Review of Ground Defense Force Mao-chan (2002)

Moving picture, 5.0 hours

Japan is nominally threatened by weird creatures from the Moon! A regular Japanese Self-Defense Force (JSDF) response would seem like bullying, so at great cost, an alien artifact is used to create a special unit. It contains one granddaughter per branch of the regular forces. The eight-year-old Mao represents the army (“ground defence force”), and is so adorable that the tax payers still love her when quite a few cuddly aliens get away with their loot.

From the creator of Love Hina (2000), hence the many references. Mao-chan is almost a satire, playing on the weakness of the JSDF, the popular fear of cultural losses to foreigners—the splurting white thing “talks” like a stereotypical gaijin—and the nation’s willingness to favour cute pointlessness over fiscal responsibility. In one instance, cuteness assumes Cthuloid proportions as one slithering alien passively enthralls everybody who sees it, making it impossible to show on screen.

References here: Gunparade March (2003).

moving picture Japanese production animation fiction series magical girl