Gad Guard Vol. #2 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B-

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: ADV Films UK
  • MSRP: £19.99
  • 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 Bryan Morton     August 23, 2006
Release Date: March 21, 2005

Gad Guard Vol. #2
© ADV Films UK

What They Say
The mysterious Gads... Everyone desires them and believes that they will fulfil 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...

Episodes Comprise
5 - And Then the Rain Will Fall
6 - The Five Masks
7 - If I Could Fly
8 - Wandering Pair

The Review!
While Hajiki continues to help Catherine with her quest to find more Gads and discovers that not all of the mysterious stones will turn into easily-controllable Techodes, Arashi begins to suffer from a bad case of envy as she longs for a Techode of her own.

Audio here is presented in English and Japanese, with both soundtracks being in 2.o stereo. I listened to the Japanese track for this review - there's a decent amount of directionality used, although the mix is never really outstanding. There were no obvious problems with the encoding.

Video is presented in its original 1.33:1 full-frame format, and as with most Gonzo shows looks great, with good use of colours and background detail giving the presentation a real sense of depth. Again, there were no obvious problems with the encoding.

Another double-sided cover with this volume - the main cover features Takumi & Aiko, chatting on the 'phone, while the alternative front has a full-cast pic, featuring both humans and Techodes. The back of both sides features the usual screenshots, technical information and promotional paragraph. Nice enough, but nothing particularly special.

The menus are simple but functional. After a brief introduction, the image of Takumi and Aiko, as used on the cover, appears in the centre of the screen, with the episode numbers and other selections off to the right. The show's opening theme tune plays throughout. The two sub-menus use static pieces of artwork. As with most ADV releases, it's all pleasingly quick and easy to use.

Not much in the way of extras here - there's a trailer for the Japanese DVD release, the standard creditless opening & closing sequences, and a production art gallery.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
Try as he might, Hajiki can't quite seem to get rid of Arashi - she insists on following him everywhere, even into the less salubrious parts of Night Town, where he's gone to try and track down Katana. His snooping around only ends up landing him in trouble with the local thugs, but fortunately Takumi and his Thunderbolt are in the area and are able to rescue him. By coincidence, Takumi's also trying to track Katana down, but he's not inclined to join forces with Hajiki. While everyone's out looking for him, meanwhile, Katana's making good use of his new Techode to cause all sorts of chaos.

I could have sworn Takumi was a she when I first saw him, but no, he's definitely referred to as a he. The rivalry between Hajiki and Katana steps up a few gears, with Katana determined to avenge the defeat that Haijiki & Lightning inflicted on him the first time they met. I've never been much of a fan of that sort of rivalry " it's always seemed kind of pointless to me, especially when Hajiki clearly isn't interested in an unnecessary rematch, but the two of them do get into some interesting scraps along the way and even find themselves reluctantly working together at times. With Katana being the only obviously "evil" Techode user, I do wonder how long it'll be before something happens to either change his mind and bring him onside with the rest of the gang, or remove him from the picture entirely.

Away from his confrontations with Katana, Haijiki continues helping Catherine with her so-far fruitless search for more Gads. Her first lead is an artefact that has been stolen from a private art exhibition, while later the belongings of a recently deceased man are rumoured to provide the goods. The interesting thing about Catherine " about from the way she uses her charms to get her way " is that she seems to know a lot more about Gads than she's willing to admit. Certainly she's not the least bit surprised when one transforms into an Atechode " the destructive, incontrollable form of a Gad's transformation (a Techode's evil twin, almost), and there are other bits of information fed throughout these episodes that suggest there's immense destructive potential locked up within a Gad, which could cause problems if it falls into the wrong hands. I wouldn't quite go so far as to say there's a conspiracy going on, but I'd bet there's more to her search for Gad stones than there appears to be, which could lead to some interesting possibilities later in the series " if the writers make the most of the opportunity.

A lot of the disc, though, looks at the various Techode owners (Takumi, Katana, Aiko and eventually Arashi, who does finally get her wish) and their personalities and motivations. I did enjoy this part of the story, as it made the characters a little more three-dimensional and less just people there to move the fight scenes along. Be it Takumi's innate sense of justice, Arashi's need to prove herself to her father, or Aiko's desire just to see everyone get along, for the most part the stories here move the characters on a bit and make them that much easier to connect with " which in turn makes the series more enjoyable to watch. Katana's the exception to the rule, as his main motivation ("beat Haijiki!") leaves him very much the two-dimensional villain.

If there's an ongoing story here, they're hiding it well " the episodes all have a standalone feel to them, as each one focuses on a different character or another of Catherine's wild goose chases. I'm hoping more will be made later in the series of the Gads' true nature and that side of things, as there are some good possibilities there, but for the moment were very much in adventure-of-the-week territory. That works okay, but I do think Gad Guard isn't quite living up to its potential yet.

In summary:
Gad Guard's setting, music and characters provide the raw material for a fairly enjoyable show " but the story doesn't string them all together as well as they could be. The potential is there, though, so here's hoping the remaining volumes make some use of it.

Japanese Language (2.0),English Language (2.0),English Subtitles,Promo Trailer,Clean Opening,Art Gallery

Review Equipment
Panasonic TX-W28R30P 28" widescreen TV; Pioneer DV-626D player; Acoustic Solutions DS-222 5.1 speaker system.


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