Gasaraki Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A+
  • Menus Rating: A
  • Extras Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 3 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Gasaraki

Gasaraki Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     November 28, 2000
Release Date: November 28, 2000


Gasaraki Vol. #2
© ADV Films


What They Say
Giant robots meet in fierce combat for the first time as betrayals and bloodshed tear the allied coalition apart. Friend and foe become meaningless words as brother sacrifices brother in a desperate battle for control of the secrets behind the T.A. And even as the T.A. team attempts to rescue Yushiro from the forces of an unknown enemy, his mysterious opponent reveals herself to him.

The Review!
After the first volume of Gasaraki, I had high hopes for subsequent volumes. Especially when you hear from those who've seen the entire series and rave that it only gets better with each episode.

I'm firmly in their camp. The first disc rocked and I ended up watching it five times in the space of a week. The second disc has arrived and I'm in love all over again for the exact same reasons. Multiple viewings are in the near future for this disc.

On the audio side of things, both tracks sound very good. There's a fair amount of directionality at times, some more significant than others. The majority of the dialogue does occur through the center channel, but when the music hits, that's where it counts. The opening and ending songs sound wonderful. We listened to the Japanese track for our primary review and then listened to a lot of the English track and liked what we heard. ADV has thankfully done the good thing in using a wide variety of actors for this show since the cast is so huge.

In terms of the video, I'm extremely pleased with the outcome. The minor amounts of line noise here and there and the occasional rainbows are negligible. There was one or two scenes where there was a hint of visible artifacting in the coloring of some faces, but was hard to really detect. Colors looked spot on without being oversaturated, the darks looked very solid and the colors used for all the desert sequences came across perfectly without any grain or breakup. There's a few sequences where you see animated visual breakup from video cameras and the like, which just looks great. It doesn't have the full random feel to it, but it's probably one of the harder things to encode really well. This show is close to the point where it's almost useless to really look for mastering issues and to just sit back and enjoy the experience.

Though sure to annoy some, the cover for this volume is set in a rich tapestry of blues. Much like I loved the cover to the first volume, this one ranks up almost as high. The back cover hits all the marks with animation shots, menu screens, the list of goodies on the disc and a pretty solid summary of the show. The insert provided is great, with the front page being a good deep red picture of a brooding Yushiro and the interior being technical layouts of the Tactical Armors. Great stuff to me as I continue to turn into an absolute Gasaraki junkie.

The menus are just about identical to the first volume with the exception of what's actually available for selection (such as episode titles and the different extras this time around). The menus worked flawlessly for me this time and everything accessed pretty quickly. The sound and animations set the mood perfectly. Definitely some great work here.

The extras are along a similar vein to the first volume, with text interviews with one of the directors as well as production notes, memos and other cool bits. The people who worked on this show definitely have a sense of humor, though it hasn't really shown in the show itself. Still waiting for textless openings and endings though. The extras that are included though do help to expand upon the world of the characters and adds more depth to it. I love it.

As if things weren't complex enough in the first couple of episodes, it starts moving even more into conspiracy theory domain in these episodes. The show picks up immediately where episode four left off, with a disconcerted Yushiro standing outside in his TA uniform coming out of his dance trance. The unknown enemy TA's appear out of nowhere and surprise Yushiro and his group, though they do manage to put in a good fight.

Of particular interest in the battle, Yushiro felt himself drawn to the enemy TA with the lily painted on it. His feelings and what appeared to be a vision of some sort tell him that the girl Miharu is the operator of it, and they go through a rather good fight. The Japanese TA team though gets their butts pretty much handed to them and they go and get themselves caught on video for the news, albeit a very hazy video.

This ends up leading to more things happening behind the scenes, as Symbol decides to take steps to protect its programs and its identity. While this does fall under the all powerful secret organization cliché, it's done pretty well and introduces some interesting characters. One of them even reminds me of a particular bad guy from the first Indiana Jones movie.

Yushiro also manages to meet Miharu in person, which leads to some rather interesting questions being raised behind the powers that are being tapped by the Gowa's in the earlier episodes. Miharu explains, somewhat vaguely at times of course, about the evil that she warned him not to unleash into the world. Their conversation ends up being cut short when the Symbol folks try to bring her back to their base. There's some pretty good action sequences throughout this episode and more delving into the team members of the Japanese TA group.

The final episode brings about some rather interesting maneuvers for the TA. While enroute back to Japan, the carrier with the TA team and their TA's end up being accosted by some military fighter jets that aren't quite what they seem. The carrier itself has no actual armaments, so the solution to dealing with it was pretty interesting and something that I'm guessing we'll see come back in future episodes in some form.

The animation quality of this show is just as good as the first disc, though a few scenes are a bit less detailed than you'd expect. It's made up for in spades though in just about every other piece of animation in the show. There's a lot of fluidity to the action sequences and the amount of detailed that's paid attention to during the quieter moments and the characters themselves is great.

Gasaraki continues to build upon what was laid out earlier while expanding into the characters themselves and expanding into new characters. There's simply a certain quality, something in this show, that attracts me to it with a passion. From watching every frame of the opening, as each one varies slightly from the other, to trying to parse out more meanings to the ending animation sequences, I'm enraptured by this show.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Director Interview (text),Glossary,Production Memos,Production Sheets

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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