Anime Review: Ougon Yuusha Goldran – A Wholesome and Free-spirited series

Honto no Energy Goldran!

These days, it is the era of wholesome anime. Titles that emphasize wholesome atmosphere, moments, or characters such as Dress-Up Darling, Spy X Family, Love Live! Umaru-chan, and K-On have become major hits for anime watchers and were extremely popular. Relatively conflict-free, providing cute and funny characters and moments, and easy to understand, there is a heartwarming quality in those titles that draw in viewers, especially from younger audiences.

Now we turn to the mecha genre, do we have a title similar to those wholesome titles, with so many of mecha stories telling stories about pilots riding giant machines of death and destruction fighting in wars or against terrifyingly powerful enemies? Is there a breathtaking and easy-going/happy-go-lucky story amongst the tragic epics of steel and blood? The answer to those questions is yes, and the name of that title is Brave of Gold Goldran.

Brave of Gold Goldran is an entry in the venerable Brave/Yuusha franchise, precisely the sixth Brave series. Airing in 1995 (the same year as the legendary Neon Genesis Evangelion) and directed by Shinji Takamatsu, Goldran tells the story of three elementary school students, the Hot-headed, naughty, but kind Takuya, the smart and cool Kazuki, and the strong but gentle Dai as they came across a power stone that can transform into the car robot Dran from planet Legendra. They are being chased by the evil and greedy Walter Walzac and the Walzac empire who wanted the power stones to make their empire the strongest country in the world and obtain the legendary treasure of Legendra. Takuya and co. with Dran must gather other power stones, unlock their Brave robot forms, and make way to planet Legendra to claim the legendary treasure as the master of the Brave robots. Dran can fuse with his dragon robot Golgon that can appear whenever Dran summons it to become Goldran, the titular robot, to battle anything threatening the kids. He will be joined by other Brave robots such as Advenger, the Silver Knights, and Captain Shark over the course of the series. The adventure unfolds as the characters, Brave robots, and even Walter and his family(!)  interact with each other, learning about life lessons, friendship, and kindness over the course of 48 episodes. 

Goldran’s story is especially wholesome despite regular depictions of battles. No one lost their lives(Goldran only destroys autonomous mecha), No overt display of violence (use of force by the Braves is only deployed when threatened, and never used in a dominating manner), nor sexualized fanservice, and the protagonist’s biggest gun is not used to destroy anything, but only used to deflect a life-threatening attack directed towards our kid Masters. Takuya with his childish naivete does not know (or care) about adult cruelty and warmongering ambitions of Walter and his family; He regularly taunts Walter and repeatedly pull comedic pranks on the evil prince, despite said prince being so heartless as to endanger the lives of children for his country’s ambitions. 

This is a kids’ show, and the show needs to develop a positive influence. So, aside from many, many comedic moments throughout the show, multiple episodes serve to remind them as kids to not overstep their bounds to their guardian figures and not be abusive. Dran and co. scolded Takuya when they began to abuse or misuse their position as the Brave masters, making this show almost the ideal kids show. One episode with Dran accidentally making a female robot pregnant through an accidental kiss and going through insane comedy hijinks can be questionable to some, though. But out of all 48 episodes, Goldran is overwhelmingly wholesome, comedic, fun, and light-hearted, perfect for a viewer who wants to relax, laugh, and have fun. As a collaboration between Takara and Sunrise, Goldran really carries the child-friendly element from the vast majority of Takara’s shows.

As a mid-1990’s anime animated by Sunrise, with mecha designs by the legendary Okawara Kunio. Longtime mecha fans can discern his trademark boxy style at work in this series. The fantastical nature of Legendra’s Brave mecha here is depicted perfectly, with whimsical transformations and combinations fitting for a Brave series. Characters are designed by Hirotoshi Takaya, in the style of 1990’s kids anime. The graphics may look dated, but they are well-animated and crisp, with the mecha battles being fluid and well-animated despite using stock footage many times. Takamatsu’s directing brought the very best of the stock footage technique, and the story is always set in different locations, making it never boring. Music-wise, the opening, Bokura no Bouken by A-Mi is the most memorable track of this series: it’s an upbeat, cheerful song that is full of spirit. The other tracks though, sadly, are less memorable.

Goldran is, in my opinion, a very positive show. It teaches children to enjoy life and have fun. To be happy, honest, and never to wallow in sadness and despair. It extends a helping-hand even towards its’ villains, redeeming them, and reminds us that life is an adventure. Life is something to be enjoyed together with your friends, and to never give up on it as we walk towards tomorrow. If I may suggest something for mecha writers of this generation, make more shows like Goldran. Creators can attract new viewers and make this genre more colorful and give it a more positive tone. Something upbeat, optimistic, and hopeful like Goldran for today’s generation can become a treasure for the mecha genre in this age of wholesome anime, standing alongside titles from other genres to deliver uplifting messages.

In the end, give Goldran a whirl, because who knows, it may be what you need to relax after the recent dramatic violent streak in mecha animes.


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