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

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Monday, August 21, 2006
Release Date: Tuesday, August 29, 2006

What They Say
They met in combat and it's combat that will tear them apart. Against a backdrop of planet-wide destruction, the Dannar team begins the last desperate assault against their inhuman adversaries. But as the war with the Mimetic Beasts reaches it's climax, the breaking point in Goh and Anna's own relationship is finally met. To win the war will require one last sacrifice, no matter what the cost. What God has joined, Man will tear asunder in the final apocalyptic volume of GODANNAR!

The Review!
The second season of the series draws to a close with a series of pitched battles, both in their giant robots and within their hearts.

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.

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.

The final cover is a pretty good one in that it closes things out with the two leads who really are the focus of the show, though there are subtle differences here that would be mild spoilers in some ways, with the backdrop of the Dannar base flying along and the Godanner in its double-up mode. 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 several 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 sexy shot of Anna, Mira and Shizuru at the beach. The booklet is made up of interviews with the Japanese voice actors and other staffers and their thoughts on the first season of the series and more.

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?

The extras drop down a bit more with this volume as it brings it all to a close. The clean opening and closing segments from the second season are right at the top of the list and they're followed by a new round of production sketches. A new extra is included that deals with the recording of the songs in Japan and what went into it. It's a good video piece that's fun to watch and lets you get to see the singers working through the project.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Godannar comes to a close with a rather hectic pair of episodes before it settles into a really enjoyable epilogue that closes up a few loose ends and explains away some of the plot points that haven't been dealt with up until now. The series has been first and foremost a giant robots show and it's done a good job with that up through here but the emotional aspect of it continues to be snuck into key scenes so that there's some real weight to a number of the best moments.

So much has happened in the second season so far that with the formal realization of the Insania virus and its effects, the teams have been thrown into a fair amount of disarray. The last volume left off with a particularly nasty attack that left the Dannar base in bad shape and with a number of people missing, including Goh. With him missing, Anna's unable to concentrate on anything else which at least leaves Mira and the others to take the focus of fighting the battles. But sudden last minute changes are afoot and the unexpected arrival of Anna's father out of the blue is just jarring since it has little explanation to it. It's good to see the return of that part of the family, and the revelation of where he's been all this time in a very brief manner, but it's just so strange other than the fact that they wanted him to take command of the final battle in tandem with his wife so that the pairings were all complete.

The way these first two episodes here play out on the screen, it feels a lot like the first/flashback piece we saw when Mira and Kouji were killed since both of them plus Shizuru are involved heavily in helping to coordinate attacks or deal with other things as the battle becomes really critical. The action is pretty fast and the giant robot smashing against a huge and rather ugly looking Mimetic Beast is fun to watch, especially as so many members of all sides have managed to end up here at this critical battle. This series has had a lot of payoff I think in terms of showcasing some fun giant robot action in the classic style in that while physics is paid attention to, it's entirely bendable and subject to being altered if a scene can be made "cooler" by doing so.

As good as these two episodes are in closing up a good portion of what's come to bear during the series, it's the last episode that is my favorite and a favorite in the series as a whole. While I wholeheartedly agree that with most anime series, it's the journey that counts since endings seem flawed in so many ways, I absolutely adore shows that take time to do a true epilogue episode instead of a couple of scenes or a couple of seconds worth of closure. Godannar gives over its final episode to the epilogue by advancing the story ahead seven years so that we can see how the war has been going, the research gone into the Insania virus as well as following all the changes in the relationships. There are new flashback moments and some solid areas where they push characters forward and we get the real closure that we want, that the previous episode really teased at. The epilogue is so enjoyable in fact that I would love to see a third season take place during this timeline as I really liked seeing the older characters and the new dynamics brought into it, be it Shin's younger brother, the less childish looking Anna or the command structure changes that have gone through..

In Summary:
With only three episodes and the bulk of it centered around action against an essentially mindless beast, I'm hard pressed to really say much about the plot in general but it's filled with a lot of the angst and action that has filled the series to date. Nothing feels out of place here and it builds up to a great crescendo before letting us soak it all up in the epilogue. I went into this series with no expectations other than some mild dread at yet another giant robot show with too much fanservice and ended up enjoying it far more than I expected, skin and all. It's not a beautiful masterpiece but they do try some really different things here in terms of relationships and have no compunction in at least seeming like they're killing off characters, so it became an attractive show just from that alone. It's one that I can see myself rewatching with less time between volumes though and getting a lot more out of.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,From the Archives "Recording the Songs,Production sketches,Clean opening animation,Clean closing animation

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Samsung BD-P1000 Blu-ray Progressive Scan player via HDMI -> DVI with upconversion set to 1080i, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

Mania Grade: B+
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: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Godannar