Mania Grade: B-
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: A
- Packaging Rating: A
- Menus Rating: A-
- Extras Rating: B+
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
- MSRP: 29.98
- Running time: 75
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Gatekeepers
Gatekeepers Vol. #5
By Chris Beveridge
Release Date: May 14, 2002
Gatekeepers Vol. #5
What They Say
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
Internal Conflict! The Aegis HQ in New York sends experienced agents to take over the defense of Japan! Immediately, Shun and the other Far East Branch agents protest, but after a near disaster in the field, they are forced to recognize their inexperience. However, are these new orders playing right into the Invaders' schemes?
When self-doubt and internal conflicts become more of a threat than the Invaders plans, it's time for action both in the battlefield and in love!The Review!
The series reaches its midpoint here and keeps on moving along but does the odd thing of introducing another trio of characters. The cast is getting a little unwieldy. And what the heck is this with giant robots now?Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. The show continues to have a good stereo mix with some of the music being thrown to the rears and some nice directionality across the forward soundstage. Dialogue is nice and clear and we didn’t notice any distortions or dropouts.Video:
There’s little to complain about here in this volume as the transfer is pretty much a pleasure to look at. The transfer looks spot on and presents a gorgeous image with lots of vibrant colors and layered animation. Cross coloration continues to be absolutely minimal while the other usual problems we see with releases are non-existent here. This is a release you can just sit back and enjoy.Packaging:
The reversible covers continue, though there’s no lovely lady for this volume. The main cover a somewhat dark mix of the original cast, the new upstarts and the evil Invaders. The back cover provides a small array of screenshots from the show and a brief summary of the show as well as episode numbers and titles. The reverse side of the covers continues to bring us the good looking Japanese versions with its focus on single characters. This volume gives us the image of Kageyama looking his usual confident and studly self while the back cover provides another mini-comic of sorts with animation from the show. The insert provides chapter stops for the three episodes on the top while the interior folds out to a miniposter of the Kageyama artwork. The special pack-in this time is another AEGIS ID card, this time featuring Fei. Menu:
Taking a twist from earlier menus, this one goes to the invader side of things and provides a really eerie image of the sunglasses on… something, with the anime images of Kageyama playing inside as well as some creepy music. Selections are provided along the bottom of the sunglasses and access times are nice and fast with a good layout.Extras:
A nice selection of extras are included here, with the original endings with the Japanese credits playing for each of the episodes. Another batch of line artwork is also provided with this release. Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
I’ve made no disguise of treating Gatekeepers as a guilty pleasure and enjoying it, but this volume made me start questioning it a bit with its direction. Things kick off with a nice fun little race scene that Ukiya ends up, only to find out that the guy he’s racing is from England’s branch of AEGIS, Jim Skylark.. Of course, the English gent is quite confident and sure of himself.
Along the way, we find two other people from other branches making their way into Japan, such as the cute Jun Thunder girl from the North American branch and the young looking and rather mumbly Misao from the German branch. Each have their own little encounter as they make their way to the Far Eastern branch of AEGIS with local enforcement officials, but in the end they all make it safely.
Once there, we get a brief recap of all the Invader encounters to date of the Far East branch and I feared that we’d get a whole recap episode, but thankfully it doesn’t do that. Things move into the direction where we figure that the Far Eastern branch has gotten orders to let these three “veteran” Gatekeepers deal with things in Japan. This doesn’t go over well with the current group, but the Commander lets it all happen as it’s something he’s been ordered to let happen.
The basic implication is that the locals can’t handle the power of the trio they’re now facing, so things move fast and the veterans head off when the Kaiser makes his latest appearance along with the Baron and Kageyama. The veterans have also brought the new second stage platforms they use to enhance their gate abilities, which are in the form of… robots.
There are four sent along with them, but only three are to be used. The mysterious extra one, something that Jim calls uncontrollable, is kept under wraps. We get to see these platforms in battle against the trio of evil when they launch their next big attack, and in the end I’m really not liking it. It feels very out of place with the established world that they’ve made and with them being inside the platforms, makes it feel like any other mech show. Of course, I know that without the platforms, it’s just like any other adventure show, but these platforms just don’t feel right for the late 60’s.
Naturally, you can see how it’s going to go with the veterans getting in trouble and Ukiya grabbing the unknown platform and saving the day. There’s a lot of underlying things going on in the relationship department throughout these episodes that helps keep things enjoyable and makes the overall plot work, but in the end I keep coming back to not liking the veterans or the things that they’ve brought with them. At least things seemed to balance out with the characters I do like.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Original Endings,Line Art
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.