Gilgamesh Vol. #5 (of 7) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, March 02, 2006
Release Date: Tuesday, February 28, 2006
What They Say
As Mitleid’s ruthless corporate raider examines “every inch” of Tatsuya’s body, he reveals a soul-shaking revelation. Of even more consequence, this truth has an equally powerful impact on his fellow psychics in Orga, who decide to slip behind the Countess’ back for their own secret meeting with the widow’s enemy to find out what he knows about them.
Meanwhile, Tatsuya’s sister gets a surprise visitor as well when Septem, a beautiful (and jealous) new Gilgamesh, seeks to lure Novem from Kiyoko—and out of her bed.
But even if Septem succeeds in spiriting Novem away, Kiyoko is not exactly alone. For she reveals a surprising, shockingly powerful new ally who will vex the plans of the Countess and her suit-clad, power-mad foe shattering every one, every thing, and every side in this dark, deceptive war.
Sexual powerplay. Elegant thriller. Addictive mystery. Don’t miss this critically-acclaimed gothic sci-fi masterpiece.
Kikyo and Tatsuya's reunion is anything but joyful, but what would you expect from one of the better gothic stories being produced...
The Japanese stereo track was used for my primary viewing session; while the first batch of episodes are driven more by dialogue, the front soundstage provides some great directional effects and helps create an eerie atmosphere through ambient sounds, such as the thunder bursts heard in the first episode. All aspects, music, dialogue, etc., were balanced appropriately allowing each element to shine through at the appropriate time. There were no issues with distortions or drop-outs.
The English 5.1 audio track was also spot checked; this track is as clear and crisp as the Japanese audio. Both tracks will please their listening audience and provide a superb auditory experience.
Gilgamesh is presented in a gorgeous anamorphic transfer. The transfer is free from any noticeable artifacts, aliasing, cross coloration, or other defects. The world of Gilgamesh tends to dark, grey palettes making any bright colors stand out. The transfer provides rich vivid colors for every scene making for a dark, creepy atmosphere punctuated by brighter colors.
The front cover features a member of Gilgamesh in an industrial boiler room setting. The series title is in the upper left corner with the volume title in the lower left corner. The back cover contains the requisite images, plot synopsis, credits, and disc specifications. Everything is laid out in a clean and readable format.
Inside is a one page insert of liner notes for episodes eight to thirteen. The notes not only include summaries of what has happened but also interesting cultural and production notes.
The menu layout is simple and clean allowing the viewer to quickly access the various sections and begin watching the actual series. The main menu features an image of a character on the left and the menu items to the right of the image. The symbols worn by the Gilgamesh members pulse in between. The images and menu items are set against a parchment paper background effect that has rotating images from the series softly watermarked in it. Some of the eerie background music loops along while the viewer is making their menu choice. There are no delays transitioning between menus.
The extras include a clean opening sequence, a clean ending sequence, a slideshow of production art, and a slideshow of character art. There is also a twenty-five minute special by the Anime Network featuring interviews with the English dub cast at a premier of the series. Rounding out the extras is a twenty-one minute piece titled "Revelations". It is a separate audio track for the second episode and provides a lot of information about the cultural references in the series.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
One of the main themes of Gilgamesh has been "Whose side are you on?". The characters are polarized into separate camps with their own agendas; no side can lay claim to the absolute moral high ground forcing pawns like the Orga children to continually question their motives. Those motives come under fire as the story enters the final arc.
Kazamatsuri has taken Tatsuya into custody to examine how and why Enkidu's power flowed through Tatsuya during the Turangalila battle. It is under this examination that Kazamatsuri reveals that Tatsuya is actually a clone of Enkidu, born from the cloned embryo of the Professor stored at Heaven's Gate. With nothing further to learn, Kazamatsuri releases Tatsuya as part of his plan; doubting his own existence, Tatsuya heads straight for the one person he does trust, his sister Kiyoko.
The Blatteria follow Tatsuya and attempt to destroy Novem and the Gilgamesh member that has come to take him back to the Professor. In the ensuing battle, we are introduced to a number of new Gilgamesh members and their elemental based powers. Kiyoko's home is destroyed leaving her with no option but to return to the Providence and the clutches of the Countess.
As Kiyoko and Tatsuya rekindle their familial bonds, the Orga children pay a personal visit to Kazamatsuri and ask him to reveal the truth about them own lives. What they learn is that they are identical to Tatsuya; they were also born from cloned embryos of Heaven's Gate scientists. The reason they can all control Dynamis is due to being their embryos being exposed to radiation from Tear, a mysterious life form that grew in Heaven's Gate.
And so the seeds of doubt have been sown in their minds. While their experiences make them unique, they are merely shadows of long dead people rather than a unique creation. Also, just how much else has the Countess kept secret about their lives and her motives for "finding" them? Will this affect their decision about which side to follow? These and other questions are what draw me to this series; it may not feature flashy, gigantic battles, but it uses every bit of dialogue to give the plot and characters purpose and nuance. You become absorbed into the story, picking it apart for clues hidden between the spoken lines and the dark visuals.
One final piece is added to the puzzle when the Blatteria attack the Providence and attempt to kill Kiyoko. Their attack is repelled by a sudden burst of Dynamis from Kiyoko; the Countess knows the cause to be the baby Kiyoko is carrying inside her. The implication is that the child's father is Novem making the child an abomination to the Countess. Kiyoko refuses to have it aborted but struggles to cling to life as the baby grows more powerful.
It is hard to pin down one item that makes Gilgamesh stand out from others; rather than following the norm for the genre, the series has created a heavily character driven piece that does not attempt to be a grandiose sermon about technology or religion. Instead, it creates a world that forces you to examine it carefully and decide who, if anyone, has some form of truth on their side.
Every volume of Gilgamesh is eagerly awaited as it continues to provide a rich mystery, enjoyable characters, and a dark visual style to complement them. This volume sets up some key plot points to propel the series to its finale. Driven mostly by dialogue, the story never lags but instead flows along dragging the viewer deeper into the dark atmosphere. If you grow weary of the standard antics of psychically powered teens in a post-apocalyptic world, soak yourself in the events of Twin X for awhile. Very highly recommended.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Production sketches,Glossary of Gilgamesh terms,Clean opening animation,Clean closing animation
Mitsubishi 27" TV, Panasonic RP-82, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Bose Acoustimass-6 speakers, generic S-Video and optical audio cable
Mania Grade: A-
Audio Rating: A
Video Rating: A
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: A-
Age Rating: TV 14
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2