Most anime fans will be familiar with Gundam, the popular anime franchise which sparked the equally popular real robot genre. What slightly less may be aware of is SD Gundam, a comedy sub-franchise starting in the late 1980's which poked fun at the main Gundam franchise and presented the characters and mecha as squashed down, cuter versions. Whilst there have been games, model kits, etc the SD Gundam anime was short lived. With the normal series performing well in America, Bandai have chosen to bring SD back to animated form...with a slight twist.
An evolution of a cancelled made-for-the-US show called Doozybots, Superiour Defender Gundam Force aims itself for the market more likely to play Pokemon and buy Yu-Gi-Oh cards. The basic story is simple yet enjoyable- in the not too distant future, humanity and robots have managed to turn Earth into a utopian paradise free of war, violence and poverty. Its for this reason that the central city of Neotopia falls under the evil mono-eye of the Dark Axis, resource stealing robots who plunder other worlds via a dimensional gate. The Dark Axis advance force is discovered by a young boy named Shute and they attempt to silence him. However, Shute is saved by a mysterious robot hero. Called Captain Gundam, he is Neotopia's first line of defense in the secret war against the Dark Axis...
These early episodes are pretty simple- Shute and Captain are minding their own business/Dark Axis forces arrive/the two sides fight/Captain activates his Soul Drive and knocks them back to their own dimension. The enjoyment factor more comes from the various parodies and homages within. The average Neotopian and Dark Axis robots are based on the classic series GMs and Zakus, wheras the more central heroes and villains are based on Gundams and some of the more advanced Zeon mobile suits. The idea of alternate dimensions is used quite nicely to follow the idea of alternate, standalone series that has kept Gundam alive for the last few years (on this disc, we see that Neotopia is based on the classic Gundam series and another world full of pretty-boy robot knights is based on the popular Gundam Wing).
As said above, the show is really targetting a younger crowd as evidenced by the numerous robots and a kid sidekick in the form of Shute. But the show is so well handled that you won't really care. I was suprised to find moments of long silence in the dub, since most such anime available in English is full of constantly thumping music or non-stop talking. The voice cast are great and all fit and play their roles perfectly (Deborah Sale Butler should give Zoe Slusar lessons on how to sound like a young boy).
This show really isn't for everyone. If you don't mind parodies and can except that Gundam is just a TV show and not some religious scripture, you should enjoy this show. Others should just stick to the more traditional Gundam.