Gun Sword Vol. #4 (of 7) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Release Date: Tuesday, November 14, 2006
What They Say
Chaos and destruction further escalates as the drifter, Ray Lundgren comes face-to-face with The Claw and exacts his revenge, but Wendy, Joshua and Carmen99 are caught in the deadly crossfire. At the same time, Van engages in a deadly duel against his former friend and mentor, Gadved, who discloses a startling revelation... a revelation and betrayal so shocking that it causes Van to fly into a blind fury, perhaps pushing his sanity further over the edge.
The battles are far from over, as Van is enlisted into an Armor Rider tournament and then a brutal and devastating assault by one of the new "Original Seven" leaves Van's Armor, "Dann" damaged and Van's psyche deeply scarred, as his will to fight begins to unravel...
The fight between the Claw and his new original seven and Van is really heating up, but will Van be burned too much by the fire?
For this viewing session I listened to the show in New Generation's 5.1 DTS English track. The show's shonen nature has plenty of action and explosions coming at you from the rear speakers and the dialogue from the center, with no dropouts or distortions. I also took a look at episode 12 The Days of No Return in the Japanese DTS after watching the entire disc already, for I wanted to make sure there was no apparent problems with this audio which was balanced and functioning properly.
Gun Sword only aired last July so the transfer is 16:9 widescreen. Animation is sharp and crisp with beautiful combination intense fighting sends blended with an imaginative world which differed in each episode. There is no bleeding in the animation making the background scenery and the characters come out vibrant and lifelike.
The cover is Carmen 99 looking back over her right shoulder inside a purple shadow on a mustard backdrop with Gun X Sword going vertical on the left-hand side, and the volume title Separate Ways is on the bottom right corner. On the reverse side is the picture of Wendy standing to the side with the wind blowing her hair and her dress slightly in a clear keep case. The insert has the episode chapters and a fold out of Wendy during her slight tenure as a barmaid in episode 10.
Begins with the animation of Van cutting an X onto the screen and a thirty second clip of the opening theme playing repeatedly in the background. There is an exact replica of the picture from the cover of Carmen 99 on the right hand side of the screen with rotating scenes to the left of her. The volume title is on the top left and the options for play, setup, scenes and extras. The X from Gun X Sword as the curser, which responds quickly and is easy to use as the white on the red black ground is highly visible.
The highlight of the extras Gun X Sword-san five and six, which is Wendy on amphetamines insulting and shooting Kameo in both English and Japanese, but this time we get help in the insanity from Carmen 99 and Van, plus Michael and his horde of mini-Michaels. There is a pair of CD drama commercials for the soundtrack releases as well as the US trailer. A gorgeous 12 picture art slide show and Geneon trailers for Barefoot Gen, Petite Cossette & Kannazuki no Miko Destiny of the Shrine Maiden.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers) The fights from the last volume begin again in episode 13 starting the disc off in in exhilarating fashion. Diablo continuously beats down DANN but somehow, unbeknownst to Van, DANN's special abilities are tapped into allow him to take down his old partner. While, Ray simultaneously attempts to defeat the Claw, only to be stopped by Joshua who steps in front of the bullet. Michael crashes through the ceiling to rescue his comrades from Ray and Carmen who are on the offensive.
Carmen, Van and Wendy reunite to continue their quest after they make it to their next destination in search of funds they drop Joshua off at a hospital to recover from his gunshot wound. Van and DANN are hired to defeat Brownie at the RWC armor tournament. Van seems to find an odd connection with Brownie's rider Priscilla whom he even manages to remember her name which is significant for the character. Priscilla is a loyal family girl who fights so that her siblings can eat after the death of their parents, and her motives apparently touch Van and he proceeds to encourage her to have a good fight the next day. Even with her quickness she cannot beat Van and DANN as the "super armor" arrives just to get annihilated by Priscilla.
After the RWC tournament Van and Wendy leave town in pursuit of the Claw, and they decide to catch a blimp ride, but the ride won't be smooth sailing of course. Van begins to have flashbacks of his initiation into the Neo Originals and how he became the owner of DANN. Unfortunately, their location is reported on, causing the blimp to be attacked by the insane William and his armor Metsä. Yet, Van is unable to still completely control the true potential of DANN and William consistently knocks Van down over and over again; proving that he isn't good enough to beat William.
Priscilla who had stayed at home with her family after winning the tournament is longing to see Van again and decides to follow him, along with bring Joshua who now is able to leave the hospital. They plan to catch with everyone using the hover base she uses to house Brownie, which with the amount of powerful armors left at the Claw's disposal another talented rider will definitely be needed in the upcoming war.
William notices that Van was actually able to injure Metsä so he decides to give him a gift of three days to recover and leave. Wendy takes him into the abandoned city to recover while William barks madly at his mother's painting inside the family castle. When Van wakes up he finds Wendy almost sick again from her selflessness and covers her up with his jacket before he leaves and climbs the bell tower. Metsä stairs at him like a signal of his failure and he goes back to their temporary home. Both Van and William find themselves reminiscing and then Van makes a big step as a character allowing himself to open up to Wendy about his past and the woman he loved that was killed by the Claw. Van and William clash again at his castle and his theory of abandonment vs. Van's of fighting for the ones he loves shows the differences between the riders. Van sense of loyalty and love triumphs as he takes down another of his nemesis flunkies.
The amount of growth in Van during this volume is exceptional, which is good to see that there is another more deep and serious side, instead of just the frivolous wanderer. The battles remain high paced and entertaining as the cast becomes much more expansive as well. We can see that the series is going to end up with an emotional battle between Michael and Van becoming unavoidable as the members of the Neo Originals keep falling to DANN's blade. The question is will Van have to give up his life to achieve his goal of stopping the man that killed his wife?
Japanese 2.0 Language,Japanese 5.1 DTS Language,English 2.0 Language,English 5.1 DTS Language,English Subtitles,"Gun X Sword-san" Episodes 5 & 6,CD Commercial Collection,Art Gallery
Sony SAVA D9000 Dual Stack DTS w/ 5 Disc Changer in stack 1 and subwoofer in stack 2 Tv is Sony 57" widescreen rear-projection HDTV Model #KPD 57WS550
Mania Grade: A-
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: A-
Extras Rating: B+
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Gun Sword