Gatekeepers Vol. #7 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • 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. #7

By Chris Beveridge     September 07, 2002
Release Date: September 10, 2002


Gatekeepers Vol. #7
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
Reiji Kageyama revealed his radical political theories on national TV, but an Invader attack forces AEGIS to jam the rest of the broadcast to prevent widespread panic. Christmas and New Year's pass relatively uneventfully, but the Shadow's plots weaken the AEGIS team. To further complicate the situation, the return of Kaiser Kikai (Kikai Shogun) and Count Akuma (Akukma Hakusyaku) coincides with a threat against Ruriko's father - will the Gate Keepers be able to deal with the threat? Will they realize the true enemy before it is too late?

The Review!


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:
Once again, this is a great looking transfer of a very recent and fresh series. 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 good looking reversible covers strike again, providing a hard choice at times as to which one you want to display. The retail cover has large cast shot from the middle episode, with Yukino and Saemi being the primary people you see. It’s a surprisingly dark cover for such a light moment. 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 great looking Japanese versions with its focus on single characters. This volume gives us the image of Fei in her Chinese outfit showing off her stuff 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 Fei artwork. The special pack-in this time is another AEGIS ID card, this time featuring Jim Skylark.

Menu:
The menu layout this time is probably the weakest of the series yet, with it being an interior shot of the canopy of one of the Gatekeepers helicopters, with panning shots of animation playing behind the HUD. The menu layout itself is pretty standard for this series, with good access times and fast loading menus.

Extras:
Extras are fairly minimal this time around, though we do get the three original TV endings here in the extras since the regular program is using the home video version. There’s also several pages worth of line art from the production stage of these episodes included.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While we start moving away from the filler of the previous volume, since the show is closing in on the final episodes, the setup is beginning for that stage. Some of it’s good, some of it’s disappointing.

The lead in to the plot is the beginning of Kageyama in bringing about his master plan to win the war with the Gatekeepers. To do this, he’s using both aspects of what tools are available for war. We’ve seen them using force before, and will surely see it again, but he’s finally using the other half of his weaponry, and that’s politics. His Political Thoughts Club gets invited to participate in an annual TV program dealing with opinions of today’s youth, which is broadcast just before Christmas every year. Initially I feared this would be the traditional Christmas episode, but thankfully they avoided that pitfall, and the holiday serves only as a very minor backdrop.

Kageyama’s participation in the event causes quite a stir among his friends, as he’s still considered to be a really swell guy. Only Megumi is beginning to change her opinion of him, and that’s after she (not so) secretly sees him use his Gate power on some of his goons wearing human form. The disappointing part is that she doesn’t tell anyone, nor does this supposedly very smart person make the connection to the Shadow villain. And when said goons are in the audience at the broadcast, she still takes forever to make the connection. This was very poor and sloppy writing, used just to advance on particular point that could have been done much better.

Kageyama’s use of the broadcast isn’t terribly subtle, but he does manage to do one key thing, and that’s to take control of the dialogue and introduce his own words into it. The main thrust is using “maggot” to describe a whole range of people who will be an issue for the future survival of the country come twenty to thirty years from now. There’s an excellent ripple affect with this throughout the remaining two episodes as well.

While we don’t have a real Christmas episode, the next best thing is to have a New Years Day episode, since that’s arguably the biggest holiday of the year in Japan. This is one of the better filler episodes I’ve seen in the series, as it brings Ukiya’s little sister Saemi into play, and we get to see just how much the two of them are alike. She’s truly just a smaller female version of him. Since it’s a holiday, all the kids have gone home except for the Gatekeepers since they never know when the Invaders will strike. This does not sit well with Saemi who just wants her brother home for the holiday. So she promptly marches down to the school and sets things straight.

Since everyone ends up having nowhere to go, the bulk of them end up going back to Ukiya’s place. What makes this episode work really well is that Yukino is brought in to play, and Saemi takes an instant liking to her. Saemi’s dealing with her own young love problems with the mean boy she knows but that she really likes which is nicely contrasted with the half-rivalry going on between Ruriko and Kaoru over Ukiya. Yukino’s presence here works much better than in previous episodes, as she seems to be more connected to people than before. She doesn’t crack a smile, but watching her and Saemi look through a photo album in the dark with just a flashlight was just perfect.

With only three episodes left after this volume, things are going to come to a head very quickly and these episodes are the attempt to make it not feel terribly rushed. And in reality, it really isn’t when you consider how long Kageyama’s been slowly stirring the pot with his plans.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Special Endings,Line Art,Limited Edition Character ID card

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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