED songs stay the same all the way through the series, but it really wasn’t a huge factor for me. Basically, the music tracks are quite good and they fit the "good vs. evil" theme of the series.
The main characters of the show are a boy called, Kouta and a transformable car called, Exkaiser, who actually is a space police (don’t worry this is revealed in the beginning of episode 1). Kouta is a typical boy with good nature and Exkaiser has that perfect trait as a hero – a dedicated and an unshaken will to fight evil and protect others. I’ve felt that Kouta could’ve had a little more distinct personality rather than being a typical boy. There are other transformable mechas, some good, and some bad. From what I remember, no personalities were extreme or really unique, which was a little downer for me.
ENJOYMENT & FINAL THOUGHTS
This is one of the series that you should watch without huge expectations. It was worth watching for me, because it is the first Yuusha series. I’ve actually watched many of the later Yuusha series before watching this series. People who have little or no experience with older anime might find it a little difficult to keep watching, which is understandable. Still, if you're fan of the Yuusha (Brave) series, or just a mecha fan in general, this series is certainly worth taking a look.
I won’t waste your time and explaining the background and conception of Exkaiser because you get that information anywhere and I assume you are reading this to get my thoughts on the matter.
With that being said I’ll be upfront in that Exkaiser generally isn’t worth watching, frankly if you’ve seen one episode you’ve seen it all, in many ways the formulaic style of the show harkens back to the monster of the week format of 70s super robot animes there is a reason the genre evolved beyond that point as it just gets boring after a while and no variation is added to mix after
all the characters get introduced only further adding to the tedium.
Even the story as barebones and simplistic as it is botched as characters are introduced without any explanation of how they got there, it really says something about how inept Exkaiser is at conveying at information when a sword is given a reason but why it’s there but a support unit that is integral to Exkaiser’s final isn’t provided a origin.
I should also mention that Exkaiser tries also to have elements of comedy though it’s executed as well as everything else in this show, the humor is milktoast at best and passes as a running gags fall victim to the aforementioned repetition and what jokes were once somewhat funny are overused to the point where they lose all their luster.
Things fare much better on the visual department, in due part because of Kunio Okawara’s always excellent mechanical design. As for animation, it’s generally very fluid and there are no moments where techniques are used for the sake of lazy animation.
Ultimately while this series has it’s faults it did lay the groundwork for the rest of the brave series and each successive entry would improve upon the foundation laid down by Exkaiser, and that would be the best way to describe Exkaiser; as a prototype it’s unfinished and faulty but a necessary step to be taken for the creation of better works.