Gilgamesh Vol. #3 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • 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. #3

By Dani Moure     May 31, 2007
Release Date: September 18, 2006


Gilgamesh Vol. #3
© ADV Films UK


What They Say
This came for you today. You've been invited to a funeral...a living funeral."

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 Corporation's archives, a pack of terrifying cyborgs quickly ends their search for answers. The Countess, meanwhile has discovered priceless information. About 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 thsi twisted, macabre world, hides more than she reveals.

And what of the gothic assassins of Gilgamesh? They crash the dark party to give the faux funeral real purpose.

Includes Episodes 10-13.

The Review!
The mystery deepens and the plot thickens for the children of Orga.

Audio:
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 has settled a lot now, and rather than sounding dull the performances just seem more like fitting the tone of the show and the characters. Although the characters don't tend to be emotive, at this point in the series it's now easy to see why.

Video:
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!

Packaging:
Packaged in a clear keepcase, the front cover features an image of the blond boy from Gilgamesh. It's a dark image with interesting use of colours in an alley scene, and it looks quite striking. 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 rundown of the episodes with some behind the scenes information.

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.

Menu:
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 one of the characters 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.

Extras:
The main extra this time is a nice 35-minute feature that was apparently shown at the Alamo Drafthouse in the US. It basically recaps some of the story with comments from the English voice actors on how the characters interact, and is an interesting listen. 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)
The last volume of Gilgamesh continued to reveal a little bit more and pose several questions, with not too much in the way of answers at this stage. But what continues to be the hook for this show is how the mysteries are actually quite involving and keep you wanting to see more, because you can just feel you're gradually getting closer to the pay off.

In much the same way as the other volumes seemed to start and end, this one opens with a fight between the children of Orga and Gilgamesh. They are seen using their powers in public as the show has fully moved into a more cityscape environment rather than a more enclosed one spent mostly in and around the hotel, that we were used to over the first nine episodes.

As has been the case several times over, the fight finishes honours even, but for Tatsuya, the lack of knowing anything is getting to him so he decides they need to find out more information. But a confrontation on the street leads to Fu revealing a link between a photograph of the Countess and Tatsuya's father. As such, the children decide it's time to go do some research for themselves.

They spend some time looking through some records and find out things about Orga and Gilgamesh, but they're soon attached by a bunch of robots that move like people. Tatsuya confronts the Countess but she's not too forthcoming with answers, although she does mention that after Twin X the Professor turned himself into a being named Enkidu, and he will eventually pay the price for it.

Although they were punished for their recent actions, Tatsuya is allowed out by the Countess to meet up with Kiyoko for the first time. It's an interesting reunion after some time, and shows the strange brother-sister relationship the pair has, as it's more like a date at the amusement park than a sibling get together. There's a particularly odd scene when Tatsuya walks away from Kiyoko but she's been following him, and it's all very much unlike most relationships of this type.

The final episode on this disc leads to a shift in tone for the series, as more players are introduced. The Countess attends a "living funeral" for Toranosuke Yuki, the man responsible for Heaven's Gate, and the children attend with her. But Gilgamesh appear on the scene and all hell breaks loose, as a battle ensues that also involves the robots " known as Blattaria " again. What's most fascinating in this episode though is the introduction of Kazamatsuri, the man in charge of Yuki's security, and who clearly has links further down the chain involving the Countess and Enuma. He's a man to keep an eye on because he's also the man leading the Blattaria, and they seem to have some interesting abilities, such as being able to use Dynamis. He definitely has the potential to become a major player given the hints in this episode.

The mystery throughout these episodes really begins to deepen, and while there still aren't really many answers on the Gilgamesh front, there are droplets of information coming through about Orga, Twin X, the October Project that is ever looming, the involvement of the Blattaria and a lot more that help you begin to formulate some ideas on where the story is going. The pieces of the puzzle are slowly but surely falling into place, and that's what helps keep the series so involving as opposed to frustrating.

Everything is meticulously played out, mostly through the character dialogue, to give you enough to keep you hooked. There are some really great scenes spread through the four episodes, such as the one in the library that leads to the introduction of the Blattaria, to several of the moments at the funeral, that provide those extra bits of information but also demonstrate the changes in the characters. The children of Orga, in particular, are beginning to show a more rebellious streak as they are beginning to want answers to what is going on around them and what exactly they're involved in. It's a far cry from the pure obedience they showed early on in the series, and is especially noticeable in Isamu.

My favourite such scene is the showdown at Kiyoko's work between her and the Countess. It's another standoff between the two that plays out really well, much like the confrontation in the last volume, as little is said but a lot is revealed, and the Countess manages to get what she wants through the tiniest pieces of information. A lot of dialogue exchanges in the show are moulded in the same way, and that makes it fun to try and understand the true meaning behind all the words.

In Summary:
Unlike the animation quality, the story of Gilgamesh just gets better and better with each volume. Watching the show really is like watching a good mystery unravel before your eyes, as each episode gives you more information to try and piece together. The characters aren't your average bunch, and the whole gothic horror look really fits the apocalyptic setting and style of the series. Given the happenings of this disc, it looks the show is just going to get better and better, so I'll definitely give it a recommendation if you don't mind a slower-moving series.

Features
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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