Gasaraki Vol. #2 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: NA

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  • Audio Rating: N/A
  • Video Rating: N/A
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: N/A
  • Extras Rating: N/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 Roman Martel     February 16, 2002
Release Date: November 28, 2000

The Review!
Overall Rating: 4.7
(on a scale of 1-5)

-Technical Ratings-
Sound: 5
Picture: 5
Menu: 5
Presentation: 3
Goodies: 5
Overall: 4.6

-Content Ratings-
Animation: 5
Sound: 5
Plot: 4
English Acting: 4
Music: 5
Entertainment: 5
Overall: 4.7


It's been a while since I saw the first installment of Gasaraki. Now that I've finally caught up with most of the other discs I was watching, I had time to sit down and take this disc in. Of course I had to rewatch the first disc and take notes and dig up the flow chart . . . Is this entertainment or a full time job?

-Technical Review-

Gasaraki has great picture and sound (betcha saw that coming). It looks very nice on my set up. The menu is done in the same style as the previous disc. It reacts quickly and has music and motion and it all relates to the show (in that way it reminds me of the Sol Bianca menus). The presentation gets a lower score mostly because we're missing the number of channels and the number of episodes on the back of the case. But you do get a listing of extras and some great cover art. The extras on this disc include an interview with the assistant director, a glossary, design sketches with explanations and something called production memos (it basically goes into some of the shots used in the opening sequence. It explains what these mechanical devices are and how they are used, like the smoke projectors on the TA's). The insert also contains diagrams of the Tactical Armor and some explanations. Lots of great info on the series is provided so use it in your flow charts people! (smirk)

-Content Review-

Revisiting Gasaraki was like going back to school. I had to sit down and pay close attention to all the names, places, organizations as well as make a mental note of who was double-crossing who. It was great. This series is pretty unique compared to most of the anime I've seen. It's very in depth and realistic in so many ways. But there are some drawbacks to the massive details the series dives into. But let's do a quick recap, shall we?

When we last left Yushiro and company they were at the Shrine of Stone in the country of Belgistan (a mythical country that looks like a desert nation once held by the USSR). Yushiro has just finished doing his Noh dance and suddenly the enemy Tactical armours show up. The Japanese crew takes them on, but is unable to defeat them due to the unpredictable sand storm. The Japanese crew pulls out and tries to reengage the enemy TA's (aka FAKES). Of course things don't go quite as planned and the Japanese team ends up losing again. Shortly afterward, the war in Belgistan comes to an end, mostly because a coup d'etât against the current dictatorship. With the war at an end the Japanese TA's can go home right? Well, not really. Yushiro sees Miharu (the girl that appeared to him in the vision during his Noh dance). So he runs off to find her. Being on a tight schedule (for mysterious reasons) the crew goes to find him. Choas ensues as Yushiro and Miharu meet and get a brief chance to talk. Symbol (the group using Miharu) arrives and tries to take Yushiro. Then a chase scene through the desert streets puts our heroes in danger. The final episode revolves mostly around the Japanese team trying to escape from the UN forces stationed in Belgistan and making it home in one piece. (I've left out so much it isn't even funny. There is lots of political maneuvering and some interesting revelations going on already).

The animation style is the same as we had in the previous disc. It's nice and gritty. I talked lots about the realism in this series when I did my review of the previous disc. The look is the same in these three episodes. The sound fits right along with it and really makes it feel as if this could all really be happening. I will comment on the director's use of the media and how they interpret what is going on. Using the station SNN to give us coverage of the Belgistan war was very clever. I also enjoyed many of the shots that were inspired by CNN's footage of the Gulf War. Often times these images were used to contrast with the reality of the situation. Is someone trying to tell us that the media isn't always an accurate source of news? Aside from the use of the media bits, the director also has a good grasp of cinematic technique and style. It has many shots that were similar to the ones used in EVA. Both directors use style to great effect. Well done!

In the plot arena we've got some very juicy material. Gasaraki keeps up its fast pace with moments of vital dialogue, action sequences and some mood setters. This show was crafted very deftly. There is little to no fat in this series so far, each shot and sequence happens for a reason. In that way it shows how well written it really is. But there is a downside to trimming down your story to plot elements only. The characters tend to suffer. In the case of Gasaraki there are so many characters and motives being slung around it's really hard to get a feel for anyone. Of course our main character Yushiro is the most fleshed out but even he is pretty flat. Of course we are only seven episodes into the series. It will be interesting to see if this is going to be lean and mean all the way through and if you can connect to the characters when the plot is racing along.

The acting is pretty good for the most part. Most of the main cast (about twenty or so) do a solid job. It's some of the smaller parts that are overplayed or underplayed. It's a good solid dub and it has to be. A cheesy dub would really hurt the whole feel of the show.

The music is very good. It's such an interesting mix. It reminds me a bit of the mix in Trigun, but instead of the western overtones, you get your Noh play overtones. Most of it fits the series but there have been some moments where the music seems out of place. But it still mirrored the action on the screen. The characters were out of place as well and it fit the whole discordant feeling of the scene. Well, I guess that means it wasn't out of place after all.

This series is not really entertaining. You don't sit down and watch some Gasaraki after a hard day at the office. You watch some Gasaraki to delve into a plot. Gasaraki is not fun. This series is enthralling. You can't take your eyes away from it, because you're afraid you'll miss something. I'm pumped to see more but only after I finish my homework... the Gowa family tree @_@

Roman J. Martel
Tell me what you think! E-mail me at...

Review Equipment
General Electric Performance Plus (25 Inch), Sony Playstation 2


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