Mania Grade: NA
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- Audio Rating: N/A
- Video Rating: N/A
- Packaging Rating: N/A
- Menus Rating: N/A
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: 12 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Media Blasters
- MSRP: 24,95
- Running time: 60
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Gestalt
By Marilyn Mandes
February 16, 2002
Release Date: December 19, 2000
Don't get me wrong. I like the packaging. The art nouveau-ish borders, two main characters rendered in pastel colors and monochromatic stills in the background are nice. But as much as I like it, I'm unimpressed. The cover design was cut and pasted from the anime, and while I can understand the decision, I wished they had opted to use the far more lovely illustration of Ohri that ended up on the back cover.
And if they were going to use the anime character designs, they should have kept the vibrant color scheme of the OVA as well. The pastel palette is well suited to the fine line art of the manga, but it seems slightly washed out on the anime characters, and for those unfamiliar with the show, it causes ocular shock between the keepcase and what pops up on the TV screen.
Boring, but they're quick and they work properly - which is what counts.
No complaints here. Audio was clear as a bell in Japanese and English. The timing for the subtitles was a-ok, though there was a misspelling or two, and at least one moment of "bad English". The dubbing was halfway decent as well.
While some may find it "bright", I like the coloring of the show. Elves in earth tones have gotten somewhat tiresome, so it's a nice change to see some vivid colors. Actually, "intense" might be a better choice of words than "bright" since the colors are not garish - just a teeny bit loud from time to time. But then again, if you're an anime fan, blue, green, pink and purple hair is the norm. :) There may be a call to arms by some because of the overlays when Ohri's dialogue box first appears (she's mute for a short time), but considering the amount of space the blue box takes it's easily excusable. As much as I would have liked to have seen the original dialogue box, it would have been far too busy with subtitles, Japanese dialogue and the English translation of the Japanese dialogue. So just this once, I find the overlays forgivable, especially since it disappears thirteen minutes into the show. Of course, there is then the matter of digital panning. On other DVDs the digital panning was very jarring since there was a failure to accelerate in/decelerate out of pans. Luckily enough, Gestalt doesn't suffer much from this. Overall, the pans and trucks are pretty smooth - though they do create a certain problem with depth perception, i.e. the characters look like they're floating on the background as opposed to being anchored in the scene. But it's really not that bad. In fact, most of the digital panning takes place during magic and battling scenes, so it *almost* seems like a stylistic choice. There was previous mention of soft focus here and there for this title, but after viewing it three times I can honestly say I didn't see it on my DVD.
As many know by now, the entire story of Gestalt (which spanned at least seven volumes of manga) was never animated, but the two OVAs on this DVD make for a complete arc.
Gestalt "hits the ground running" introducing in quick succession: Suzu, the scantily clad Dark Elf the head of the Vasaria order summons to retrieve Father Olivier; Olivier, a young priest who has embarked on a journey to the forbidden island of G for spiritual answers; and Ohri, the peculiar pink-haired slave girl/sorceress who's "game" is going to help make Olivier's spiritual quest more interesting than he would perhaps like.
The protagonist of the story, Olivier, is an extremely likable chap who suffers not only from a crisis of faith, but also from what I call, TMS (Tenchi Muyo Syndrome): being saddled with an overly attractive, entirely too powerful female who has decided that HE is what makes life worth living. The idea is certainly not new, but these types of scenarios have proven charming ever since "The Major" found Jeannie in her bottle on the beach, but opted to be a gentleman rather than live the fantasies of a horny male. Olivier is cut from the same cloth, and his acceptance of Ohri despite his misgivings is one of the elements that helps draw the viewer into the story.
For her part, Ohri seems to have gotten in touch with her inner Ryoko (smack self in head and rent any Tenchi DVD if you don't know who Ryoko is). She exhibits more spell power by the minute, gives fan service left and right, and shows an unwavering devotion to Olivier. As if that didn't make her attractive enough, she is connected to G which thickens the plot in a good way.
Of course, it's not really TMS unless there's more than one female, so this is where Suzu, the Dark Elf, comes in handy. She doesn't get as much attention as Olivier and Ohri, but every time she makes an appearance she helps move the story along and usually provides some great comic relief. The short length of the OVA doesn't allow for her character to develop, but the opening scene indirectly implies that she does feel something for Olivier.
The first OVA basically introduces the three main characters. The second sheds some light on G and the game Ohri's playing with some other mighty powerful sorcerers. Sadly, epi 2 is going to raise some interesting questions that won't be answered unless you can read the Japanese manga, but it's nonetheless interesting and entertaining.
There's a small Art Gallery which includes the DVD cover and a few pictures taken from the manga. It's definitely small, but better than some other galleries which have had as little as two pictures.
Sooooooo..... do you positively have to run out and buy Gestalt? No, not really. But if you do purchase it, the only regret you'll have is the fact that they didn't animate more of the story. It's extremely charming and well balanced despite its short running time, and the amusing content lends itself to repeated viewings.
Sony KV27S46 TV, Sony DVP-S550D DVD Player