Elemental Gelade Vol. #4 - 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: A-
  • 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. #4

By Bryan Morton     October 29, 2007
Release Date: November 05, 2007


Elemental Gelade Vol. #4
© MVM Entertainment


What They Say
Torn apart by their supposed protectors, Cou and Ren's paths have split, and Cou desperately chases after Ren only to encounter past enemies. Ren, meanwhile, continues her journey solo, and despite making new friends, misses Cou terribly. With new hope, Cou and his Arc Aile friends embark on the last leg of their trip to Edel Garden aboard a cruise ship where an old friend is discovered and a new friend puts them in jeopardy.

Episodes Comprise
14 – The Return of the Hunter
15 – The Village with the Large Windmill
16 – Memory of a Windbird
17 – The Rocky Fateful Encounter

The Review!
After being forced into going their separate ways, the gang are eventually reunited and begin the journey to Edel Gardens – but it seems there are several groups who want to make sure they never reach their goal, while Cou’s about to find himself with girl problems…

Audio:
Audio is provided in Japanese and English 2.0 stereo – just for a change, I listened to the English 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. The dub itself is actually quite pleasant to listen to, with voices matching their characters well and doing a good job of conveying emotion and feeling where it’s present.

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 Wolx & Tilel sits off to one side, and the show’s very catchy opening theme plays alongside. Simple, effective, and easy to use.

Extras:
Along with a creditless version of the opening credits (apparently onto version 3 now, although I still can’t spot the difference), there’s a commentary track for episode 15, delivered by the dub cast.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
With Ren having decided to head for Edel Gardens on her own, Cou's at a bit of a loss as to what to do next - although his feelings for Ren mean that he's keen to try and track her down. Back in Arc Aile, Cisqua's trying to get some answers about why recent events have happened - the separation of Cou and Ren, and the attack by the Chaos Choir - but her superiors aren't talking, and she's growing ever more disillusioned with her job. With a little prompting from Kuea and Rowen, she soon decides to head off on the trail of Ren and Cou. Meanwhile, hunter Wolx has been given a new mission - to capture Ren.

Later, once the gang have joined up again, the journey to Edel Gardens means an ocean cruise for Cou and the gang - it's rumoured to be located on the Volcyone continent, and since Cisqua's meant to be on vacation, they may as well travel in true holiday style. But problems follow them - no sooner has the ship left port, than Cou is struck by a poisoned dart and left unconscious, in what looks like a scheme to make sure Ren can't React to protect herself. But whoever the enemy is this time, their plan is a little more subtle than that - and the danger to Ren is closer than the others may know...

Another disc of two parts. The first two episodes take place while Ren and Cou are still separated, and partly deal with the way they’re missing each other, and partly with Cisqua’s continuing conflicting emotions over her connections with Arc Aile. Since she’s officially ‘on leave’ at the moment she’s free to do what she wants, but the more time she spends with Cou and finds out what her superiors have been up to, the more you feel that she’s going to eventually turn her back on them. The main stories in these episodes aren’t anything worthwhile – another long, drawn-out battle for Cou and an episode focussing on Ren that typically manages to feel like nothing’s happened – but some scenes that peek more behind the scenes make sure that they’re not a complete waste of time.

Things begin to liven up in the remaining episodes, first with the cruise and the attack by a dangerous Sting Raid that only backs up Cisqua’s doubts about Arc Aile’s motives, and then with the arrival of Viro in episode 16. Viro’s all over Cou whenever she gets the chance, and it’s fairly obvious that there’s going to be a rivalry between her and Ren for Cou’s affections. Of course, I’ll be hugely surprised if Ren doesn’t win that battle, but Viro has one big advantage that, of the other characters in this series, only Cisqua can match: she has a personality, and a rather fun one at that. She also has a secret, revealed right at the end of the disc, that will upset the balance of Cou’s relationship with Ren quite a bit – nothing that was hugely surprising, given the fairly predictable way that Elemental Gelade works in, but enough to raise a smile and give my interest in the series a little more of a kick.

Across the episodes, the mysterious Chaos Choir also play their part, manoeuvring behind the scenes and setting up confrontations for the gang to deal with. Their real motivations are still a mystery, but they’re there and will obviously have to be dealt with at some point, as will the other “bad guys” of the piece, Arc Aile. With two volumes still to go, there’ll be plenty of opportunity for them to cause problems.

In summary:
Elemental Gelade is growing on me more as the series progresses, but I’m still not seeing enough in it to make it anything other than a low-priority rental – what interesting storylines it has are only being followed up slowly, and the series seems to avoid doing anything too unexpected. Viro’s arrival is a little ray of light, but not enough to lift the series into worthwhile territory.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Textless Opening Sequence (version 3),Episode 15 Commentary

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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