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Special Duty Combat Unit Shinesman (特務戦隊シャインズマン Tokumu Sentai Shainzuman?) is a Japanese anime OVA. It was released in Japan on February 21, 1996. It was written, based on the manga by Kaimu Tachibana, by Hideki Sonoda, and directed by Shinya Sadamitsu. The character designer was Akiharu Ishii. The video was produced by Gakken, Aniplex Inc., and Movic. The film has been dubbed into English by AnimeWorks/Media Blasters, and released on both Region 1 and 2 DVD.

Overview

The video is a parody of the famous Super Sentai series of tokusatsu programmes. As such, the plot is fairly thin and formulaic, but deliberately so. Essentially, the king of the alien planet Voice has declared war on the planet Earth. However, their war takes a most peculiar form — a war of Big Business. The king's plan is to send Prince Sasaki and his strategist, Seki, to Earth and form a corporation large enough to rule the world. They plan on achieving this by funding the television series "Greatman" and its marketing. However, Earth has its own team of heroes ready to fight back — The Special Duty Combat Unit Shinesman! Created by the Right Trading Company, the Shinesman team is inspired by the superhero television shows of the day, though their costume colors and weapons are distinctly absurd. The team, consisting of Shinesman Red, Shinesman Sepia, Shinesman Moss Green, Shinesman Salmon Pink, and Shinesman Gray, uses such weapons as "Business Card Cutters" and "Tie Clip Bombs" to combat their alien foes.[1]

Characters

The characters are each named after the original Japanese actors who performed their voices, many of whom are well known actors in their field. This was a deliberate ploy on the author's part in hopes that should a series ever materalize they would hire the seiyū she wanted for each role.[1]

Right Trading Company

  • Hiroya Matsumoto / Shinesman Red – A young man devoted to his little brother Yota who's a fan of the Greatman TV show, particularly Greatman Red. Matsumoto joined the Right Trading Company because his father was a loyal company employee. Imagine his surprise when he learned that he was to wear a costume. During his job interview, he was asked what color a superhero should be by Kyoko Sakakibara. Remembering his brother's preference for Greatman Red, Hiroya's response of red would ironically be the color of his Pro-Suit. Voiced by: Yasunori Matsumoto (Japanese), Scott Simpson (English)
  • Ryoichi Hayami / Shinesman Moss Green – Appears to be quite a ladies' man indeed ("I have a date with Turkish twins"). Basically Hayami shows Matsumoto the ropes at Right Trading Company. Voiced by: Sho Hayami (Japanese), David Wade (English)
  • Shogo Yamadera / Shinesman Grey – Yamadera is the kind of fellow who is so crazy about his car, a Montero, he tends to worry himself sick when someone else is working on it. Considers his color to be a regal, manly color. Voiced by: Kōichi Yamadera (Japanese), Rick Forrester (English)
  • Shotaro Ono / Shinesman Sepia – A devoted husband and father; his little daughter Tamari, seen on a photo on his desk, is the apple of his eye, so he buys her stuffed toy fish. He is not impressed with the team's weapons. Voiced by: Kenichi Ono (Japanese), Justin Smith (English)
  • Riko Hidaka / Shinesman Salmon Pink – The sole female on the team; an Office Lady who is not too crazy about being sent for cigarettes or coffee. She tends to crush things without meaning to. Voiced by: Noriko Hidaka (Japanese), Tamara Burham Mercer (English)
  • Kyoko Sakakibara – Manager of Human Resources and the team's second-in-command. She fantasizes about being a Shinesman herself and is not impressed with four of the team's colors. Her assistant is called Shi Nakamura. Voiced by: Yoshiko Sakakibara (Japanese), Traci Dinwiddle (English)
  • Hitomi Kasahara/Lafure – A sweet natured but timid secretary who is actually from Planet Voice.She came to Earth in search of her brother, who disappeared from her homeworld. Only Ms. Sakashibara knows her secret. Voiced by: Hiroko Kasahara (Japanese), Juliet Cesario (English)

Antagonists

  • Prince Sasaki – In charge of the invasion by the will of the King of Planet Voice, he is rather infuriated about posing as a corporate employee. He is not exactly happy to hear that his cousin Shiina had come to Earth either. Voiced by: Nozomu Sasaki (Japanese), Gary Hawks (English)
  • Seki – Lafure's brother from Planet Voice. He was once opposed to the invasion of Earth but he has been brainwashed into joining Prince Sakaki. He has also forgotten his sister, so when Seki meets Hitomi/Lafure, he assumes that she is a spy. This particular plot point has not been resolved (see the notes below). Voiced by: Toshihiko Seki (Japanese), Michael Granberry (English)
  • Princess Shiina – Sakaki's excitable and ditzy cousin. She had come to help her cousin defeat the Shinesman team, much to his annoyance. She refuses to show any male her bare skin because, in her own words, she has to "kill or marry" him. Shiina ends up developing feelings for Matsumoto/Shinesman Red. She finds out while battling the Shinesman that Matsumoto is Shinesman Red and changes her mind about invading the earth. She is an anime only character as she does not appear in the manga. The author of the manga has drawn images of her though for the drama CD which accompanied the anime. Voiced by: Hekiru Shiina (Japanese), Pamela Weidner (English)

Critical reaction

The film enjoys a reasonably large fanbase, especially for a two episode OVA. Most reviews are favorable, describing it as "the single funniest anime I had never heard of",[2] "a must have",[3] and "outright hilarious".[4] The video does, however, have detractors. For instance, one reviewer described the plot as "dry", the animation as "nothing special" and stated that he "[didn't] get what the thrill was".[5]

Unusually, the dubbed version has attracted much praise amongst anime fans. Described as "quite simply, perfect"[2] and "the best-written and well-acted dub I have ever seen or heard",.[3]

Notes

  • Interestingly, there is a man in real life named Hiroya Matsumoto who played MagiYellow/Tsubasa Ozu in a real Super Sentai called Mahou Sentai Magiranger.
  • The word "Shain" in Japanese translates to "corporate employee," thus the title of the OVA can be translated as "Special Duty Squadron Corporate Man" or similar.
  • Since the anime series is only composed of 2 OVAs there are many plot points that are unresolved. However all of these plot points are resolved in the manga which runs to 9 volumes (such as the plot of Seki being brainwashed). Also since the manga is longer there are a number of characters (mainly villains) that do not appear in the anime at all.
  • Princess Shiina does not appear in the manga and was created solely for the anime. In fact in the manga it is actually Prince Sasaki's golden rule of whoever sees his bare skin will either have to marry him or be killed. Matsumoto (like his instance with Shiina) is the one to see this. At the end of the series when everything is settled between the heroes and villains and the fact they've made peace Sasaki once again reminds him of this and tells him that he will make Matsumoto his "queen".
  • The theme song is sung by none other than Hironobu Kageyama, who was most famous for singing the theme songs of Dengeki Sentai Changeman, Hikari Sentai Maskman, and Choujin Sentai Jetman amongst many other sentai songs. He has also contributed to many songs in the Super Robot Wars series as part of the J-Rock group, JAM Project, and sang many of the songs for the extremely popular anime series Dragon Ball Z

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Anime World review". Retrieved 2006-04-23. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "THEM Anime review". Retrieved 2006-04-23. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Absolute-0 review". Retrieved 2006-04-23. 
  4. "Anime Critic review". Retrieved 2006-04-23. 
  5. "AMR review". Retrieved 2006-04-23. 

External links

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