Episode Count: 6
Genre: Sci-Fi / Comedy / Action
Version reviewed: Japanese with English dubtitles
Date of Review: 16 Dec 2013
A fun story somewhere which falls somewhere between Mega Man and Iron Man.
In 2045 Tokyo, Hiroshi Ozora has invented a device called a “Mol Unit” which surrounds the user with an impenetrable shield and gives them superhuman powers, effectively making them a superhero. He enjoys a secret life as “Captain Tokyo”, saving the city from the plots of an evil mastermind named Dr. Machinegal and his android supermodels. Hiroshi’s sister Mirai finds “Captain Tokyo” and his buff look rather lame, so she changes the programming to make the unit transform the user into a cuter superhero which she dubs “Moldiver”. With Captain Tokyo now mostly out of the picture, it’s up to Moldiver to save Tokyo from Machinegal.
Moldiver is a pretty straightforward series. It’s an uncomplicated sci-fi adventure filled with action, comedy, and a smattering of old-fashioned ’90s fanservice. Being a 1990s AIC work, it also holds a certain amount of nostalgia for me, even though I didn’t actually see Moldiver for the first time until sometime in the early 2000s. However, since 1990s AIC shows are largely what I cut my anime teeth on, I’m naturally drawn to them as they remind me of those fledgeling days of my fandom.
Watching Moldiver in Japanese actually carries with it one major disadvantage unless you speak fluent Japanese: rather than true subtitles, the DVD has only “dubtitles” which reflect the English dub script instead of the original Japanese script. In Moldiver’s case, many liberties were taken with the translation, and at times, subtitles appear when nothing is being spoken in the Japanese version. Also, many lines are not directly translated but rather rewritten entirely for English. I am not even close to knowing the Japanese language with any proficiency, but even with my pre-school level comprehension, the differences were noticeable. This dubtitle issue is the only major flaw on an otherwise good release.
If you’re looking for a simple superhero story with a Japanese twist, it’s hard to go wrong with Moldiver. After all, it’s Mihoshi‘s favorite show! Moldiver is a great example of AIC’s ’90s work; it’s well animated and has a fun cast with good character designs, and a story that does what it needs to without getting bogged down in detail. Fun is the name of the game.