Special Duty Combat Unit Shinesman

April 26, 2004 on 2:04 pm | In Shinesman | Comments Off on Special Duty Combat Unit Shinesman

Another in the long line of OVAs – and this time a corporate sentai parody!
Shinesman tells the story of a team of office workers who fight for justice and workplace contracts and whatnot. Actually, it’s never explained why such a force is necessary, or where the monsters come from.
But when the aliens from Planet Voice take on the guises of the heads of a rival organisation planning to merge with Right Trading, the Shinesman team’s company, they … It’s difficult to put this story into words, so I won’t bother.

Shinesman is a low key satirical affair, which hints at a deeper drama that never quite surfaces. The jokes are never explicitly played out, they’re simply there.
The voice casting was extremely deliberate, with each character’s surname matching that of their seiyuu. Let me tell you, they chose some pretty good surnames for these characters. The problem that the public has with the Shinesman team is that their colours are dull – salmon pink, moss green, sepia and grey? Those aren’t heroic colours at all! Only Shinesman Red makes an impression on the young audience, and Matsumoto tries his hardest to be a true office worker.

Good satire takes itself seriously while poking fun all the while. It’s a very fine line, and Shinesman walks it with style. It’s not the most uproarious thing ever, but the inspiration that the characters take from Yota when he says “It’s your job, and I respect you for that” is sweet and funny. It also plays against type, because children who are being deserted by those who have to go off for a higher cause are generally sad and disappointed.
It’s for this reason that the means that they use to defeat Princess Shiina’s first monster is both touching and hilarious – the highest point in the two episodes. These aren’t typical “reasons to fight”, and the “business card cutter” is not going to be defeating any monster any time soon.

The characters are attractive, the voices are nice, and the songs are great traditional hero pieces. The translation isn’t quite literal enough at times: “No no no tax!” becomes simply “no tax” and “Go, Shinesman! Shine, Shinesman!” is simply “Go, Shinesman, Go!”. But mostly it all makes sense.

Sadly, the interesting (and dramatic) storyline never reaches a conclusion, coming from the same school as Dragon Half: an incomplete OVA that lives on in (untranslated) manga form.
But if you can get it cheap, it’s probably worth the effort.

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