Godannar Vol. #2 (of 7) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Release Date: Tuesday, November 29, 2005



What They Say
When His Ex comes back from the dead… The Honeymoon is definitely OVER! It’s hard enough being secretly married, a giant robot pilot and in high school; but when your mother’s also your boss, how’s a girl to know what’s personal and what’s a matter of national security? All Anna knows is that her husband’s up to something and Mom’s covering his tracks! And things get even more complicated when the British Dragliner team crashes the party! Between the dashing Knight’s attempts to mount every filly in the stable, the unexpected resurrection of Goh’s first love and a volcanic island ruled by Mimetic Beasts, the Giant Robot action has never been hotter than in the second scorching volume of Godannar!

The Review!
With the lead characters now set and introduced it's time to really mess with their heads and hearts.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this series in its original language of Japanese. The included stereo mix for this track is really well done with a lot of directionality across the forward soundstage in just about each area. Be it incidental music, the large sweeping moments or just the dialogue itself, the stereo channels are well used throughout the episodes and certainly helps the show flow and move along considering the general fast pace of it. We didn't have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback and overall found that track to be quite solid.

Video:
Originally airing in 2003, the transfer for this series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. With the color palette used for this series and the high frenetic energy and action of most of the scenes, the transfer here comes across practically sparkling. The colors are bright and vibrant throughout and maintain a really great solid level. The blues in particular are gorgeous in a lot of sequences when there is both water and sky in the same shot. The print looks to be free of problems as there wasn't any visible cross coloration or serious aliasing going on. This in the end was just a lot of fun to watch and admire.

Packaging:
Making out a bit better than the first volume cover, this one goes with the standard kind of background with one of the giant robots there while the better piece is the foreground artwork of a bloodied Goh holding onto an unconscious Anna. The back cover is much nicer and cleanly laid out with a mix of whites and greens that showcases the fanservice and attractive designs of the show along with a one paragraph summary of the premise. There's a good selection of ten small pictures to check out in-show images while the discs extras and technical information is all clear and easy to read as it surrounds the production information. Unlike a lot of other recent releases, there's an insert in this one that starts off with a neat illustration of a few of the girls and opens to a two page interview section with the series director.

Menu:
The main menu continues the mechanical look from the back cover with the white and green rotating along the left while the main portion of the menu itself, a design of various angles and sections that are just "SF" in feel, are done up in a black and blue filter and have the instant episode access and other basic navigation features. Access times are nice and fast and the layout is very easy to navigate. Like practically every other release from ADV Films, our players' language presets worked perfectly and without issue. Why does it seem like nobody else is capable of this?

Extras:
There's a lengthy list of extras here but it's a bit deceptive. The clean opening and closing segments are welcome and right at the top of the list and they're followed by three sections of profiles. It's split up between character material, mechanical material and the top secret section which is filled with bits about the creatures that they're fighting. The Key Words section is basically a glossary of terms, some of which you hope don't really need to be explained but probably do.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The middle arc of the first season of the show fills up this volume and the episode spread works out well as it's essentially two small arcs of two episodes each. Both of them focus on different but similar things as it provides a solid mix of fast paced giant robot action but also plenty of dramatic character moments and revelations. While not as frenetic as the first volume, it does have a solid pace to it and starts working through questions raised from the start while filling in some of the knowledge gaps.

The opening arc on this volume is surprising in that it starts working through a particular set of issues far earlier than I expected. Goh's feeling rather distracted lately and it's getting to Anna who starts making accusations around her mother about Goh possibly having another woman under his wing. She ends up making the wrong kind of reaction to it which seemingly confirms her daughter's feelings and this leads to Anna following her mother around in order to discover what's going on. She ends up bringing Lou into it with the promise of teaching her how to operate the giant robots that she so badly wants to be a part of and the two engage in some amusing surveillance.

What she discovers isn't quite so shocking to her when she finds Mira in one of the hospital beds but the realization of who she is when her mother and Goh come racing in to stop whatever is even better. Watching Goh have this woman suddenly return to his life at the same time that Max is apparently alive is shocking to him. The downside of course being that she's essentially a newborn baby with no memories of her past while Max is 99% who he was before. Anna's attempts at dealing with it puts her in the position of wanting to help Mira by talking to her and trying to get her to interact with things while Goh sort of broods a bit but ends up having to deal with Max going psycho on all of them over the way their relationships didn't play out to his satisfaction the first time around. This leads to a drama and tension filled battle sequence since it's friend against friend with a woman both of them love on some level at stake while Goh's wife watches on. So many different ways it could go both in action and in emotions.

The second arc is a bit lighter in nature but it still works various emotional angles while having some good fun giant robot action to it. This arc brings the Dragliner back into play as Knight and Ellis get to have fun with everything that Goh and Anna are going through. Their arrival at the headquarters alone is priceless since Knight has that cool British feel to him and he uses it to charm as many women as possible in a base filled with women in extremely tight uniforms. There's one hilarious view taken when walking down the hallway that if it wasn't for the fact that the skintight uniform was colored orange instead of flesh it would have qualified as an adult show. The storyline that runs through things has some of the issues that are going on between Knight and Ellis coming to the forefront but also delves into what Goh and Anna are going through.

With their fight against the Mimetic Beasts causing the Dragliner to crash on a volcanic island, we get an episode where there's a lot of fun had with these two pairs dealing with being forced down on an island where the beast is supposedly playing with them while they fix their respective craft. In between all of this though there's time for a few trips to the hot springs and some amusingly pseudo-erotic dreams for some of them. The skin level goes up rather high here and you get to see a heck of a lot of Knight's rear end throughout this. Of course, you usually see it as is considering the skintight clothing most of these guys wear but they have a lot of fun overall with the sexuality of the characters throughout here. And unlike a lot of series by someone like Obari, it just doesn't feel quite as over the top exploitive as those. It definitely is a high level of fan service though.

The somewhat slower nature of this set of episodes helps the show feel more fleshed out and lets the characters really show who they are more. The balance with the giant robot action is well done though so those who just want more of that by one of the better giant robot directors out there will be more than pleased, particularly since he went to great lengths to include as many diverse types as possible in the show. While it's not a huge draw for me I do like the continued designs they use and the way they go about showcasing them. The characters continue to be the real draw for me and I'm enjoying the overt sexual nature of many of them since it's not just their looks but also in their dialogue and nature with lots of flirting and relationships involved here. When there is a ton of fanservice but the characters are mostly obvious to it, that's far less interesting, but when they know it and bring it into their way of life it's a lot of fun.

In Summary:
Godannar wasn't a show I was all that eager to see based on the previews I had seen for it and the chatter but once I got into it, it really surprised me at just how much fun it turned out to be. There've been a number of giant robot shows out in the last year and thankfully they all seem to be doing something different from each other so even when they overlap a bit it doesn't feel like a repeat of something we'd just seen. Godannar brings a nice blend of giant robot action and strong sexuality with its characters together in a slick animated piece. I'd say that this is good clean fun but I like the fact that it's a bit unclean. This is an easy show to recommend if the two basics behind it are appealing as it is simply a fun show.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Character profiles,Mecha profiles,Glossary of Godannar key words,Top Secret Case Files,Clean opening animation,Clean closing animation

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.



Mania Grade: A-
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: TV MA
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
MSRP: 29.98
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Godannar