Gilgamesh Vol. #2 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: ADV Films UK
  • MSRP: £19.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Gilgamesh

Gilgamesh Vol. #2

By Dani Moure     May 30, 2007
Release Date: July 17, 2006

Gilgamesh Vol. #2
© ADV Films UK

What They Say
"It was wrong of us to bring you here, but make no mistake. If you get in our way we will kill you."

When subtle seduction doesn't work, the black-clad clan of Gilgamesh uses force, kidnapping Kiyoko and trying to coerce her to join their cause.

The dark Countess and her band of young mutants, however, continue with their own attempt to sway Kiyoko and her brother Tatsuya to side with them - and as Tatsuya's psychic powers increase under their guidance, their plan seems to be working.

But the real battles are just beginning.

From ghostly abandoned airports to sinister, glittering cities funded by shadowy corporations, the devious forces of this wrecked world begin to unveil new weapons and even darker agendas on more spectacular battlegrounds. And as a young girl struggles to free herself from a trap that has no escape, her brother discovers that a gift of phenomenal power may curse him to lose the only person he's ever loved. Mysterious, sexy, thrilling, Gilgamesh casts a dreamlike spell with each compelling episode forcing you to ask yourself the question: "Whose side are you on?"

Contains Episodes 6-9.

The Review!
The posturing continues in the dark and dingy world in the latest volume of Gilgamesh.

I listened to a few episodes with the Japanese stereo track and then switched to the English 5.1 track while watching this disc. The Japanese stereo track is solid, but the series is heavily dialogue focussed so there's nothing to make it stand out. The 5.1 mix has a bit more directionality, but even with the action scenes there's not a great deal to tell it apart. Neither track had any dropouts, distortions or notable errors.

The English dub, from what I heard, show some promise but was a little dull at times. This is probably more due to the dialogue centric nature of the show, and that the characters don't all have a great deal of personality at this stage. Some of the performances still seem a bit lacklustre, but I expect they will improve as they really find the characters' voices as things draw on, but it all seemed a bit stilted at this stage. For what it's worth, at times I felt the same about the Japanese voice actors as well.

Presented in anamorphic widescreen, with Gilgamesh being a relatively recent show, this disc looks great from a video standpoint. It's very dark and dingy, but despite that I didn't notice any compression artefacts or blocking even in the darkest scenes. This is another great transfer from ADV.

In terms of UK release, this disc also marks a change in production for ADV UK that will affect some future releases as well, in that it's their first disc encoded for both the UK and German markets. As such, there are a couple of differences to the usual presentation worth mentioning. From a video standpoint, the openings and endings are presented in the original Japanese versions, with kanji credits and all. I generally like this practice (though have nothing against translated credits at all), as long as there are full, per-episode, translations of the credits provided. Thankfully, ADV have placed the five original translated end credit rolls (used for the US release) in the credits section of the extras menu, so you can still get the fully translated scroll if you want. In my eyes, this is the best of both worlds and I like it!

Packaged in a clear keepcase, the front cover features an image of Kiyoko sitting on a bed. It's a dark image with interesting use of colours, what with the red hue, and really fits the tone of the show well. The various logos are scattered in the four corners of the image, leaving the focus on the main picture. The back cover provides an interesting description of the show, that thankfully isn't as silly as some, as well as some screenshots and the usual credits. Technical information is, as always, provided in a nice, easy to read, bar at the bottom of the back cover. The reverse side of the cover features a very useful glossary of some of the terms used in this volume.

Also of note is that the disc's silkscreen is very nice and looks really cool, split in half so it's dual-language with the German logo on one half, the English on the other.

The menu is another aspect affected by the change in production, in that the first thing to do is select whether you want the English or German versions of the menu on startup. The main menu features an image of Tatsuya on one side and the selections on the other, done up in a white tone with a red border all around the screen. Some sound effects from the show loop over this menu, as well as some bits of video repeating in the faded background. The other menus are done in the same style but are all static with no sounds or music.

