Gatekeepers Vol. #3 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: A
  • Extras Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Gatekeepers

Gatekeepers Vol. #3

By Chris Beveridge     January 28, 2002
Release Date: January 15, 2002


Gatekeepers Vol. #3
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
While struggling to locate Invaders suspected of causing airplane accidents around the world, the Gate Keepers discover Invaders disguised as an airplane! However, the manifestation of their teacher into an Invader forces the Gate Keeper agents to recognize the full extent of the Invaders’ reach. But, the greatest shock is still to come - a Gate Keeper is working with the Invaders!!

The Review!
With the third volume of the series, we get the team fleshed out even more with a few new members, so there's plenty of similarities to the previous episodes. But, amazingly enough, the plot begins to move forward towards the end...

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. The show continues to have a decent sounding track with a basic stereo mix. There's some minor directionality in a few scenes as well as some bits of music being thrown to the rears, but there's nothing really grabbing here to immerse you in it. But it does provide a solid TV mix for the forward soundstage with no dropouts or other distortions.

Video:
The shininess of the show continues to be a real draw here. Other than a couple of extremely minor instances of some cross coloration in some tightly drawn areas, there's hardly anything I can find fault with here. On our setup it just looks gorgeous from the character animation to the backgrounds.

Packaging:
A rather busy cover again here with Ukiya surrounded by two new members of the team that are overshadowed by some of the darker elements coming into play in the series now. The back cover has a couple of small animation shots and a brief summary of the show. Episode numbers and titles are clearly listed as well as the features. This release also features a great reversible that continues with the white background to showcase one of the characters. These covers continue to look great and get quickly reversed as soon as I get my copy. The insert provided lists the episodes and their respective chapters and also folds out to provide a mini-poster of Megumi Kurogane, who is the feature character on the reverse side cover. Being a first printing, we also got another Earth Defense License, this time for Reiko Asagiri in both English and Japanese. A very sweet little bit of an extra piece of packaging.

Menus:
Going a bit darker this time around, the menus are buzzing with background noise as we see the image of the chief in what looks to be an older monitor. Moving around the menus is nice and easy with a layout that's pretty straightforward. Selections are quickly changed and it's easy to tell what things are set at. Access times between menus are pretty fast as well.

Extras:
Another batch of good extras make their way here. The best being the original end credit presentations used during broadcast for the three episodes here. I am again really glad that these got provided in addition to the home video endings. We also get another good batch of conceptual line art as well as several pages worth of the original ID cards that are used as first pressing extras.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While we've definitely been enjoying the series to date, it's just a touch bothersome that it took eight episodes to get the entire team together and ready to go. But as it has been a fun ride so far, we're pretty much willing to overlook that aspect. And with the larger picture slowly starting to come into focus at the tail end of the opening arc here, we're looking forward to seeing what's going to transpire.

As has become the habit, the discovery of a new Gate Keeper is followed by some nasty arrival of the Invaders. Things aren't going well for the country in general right now as the airline industry is having its planes taken out by some mysterious force. So while Ukiya heads off to meet the new Gate Keeper, Ikusawa heads off to the airport with another teammate to try and figure out what's going on. This leads to some nice interplay with a little boy waiting on his parents to fly in, but you can quickly see just what kind of device he is.

Ukiya's time in meeting Fei doesn't go too much better, especially when we learn that she has an intelligent Gate Keeper monkey. Oh yeah, there's real shades of 60's cheese going on here. There's some amusing interplay about it since the monkey has a similar name to Ukiya, leading to the usual kind of jokes you'd expect. But all of this pales before... the Plane Shark. Quite possibly the most unintentionally funny thing I've seen. I thought we walked into an anime version of Saturday Night Live as the Invaders form a jumbo jet and then develops teeth to start chewing things up.

What does work better is the introduction of Megumi Kurogane in a later episode. She's attending the same school as everyone else and she keeps Ikusawa as her rival, though Ikusawa has no clue. Kurogane is pretty intelligent, but scoring even a little lower on a test sends her into a fit over how Ikusawa is favored and getting ahead of her. She's pretty far into her own internal world of rivalry as Ikusawa doesn't realize any of this. But this is actually one of those "true" moments of high school where kids internalize so much stuff and just don't let it out or let it show, that it makes this pretty believable.

The Invader for this episode is also pretty interesting, as we see that it's not a regular rank and file one but one of the leader red ones. Seeing it absorb and overwhelm the personality of the human it created to become its final form is interesting and presents some new twists in how they're able to infiltrate so deeply into society. It also starts to give them more of a real feeling as opposed to just one of the large crowd they've been in past episodes. The way it absorbed the personality is pretty creepy, and with its setting inside the school, something you can imagine kids feeling.

The introduction in the final episode of one of the villains in the opening sequence is much welcomed though, as the show definitely needed to move beyond the non-human enemies and the continual introduction of more Gate Keepers. There's also a lot going on here with Ukiya's feelings about what he's doing and just what the Invaders really are and how it's affecting his role of captain. Ikusawa's a little too quick to try and gain leadership, but it does add some level of tension to things. But they're definitely starting to move towards making this much more of a team/ensemble show than it has been so far.

We're still enjoying it, even with some of the incredibly cheesy bad CG animation, such as the floating helicopter in the first episode here. Good god that was just bad.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Original Episode Endings,Original ID Card Screens,Line Art

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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