Generator Gawl Vol. #3 (of 4) (Mania.com)

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



What They Say
When the evil Professor Ryuko Saito steps up her surveillance efforts, Gawl, Koji, and Ryo are forced to hide underground until Gawl can recover from his near-fatal battle with an arachnid generator.

Though her cameras may not be able to see them, Professor Saito has other ways of finding the boys. So when Koji and Ryo steal away to stop Professor Nekasa from discovering the dangerous include cells, Saito makes her move on Gawl-while her assistant Kanae intervenes with a shocking revelation of his own.

The Review!
With a title like Secrets and Lies for this volume, you can wager that there's a lot of explanations going on in here. Add in the fact that it's volume 3 of 4, with only three episodes left after this, and you can figure it's the final big exposition section before we get into the big action finale episodes. After two fairly mediocre sets of episodes, does this third volume give you the stuff you need to finish out the series?

Audio:
For our primary review, we listened to the original language of Japanese. The focus of these episodes tended to be more on dialogue, but the action sequences had a fair amount of front soundstage directionality about them. The one standout in terms of the audio is the opening song, which I still find very addictive. Dialogue throughout is pretty clean with no noticeable distortions or dropouts.

Video:
Much like the first two volumes, there's little surprise here except a bit more grain than before. There's little in the way of actual artifacting beyond a few night blue skies, but there is a solid amount of grain from the source material combined with the original softness of things that make things feel a little low grade. A lot of it seems to be intentional as a way of setting the style. Looking at the coloring used for hair seems to be pretty indicative of this, especially on Ryo and Koji. The series really does look like it has some good looking designs underneath it all, but the grain is really pushing it out of view. If this show had been as clear as some other recent shows, it may have fared better.

Packaging:
Like the second volume, this volumes cover isn't all that striking, but it does fit in with the style used for the previous two. The dark design, though in feel of the show, doesn't really sell it all that well to me. The back cover gives a decent synopsis of things and lists the various features. On the unfortunate side, while they do list the episode titles, they list them as episodes 1,2,3 instead of 7,8,9. Yet another way to confuse the casual buyer who may think he already has this disc. And they did it on disc two as well!

Menus:
There isn't a lot of depth to the menus as most only go a layer or two deep, but they're laid out well and everything accesses very quickly. There's not a ton of animation in the menu itself, though it works out pretty well. The scene selection submenus all have bits of their respective chapters playing, which is always fun to watch while waiting for the rest of the viewing group to settle in.

Extras:
There's nothing too new here, though they did recycle the opening/ending animation on this disc which is a trend I'm liking. The schematics section has a few nice shots in it but the character introductions, showing two pieces of sketch work, is pretty weak and not what one expects from a character introduction.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
This show almost starts to redeem itself with these episodes. Taken in total, the Secrets and Lies discs presents some of the usual themes found in time travel related science fiction and uses them as expected and isn't all that original. But for some reason it works pretty well and makes me look forward to the final disc to see how they do intend to resolve it all.

After the encounter in the previous episode, everyone takes a bit of quiet time at a public bath as the house bath is out of service. Gawl, Koji and Ryo discuss what's gone on and about whether Masami believes what Gawl told her after he pretty much revealed his true nature to her. She's still not sure what she saw, but she knows she certainly doesn't believe Gawl. Gawl does get himself fairly chastised by the other two, but things come down to the fact that they need to start being decisive.

The world ends in two weeks after all.

Things begin leading into a series of flashbacks as Gawl starts seeing the past he's now living in become involved in the war of 2007. Combined with his now dwindling energy due to so many Generation moments, Ryo and Koji decide it's time to start getting things changed in the past, even if it means that they won't exist in the future.

This leads to a length flash forward 140 odd years into the future where the world has definitely changed. The resulting war in 2007 left 90% of the worlds population dead. The remaining all pulled together to rebuild the world and bring peace to everyone. On the surface, and for many people, it's a reality. The world is at peace, the Generator research is done to allow humanity to go into areas they otherwise couldn't for resources, and time moves on.

Ryo, Koji and Gawl are all teamed together for scientific pursuit to bring Gawl's innate ability to a new level. So far he's the top of his ability among his fellows (who we never see), which pushes Ryo and Koji to push their experimenting even further. This troubles Ryo a lot more than Koji, as he doesn't feel it's right to push and experiment on someone just for their Generator ability.

Ryo starts doing some research on the side into the past and ends up learning some interesting things about the way the world has been rebuilt since the 2007 war. The revelations almost seem to crush him as if he had caused it and all the deaths himself. He reveals everything to his two friends and we pretty much know what happens from there.

There are other revelations in these episodes related to most of the other characters, some more interesting than others, but overall these were pretty satisfying episodes. If it wasn't for the poor source material, I'd probably be enjoying this a bit more than I did since it kept distracting me. If you've enjoyed the series so far, you'll definitely enjoy these episodes and likely look forward to seeing how it all resolves itself.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Generator Schematics,Character Introduction,Creditless Opening/Ending

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.



Mania Grade: B
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: C+
Packaging Rating: C+
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: B-
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: Generator Gawl