Gilgamesh Vol. #6 (of 7) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Release Date: Tuesday, April 25, 2006
What They Say
While Tatsuya and his Orga brethren deal with a devastating loss, the ice-cold Countess boldly attempts to make a kill of her own. This pushes Tatsuya to shut her out at last, in a violent, spectacular rage. Isamu, in turn, gets even closer to the secretive widow, at an intimate dinner with just the two of them, where he demands to know how this sick war began - and what part he and the Countess are truly playing in the battle. Thus, the truth of Heaven's Gate is revealed.
Elsewhere, a key Heaven's Gate player is murdered by the least likely soldier in this shadowy combat. And as the hidden Gilgamesh regroups and restores their power, the devious Kazmatsuri strenghthens his own force to confront the red- and black-leathered warriors, at last showing to what depths he has descended in effort to end the conflict. Is he really destroying the world? Or doing whatever he can to save it?
A history lesson is the latest dish in the sumptuous banquet for all the senses known as Gilgamesh.
The Japanese stereo track was used for my primary viewing session and had no noticeable distortions, drop-outs, or other issues. The audio is primarily dialogue but blends music and atmospheric effects into the mix making for a rich aural experience.
The English 5.1 audio track was also spot checked; this track is as clear and crisp as the Japanese audio. Music and ambient sounds play an important role in how the story unfolds, and both audio tracks provide a superb experience in all aspects.
Gilgamesh is presented in a gorgeous anamorphic transfer. The transfer is free from any noticeable artifacts, aliasing, cross coloration, or other defects. The story of Gilgamesh is enhanced by its visuals, and the transfer allows the rich colors and details to provide the appropriate atmosphere for each scene.
The front cover features a striking image of a young Countess. 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 fifteen to twenty. 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, a slideshow of character art, and a glossary of terms. Additionally, there are three "Revelation" segments. The first segment runs thirty minutes and features the US voice actors for the Gilgamesh team talking about their impressions about the series. Giving their impressions for twenty minutes in the second segment are the US voice actors for the Mitleid Corporation characters. Finally, the third segment explores the "Heaven and Hell" or the "good and evil" expressed in the series; the fifteen minute segment explores some of the characters, settings, and plot devices used throughout the series.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Good stories will build up certain plot threads and character development threads over time and provide the audience with a satisfactory resolution. Over twenty episodes, Gilgamesh has carefully crafted a core set of characters, a conflict in which they are involved, and various questions that have been shaping their perception of what side they should be on. This volume provides answers to a number of those questions with the same panache and flair used to build those questions.
We pick up with Tatsuya upset over the callous attitude the Countess has towards Kiyoko's death. He seals himself and Kiyoko's body in a cocoon made from a good portion of the infirmary's contents. With his reproaches ringing in her ears, we flash back and learn more about Madoka Terumichi and the Countess' lives before Twin X. While the focus is on the events around discovering Heaven's Gate and its destruction, the most illuminating information gained is how the Countess and Enkidu went from collaborating scientists, and possibly more, to bitter rivals. Twin X robbed the Countess of everyone she loved leaving her alone.
The Countess finds her new family further crumbling when Isamu uses his Yakuza contact to obtain documents about the Orga children's births. They already suspected they were clones based on Kazamatsuri's story, but the confirmation of this fact comes with even more horrible revelations. This triggers a sequence that is beautifully shot and written. While Toru and Fuko completely lose it, Isamu keeps his cool and confronts the Countess at dinner.
He asks one last time for her to reveal all that she has held back from them. She opens up and tells him why she gathered them together, but Isamu finds that he can no longer trust her. He accuses her of still holding back despite her protest to the contrary. His final words to her are a musing on how he ever thought he could die for her. She watches Isamu and Fuko walk out of her life from a hotel window the next morning, a look of utter isolation on her face.
The remainder of the volume reveals that the Blattaria are also clones engineered by the military in a similar way to the production of the Orga children. With Yuki's accidental death, Kazamatsuri finally controls Mitleid and is preparing for one final battle with Gilgamesh. And Kiyoko's body and the fetus inside appear to be merging but retaining some form of Kiyoko's spirit. The end of this series is going to come too soon but not soon enough.
Music, artwork, and dialogue combine masterfully in this volume to create some powerful moments. Of particular note is Fuko's reaction to the truth of her birth; it is not only a powerful moment, but it also highlights how carefully the story has been constructed. An element that seemed cute but not particularly relevant to the plot is revealed to be a subtle piece of foreshadowing. These small flourishes make one want to dive back into the previous episodes to look for other possible clues.
Gilgamesh continues to be a series that amazes and fills a gap in the range of titles available. With an atmosphere both creepy but familiar, it weaves a complex, engaging science fiction story without the use of giant robots, elaborate battle sequences, or other flashy eye candy. It is cerebral but is still accessible to a broad audience via the strong characters it creates.
A good story will provide its audience with pay-offs for the plot threads it creates; this volume of Gilgamesh does just that by using the shared history of Madoka Terumichi and the Countess to resolve a number of questions about the various characters while increasing the tension for the finale. Gilgamesh carefully and skillfully blends elegant visuals, haunting music, and an engrossing plot. Whose side are you on? You should be on the side that purchases every volume of Gilgamesh -- a "must have" title.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Revelations: In the Studio with the New Gilgamesh, Revelations: Heaven & Hell, Revelations: In the Studio with the Mitleid Corp., Production Sketches, Glossary of 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