Gilgamesh Vol. #3 -

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Mania Grade: A-

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  • Audio Rating: A
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: TV 14
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Gilgamesh

Gilgamesh Vol. #3

By Luis Cruz     October 20, 2005
Release Date: October 18, 2005

Gilgamesh Vol. #3
© ADV Films

What They Say
After a raging battle in the Core Settlement, the young psychics of Orga are haunted by questions about their Countess (and themselves). But when they sneak into the mysterious Mitleid Corp's archives, a pack of terrifying cyborgs quickly ends their search for answers. The Countess, however, has discovered valuable information about both Tatsuya and his sister.

Still, the young psychics under her control demand answers. So the Countess invites them to a suspiciously public ceremony for the dying leader of Mitleid. There, the group meets "a monster from the previous century," the aging monster's manipulative henchman, and his creepily ethereal daughter who, like everyone else in this twisted, macabre world, hides more than she reveals. And what of the gothic assassins of Gilgamesh?

The Review!
The third volume of Gilgamesh continues to build an intriguing mystery.

The Japanese stereo track was used for my primary viewing session; while the first batch of episodes are driven more by dialogue, the front soundstage provides some great directional effects and helps create an eerie atmosphere through ambient sounds, such as the thunder bursts heard in the first episode. All aspects, music, dialogue, etc., were balanced appropriately allowing each element to shine through at the appropriate time. There were no issues with distortions or drop-outs.

The English 5.1 audio track was also spot checked; this track is as clear and crisp as the Japanese audio. Both tracks will please their listening audience and provide a superb auditory experience.

Gilgamesh is presented in a gorgeous anamorphic transfer. The transfer is free from any noticeable artifacts, aliasing, cross coloration, or other defects. The world of Gilgamesh tends to dark, grey palettes making any bright colors stand out. The transfer provides rich vivid colors for every scene making for a dark, creepy atmosphere punctuated by brighter colors.

The front cover features one of the Gilgamesh members brooding in an industrial setting. The series title is in the upper left corner with the volume title in the lower left corner. The back cover contains the requisite images, plot synopsis, credits, and disc specifications. Everything is laid out in a clean and readable format.

Inside is a one page insert that contains liner notes for the series. There is a warning at the beginning of the notes that they might contain spoilers. Unlike the first set of notes, there is nothing in this set that truly spoils the viewing experience.

The menu layout is simple and clean allowing the viewer to quickly access the various sections and begin watching the actual series. The main menu features an image of a character on the left and the menu items to the right of the image. The symbols worn by the Gilgamesh members pulse in between. The images and menu items are set against a parchment paper background effect that has rotating images from the series softly watermarked in it. Some of the eerie background music loops along while the viewer is making their menu choice. There are no delays transitioning between menus.

The extras included on the disc are a clean opening sequence, a clean ending sequence, a slideshow of production art, and a slideshow of character art. The final extra is a thirty plus minute featurette with the English dub actors to mark the halfway point of production.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
One thing I enjoy is a good, entertaining mystery or puzzle; surprisingly, Gilgamesh is turning out to be just that rather than a standard psychic teen battle royal. While this volume does feature some battles, it focuses more on dialogue and character interaction to deepen the mystery behind Twin-X, Gilgamesh, and the Countess.

The battle between Orga and Gilgamesh at the Mitleid tower ends in a stalemate but leaves Tatsuya with many questions. These questions lead to the revelation by Toru that a photograph at the tower featured the Countess and Tatsuya’s father. The four decide that it is time to find out some answers about their powers, who the Countess is, and what she wants.

They return to the tower late one night and make their way to a library of records; before they can absorb all the information there, a series of cyborgs bearing the word "Orga" on their chest attack them. The teens manage to escape but not without causing enough damage to earn them a stern punishment from the Countess.

Despite their actions, the Countess still allows Tatsuya to spend the day with Kiyoko at an amusement park. Their day does not go very well as their thoughts about the world and its future diverge more. Kiyoko’s day ends on a sour note when the Countess appears at her job and questions her about Tatsuya’s birth. The revelation that comes from this conversation opens up a series of new questions about what the Professor and Gilgamesh are really trying to accomplish.

The volume concludes with the Countess taking the teens to a living funeral for Yuki, the man responsible for building Heaven’s Gate and Mitleid. Here, the Countess finds a new player in the power struggle for the world; Kazamatsuri is the leader of an elite team of special forces called Equus. His team is responsible for the security of Yuki but seems to fail in this responsibility when Gilgamesh manages to infiltrate the funeral compound and kill Yuki.

But, this was a clever ruse by Kazamatsuri, and Gilgamesh only manages to kill a double for Yuki. In a rare moment, we find that the Countess was even fooled by Kazamatsuri’s machinations, but it is her conversation with the double she believed to be Yuki that begins to reveal the true motives behind her fight with Gilgamesh.

Gilgamesh continues to impress me with the level of its storytelling; to some extent, it plays out like Project ARMS, another series I enjoy watching. However, the main difference is that Project ARMS relies heavily on battle after battle to shape its characters and plot. Gilgamesh takes the opposite tack and shapes things more through dialogue, character interaction, and the subtleties within.

While it does rely on dialogue to build the story, it manages to keep the pace of the story flowing and continually draws the viewer deeper into the story and its characters. On the surface, the Orga orphans are normal teenagers struggling with the usual issues, but they also struggle with finding out if they side they are fighting for is a cause they truly believe in. They are happy that they finally have some semblance of a family, but their doubts about the reason they are a family are beginning to surface.

Quite the opposite can be said about the Countess and Gilgamesh; both have a clear understanding of what they are fighting for but keep their motives hidden. Both sides are fighting for what they feel is right for the world, and the Orga teens are caught in the middle. The characters are wonderfully written, and the dynamic between them adds to the mystery of the plot.

None of the material in this volume feels unnecessary; the pacing of the plot does not try to reveal too much too quickly or overwhelm the story with too many threads or conspiracies. While the visual style is what first drew me to this series, the writing keeps me eagerly awaiting each volume.

In Summary:
There is no shortage of titles featuring teenagers with psychic powers taking on a vast conspiracy. However, Gilgamesh continues to stand out from the rest by developing a strong plot and set of characters rather than relying on flashy battle sequences. This volume continues to build the mystery surrounding the events of Twin-X and the powerful children born from its events. It is heavy on exposition and narrative, but it works well to keep the audience captivated and intrigued. The narrative serves to build steam behind the plot ensuring that the eventual major battle will be quite powerful. Turning into one of the sleeper titles of the year, Gilgamesh continues to impress me with its visual style and solid storytelling.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles, Clean Opening Animation, Clean Closing Animation, Production Sketches, Revelations: In the Studio with Gilgamesh

Review Equipment
Mitsubishi 27" TV, Panasonic RP-82, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Bose Acoustimass-6 speakers, generic S-Video and optical audio cable


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jnager 3/13/2012 8:54:46 PM

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