Mobile Fighter G-Gundam Vol. #06 (of 12) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Monday, March 17, 2003
Release Date: Tuesday, February 18, 2003



What They Say
Although Domon has made progress with his training and now has limited control over the Shining Gundam's Super Mode, he is running out of time to reach Neo Hong Kong for the 'Final Battles'. Just as he's ready to go, the evil Gundam returns for another battle!

Master Asia returns to fight his ex-pupil and during this battle - one Gundam will be completely destroyed!

The Review!
Things come to a head as the first half of the series effectively gets hit here and there’s lots of action throughout all four episodes.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. Though originally released in 1994, the track for this appears to be a pro-logic mix, though I don’t really hear anything coming through the rear speakers unless my ears are playing tricks on me. The Japanese track feels a small bit lower than the English track, with dialogue feeling a slight bit muffled at times. There’s not a whole lot of directionality going on, since when things happen, they’re loud all-encompassing moments of destruction that fill up the entire forward soundstage.

Video:
The transfer for this release looks decent, but in general feels like it’s not up to snuff when compared to other Gundam series. The shows look and feel continues to be of a more drab and lifeless feel, even when you do have the bright outdoor exteriors. It may be a bit simply animated, but the only real problems we noticed with this transfer is some occasional cross coloration and aliasing as well as some light color banding during a few areas of solid colors.

Packaging:
A rather dramatic cover, if possible, with the simple image of one Gundam holding a fallen one on its arms set against the rubble and a bleak skyline. The back cover provides a few shots of the show itself and a few paragraphs of show summary. The discs volume numbering, done in rounds, shows up on both the spine and the front cover, earning good kudos from us. The back cover lists the episode numbers and the basic features of the disc. The insert provides another shot of the front cover while it opens to reveal a bio on Argo Gulskii and a bio on the Bolt Gundam. The back of the insert provides the production and cast information for the show.

Menu:
The menus are nicely done though a bit simple. The main static image is of a circuit board while to the right there are some visuals from the episodes playing. Selections are mixed into the circuit board area and access times are nice and fast. There’s little to the disc outside of the basics, so moving about is pretty easy and the layout is fairly standard for Bandai releases. One of the best spots is the episode selection area in how that’s laid out. Very neat.

Extras:
The G-Files continues with several more pages of commentary from series director Imagawa. This time he goes over some bits about the character name origins, the relationship between Asia and Domon (as well as how he hid it from everyone) and the revelations about location choices, which is amusing in itself.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
If I could have my wish, each episode would be 22 minutes of watching Rain go through the process of wearing the Gundam piloting skin.

But, since I’m not in charge, I get four episodes of pretty much non-stop action. This volume is really the culmination of the first six volumes and would work effectively as a series end as opposed to the end of a chapter. After all the character building and events from the previous volume, we’ve had a two week interval of those members of the loose new Shuffle Alliance training on their own and getting ready to travel to Neo Hong Kong since the Final Round for the G Gundam contest is ready to kick off in three days. They’re all eager to go and eager to fight Domon in the battle.

Unfortunately, Domon has gone off to train and has been missing for those two weeks and still hasn’t returned. His training is causing issues for them though, as what he’s experiencing is causing feedback through the various symbols on all their hands. Though all of them are opponents of each other, they still find themselves simply waiting around Rain and the Shining Gundam for Domon to come back. George at least has the reasoning of saying he’s there to protect Rain should anything happen to her.

Domon’s training proves to be interesting, especially since Schwartz ends up involving himself in it and helps to provoke Domon in the right way to produce certain results. A lot of this goes against the way Domon has trained for so long that it doesn’t click well with him, though he keeps trying to figure it out. Their training time doesn’t last all too long together though, as the Devil Gundam and its Death Army have decided that it’s time to end Domon and the others once and for all, so that their true plans can go forward.

What this results in is three episodes of constant fighting between both sides. Sometimes one side gains an upper hand briefly, then the other overwhelms it before it all repeats again. These episodes are very good though, so don’t get me wrong. The action sequences play out great and there’s a lot of primal feeling to much of the combat. There’s even a good amount of time with Rain taking the lead of the Shining Gundam and working with the others to get it to Domon before he gets caught up in the attack. But with a battle sequence like this, there’s things to say but they end up revealing too much.

By the end of this volume, I’m very pleased with how the series has changed throughout the first two dozen episodes. While there is a fair amount of camp at times, such as this volume showing off a variety of Gundam’s from around the world, including that one from the Netherlands or the Viking one with the boat, it’s managed to focus most of the camp feel into something stronger and more gut level primal. Adding the dimension of the relationship between Domon and Rain as something more important towards the second half has definitely helped as well. I’m very curious to see how the second half of this series will turn out, and that’s something I certainly couldn’t have said at the beginning of this series.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,G-Files

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 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: A
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Bandai Entertainment
MSRP: 19.98
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Mobile Fighter G-Gundam