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

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Tuesday, October 09, 2001
Release Date: Tuesday, October 09, 2001



What They Say
As time runs out for Gawl and his friends, Kanae offers a shocking revelation that could prove integral to their mission’s success.

However, Kanae’s covert disclosure is nothing compared to the powerful-and dangerous-secret the evil Professor Ryuko Saito has in store for them! Now, as armies of evil generators from the future converge in the present, Gawl is forced to generate into a powerful, rage-fueled new form to battle a vicious apparition that could destroy himself, his friends, and his world.

The Review!
The final volume of Generator Gawl goes right for both the heartstrings and for the adrenaline rush as several surprises are revealed and the action gets bloody - fast.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. Throughout the show we didn't notice any distortions or dropouts other than the one dropout at about 44:45 or so into the program, which was very brief and didn't appear to hit any dialogue. Dialogue through the show is very center channel based while music and sound effects did a decent job of utilizing the left/right channels. There's not a lot of directionality here but more of an overwhelming sense of sound during the action sequences.

Video:
Much like the first three volumes, the only real problem with this release is just how grainy it looks. This is the first time we've seen the show on the Skyworth and it did smooth out some of the grain a bit, but it's still pretty heavy throughout. Colors look good outside of the blues and there wasn't any noticeable problems with cross coloration or shimmering during camera panning sequences.

Packaging:
The same style is applied to the fourth volume, this time giving Gawl yet another cover. The image of him is even darker this time around with lots of muted blacks and purples, making for quite the murky cover. At least the volume # is prominently displayed. The back cover provides a few choice animation shots and a brief summary of the show. Features and technical information are laid out nicely, though once again the episode titles have episode numbers that start at 1. The insert is just pure advertising, with one side being an advert for Orphen (starting in Spring 2001, when it started in July 2001) and the reverse side being box shots of other shows.

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:
The extras in one sense seem like a replay of the earlier discs. While the character design sections have new artwork, everything else appears to be the same. They recycled the opening/ending animation on this disc like the previous one. 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)
My god, it's full of paradoxes.

That, of course, is one of the things that I find so much fun about time travel shows. Depending on the medium (anime, novels, Hollywood movie or Hollywood TV), each has its own way of setting up the rules for time travel in its own universe and playing by them. Anime is no different from Hollywood when it comes to this and regularly just throws things in that make no sense and just goes for the action shots. In this respect, Generator Gawl is indeed one of the more western feeling SF anime's I've seen in awhile.

From this point on, consider the review full of spoilers. It is the last three episodes after all.

The opening episode does a wonderful job in bringing to life one of the more interesting characters from the show, Natsume. We quickly learn that she's an experiment of Ryuko's whose sole objective was to get close to the kids from the future and to learn what they were up to without them knowing. Natsume knew her origins but obeyed Ryuko unquestionably but with the events coming down to the need to kill Gawl and the others, he emotions and feelings towards them and Masami have prevented her from doing so.

While she relates her origins in a letter, which is read aloud by her while Gawl and friends are reading it and looking for her, she makes her way out of town after seeing certain things that strike a chord within her. Once in the mountanside woods, she drops her pager and steps off-camera. A sudden rush of an explosion occurs and Gawl races onto the scene. Gawl's beside himself with grief now, not really understanding why she's done what she's done. His need for revenge is strong now and his emotions are all over the map.

Koji and Ryo arrive in enough time to try and calm him down and dissuade him, but he's running at too high a level now, his reactions have forced him to generate. His body is definitely in overdrive as his size is huge and his powers look like they're just ready to explode. When we learn that Ryuko had planned almost all of this and has five Generator's of her own ready, things really start falling into place.

From here we start to learn more about the origins of Kubere and Ryuko's role in it as well as those she's surrounded herself with. There's some good surprises about a number of the characters and the paradox elements are used pretty well. While things with paradoxes don't always make sense, the show manage to gloss over these areas pretty easily and move on to what counts, the characters and how they're going to survive this.

Generator Gawl was a pretty good series that had a fair amount of promise but "Had a funny thing happen to it on the way to retail". The problem of the dub being wildly divergent in its script set a lot of people off during the first discs release. A good amount of it, while very well acted, felt like it had been dumbed down and plot points revealed that aren't revealed on the Japanese track until later discs. All the discs suffered from a lot of grain on the master, which is something some people just can't handle. The last real problem with this release is just the sheer amount of time it took to get 13 episodes out. The first disc was released on 10/10/2000. The 4th disc was released on 10/09/2001. Just under a year by a day. The time between the 3rd and 4th discs was nearly 7 months. That's a cruel way to set up a cliffhanger...

But now that it's done, I'm looking forward to taking the time and watching all four discs in a row and see what kind of new appreciation I get it from it and to try and see if it makes sense knowing what I know now. Gawl's not a title for everyone, but for those who lust after cute pink-haired schoolgirls, it's worth a shot.

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

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: B+
Audio Rating: B-
Video Rating: B
Packaging Rating: B-
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