Gestalt Vol. #05 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, May 31, 2010
Release Date: Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Everyone seems to be out to get the party and Ouri can’t catch a break, even from herself.
Writer/Artist: Yun Kouga
Translation: Christine Schilling
Adaptation: Christine Schilling
What They Say
Things seem to have come to a head between Olivier and Father Messiah. As they square off, events in their pasts come to light in the present, forcing Ouri to make some tough choices. What's it going to take to get Olivier back on track, and get Ouri out of her blue mood?
With this volume of Gestalt, all of the RPG trappings have finally been discarded. The hit points might be gone, but the world-hopping, fast-paced action is still here. The gang has returned to the church to try to learn from Father Messiah more about what has been going on with Olivier. Messiah gives in to the group’s wishes and tells them of Olivier’s origins as an orphan from a country diametrically opposed to the one the church calls home. Messiah sends them on their way after pointing them toward their next destination, even as the church knights descend to track the wayward Olivier.
Ouri isn’t just being harried by her brothers and sisters, she now has a strange curse placed on her from an outside source, in the form of a child. Shazan reveals that the child will eventually be her undoing, but Ouri can’t bring herself to kill the child. Yet, this isn’t the hardest choice Ouri has to make in this volume.
As the gang arrives in Suzu and Olivier’s home country of Titania, they finally find a way that they might be able to get Olivier’s arms back and perhaps temporarily suppress the dark side hiding inside him. The cost is steep, for the magical ceremony will turn back time for Olivier and he’ll no longer remember his traveling companions. Ouri will do anything for Olivier, and when the church soldiers arrive she holds them off long enough for the ceremony to be completed and for Olivier and Suzu to be sent back to the city where he first met Ouri.
As the ceremony concludes, Ouri falls into a depression in which she spends the rest of the volume. Shazan sticks around to make sure Ouri doesn’t completely self destruct, and grows increasingly frustrated by Ouri’s masochistic tendencies. This leads to the most uncomfortable part in the series: watching Ouri torture herself and Shazan’s ‘solution’ to the problem. The whole ordeal altered my opinion of both of them. It does add a whole humanizing element to the story and the characters, and an extra layer of depth. It also does more to shift the tone of the series than anything that came before. I expect there to be interpersonal consequences for their actions, but that remains to be seen.
Gestalt’s strength is its character interactions, and it’s good to see the story has finally focused in on that. The overall mood of the series is growing darker, and readers who were enjoying the wild antics of the earlier volumes might be put off by the shift in tone, especially when the actions of the leads take a turn for the less than noble. Hunted by multiple factions and almost back at square one, there are still many unanswered questions and motivations hanging over the group. It’ll be interesting to see how it all pans out.
Mania Grade: B-
Art Rating: B-
Packaging Rating: B+
Text/Translation Rating: A-
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Released By: Viz Media
Orientation: Right to Left