In Guardia, a place where people yearn for the skies, a young pirate seeks his dreams in ancient myths and finds power, friendship and love.
What They Say
Cou, the bumbling rookie of the "Red Lynx" sky pirates, wakes Ren from suspended animation and discovers the adventure of a lifetime! At first glance, Ren seems shy and defenseless, but she holds within her a power that many will kill to possess. Cou vows to protect Ren on her journey to the mythical paradise of Edel Garden, a journey which will reveal new friends and dangerous enemies.
The sound is crisp in Japanese, no complaints here. The English soundtrack sounds, well...pretty good, actually. No fuzziness or thinness of sound and the voice actors fit their roles. It was a pleasure to listen to.
Crisp and clean, this would make a great TV series. The color is bright, the animation is typically inconsistent, but toally acceptable. Special effects are also typical for a shounen fighting series. There are no streamers on the subtitles, which are easy to read. It would look great on a big screen.
Cardboard box housing 3 dual-disk cases, with art covers. Cases slide easily out of the cardboard box. They are a little slippery, in fact, and kept slipping out at any provocation, but when all three are in the box, they are firm enough. The disks themselves each have designs that reflect that volume's cover. The disk case is designed well - you know what episodes you're looking at and don't have to hunt for key info, like ep number, title, etc., they are clearly marked on the case and, in the interior on side of the case the disk fits in.
The menu is that popular diagonal design with an animated sequence from that disk and choices laid out on the bias. There's a confusing incosistency in the choices for subtitles. On the first disk Subtitles are On/Off but for the rest of the disks, the choice is a less clear "Dialogue Subtitles" and "Screen Subtitles." I'm still not quite sure what "Screen Subtitles" are.
Japanese and English Voice Actor Interviews, credits, textless openings and endings, trailers that ran at Tokyo Anime Fair and Comiket, Video game trailers, Line Art Galleries and Full-length End Theme Video. I was impressed with the quantity and variety of extras, even if the interviews themselves were typical and a little content-free. Trailers are nice to haves, and credits are, IMHO, not an extra. The ED video was interesting, although I prefered the opening song. Oh well. :-)
Content (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
A Land of gold lies in the heavens above the clouds.
In a world where people "yearn for the skies," we meet Coud van Giruet- called "Cou"- a young sky pirate of the Red Lynx. He's clearly not respected by the rest of the crew, but he is well-liked. Through accident, he encounters booty his crew retrieved and, in a mysterious box, finds a beatiful girl. Cou wakes her up. The girl says he smells like a human, so she hates him. Just then a lightship attacks the Red Lynx. Lightship lands, in comes three people, members of the Edel Raid Protection Agency, known as "Arc Aile." They've come to take the box and the girl inside.. Cisqua is the spokesperson, Rowen is the subleader and Kuea is the third member - they are "Guardians" of Arc Aile. The girl is an "Ede Raid", a being of enormous power. Edel Raids merge with humans to fight and this girl is special even among Edel Raids, she's the "Rainbow Treasure."
When the Red Lynx is attacked by a mysterious group, Cou protects the girl, but is out-powered. Kuea and Rowen merge with a kiss, something they call a "react," and Kuea becomes a weapon. Cou vows to protect the girl, but when he takes a lot of damage, the girl "reacts" with him, becoming a powerful weapon. The girl introduces herself as Revelie Metherlence, called Ren. Ren was on the way to legendary Edel Garden, a land of tranquility in the heavens. Cou and she leave the Red Lynx to find Adel Garden, and are immediately joined by Ciqua, Rowen and Kuea. The Guardians want Ren to come with them to Arc Aile, but are willing to help her find Edel Garden.
They travel to various villages and sky islands, always heading towards Edel Garden, and meeting - and helping - various people and Edel Raids along the way. Ren hates humans because so many of them treat Edel Raids like tools. When she is sold to a local warlord, Cou and the others rescue her and he convinces her that he sees her as a person, not just a weapon.With each "react," Cou and Ren become stronger and closer. And slowly, they realize that they are being hunted by an organization called "Chaos Choir." Worse, they all learn that despite what Arc Aile says about "protecting" Edel Raids, they are, in a sense capturing and containing them.
When Arc Aile sets a violent bounty hunter who mistreats his own Edel Raid on them all to capture Ren, Cisqua and the others begin to question Arc Aile's motives - and methods. They meet a pair of sisters; the elder fights to protect the younger from being taken away to pay family debts - but they've been lied to and the man who holds the debts won't let them go. To breakup an illegal fighting ring and free the sisters, Cisqua calls in Arc Aile. They provide help, but take Ren away and won't let Cou near her.
When they arrive at Arc Aile, it becomes apparent that the organization is not what they say. They separate Cou and Ren. Ren, trapped in an illusion of Edel Garden, really wants to return to Cou, but is convinced that he's forgotten her. Ren escapes Arc Aile and Cou and the others trail her and are, eventually, reunited with her.
Along the way, Ciqua is forced to fight an old comrade, who says that Chaos Choir was formed to protect Edel Raids from Arc Aile and other humans who use them for their own benefit. Chaos Choir even goes as far as sending a double agent to separate Ren and Cou, but she befriends them and, ultimately sacrifices herself to save them. Their near-separation causes Ren and Cou to confess their feelings for one other. Ren is more strongly drawn to Edel Garden by a voice she can hear asking for her help. The voice comes from the Queen of Edel Garden, Eve, whose power is being drained by Chaos Choir.
Chaos Choir say they want to destroy the Guardians in order to protect the Edel Raids. Arc Aile and Chaos Choir meet in battle above Edel Garden. We learn the Legend of Edel Garden, about a time when humans and Edel Raids worked together, but humans began to use them as tools, so they learned to hate humans. The legend says that when the healing chants can be resurrected, they can live together again. Cisqua believes that Cou and Ren can be the ones to do it.
Ren finally meets the source of the voice she's been hearing - Eve. Orfus of Chaos Choir promises to end the war if Ren becomes their new Queen and lends them her power. She agrees, but she has been decived - they bind her to them and begin to drain her power. Despite Cisqua's offer of peace, and Cou's insistence that Edel Raids are not tools, Chaos Choir brings them to the edge of a war once again, turning Ren into a monster to attack her friends. However, Ren and Cou's love defeats their hatred, as they begin to chant the ancient healing chant. Chaos Choir concedes defeat, but under the power of love, they admit that it doesn't feel like they have lost. Ren and Cou are reunited in a beautiful scene with an actual kiss(!) followed by an epilogue in which everyone lived happily ever after.
Elemental Gelade would make a great TV series - there's no sex, no panties, evil baddies and evil goodies and honorable heroes. Really, this had everything one wants in a shounen series; fighting, righteousness and love. It's atypical for a shounen series in that the focus is not on "becomeing stronger" but on breaking boundaries between people and love. The fact that Ren and Cou kiss like actual people do is pretty much the icing on the cake. Overall it was a fun series, with a plot that was a little over-complex but *made sense* - and how refreshing is that?
Japanese 2.0 Language, English language track, English Subtitles, "Clean" Opening/Ending Credits, English Voice Actor Commentary, Japanese Voice Actor Interview, Trailers for TAF and Comiket, Game trailers and Music Video.
RCA F32648 33" TV, Phillips DVP140/37 DIVx Ultra DVD player, no additional sound system.