Gasaraki Vol. #3 - Mania.com



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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. #3

By Roman Martel     February 16, 2002
Release Date: January 23, 2001



The Review!
Overall Rating: 4.6
(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: 4
Overall: 4.5

-Intro-

What's green with mecha all over it? It's the cover for Gasaraki Volume 3. After taking a short break by finishing off Trigun and watching some more Nadesico I was ready to delve back into this series. Can this series keep up its plot heavy/character light story without falling short?

-Technical Review-

Gasaraki continues to have great picture and sound on my set up. The menu is done in the same style as the previous disc. The presentation still gets a lower score because we're missing the number of channels and the number of episodes on the back of the case. I will say that I really love the look of the covers. It's got a great sense of style that I haven't seen since the ones for Cowboy Bebop. The extras on this disc include an interview with the production designer, a glossary, design sketches with explanations and a behind the scenes look at the recording of the English dub. Monica Rail shows her stuff in some key sequences as Miharu (watch this extra after you see the episodes, it will give stuff away). The insert contains diagrams of the FAKES used by Symbol as well as some in depth text. I'm loving the extras on this series. Well done ADV!

-Content Review-

I watched all of this disc at a whack. The first two I streched out over a few nights. I think I might go back to watching this series in that fashion. Too much Gasaraki can effect your brain. Let's get right to the recap.

Here's the quick and dirty version of the story on this disc. With the Japanese TA force returning home things seem like they could quiet down. Unfortunately Yushiro is spirited away from the team by his brothers. The rest of the team remains "sequestered" until further notice. Meanwhile in the background political wheels are spinning (you expect it at this point). On top of this FAKES appear in Gowa city (where Yushiro and his clan make their home). Their objective is obvious: to retrieve the data and sample taken from their FAKES. In the chaos that ensues Yushiro runs into Miharu again and a secret of his past is revealed. This episode is thick with dialogue and key set up. Keep your eyes pealed. The second episode Storehouse follows Yushiro as he escapes from Gowa city and heads toward his home. How can Gowa let their "test subject" escape? Simple they are too busy attempting to capture the FAKES that have hit their facility. Yushiro encounters his mother and confirms his suspicions. She directs him to seek out his Noh Master (Sorachi) at the stage of stone. Meanwhile Yushiro's sister (Misuzu) and Commander Ataka (the TA pilot with the long hair) go after him. Sorachi reveals the secrets of the storehouse on the Gowa's ancestral home. At that moment Misuzu and Ataka arrive at the stage of stone as Miharu and her FAKES arrive. The last episode Kugai brings back the action as the FAKES take on a mysterious TA (kinda) called a Kugai. Who is piloting this thing and just what is it? The episode ends with Yushiro and Miharu meeting (yet again) and running off after the disastrous battle between the FAKES and the Kugai. There is also a brief scene where a group of TA pilots (not the familiar team) are testing some kind of new upgrade... with horrifying results.

I'm telling you, I try to avoid turning my review into a plot summery but it's really tough. The animation and the sound are still top notch. These episodes take us from the battlefield of Belgestan and right into Japan where the look and feel are more familiar. There is some great use of style and color in the first episode on the disc, especially involving a meeting at sunset. The only minor drawback is that some of the style that was really going strong in the previous discs is replaced by story rich content. Long dialogue scenes are handled as well as they can be, but those quiet ominous moments are not to be found. The slow build in the last episode is handled very well, but it's a combination of the music and the way the shots were framed. As the Kugai awakens you feel Miharu's horror.

This plot is still running full bore. Every element in this disc is made to push the story forward and keep you running with it. I only found one shot a little out of character for the writing. It was the one in which the old couple tries to use the phone and talks about the television cover-up. It was a little too "spoon-fed" for my tastes. I would assume that if you live in Gowa city it would be expected that Gowa would cover up things they didn't want the world to know. The big drawback so far is the lack of meat to anyone's character. I can't remember anyone's name except for Yushiro and Miharu (and only because they are mentioned on the back of the keepcase). I still know very little about both of them (there is probably a very good reason for this), but beside that, I don't feel much for them either. This is becoming a problem that could seriously hurt this series.

The English dub continues to do a good solid job. And the music fits in perfectly with almost everything that occurs on screen. The best scene on this disc to demonstrate this is the awakening of the Kugai. The Noh performance and the rising power of the music add rising pressure to the scene and pull you in more than the characters do.

I found myself really feeling the time on this one. While the first two discs moved along pretty quick, this disc really stretched on. I think the main problem is the fact that I don't really know or feel for the characters. The main obstacle is the fact that the plot shifts from character to character so much that you can't get know anyone. In a way, the plot is the main character and the rest of the elements are simply pawns. I've seen movies like that before (Thin Red Line is a great example) and it's tough to pull off. But it comes down to the main target of the series... is it a thematic plot or a character driven plot. I think we'll have to complete the series before I can figure out what the director was going for.

Roman J. Martel
Tell me what you think! E-mail me at...
roman@animeondvd.com



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

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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