Elemental Gelade Vol. #5 (of 6) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Thursday, April 19, 2007
Release Date: Tuesday, February 20, 2007

What They Say
As a last resort, Cou reacts with Viro, but this new bond creates mixed emotions for Ren. While the group contiues to wonders about Viro's intentions, they must also find answers to Chaos Choir's intentions in order to survive. When the group arrives Viro's childhood village, they find a lot more than they bargained for as newer and more powerful enemies lie in wait.

The Review!
The Chaos Choir works its magic in an attempt to separate Cou from Ren but their plans don't go quite as they want.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. This series has a fairly active mix to it as there's a lot of action effects throughout it as well as some very nicely placed dialogue along the forward soundstage in various conversations and other events. The mix is pretty straightforward overall where a lot of it is through the center channel but it has a good wide feel to it as it plays out. We spot checked the English track and didn't notice any issues there either. During regular playback, we had no problems with dropouts or distortions.

Originally airing in 2005, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The print for this show looks to be in very good shape with very clean and clear colors that are relatively free from posterization or blocking. The show keeps to strong colors for the most part with large areas for them and not a lot of detail so the look of the transfer here is quite good and essentially problem free which means very little in terms of noticeable cross coloration or aliasing. While the transfer doesn't exactly stand out heads above other shows, it's a good solid entry that will look excellent for most setups.

Using the same artwork as the Japanese release but using a bit of the foil element to give the background a bit more life to it, Cisqua gets a cover to herself with a full on action pose as she has all her weapons out. With the foil and silver elements in the cover artwork it's a cover that stands out a bit above other covers and is certainly noticeable. The back cover brings in a bit more of the Japanese artwork with a shot of the other trio and a few other shots from the show. The summary covers the very basics of the show and the discs episode titles and numbers as well as extras are clearly listed. In a continuing slow change for Geneon, this series has a good technical grid along the bottom that covers all the basics of what's involved with the disc making it very easy to find things such as the running time and available languages and aspect ratio. The single page insert has a good shot Ren and Cou embracing on one side while the reverse side has a summary of what to expect in the sixth volume.

Set at an angle with both the video and the actual selections, it's a fairly simple design but it has a good bit of flash to it that doesn't detract from its usability. In the very center is a single section of clear clips playing from the show while a tinted version plays larger in the background but obscured by some other design elements, so it has a really good active feel to it without any real slowdown. The selections are quick and easy to navigate along the bottom with instant episode access and fast load times. The layout and design fit well for the theme of the show but the disc unfortunately did not pick up our players' language presets and defaulted to English with no subtitles. Surprisingly, there is no sign/song subtitle track for the opening and closing sequences.

A couple of extras are included here which is a bit of a surprise this late into the show as we get both a line art gallery and a music video.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Elemental Gelade gets closer to the end here as these four episodes get us into the twenties. The show is getting closer and closed to Edel Garden, so much so that it's actually in sight at long last. Where the show falters is in that the recent addition of Viro is the main focus of the plot which feels like it's just another trap to slow things down.

Viro dominates the four episodes with her storyline as she's managed to get close to everyone. She's intent on carrying out her mission of separating Cou and Ren for the Chaos Choir so that she can finally become an Edel Raid herself. The stigma of being just a tool, a Sting Raid, has consumed her life and she finally has an out. An out that likely isn't possible since the kind of people in the Chaos Choir aren't exactly ones you can trust. Viro's personality is one that someone like Cou or Ren would trust her implicitly but it's also one that has Cisqua questioning her constantly.

And for good reason, but Viro is able to set events up in such a way that she can earn even Cisqua's trust over the long term. The situations are amusing in the way they almost wink at the viewer, particularly when Viro sets up some Desert Eaters to attack the gang so she can rescue them. It ends up going to badly, from her speech at the start that only makes it all the more obvious to the arrival of real Desert Eaters, that she's able to come across as genuine. Annoying as all get out, but genuine. And naturally, for Viro, it's becoming more and more genuine as Cou's innocent and honest nature has her falling pretty hard for him. Her faltering is noticed by those in the Chaos Choir and they use that to their advantage as they want Ren for their own purposes.

Mixed in between all of this basic storytelling are a lot of simple character moments that are the bread and butter of this kind of show. The relationship angle is one that's played up a lot here as Ren and Cou are slowly getting closer and closer together. Both are simply so innocent and naïve that it's almost hard to watch, especially when someone even slightly more aggressive like Viro enters the game. Even worse, her plans are initially without emotion but as she finds herself falling for such a nice guy, she becomes all the more honest in her attempts. This helps her get closer to her mission but also fairly conflicted about what she's doing. There's nothing that surprises in it though or stands out from any number of other series that have done the same over the last twenty years or so.

In Summary:
Elemental Gelade continues to be a very standard and simple show that's competent in its execution. It's simply average and doesn't have anything to it that really makes it stand out from the rest. What little unique nature there might have been initially with things like the air pirates or more with the Reacting has mostly dropped to the side as it has progressed. There isn't anything inherently wrong with Elemental Gelade but there isn't anything that really makes you want to watch it. It's not a bad way to pass the time but it won't leave you feeling too full afterwards.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery,Music Video

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic DMP-BD10 Blu-ray 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: C
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
MSRP: 29.99
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Elemental Gelade