Elemental Gelade Vol. #3 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B-

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Info:

  • 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: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Elemental Gelade

Elemental Gelade Vol. #3

By Bryan Morton     October 16, 2007
Release Date: September 03, 2007


Elemental Gelade Vol. #3
© MVM Entertainment


What They Say
A battle for pride! (And some quick cash...)

In an intense battle for their pride and some quick cash, Cou's recent training with Ren is put to the test. They are soon fighting for their lives when unexpected enemies interrupt the battle and try to bring the arena down around them. Fortunately, Cisqua's request for backup from Arc Aile saves the day, but all is not well when suspicious behaviour from trusted allies starts to reveal themselves on their way back to headquarters...

Episodes Comprise
10 – Love and Greed
11 – Revenge of the Krasfighter
12 – Sprint to Freedom
13 – Arc Aile

The Review!
Elemental Gelade shows some welcome signs of developing a real story, but makes you sit through three more episodes of more of the same old predictable guff before getting down to business. It’s a start, I suppose…

Audio:
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:
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.

Packaging:
No packaging was provided with our review copy.

Menu:
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. An image of Rowen and Kuea sits off to one side, and the show’s very catchy opening theme plays alongside. Simple, effective, and easy to use.

Extras:
Two extended trailers for the series, as showcased at Comiket 67 and the 2005 Tokyo Anime Fair, make up the extras for this release.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
When we last left Cou and Ren, they were getting friendly with Lillia and her adoptive sister & arena fighter Rasati. With Lillia being an Edel Raid, there’s the usual interest in the less savour side of society to get their hands on her – and so there’s soon a bandit raid on her home, and an attempt to kidnap her. By using her powers to generate a bright flash of light, Ren gives Cou and Lillia a chance to retreat from the bandits trying to capture Lillia - but Cou's keen to teach them a lesson about seeing an Edel Raid as property, and instead opts to React with Ren and give them a taste of their own medicine. Back in town, Rasati continues to fight in the arena, with Cisqua and the others watching on - she wins her battle, but fighting while injured is beginning to take its toll on her. Later, Cou and Ren get back to trying to earn some cash, fearful of what Cisqua will do if they return broke - and when regular jobs prove hard to come by, ends up fighting in the arena, with Rasati as his opponent...

The Rasati / Lillia story has turned into a full-fledged story arc that takes up the first three episodes on this disc. On one level there’s a decent amount of action that helps Cou and Ren to realise that they’re still not working together as best they could – joining the arena fights is as much a way for them to learn together as it is to earn money – but otherwise, all we’re really getting is three episodes of a story that doesn’t really advance the story by much and could probably have been done in a fraction of the time. Part of the problem is that most of the characters introduced here don’t really have that much of a personality, but again the predictability of the whole thing doesn’t help either.

Things pick up with the arrival of the Arc Aile fleet at the end of episode 12, and the story moves on to Arc Aile itself in episode 13. Home of the Edel Raid Protection Agency and possessing technology that no-one else in the world seems to have, you’d expect the city to be the home of all that is good and peaceful – except it soon becomes clear that there’s something unsavoury going on beneath the surface (natch). With Ren made to believe she’s arrived in Edel Gardens, Cisqua demoted for taking so long to “capture” Ren, and an attempt made on Cou’s life, suddenly the story takes a darker and far more interesting turn. It’s a crying shame that it took until the half-way point in the series to get to something interesting (and the cynic in me is still half-convinced it’s just a one-off, and that normal service will soon be resumed), but to finally have the story start to go in directions that wouldn’t have seemed possible back at the beginning of the series is a good sign.

I still can’t bring myself to be enthusiastic about Elemental Gelade, though – there are just too many bland characters, too many predictable plot lines, and too little that’s actually new or surprising to really grab the interest.

In summary:
One episode of interesting story of this disc is outweighed by three episodes of more of the same bland, uninteresting plot – although the interesting stuff does come at the end of the disc and may just show that the series is going to finally up its game and become worthwhile. I can hope, anyway. Overall, though, Elemental Gelade still doesn’t do enough to make it a worthwhile purchase.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,2005 Tokyo Anime Fair Trailer,Comiket 67 Trailer

Review Equipment
Toshiba 37X3030DB 37" widescreen HDTV; Sony PS3 Blu-ray player (via HDMI, upscaled to 1080p); Acoustic Solutions DS-222 5.1 speaker system.

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