The extras for the show are better this time, with a nice 17-minute feature from the English voice actors for Orga, as they discuss their parts and the show itself. As always we're treated to the usual textless opening and ending, as well as some production and character art sketches, done as semi-music videos with the pictures looping over some music.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
It's been some time since I saw the first volume of Gilgamesh (over a year in fact!), so I was curious to see how easy it would be to slip back into the story after such a break. Well, by the end of the first episode most of the key moments had come flooding back, and I found myself ever entangled in the dark world within. The second volume turns out to be a good follow-up to the first. It's still quite slow-moving, but there's enough of a mystery here to entice you to keep watching, so that's exactly what I did.

With Kiyoko missing at the end of the last disc, we pick things up here with Tatsuya and the three Orga children looking for her. It turns out that Gilgamesh are holding her captive in an airport and trying to get her to join them, as they constantly reference her father and the chance (potentially) to meet the elusive Professor. But she is quick to refuse all offers, and when they realise that her mind won't be changed no matter what they say, Gilgamesh give up but give her a warning; if she gets in their way they will kill her without question.

Soon after, Kiyoko is reunited with her brother, and they are picked up by the Countess, while Orga and Gilgamesh engage in a battle that leaves one of the latter team dead. The Countess keeps Tatsuya and Kiyoko housed in her mansion, but not without her own motives. She certainly has a keen interest in Tatsuya, and he begins to hone his Dynamis skills with the other children while he's there. But Kiyoko is far from happy and ends up almost like a prisoner in the house, and as such she runs away only to come running back from worry over her brother's well being.

In a particularly good war of words, there's a great showdown between Kiyoko and the Countess where everything is laid clearly on the table. The Countess shows just how intent she is in getting whatever it is she wants from Tatsuya, and won't let Kiyoko get in the way no matter what. On the other hand, Kiyoko packs no punches in making it known that she's aware the Countess has an agenda and doesn't really like the way the Countess looks at her brother so longingly. It ends in a slap for Kiyoko, but the stances are clear, and it's funny just how true Kiyoko's words turn out to be (if not for the obvious reasons).

With all the events that transpire, a huge rift is forming between brother and sister and Kiyoko ends up leaving Tatsuya behind at the mansion, going her own way. By the end of the disc, the story then begins to open up a little by introducing Dr Enuma, an old colleague of the Countess', and one who intends to reverse the effects of the Sheltering Sky. Oh, and there's a massive fight at the end, too.

All in all Gilgamesh is still playing out like a slow-moving mystery, as the layers gradually reveal themselves. As such, enjoyment of the series is limited to just how much you can put up with the pace. If, like me, you are quite intrigued by story points being laid on the table slowly, with drips and drabs of information slowly being given, then you'll probably enjoy the series a lot. If you like all the information up front with a lot of action and blistering movement, then you'd do well to steer clear of the series, because after two discs it will definitely not be for you.

The writers do a good job over the course of these episodes in providing enough hooks to keep you interested, if you can be bothered, and it becomes fascinating to watch all of the characters as they face down to one another and posture more than you ever thought possible. The aforementioned showdowns between Kiyoko and the Countess are very well played, as are the confrontations between Kiyoko and Tatsuya (and I think Fu is right, there's a bit of a sister complex going on there). The head to heads between Gilgamesh and Orga, while fairly poorly animated (as the series is on the whole) have some ongoing ramifications and don't seem meaningless.

Story-wise, there are still more questions than answers by far, but as more questions are raised they tend to shed some amount of light on what has come before. The Countess is obviously more involved than she lets on to most people, judging from her meetings with Enuma, and the final episode on the disc blows open a whole new direction for the series with regards Twin X, the Sheltering Sky, the Professor, and everything else. It's more than enough to keep me interested enough to watch the next volume, which hopefully will bring us closer to the truth about what is going on.

In Summary:
Gilgamesh continues to be promising, but isn't for everyone. It's very slow-moving and the character designs and poor animation quality (it may be stylistic but even so, at times it is poor) may put some people off, but if you stick with it and invest some time into the show you might find yourself enjoying it more than you may expect. I'm looking forward to the next volume.

Japanese Language (2.0),English Language (5.1),Behind the Scenes,English Subtitles,Clean Opening & Closing,Art Galleries

Review Equipment
Philips 28" Pure Flat Widescreen TV, Philips DVP5100 code free DVD player, JVC gold-plated RGB SCART cable, standard stereo sound.


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