TOKUSOU KIHEI DORVACK (aka Special Armored Battalion Dorvack)

Episode One: Year 1999 - The Beginning of the Battle

Synopsis:  A large spaceship travels through the void of space. Aboard it are a race known as the Idelians. They have been traveling for 200,000 years and now have encountered energy readings on a nearby planet. Their mysterious leader determines this planet will suite them perfectly and orders an immediate attack. The Idelian forces converge on the planet--Earth, easily picking off the interceptors sent to stop them. However, when they reach the surface they encounter Dorvack Unit--three humans (Masato Mugen, Pierre Bonaparte and Louise Oberon) that control Mecha vehicles (called "Variable Machines") and had been previously engaged in a military drill. Thanks to their machines, the Idelians they fight are outmatched and quickly destroyed. But the battle is over--the war is just beginning!

Comments:  Although the series ran 36 episodes I only had easy access to the first episode (which is why more of them aren't reviewed here). I got a copy of an .avi file from the internet (the series apparently had a Japanese release but no domestic one of which I am aware). Since it was based off a toyline I presume the overall story was Humans vs. Idelians anyway. The animation is reasonably good for its time although the plot is a pretty typical anime theme for that era (aliens invade, only the best and brightest of Earth with the most advanced technology can stop them). It's nothing really special or memorable as stories go but it is a competent series on its own merits. I found the background music to be a bit annoying in places (I guess it could've been worse though).
    Also, the subtitling is iffy in places--like somebody did a rush job or didn't speak good english themselves. Words are missing on occasion ("Let's get out of here and report Captain Takagi" instead of "report TO Captain Takagi"). Another instant early on has them reporting Earth's atmosphere has "H20, Earth and Argon" in it which makes it sound odd. If they said Earth's "environment" had that, it would've made sense. But the atmosphere has nitrogen, oxygen and other gases in something got mixed up in the translation.

Technical Details:

- 36 episodes total (originally broadcast in Japan, 1983-84)
- Japanese language soundtrack only (with English sub-titles).
(Apparently, the series was dubbed into Portugese at some point but I could find no evidence of an English dub.)
- This series was created to spotlight a toyline by a company called Takatoku. However, the toyline did not sell well and the company went out of business.

Transformers Relevance:

- The only animated appearances of what would be known as Roadbuster and Whirl in North America's Transformers line (those figures also appeared in different scale in The Convertors toyline as well).