Gasaraki Vol. #6 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: N/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. #6

By Chris Beveridge     September 25, 2001
Release Date: September 25, 2001


Gasaraki Vol. #6
© ADV Films


What They Say
As Yushiro and Miharu seek to escape, the seeds sowed by Symbol and Gowa begin to reap their bitter fruit. Like dominoes toppling over one by one, the barriers holding back the fires of war begin to crumble and the future of Japan hangs.

Now only the actions of a few human pawns can tip the scales away from the edge of the abyss. Trapped and alone, Yushiro and Miharu find themselves aided by an unexpected ally and betrayed by another...

The Review!
I will say this quite plain, for those who are picking this up upon its release date - rewatch volume 5 before starting this one. In fact, rewatch the entire series to date again if you have the time. Things will make so much more sense.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. The track makes decent use of the left/right channels throughout points of this show when some of the guerilla urban warfare kicks off with rockets sounding like they're moving across the front soundstage. Dialogue is predominantly through the center channel, though there are a few decent uses of it from the left/right on occasion. The music is where the stereo channels really show off, particularly with the opening song.

Video:
This was our first chance to check the show out on the Skyworth player and it really didn't disappoint on any level. Much of this show already had a film-like feel to it, and it was really enhanced here. The solidity of the colors was great, particularly the faces and the uniforms. Cross coloration was non-existent, jagged lines during camera pans were non-existent and there wasn't anything I noticed in the way of macroblocking in sky sequences or elsewhere. This was just a very great looking transfer.

Packaging:
The purple cover for this release doesn't disappoint and continues the line of great looking covers that have adorned this series. There's the obvious danger right on the front, with one of the more masterful Gowa's above and behind the TA. In the background, a bit hard to make out, is Miharu though. The back cover has a number of animation shots as well as some pictures from the extras. Extras are nicely listed and a good summary is included. While I'd normally dock points for no episode titles or numbers, the volumes are prominently labeled so they get to slide by on that count. The insert provides an interesting black and white look at the cockpit of the Ishutar TA.

Menus:
The menus are just about identical to the previous volumes with the exception of what's actually available for selection (such as episode titles and the different extras this time around). This is a good thing if it stays consistent for the rest of the series and doesn't change mid stride. The menus worked flawlessly for me and everything accessed pretty quickly. The sound and animations set the mood perfectly. Definitely some great work here.

Extras:
The usual array of good extras are found here again. The same kinds just different actual pieces. The text interview this time talks with the character designer who was involved from the early stages, which allowed him to get a little more detailed than usual. The production sketches provided some more interesting tidbits about the show that aren't really revealed during it and we get another behind the scenes session where some mysterious hands show us hundreds of pieces of conceptual artwork.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With this being written just over a week since the tragedy of the World Trade Center (and thereby really dating this review), watching these episodes wasn't necessarily a chore, but just another way of looking at things working in the world that people usually don't think happen. There's a lot of manipulation from previous episodes that catches up here.

After the events of the last disc, Yushiro and the now silent Miharu continue to be on the run and have ended up in the Asian Veins, an almost slum-like area where they find themselves becoming protected by a good-guy "neighborhood defense" group. Yushiro and Miharu were attacked by some of the local mafia/ruffians and ended up saving a friend of the good guy group, so they ended up gaining some of their confidence.

While these two settle into some peace and quiet after all their running and learn something of what's going on in the streets here, the rest of the Gowa family is busily moving around their pawns. Pretty much quite literally as well. With knowledge that the USDA is about to announce the grain output is off by 40%, the chance of riots among the lower class, as irrational as they may be, are high. The Gowa family leader sets up both troops and TA's throughout the Asian Vein where the most damage is likely to occur and gets things moving.

When it's also revealed that the US won't be exporting any grain due to the need to feed their own, things go even worse. All rationality goes out the window, shops are bought out, people are rioting, inventories are depleted. And the location of Yushiro and Miharu is discovered. The Gowa family uses its connections to have at least one TA go out looking for them, unknowing that the Symbol group has also learned that Miharu is there and are planning their own move to recapture their pilot.

There's a lot of things going on in this episode, but like some of the earlier episodes, it's all verbal plotting and nuances in conversations that keeps you focused on the screen. The grain market appears to come out of nowhere and is quickly used as a way to destabilize the country to the point where it can be taken over by the new puppeteers, but there were enough seeds planted about the way to do it early on that it's not as surprising once you think about it.

If there's anything disappointing about these episodes it's that the final six can't show up fast enough. The plot is racing ahead fast now with all kinds of elements moving in wildly different directions, and with only a brief mention of the Kugai, you just know that something huge is being readied with that. These episodes kept us glued to the screen and held our attention tightly. Great stuff.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Text Interview,Production Artwork,Behind the Scenes,Glossary

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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