Gad Guard Vol. #6/7 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B-

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: C
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: ADV Films UK
  • MSRP: 19.99
  • Running time: 150
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Gad Guard

Gad Guard Vol. #6/7

By Bryan Morton     October 19, 2006
Release Date: November 21, 2005

Gad Guard Vol. #6/7
© ADV Films UK

What They Say
Life without Thunderbolt has been very taxing on Takumi who must learn a new way to live. Meanwhile, Hajiki continues his soul searching and makes new friend in a girl who creates beautiful glass sculptures. But there is more to this girl than just that. Later he encounters a man who may very well be his father...

Hajiki finally gets his chance to complete what his father was attempting. To fly into space. But Katana arrives to spoil things. However, this trip to the heavens holds more to it than just completing his father's work. The secret of the gads; this very mysterious stone. Revelations are made to each of our young heroes.

Episodes Comprise
21 - Blue Slumber
22 - Spiral Dance of Glass
23 - The Atoning Man
24 - The Will to Strive for Heaven
25 - Time Towards the Sky
26 - Young Traveler

The Review!
Two volumes for the price of one, as Gad Guard draws to a close with some unexpected revelations about the true nature of Techodes, while Hajiki lives his father's greatest dream...

Audio here is presented in English and Japanese, with both soundtracks being in 2.0 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. Subtitles are slightly out-of-sync for the final 3 eps, by about a half-second " it's noticeable, but not far enough out to be annoying.

Another double-sided cover with this volume - the main cover features Takumi and Aiko, sitting by the sea, while the alternative front has Katana and Sayuri surrounded by palm trees. 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, 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, with just a 4-piece gallery of screenshots from this volume's episodes.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
Back in Night Town, the police have been running a clamp-down on the organised crime families - but the more family members are rounded up, the more violent the city seems to become, and Katana's making the most of the mayhem. Unfortunately for him, Zero seems to be reaching the limits of its power. Without Thunderbolt, all Takumi can do is sit back and watch, which is really beginning to grate on his sense of justice. He's now living with Hajiki's family, and it seems he's got a lot to learn about how to properly deal with people. Meanwhile, Katana receives a visit from someone from his past.

This is about the sum total of Night Town's impact on this disc " things there are getting increasingly violent, and with the good guys' techodes destroyed or elsewhere & the police unable to cope, the situation's only likely to get worse. That's not what we're interested in, though " the key here is Sayuri, who opts to leave Katana and sets off in pursuit of Hajiki. At this point Sayuri's true nature is still a mystery, but she's going to play a major part in events later in the series.

The first of a series of important revelations takes place elsewhere. Hajiki and Arashi's trip to Unit Khaki involves a trip across the sea, and buying passage for the two Techodes is proving expensive, so Hajiki eventually wrangles himself a part-time job and free lodgings in an abandoned & allegedly haunted house - but the house isn't as abandoned as he thought, as young girl Kirara - a glassworker - has also been hiding out there. As luck would have it, Arashi's arranged work & lodgings at an art shop where Kirara's been selling her work, but it soon becomes clear that there's something very strange about Kirara.

Gads, techodes, atechodes " initially all seen to be mechanical (you just need to look at Lightning or Thunderbolt for proof of that), but as the series has progressed we've seen them looking more and more human. Follow the logical progression, and you find Kirara " a techode, the embodiment of its owner's dying wish, but you wouldn't know by looking at her. This revelation turns a lot of what's been shown about gads and techodes on its head, as they're no longer just tools for people to use or convenient weapons " they can be almost human under the right circumstances and can be tools for creation. It's a nice idea, but I couldn't help but feel it was a little late in the series to be changing the concept quite so drastically. That revelation is key to the final episodes, though, as when Hajiki finally tracks down his father, he finds "he" is really another techode, going through the motions of fulfilling his father's dream of flying into space.

For all the exploration in the final episodes of what a gad or a techode really is " a sizeable chunk of episode 26 tries to cover that ground in detail " I really was none the wiser by the end of what had really been going on, or what the point of it all was. Gad Guard started off as an action series, developed into something deeper and far more enjoyable after Hajiki and Arashi left Night Town, but ended with a confused exploration of the true nature of a gad, which was doubly strange when gads and techodes had been largely ignored for a large chunk of the series. Personally, I'd been hoping to see more of the developing relationships between Aiko & Takumi and Hajiki & Arashi, while Arashi does get some screen time the other pair only make the briefest of appearances, and I can't help but feel that was a wasted opportunity.

In summary:
Gad Guard has had its good moments, and there are a few of them on this disc, but it never really seemed to know what it was trying to be. This volume again changes track a little, and while it does try to provide a sense of closure to the story the final explanations still leave too much unanswered for it to really be a satisfying end. The result is a series that's hard to really recommend " while Gad Guard's worth a look, especially as a rental, the good doesn't rise far enough above the rest to make it a really worthwhile purcase. That's a real shame given the potential that was there.

Japanese Language 2.0,English Language 2.0,English Subtitles,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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