Rating/Recommended Audience: 3+
For Fans Of: Power Rangers, One Punch Man, Akibaranger, Excel Saga, The Office
-All of the characters’ first names or surnames are identical to their Japanese voice actors.
-The name Shinesman is a wordplay for the Japanese word “shain” which sounds like the English word “Shine”. If one translates that name it can be “corporate-man” or “company man” which works given the corporation satire that’s peppered throughout this anime. (Credit to THEM Anime for that fact)
Contrary to what you might believe, I don’t just watch serious stuff out there. Don’t get me wrong, I like a lot of serious movies and series, but I also enjoy comedy when done right. After watching this little obscure OVA from the 90s after not watching it for almost a decade, I was surprised how much I laughed still.
As you can tell in this review, I’m detailing my thoughts on The Special Duty Combat Unit Shinesman.
It’s easy to talk about the obvious Power Rangers/Super Sentai parody elements, but there are also jokes that poke fun at anime, tokusatsu, commercials, and even corporate satire which works on so many levels. I watched it multiple times and there were so many jokes and stealth puns that I never realized until I replayed it.
The strongest aspect of Shinesman would have to be the English dub. It’s in my shortlist of anime series that have better English voice acting than the original Japanese tracks. The Japanese version is still funny, but the acting and dialog are way funnier in the dub. Shiina and Shinesman Red really stand out as being better in the English dub with some of their acting. Not to mention the little quips are just hilarious.
The animation is dated, but in a weird way, it still works. You can definitely tell this was made in the 90s with the colors, reused transformation scenes, and effects. There’s a part of me that wants to bash Production I. G since their track record is so much better. Shoot, they made Ghost in the Shell the same year, for crying out loud. The animation style actually adds to the humor since from an American perspective, Power Rangers is a 90s icon and the vintage effects totally work here.
It’s not some cerebral anime by any stretch of the means, but the jokes are really witty as mentioned before, yet it’s not a perfect mini-series. It’s too short at only two episodes. I could see this done as a 12-13 episode series which would help since there are some plot holes. The biggest one would be the storyline with Hitomi, the secretary at Right Trading Company, and her connection with Seki. It never got resolved. Also, you never see the real leader of Planet Voice who’s supposed to be Sasaki’s father. You can do a major arc around these plots.
Shinesman is a fun little romp that does clever satire with the tokusatsu and corporate tropes abound. It won’t change the world, but it certainly made me laugh after all these years. I’m not even a fan of most parodies since I find many of them to be pure garbage (I’m looking at you, Friedburg and Seltzer), but this is one of the better things I’ve seen as far as parodies are concerned. With that Power Rangers remake movie being released and with the business undertones that make the satire greater in hindsight in this day and age, I would highly recommend checking out this obscure OVA. I think fans and haters alike of superheroes and sentai-related things could find something to laugh about here .
-High replay value to catch all the jokes
-Way too short
Final Score: 9/10 Points
Content Warnings: This is a pretty tame series. While this was listed as 3+ on the Anime Works DVD, I do question it a little when Shiina gets called a bimbo a few times. The action is typical Saturday morning cartoon fare. There is some brief fan service with Shiina, but it’s not that big a deal.
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