Gatekeepers Vol. #6 (of 8) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Sunday, June 30, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, July 09, 2002



What They Say
Spitzilla Attacks! Megumi's insults force Reiko to face her own incompetence, so Reiko attempts to improve by emulating each of the other Gate Keeper's training methods. Even though her efforts continuously fail, Reiko eventually discovers her own way to contribute to A.E.G.I.S. just in time to meet new challenges from the Invaders! Then, the Far East Branch of A.E.G.I.S. uncovers evidence that real people are being replaced by Invaders, but HQ refuses to devote more resources to help. With the discovery of a canine Invader, Spitzilla, will HQ be forced to regret their decision?! Extra! Limited edition character ID cards in every volume!

The Review!
Moving through the late teens of the series, we move firmly into filler territory where they take the time to flesh out some of the secondary cast and others around them.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. The show continues to have a good stereo mix with some of the music being thrown to the rears and some nice directionality across the forward soundstage. Dialogue is nice and clear and we didn’t notice any distortions or dropouts.

Video:
Once again, this is a great looking transfer of a very recent and fresh series. The transfer looks spot on and presents a gorgeous image with lots of vibrant colors and layered animation. Cross coloration continues to be absolutely minimal while the other usual problems we see with releases are non-existent here. This is a release you can just sit back and enjoy.

Packaging:
The good looking reversible covers strike again, providing a hard choice at times as to which one you want to display. The retail cover has a an interesting mix of the cast, mostly in their school uniforms, set against a sunset in the city. The back cover provides a small array of screenshots from the show and a brief summary of the show as well as episode numbers and titles. The reverse side of the covers continues to bring us the great looking Japanese versions with its focus on single characters. This volume gives us the image of Reiko holding onto an instrument while the back cover provides another mini-comic of sorts with animation from the show. The insert provides chapter stops for the three episodes on the top while the interior folds out to a miniposter of the Reiko artwork. The special pack-in this time is another AEGIS ID card, this time featuring Megumi Kurogane.

Menu:
The menus shift back to the AEGIS side of things as we get another look at a piece of their gear on the table, this time their ultra spy style communicator watch. Menu selections are along the right on the clipboard piece. Access times are nice and fast moving between the menus and the general style holds true throughout.

Extras:
Extras are fairly minimal this time around, though we do get the three original TV endings here in the extras since the regular program is using the home video version. There’s also several pages worth of line art from the production stage of these episodes included.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With these episodes being mostly filler, it becomes easy to overlook the less than stellar plot points that get covered here and just instead try to keep focus on the characters that they’re trying to expand upon. Otherwise, it’s fairly easy to nod off during these episodes.

After nearly fifteen episodes of being fairly useless, someone actually calls Reiko on it when she botches up a rather well played out battle against an Invader. Surprisingly, this actually strikes deep into her, and she begins to question everything she’s done on the team since she joined. These thoughts are played out while she’s helping out at a nearby daycare place with young children. She’s been performing Cinderella style puppet shows and using the witch as someone to talk to about her problems. Of course, you know that she gains some of her much needed self confidence as well as that of her comrades, but she ends up trying to improve herself so much that she only looks bad doing it. And to make things worse, she hauls out the one thing I don’t like about this series, the gate robo.

The commander also gets an episode to himself, as he gets a report on how the Invaders are taking over more and more people in secret and using them for their agenda. This episode also includes his secretary, as both of them are dealing with a racer whose changed since he came back into the country after being away for six months. It’s quickly obvious that he’s not who he was, and this leads to a chase sequence along the highways between the commander and this racer. The only really good part of this show was getting some information on the commanders past, which focused on his time at the end of world war two when he was serving as an Ooka, some kind of suicide bomber.

The final episode revolves around Fei and a stone baked yam seller whose potentially an Invader. She originally meets him by purchasing a bunch of yams for the other girls who are too embarrassed to do so (and he chides her about it, telling her that eating that many yams will make her fart like crazy). She ends up helping him out a fair bit after a run in with a car, and things start to fall apart when the suspicion arrives, especially when she finds the sunglasses there. This was the weakest of the episodes to me since I’m just not a fan of Fei at all.

There’s still some underlying goodness to most of the episodes that help bring things into the overall plotline, such as a mysterious meeting at the UN in the last episode, where we can feel the overall storyline being subtly moved forward. These are the kinds of episodes that will really vary depending on how you like the characters that are being focused on, and for us, that was really only Reiko.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitle,Line Art,Special Endings

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: C
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: A
Menus Rating: A-
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
MSRP: 29.99
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Gatekeepers