Gad Guard Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Gad Guard

Gad Guard Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     September 27, 2004
Release Date: September 07, 2004


Gad Guard Vol. #2
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
The mysterious Gads... Everyone desires them and believes that they will fulfill all their dreams. However, each person will soon come to realize the nightmare that is hidden inside them. A monster woman, a dragon train, a flying fortress, and the beasts said to have destroyed Unit Cobalt...

Whether they are known as Techodes, Atechodes, or Gadrians, they still develop from a single Gad with the potential to destroy entire cities...

The Review!
Each of the sides start to firm up as the kids that pilot the Techodes get to know each other a bit better and just what some of the stakes are.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we opted to listen to this show in its original language of Japanese. The series sports a pretty decent stereo mix that mostly shows its flair of directionality across the forward soundstage during the action sequences. Dialogue is generally center channel driven and sounds good. During regular playback, we had no issues with dropouts or distortions on either language track.

Video:
Originally airing in 2003, Gad Guard is another in a line of very slick looking clean transfers that Gonzo seems to be perfecting and Geneon has little problem working with. Presented in its original full frame format, I feel practically guilty by mentioning that there are a few minor instances where some aliasing crops up because they're so minimal that most people probably won't even notice. And that's the only real flaw I could find in this during a normal viewing. Colors look good with very solid dark colors and some really vibrant pieces here and there throughout.

Packaging:
The pairing this time around for the cover has Takumi and Aiko together, each of them on the phone with the cords going to each other. The background is once again somewhat convoluted as it's a collage of various elements from the city and its unique style brought together. The reverse side of the cover does an adult pairing of Wanda and her guy. The back cover has a few animation shots along the right and a brief summary of the premise and a listing of the discs features and extras. The release does have the volume numbering on the spine but also provides the episode numbers and titles on the back. The insert has another shot of the from cover and opens up to a two panel spread of Hajiki and Lightning. The back just has some background artwork and a listing of the episode numbers and titles again.

Menu:
The main menu is nicely done with animated headshots of a few of the characters appearing on either side of the screen while shots from the varied city appear behind it along with other animated venues, all set to some of the grooving music from the opening song. The menu layout is fairly standard and easy to move about with good access times. The disc unfortunately did not read our players language presets and went with English language and song/sign subtitles.

Extras:
The extras are pretty simple with this volume. The ending sequence gets a textless version and we get a full color art gallery. The gallery has some nice pieces in it that show off the cover art for this volume and its individual pieces before going into Techode shots and then stills from the episodes.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The second installment of Gad Guard suffers from a curse that doesn't affect too many people but hits me every once in awhile. Though the first volume came out in June this year, we reviewed it back in April. So now, almost six months later, we get the second volume and can barely remember anything about the show. Much of it comes back quickly though once the disc starts spinning but that gap of time plays tricks with the mind…

A lot of the early focus on the show is in the characters trying to find their place in the way of things when it comes to the Techodes. Almost everyone seems to want to get to Katana for a variety of reasons and he's just wanting to be alone and away from everyone. To his dismay, the little girl Sayuri seems to keep bringing people to him and setting up engagements for him. Sayuri herself is a mystery but she manages to haunt the junkyards where everyone gathers and appears around the corner whenever Katana least expects it. But there's something about the girl that reminds him of someone else and keeps him from actually doing anything to her. She's an intriguing piece of the puzzle here but there isn't much revealed so early on.

Even more annoying for Katana is that Aiko and Takumi both end up trying to get to find out more about him, though Takumi is more interesting in trying to beat the crap out of him. Aiko's continuing to play peace maker and is trying to get all the Techode controllers to work together and play nice since that's her personality in things. Katana's biting and sarcastic style keeps her fairly well away, but she ends up really striking it up strongly with Takumi, especially once Takumi realizes just who her family is and what they represent. While those two end up getting closer, Katana pushes away not only from them but also from Wanda after he does one final job for her and he sets off on his own.

I have to say that there's just something about Wanda that's appealing. A woman who lays around all day in her underwear? Sign me up for that kind of friend or boss. Wanda's dealings are actually fairly amusing in this volume once she gets a hold of a potential Gad that's been thought of as a new form of jewelry due to its possibly being from a meteorite that was discovered not all that long ago. After accidentally ingesting the stone, the transformation that overcomes her provides a completely different view of just what the power of these Gads really is and only opens up even more questions about the entire thing instead of answering anything.

Probably the best material here is the episode given over to Arashi for development. As she continues to try and figure out how to live in this town having come from Day Town, she ends up in a job that requires some serious physical strength. The interview alone is priceless since it sounds like she's initially signing up to be a prostitute – the guy even comments on the fact that her ass isn't quite big enough yet for a girl her age. Since she's so introspective at times and does a lot of looking out at the city at night, it's visually just an engaging episode since she sees it all with different eyes. Her longing for her own Techode becomes a real focus of things here though as she finds herself wanting to be a part of what Hajiki and the others are doing, particularly as her feelings for Hajiki grow. There is something about the design of this character and the setting that's just highly appealing. The scene of her standing at the edge of the building at night with the wind blow was just gorgeous.

In Summary:
There is a lot of character movement and set up done across these episodes as everyone is moving into one side or the other in regards to how they feel about things. Some of it gets a bit clearer but others just gets more confusing. Asashi makes out the best in this volume I think and the last episode starts to reveal some of the mysteries of another Unit but much is still kept under wraps here. The series is still very high on its style factor and there's a solid level of substance attached to it as well. With less time between this volume and the next, hopefully it'll be a smoother transition.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Textless Ending,Art Gallery

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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