Mobile Fighter G-Gundam Vol. #11 (of 12) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Saturday, July 12, 2003
Release Date: Tuesday, June 17, 2003



What They Say
The Battle Royale begins! All the remaining Gundams are placed on Lantau island and will fight it out until there is only one left standing. Prime Minister Wong has once again altered the rules and allowed previously defeated Gundams to participate in order to further his evil schemes.

Domon will learn the truth behind what really happened with Kyoji and the identity of the Masked Schwarz Bruder. The appearance of a New Gundam. who are the Four Evil Kings?!

The Review!
The penultimate volume to the series continues the massive Battle Royale as things become even deadlier as the Four Kings wreck havoc all over the Shuffle Alliance.

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:
One of my favorite covers since I first saw it, the eleventh volume is simply great looking. The prominent image of Rain in her fight suit with the energy bow in hand, mimicked by the Rising Gundam behind her, as she fights against the Devil Cell possessed Allenby. 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 Rain and the Rising 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 extra this time around continues to be the G-Files, which has the director going on at length about various episodes on this volume. His information continues to be very detailed and amusing at the same time as the questioner occasionally manages to “bust” him on things he’s done or sources he’s swiped from. There’s some good stuff in here about the shows format and why certain plotlines were not given more visible prominence and instead become more of the kind that require the viewer to make assumptions.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After finishing the tenth volume and intending to break into some other shows, I realized I needed more of a G-Gundam fixed and quickly loaded up this volume to see how more of the Battle Royale was going to turn out.

These episodes are almost heartwrenching to watch! The show spends some time on characterization, allowing us to learn more about Kyoji and his situation as well as strengthening the bonds of friendship between George and Chibodee, but a lot of it is really focused on the fight sequences and the raw emotions generated from it.

The attacks on the island have gotten much more intense as the battle has whittled down to the few remaining Gundams. While they continue to fight, the concern from outside has grown considerably which leads to a small group of the support folks trying to figure out how to get inside. Unfortunately, the barrier that surrounds the island is so intense that it goes fairly far underground and overheard as well as being double-sided, causing those who try to get in a fair amount of pain, enough to kill a normal person.

Kyoji tries to help out when he arrives in his Gundam, but it isn’t until Rain shows up (in her ever so sexy fight suit) in the Rising Gundam that one of Chibodee’s support team figures out a way to get inside. The plan is cunning to say the least, using the energies of the Gundams to draw out the barrier, and then get someone to slip inside the gap and destroy the barrier post so that the whole deal will come down. This is a tedious process, and it takes quite a bit of time to work through, leaving those inside fighting a bloody fight.

There’s a lot to the battles here, such as George and Chibodee fighting to their last breaths against Chapman in his King Gundam. Chapman almost seems half crazed but at least isn’t ranting while crushing the opposition. He nearly has Domon, but George and Chibodee intervene and work together to try and take him down as each works through their ammunition clips, fighting the impossible foe. This sequence is just really nice played out, right down to the quiet moment where they drench their respective Gundams in the alcohol of choice each has hidden inside their cockpit.

The real focus though comes as Domon starts moving in closer to the Devil Gundam, leaving him to deal not only with Master Asia but also the controlled berserk mode Allenby that Wong is using to push Asia out of the picture. There’s some conflicts about to brew there, but the action ends up overriding most everything else. The inability of Domon to fight against Allenby brings some problems to the fight since he’s only trying to defend, but there’s an interesting resolution to it that leads to a creepy and sorrowful transformation for Allenby.

The best material here comes from Kyoji as some of the plot gaps get filled in and we figure out at long last what’s been going on. The twists in the tale come from his revelations, changing much of Domon’s motivations for the series to date. As the show gets closer and closer to the end, the information revealed is more critical. Domon’s struggle is definitely much more than just a physical one now.

Though some of the fight scenes may drag on a little bit more than they should, it’s all to illustrate the tenacity of both sides in this struggle over how the future of the Earth will go. This is great fun epic material with a great focus on the characters. Very recommended.

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

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic DMR-E20 DVD Recorder, 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