Gasaraki Vol. #7 (of 8) (

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Tuesday, November 27, 2001
Release Date: Tuesday, November 27, 2001

What They Say
As Yushiro struggles desperately to rescue Miharu, the noose around the neck of the free world begins to tighten.

As the US and Japan find themselves driven to the brink of war, the very fabric of civilization begins to unravel. Caught in the crossfire, the TA Team must make the difficult decision of whom and what to fight for in a war that no one can possibly win.

The Review!
The penultimate volume of Gasaraki brings a lot of things to the surface, as the plans laid out in the previous volume come to bear and the world enters various stages of panic. While we do get a good dose of this, our focus continues to be on the TA team and Yushiro.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. The shows audio track for the most part continues to be solid, with crisp clear dialogue through mostly the center channel, gorgeous sounding music through the left/right channels and some solid sounding directionality from the weapons sound effects during the right sequences. There were no noted dropouts or distortions during our viewing of this disc.

This continues to be a great looking series, with each release looking just as fantastic as the previous one. The transfer here looks solid, with a lot of nighttime sequences that avoid serious macroblocking or other artifacting. The skies look wonderfully solid and many sequences have a great film-like feel to it. Colors look nice and solid, and the vibrant areas when they show up truly stand out. Character animation in particular continues to look strong, with the flesh colors being a real standout.

The pale green gets the color highlight this time, and it works out with a great shot in the forefront of Miharu with her Fake below her. The background is made up of a very light image of Yushiro, providing a sweet sweet looking front cover. The back cover provides a few animation shots and a good summary of the episodes on this disc. Features are listed clearly, but no episode numbers or titles, which isn't a big deal since the volume is properly numbered. The insert has a great line arc piece of the Kugai on the front while the interior goes over the interior of the TA cockpits, something which takes on a bit more significance after reading the interview in the extras.

The menus are just about identical to the previous volumes with the exception of what's actually available for selection (such as episode titles and the different extras this time around). This is a good thing if it stays consistent for the rest of the series and doesn't change mid stride. The menus worked flawlessly for me and everything accessed pretty quickly. The sound and animations set the mood perfectly. Definitely some great work here.

The extras are again much like each previous volume, with the same types but with new stuff. The first is the multipage text interview with Shinji Aramaki, who came on board as the mechanics designer after the production had started. He's definitely got some interesting things to say about the design work of everything. The production sheets continue to show a lot of great conceptual artwork along with descriptions of everything. The glossary of terms was a bit shorter this time but still provided useful information, and the behind the scenes segment made a bit of a change this time. Instead of a small video window inside a static image, it took up the entire screen, as we watched the voice actor for the English Yushiro get into his role and work through a couple of lines.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
These episodes bring you to the edge of your seat, and then when all is said and done, you can't imagine how it can be wrapped up neatly in the last three episodes.

There's two main plots running through these episodes. The bigger one driving things is the way the world markets are collapsing and the economic battle between Japan and America over the grain situation. Nishida takes a more central role in the command center where all of this is being manipulated and has plugged himself into an immense variety of news sources and keeps his fingers in each pie. The overall time for his plan to complete is somewhere under 48 hours, so things happen very quickly here.

One of the minor subplots is related to the main one above. The citizens of Japan are now in a near riot-stage. Things are rapidly deteriorating, and the Prime Minister and his cabinet are kept within the Diet while trying to fix things. All four TA's are assigned crowd control/riot control duty at the diet, but only two are ready. Their arrival on the scene is eerie, walking out of the darkness practically. The two pilots inside are rather unsure of this role, as it's not exactly what TA's are designed for. But they let loose with their plastic bullets and other containment weapons and try to forge a path for the PM to get out. The situation quickly goes out of control, and the pilots ability to handle their TA's also rapidly deteriorates.

The second main plot revolves around Yushiro again. He has a brief encounter with one of his brothers, as they both come to an understanding about how he must be used to achieve certain ends, and that for the moment, things almost seem to be working in both of their favor. Miharu's kidnapping by Symbol has led them to a US Air Force base in Japan where she's being prepared to be sent to the states for treatment, as she's entered a nearly catatonic state.

Yushiro uses this chance to acquire the help of the remaining two TA's that weren't sent to the Diet yet, and with the help of the pilots, plans a raid inside the US base to free Miharu. It's an exhilarating sequence, with the TA fighting against aerial targets where they usually have a distinct lack of advantage. The sequence plays out wonderfully, showing some real ingenuity on Yushiro's part and some good moves by the fighter pilot. This is the only real combat sequence on this disc, but it works well and sets up some new anxieties between the Japanese government and the US government.

I really can't tell how this is all going to end, with the Kugai being reawakened and the world crumbling. Both sides really seem poised to win, but there's going to be some real sacrifice necessary for one to win over the other. And only three episodes left. I can't wait.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Text Interview,Production Sheets,Glossary of Terms,Behind the Scenes

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

Mania Grade: A
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: A
Menus Rating: A-
Extras Rating: A
Age Rating: 3 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
MSRP: 29.99
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Gasaraki