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The year is 2087, and mankind has started expanding into outer space, founding colonies on the Moon and advancing dramatically in technology and generally improving the living conditions for everyone. However, a dark shadow is cast over this future, as the Moon colonies, under the leadership of Marshall Iskandar Guiltorre, declare themselves independent under the collective name of Giganos Empire. After years of excalating tensions, brought on by the ever-growing discrimination against Earthlings on the Moon colonies, and by the construction of Giganos' Mass Driver, war finally breaks out, with Giganos Empire in an overwhelming advantage thanks to its technological superiority and the use of anthropomorphic Humongous Mecha called Metal Armors. A few months in the conflict, already 70% of Earth is under Giganos' dictatorship, and the Earth Federation is getting desperate...
Fortunately for the Federation, three new-model Metal Armors codenamed Dragonar are captured by an Allied fleet during transportation. Unfortunately, the Giganos forces immediately start pursuit, with the order of taking them back at all costs... and in the whole mess, the Dragonar end up being boarded and piloted by three teenagers from the neutral colony of Arcadia, which Giganos attacked to take back their prototypes. Of course, much mayhem ensues, and Kain, Tapp and Light find themselves forcibly enlisted into Federation army, fighting an almost hopeless war against extremely bleak odds as they try to keep Giganos Empire from reclaiming the Dragonar.
If that sounded similar to Mobile Suit Gundam to you, you're quite right - this 1987-1988 series is, in fact, very similar to Yoshiyuki Tomino 's masterpiece. However, Metal Armor Dragonar is much Lighter and Softer than the series it parallels, not only keeping death to a minimum, but also engaging in refreshing comedic episodes which manage not to detract anything from the action and the development. People who liked Gundam's bleak setting might be somewhat put off by this, but Metal Armor Dragonar presents itself as a worthy alternative.
This series contains examples of:
- Adjective Noun Fred
- Ace Pilot: Meio Plato, the "Blue Hawk" of Giganos.
- Action Girl: Min, who starts out as a Dark Action Girl.
- Alas, Poor Villain: Gor, the Dumb Muscle and comic relief of the Shitennoh squad, gets a surprisingly heroic and Tear Jerker death when his time comes. Gon Jem himself will probably evoke sympathy for the viewer at the moment of his death, considering how sincerely he mourned his fallen underlings.
- Aloof Big Brother: Meio
- ~Another Century's Episode~: All three games, with elements of plot in each (though 3 has Meio leading a group of former Giganos soldiers in cahoots with Char Aznable's Neo Zeon.
- Bald of Evil and Beard of Evil: Gon Jem.
- BFG: The Photon Launchers employed by the customized Dragonars.
- Big Bad: Dorchenov
- Big Eater: Gon Jem and, to a lesser extent, all of his Shitennoh except Jin.
Gon: "There's nothing to go with the wine. Go fetch a lamb, Gor!"
- Black Best Friend: Tapp.
- Canon Foreigner - The Falguen Custom, designed for ~Another Century's Episode~ 3, which is a do-everything upgrade to Meio's Ace Custom.
- Char Clone - Meio Plato... as in, they weren't even trying to disguise it. He's just Char Aznable sprayed over with blue paint.
- Crew of One: Metal Armors generally only have one pilot, as per Humongous Mecha standards, however, the series at least Handwaves it by mentioning that a great deal of each MA's functions are handled by high-powered computer systems.
- Crowning Music of Awesome: The first opening theme, Yume-Iro Chaser.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: Ben and Chekhov.
- The Empire: Giganos Empire, obviously.
- Energy Weapons: Surprisingly sparsely used. Aside from Laser Blades, most weaponry in the series is kinetic-based.
- Engineered Public Confession: In the next-to-last episode, Min pulls a Batman Gambit on Dorchenov that results in the villain unknowingly confessing his murder of Marshall Guiltorre to the whole Giganos army.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Jin, the most amoral of the Shitennoh, is visibly disgusted when two Giganos aces take a group of children hostage to lure the Dragonars into a trap.
- Five-Bad Band: The Shittenoh:
- Feet of Clay: The Gilga-Zamune is extremely powerful, but has some glaring weaknesses that keep it from being reliable.
- Heel Face Turn: Min (doubling as an High Heel Face Turn), Meio
- Heel Realization: Marshall Guiltorre begins to have one later in the series, but he doesn't manage to go far with it before he dies.
- Hero-Killer: Gon Jem.
- Hot-Blooded: Kain
- Hochu Otsuka: Tapp.
- Humongous Mecha: The Gilga-Zamune.
- Idiot Hero: Kain
- Kenyuu Horiuchi: Light.
- Knife Nut: Ganan of the Quirky Miniboss Squad.
- Masami Kikuchi: Kain.
- Mood Whiplash: The two episodes with Punch Clock Villain Lt.Chekov. Also the end of episode 13.
- Rape as Drama: Jin had been repeatedly trying to strip Linda, fortunately he never suceeds.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Gon Jem is "The Disgrace od Giganos".
- Power Trio: obviously, Kain (Id), Tapp (Ego) and Light (Super-Ego).
- Token Trio: Even their mech's paintjobs match their ethnicities. Kain's is red and white like the Japanese flag with prominent yellow bits, Tapp's is black and Light's is white.
- Punch Clock Villain: Lt.Chekov, a Giganos ex-ace sent to guard an abandonned satelite.
- Quirky Miniboss Squad: Gon Jem and his Shitennoh (see Five-Bad Band above).
- Real Robot: Metal Armors. The Gilga-Zamune does straddle the line(it looks like a samurai, for one thing), however.
- Redemption Equals Death: Just as he's beginning to realize that his cause might not be so righteous after all, Marshall Guiltorre is shot dead by Dorchenov.
- Also, in the last episode, Meio invokes this trope and decides to remain in the crumbling Phobetore fortress as atonement for his deeds, but his father talks him out of it.
- Smug Snake / The Starscream: Dorchenov. He thinks he's a Magnificent Bastard and a Badass, but in most cases, his plans either fails or only succeed due to overwhelming power or dumb luck.
- Social Darwinist: The Giganos see themselves as the next step in human evolution and want to conquer the Earth to "speed up the process and share their prosperity with everyone". Yeah, right...
- Spell My Name with an "S": Let's... Let's not get into how many different romanizations of Meio's unusual name there are...
- Not to mention the show's star - is it Ken? Kaine?
- The spelling Kaine appeared on one of the millitary document in the show.
- Super Robot Wars: Appeared in A, MX and GC. Sadly, Min does not do her Heel Face Turn in the latter.
- Villainous Breakdown: Gon Jem and Dorchenov. Played for tragedy in the former case. Incredibly satisfying in the latter, as it shows just how pathetic a person Dorchenov is.
- What Could Have Been: Dragonar was envisioned as a successor to Gundam without all the Continuity Porn, and would have replaced it had it outperformed Gundam ZZ. That's right, Dragonar was made for pretty much the same reason as the Gundam alternate universes - and half a decade earlier, to boot.