Gad Guard Vol. #6 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: C+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 29.95
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Gad Guard

Gad Guard Vol. #6

By Chris Beveridge     March 31, 2005
Release Date: April 26, 2005


Gad Guard Vol. #6
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


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...

The Review!
As the series starts to wind down towards it conclusion, the various Techodes also start winding down as the authorities begin to close in.

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:
Aiko and Takumi take the cover for this volume with the two of them set against a beach area of the city that's overcast and has a really neat atmosphere to it. The characters do look a bit out of place on top of the background but overall it's good looking. 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 front cover and opens up to a two panel spread of Hajiki and Arashi in town. 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 the same as the last volume, which is just 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 stills from the episodes.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As the series moves towards its finale, it's interesting that for the most part the term "winding down" really does seem appropriate for it. While we've had one or two Techodes go down in the past it's starting to become something more prevalent here as they're starting to reach their limits in power and abilities and not working quite as well as they should be.

A lot of this comes to bear quickly when we see Katana continuing his quest to clean up the city and finding himself being caught in a trap set up by the authorities where they're ready to use missiles and other heavy gear to take him down. Zero's not working as well as he should have been and he's rather easily taken advantage of as things go worse and worse during the battle. If not for the quick thinking and tactics of those that want Katana on their side, he likely wouldn't have made it out of that situation alive. Katana's revelations that Zero is getting worse on a daily basis only seems to reflect his own state of mind which is spiraling down as his tool becomes less useful.

The show continues to seem like it's winding down in other ways as well as it expands across the rest of the cast. Takumi continues to be really down after his Techode ended up being destroyed and he's unable to even take comfort from Aiko about it with hers being out of commission as well. What ends up striking through his heart the most though with all that's gone on is that he realizes he was never really fighting for anything but rather just did it all for himself and for the excitement of it. He didn't have the kind of mindset that someone like Arashi or Hajiki do so his mind keeps spiraling about it.

One interesting tangent that does come out from this and it feels far too late in the game to be bringing it up is with Sayuri. Katana's main source for things has closed up shop like many others in the city that are fleeing for their lives and he leaves him with the hint of the possibility that Sayuri is either the spitting image of a girl Katana knew when he was little or she's really the same person. Some minor flashbacks show us the reality of it and it's an interesting angle that opens up. We knew all along that there's something up with Sayuri cause she's just not like anyone else in the show, but waiting until this late makes it feel really forced in some ways.

Which is also what the fillerish episodes with Hajiki and Arashi feel like as they continue their journey and end up spending time with a girl who makes these glass sculptures but in the end leads into dealing with someone who may be Hajiki's long lost father. That's not a bad thing to have towards the end of the series but considering we're twenty-two episodes in and episodes are still feeling like filler doesn't make this show feel like they really plotted it out well or designed it in a way to really keep your interest. There's been some interesting material in the second half so far but by most accounts I have to agree that the second half is definitely where the show falls apart. With even the Techodes becoming used less and less, their ability to draw people in is lost as well.

In Summary:
With most series, you usually really look forward to the last few volumes even if you don't want it to end because some of the best material is usually there and it provides the culmination of things. With Gad Guard, it's almost feeling like I'm looking forward to the last volumes so that I can be done with the series as the second half of the show has been so uneven and the story so scattershot that it's causing me to lose interest more and more with each new episode. This volume again has some interesting material to it but it's still got far too much of a filler feel to it and then loses its other drawing power by having the Techodes continue to wind down. The show had great promise when it started along with style but seems to have forgotten what it was after along the way.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,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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