Dai Shogun is a harem/ecchi/mecha anime taking place during the Edo period of Japan except there’s mechs powered by mythical energy. Protagonist Keiichiro is an all round tough dude who loves to fight, and works at a bathhouse owned by his grandma. Yes, just the bathhouse alone guarantees nudity in nearly all of the 12 episodes in some shape or form. Hell, the main mecha in the anime, Susanoo, has to launch from an area that is conveniently located next to the women’s bath area. I’m getting ahead of myself here, the point I’m trying to make here is that Dai Shogun is a case of a neat idea that does every possible thing wrong in its execution. I’m the last person to find ecchi offensive, in fact I celebrate it when it’s done with finesse like in Woman Named Mine Fujiko but then that’s an unfair standard to compare any anime with. Dai Shogun is ecchi overdrive, ecchi overkill… ecchi to the point of suffocation. With ecchi, honestly less is more, and Dai Shogun does too much of it, so much so that even the most perverted of otaku will find the constant offering of voluptuous 2D goods to be a bit too much. Dai Shogun is terrible not just because of the over saturation of ecchi, but because it fails to take advantage of its otherwise cool premise and barely even executes its plot devices.
The thing with Keiichiro is that he is born with a curse that causes him to freak out and black out whenever he comes close to a touch of a woman, and so being surrounded by brothels and working in a bathhouse made life a little inconvenient for him to say the least. Things change when he has an encounter with a busty ninja which eventually reveals that Keeichiro is in fact heir to the Tokugawa family and is destined to rule over Japan… if he can maintain his virginity that is.
For Keiichiro to fulfil his destiny and save Japan from evil, he must remain a virgin because only he can pilot the mysterious mech Susanoo and rescue Japan. Now this anime doesn’t really do a great job at explaining exactly how these mechs or airships fit into this otherwise feudal Japan setting. While every episode tries to fit a mech battle in… nearly all of these battles barely get underway, always ending in an anti-climatic fashion. Eventually you do see a full fight in the finale, and it’s a pretty underwhelming one too. In fact, Dai Shogun does such a terrible job in the execution that you constantly forget about the mechs and other strange technology, because Dai Shogun spends more energy and time on the obnoxious ecchi fan service.
The characters of Dai Shogun are terrible, annoying, erratic, neurotic, and just plain unlikable. Even genuine attempts at character development and romance are absolutely cringe-inducing. For the most part, Dai Shogun has an uncomfortably gross sense of humour and shoves so many boobs on the screen that it actually makes you sick, even if you’re a fan of ecchi. Yes, there is such a thing as too many boobs in anime…. especially when it constantly interrupts any consistent story or character development over the 12 episodes.
Dai Shogun barely showcases its ideas because the nudity and fan service constantly interrupt the flow of the story. The mech elements are so undone and overshadowed that they hardly leave a mark on the anime or the viewer. Even in the genre of ecchi harem there are far more compelling and sexier alternatives out there, because Dai Shogun is a total turn off in every sense.
And since we’re on the subject of virgins piloting mechs… sorry Keiichiro, but Shinji did that first.