Elemental Gelade Vol. #1 - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: MVM Entertainment
  • MSRP: £19.99
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.331
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Elemental Gelade

Elemental Gelade Vol. #1

By Bryan Morton     July 27, 2007
Release Date: May 07, 2007

Elemental Gelade Vol. #1
© MVM Entertainment

What They Say
Cou, the bumbling rookie of the "Red Lynx" sky pirate squadron, has just discovered the treasure of a lifetime: a mighty member of the ancient race of Edel Raids. Ren, at first glance, seems to be a shy and defenseless girl, but she holds within her a power that many are willing to kill for. When Cou takes it upon himself to protect Ren on her journey to a mysterious place called Edel Garden, he immediately makes new friends and dangerous enemies.

Episodes Comprise
1 " The Song of the Sky and Wind
2 " A Fateful React
3 " Betrayal and Confusion
4 " Elemental Gelade of Light and Darkness
5 " The Teardrop from That Day

The Review!
A young boy pairs up with a young girl who gives him awesome fighting power, and begins a quest to help her reach her legendary homeland. I'm sure I've heard something along those lines before. Sky pirate Cou's the boy in question this time around, and he's about to find that protecting cute young girls isn't always easy...

Audio is provided in Japanese and English 2.0 stereo " I listened to the Japanese track for this review. The soundtrack does a perfectly good job, with dialog and effects places appropriately on the soundstage to give a good feel to things. There were no obvious problems.

Video is presented in its original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect. There are plenty of bright colours on display and isn't overly heavy on detail, giving a quite simple appearance to the animation that has transferred very well. Again, there were no obvious problems.

No packaging was provided with our review copy.

The menu is another static affair, typical of recent MVM releases, with a Play All option, direct access to each episode, and submenus provided for Language and Extras. Cou strikes a pose to one side, and the show's very catchy opening theme plays alongside. Simple, effective, and easy to use.

Just creditless versions of the opening and closing sequences this time.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
The Red Lynx are a group of sky pirates, stealing what they can from other ships of the skies. Cou is one of their members - a junior one, to be sure, but he doesn't see it that way and clearly thinks he's God's gift to piracy. Unfortunately, all he gets for his bravado is endless grief & ridicule from his shipmates. A routine raid on a nobleman's ship changes Cou's luck, though - the haul includes a casket, containing a young girl - an Edel Raid, a member of a race of humanoids who can grant special combat power to those they pair off with. Her name's Ren, and she really doesn't like humans - which is a shame, as there are plenty of humans who seem to want their hands on her. When it looks as though Ren is going to be recaptured, she puts her hatred to one side, and grants her power to Cou.

First, a little terminology. Edel Raids may look human, but they're not, entirely " they're set apart by a powerful stone that each bears, an Elemental Gelade, that gives them the ability to React with a human partner to create a powerful fighting combination. That ability makes them extremely valuable to humans, with most of them being treated as little more than slaves. There are also Sting Raids, humans who have had artificial Gelades implanted that grant them similar power " but at a high risk to their own safety. An Edel Rain can only React with one person " once they're bonded, they can't React with anyone else until their partner dies. That little point will become significant for Cou, as our Ren's a particularly powerful Edel Raid, and that means there are a lot of people after her.

Elemental Gelade starts off much like 1,001 other fantasy / fighting shows have started over the years. The premise is simple " boy meets girl, thinks she's cute, and promises to protect her & help her reach home. In Ren's case, that's the legendary Edel Gardens, where Edel Raids can live in peace without being used and abused by humans " and being legendary, she of course doesn't have a clue on how to get there, which means Cou finds himself on a difficult quest to find it.

Cou's very much the typical teenager " it's his hormones that first encourage him to become involved in Ren's life, and that land him in no end of trouble along the way, as he just doesn't know when to back off or when to keep his mouth shut. His quest would probably be a whole lot easier if he'd just learn those two little skills. Ren remains an enigma " she hates humans, in general (not surprising given how Edel Raids are usually treated), but there's something about Cou that she finds unusual, and that prompts her to React with him when she finds herself in danger of capture. She makes a good fighting companion, but otherwise tends to be very quiet and reserved, so you don't get the feeling that there's any real personality there yet " she's just bland, boring, and there.

Edel Gardens may be a legendary place of safety for Edel Raids, but there's also a real place of safety " Arc Aile, home to the Edel Raid Complete Protection Agency, who aim to keep Edel Raids safe from the humans who would exploit them. After Ren is awakened, it's not long before the diminutive Cisqua, and her sidekicks Rowen and his Edel Raid partner Kuea, arrive to bring Ren there " apparently whether she likes it or not. Cisqua has one hell of a temper on her, and a neat line in heavy weaponry to back her up " she'll always ask nicely for what she wants, but it would seem that saying "no" to her can be very bad for your health. Rowen does his best to keep his commander's temper in check, but he's not helped by Kuea, who's often itching for a fight (especially when she's hungry, which is pretty much always). Events conspire to prevent Cisqua & co from bringing Ren back to Arc Aile, and they soon find themselves tagging along with Cou and Ren as they search for Edel Gardens. With that, the stage is set for the rest of the series and the show can get down to business.

Elemental Gelade's biggest problem is that there's absolutely nothing here that hasn't been done before, and it's presented in a way that doesn't take any chances with the formula or give anyone a chance to stand out. Some shows can make a common idea enjoyable through good execution " this series doesn't even really manage that.

The characters aren't the greatest, either. Cisqua's easily the best of the bunch and is very enjoyable to watch, but the rest of the lead cast are just bland rehashings of stereotypes that have been used countless times before. In the five episodes on this disc, there was nothing done with any of them that would lead me to think they're going to break out of their moulds, either, and that doesn't really encourage me. The story also follows a common quest / fight format that neither inspires nor entertains all that much " it's much in the same mould as shows like Star Ocean EX, and very little of what you see will stick in your mind for long after you've finished watching " with the possible exception of the opening theme, which is probably the best part of the show.

In summary:
Elemental Gelade is neither stunningly good nor stunningly bad " it's just mediocre, in idea, presentation and characterisations, and most of the storylines on show you'll have seen many times before. There are no real surprises, and the core cast are mostly just "there". I think in some ways that's the worst fate a show can suffer " at least if it's truly bad, you can poke fun at it, but with Elemental Gelade you can't even do that. Not a series I could recommend.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Textless Opening #1,Textless Ending

Review Equipment
Toshiba 37X3030DB 37" widescreen HDTV; Pioneer DV-626D DVD player; Acoustic Solutions DS-222 5.1 speaker system.


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