Mania Grade: C+
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- Audio Rating: B
- Video Rating: B
- Packaging Rating: F
- Menus Rating: B+
- Extras Rating: B+
- 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: Generator Gawl
Generator Gawl Vol. #1
By Chris Beveridge
October 10, 2000
Release Date: October 10, 2000
Generator Gawl Vol. #1
What They Say
© ADV Films
October 2007: Professor Takuma Nekasa uncovers a gene code that will unlock the human body's greatest mystery. Later, that discovery will lead to the manufacture (or is it birth?) of the deceptively human-skinned generators. Now, it's up to two young, time-traveling scientists and their friend, Gawl, to stop this future threat. But the metal mutations have also traveled back into the past to stop them, and Gawl must become the very thing that he hates in order to save our world and his own! Don't miss this hit mystery thriller packed with mind bending plot twists and hyper-stylized, heavy metal action! Generate your mind. Generate your soul.The Review!
Generator Gawl is the latest entry from ADV Films in the TV side of their releases. This series was originally a late night showing spanning over twelve episodes, so this is the first of four releases with each volume containing three episodes.
Gawl is presented in the standard two language tracks, Japanese and English. Both tracks sound quite good, though the show so far is predominantly dialogue. The opening and ending songs sound quite good and the limited action sequences come across pretty well. We watched the disc in Japanese for our review and spot checked it in English and then listened to the English track while prepping the review. The English dub cast sounds very good overall, it's just such a shame that such massive rewrites were done. The mystery and lack of explanations in the Japanese language track are almost given away point for point in the dub. I'd almost classify this one like Sin, where it's two different shows.
On the video side of things the disc looks pretty good. The only areas where we noticed any serious kind of artifacting is in the deep dark blue night sky scenes or some of the interior school scenes where they simply shifted and moved around. We didn't notice any rainbows throughout and even line noise from camera panning movements were fairly minimal. Where the show itself suffers is from the somewhat variable animation quality. Some sequences are very well animated, especially the opening sequence as is expected. You get some very fine detail in some of the character animation in a few places while others it's a bit substandard TV animation. Considering the shows origins, it comes across pretty decently. What I found interesting about the animation was the somewhat odd muted pale coloring that was used. Not the same kind of pale colors used on Revolutionary Girl Utena, but fairly similar.
The packaging rating is a bit of an odd one this time around. Overall I really like the design and the color work done with it. Everything is pretty solid. Where it's nowhere near solid is in the plot summary. I read it after I watched the show and more than half of what they talk about is nowhere mentioned on the disc at all and in fact spoils a good portion of the mystery of the show. I can easily understand why people who would see only the dub may not care for this show. So much of it is laid out in front of them as opposed to a mystery being built up.
ADV continues its recent streak of pretty solid looking menus that fit with both the packaging design and the content of the show. There isn't a lot of depth to the menus as most only go a layer or two deep, but they're laid out well and everything accesses very quickly. There's not a ton of animation in the menu itself, though it works out pretty well. The scene selection submenus all have bits of their respective chapters playing, which is always fun to watch while waiting for the rest of the viewing group to settle in.
A good selection of extras have been included as well. There's a couple screens worth of Generator schematics and several pages worth of character designs. The really good extra of clean opening and ending is included as well, which always ranks high among fans. One nice thing that I'm glad that has been included in a few recent titles is the ADV created trailer for the show. It's interesting, to me at least, to see how they market their titles compared to the show itself.
Until this disc came in, I had managed to avoid reading very much about this series and only skimmed a couple of dub VHS reviews just to get a general impression. What I noticed is that this is two very different shows and I can definitely understand why it's been ragged on.
The show starts off with a mysterious flash of light and the sudden appearance of three young determined looking men who are unsure of their surroundings. Once you get past their Star Trek inspired outfits, they're pretty similar to most other serious young men character designs. You have the dark brooding leader, the bright and smiling intelligent one and the brash ruffled brawler. The group seems to be unsure of the world around them and tries to figure out where to go and seem to be amazed by the simplest things, such as a girl riding by on a bike. In fact, at first they simply seem surprised to see a girl.
We're introduced then to the small city of Oju which is the bright scientific center of the world. The city is surrounded by a high level ring and multiple towers as well as a central tower. There are tons of laboratories and various projects going on throughout. It's also learned that the students who go to school here all have specialties and can be hoped to be among the best and brightest of their respective fields.
Gawl being Gawl, he lands himself in some trouble and ends up meeting the lead female character, Masami. Not only does Gawl inadvertantly annoy her at work upon their first meeting, he and the other two end up becoming tenants at her mothers "bed and breakfast". This leads to the continual back and forth bickering between these two characters throughout at least these first three episodes. Thankfully it's not overbearing and constant.
We also get introduced to one other character who in the opening looks to have a slightly bigger role in future episodes. The character is Masami's best friend, Natsume. Natsume is the single character who has intrigued me the most so far in this series as her character design is not really standard, especially the hair. Even more odd is her very deferential tone of voice. You hear a lot of these throughout a variety of anime but this voice actress just seemed to take it to a different level and really gave the character a soft and innocent sounding voice.
Throughout all three episodes, the group encounters Generators, some sort of creature that transforms into some kind of bug-like super powered creature. Gawl himself is able to transform into one as well and spends his time as the one fighting them. Where these Generators come from is a mystery (as is the group themselves) and very little is revealed. There's a three month time limit to what the three are tyring to accomplish, which revolves initially around contacting a scientist who is working in this city.
As mentioned earlier, the animation is of somewhat varying quality throughout but never really looks bad, just rough in some areas. Character designs are fairly typical but the coloring used throughout and the shading of some scenes give it an odd softness at times. The fight sequences between Gawl and the Generators mostly take place in very dark and poorly lit areas, so there's a lot of vagueness about the fights. The one that does take place for a portion in daylight though is rather good and shows off the abilities of the Generators quite well.
The first set of episodes here definitely aren't something that will hook you in big. Depending on what track you're listening to, you'll either be curious as to what it's all about (Japanese track) or feel like the script has been rather dumbed down and you can feel like you've been told everything (English track). I'm sticking with the mildly curious route and the Japanese track.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Character Designs,Generator Schematics,Creditless Opening & Ending
Toshiba TW40X81 40" TV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster gold plated component cables and Sony speakers.