Ground Defense Force! Mao-chan (陸上防衛隊まおちゃん, Rikujō Bōetai Mao-chan?), also known as Earth Defender! Mao-chan, is a 26-episode comedy anime, created by Ken Akamatsu, the author of Love Hina.
It stars three eight-year-old girls, Mao, Misora and Sylvia, as they try to defend the earth against invading aliens. The world's defense has fallen to unlikely straits because the aliens are excessively cute, of which combat engagements are televised: if the forces battling the aliens were not cute themselves, the general public would revolt, as it would be seen as "bullying". Consequently, three military leaders chose their granddaughters to be the defenders, fittingly, becoming a team even cuter than the aliens. They each have a clover-shaped badge that enables them to transform. (This transformation provides no apparent special ability.)
The series itself is rife with parodies and references, particularly to Akamatsu's earlier work Love Hina. The girls' commanding officer bears a resemblance to Naru Narusegawa from Love Hina, in addition to Naru Narusegawa herself making a cameo appearance in episode 20, at which point the girls have to defend a hot springs inn which is likely Love Hina's Hinata-sou.
The anime was licensed and distributed by Pioneer (later becoming Geneon halfway through the series). However Geneon recently halted all production work in the US and thus no more DVD of Mao-chan will be released until another company agrees to continue the distribution.