Gilgamesh Vol. #5 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A-

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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: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Gilgamesh

Gilgamesh Vol. #5

By Dani Moure     June 07, 2007
Release Date: January 15, 2007

Gilgamesh Vol. #5
© ADV Films UK

What They Say
As Mitleid's ruthless corporate raider examines "every inch" of Tatsuya's body, eh unveils a soul-shaking revelation.

Of even more consequence, this truth has an equally powerful impact on his fellow psychics in Orga, who decided to slip behind the Countess' back for their own secret meeting with the widow's enemy to find out what he knows about them.

Meanwhile, Tatsuya's sister gets a surprise visitor as well as Septem, a beautiful (and jealous) new Gilgamesh, seeks to lure Novem from Kiyoko-and out of her bed.

But even if Septem succeeds in spiriting Novem away, Kiyoko is not exactly alone. For she reveals a surprising, shockingly powerful new ally who will vex the plans of the Countess and her suit-clad, power-mad foe shattering every one, every thing, and every side in this dark, deceptive war.

Contains episodes 18-20.

The Review!
More revelations are abound 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 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.

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 the Isamu. It's a dark image with interesting use of colours in boiler room of sorts, 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.

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.

The main extra this time is a nice 25-minute feature that goes through each of the characters and is really helpful in piecing together different pieces of the story, showing how everyone is linked and discussing their motivations. We also get a "Going, Going, Goth" documentary of sorts with interviews with the voice actors that seems to have been produced for the Anime Network. 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)
With the last volume really turning the world of Gilgamesh upside down, leading to everyone questioning their actions and what they believe in, this volume continues in that mould as the revelations come thick and fast regarding what everyone is about and what they want, and for some, a terrible tragedy is about to occur.

At the end of the last disc, Tatsuya was taken into custody by Kazamatsuri, and the first episode here opens with him being interrogated as to exactly why their was a rush within him when Enkidu unleashed his power during the attack on Turangalila. Tatsuya of course doesn't know, but Kazamatsuri reveals to him that he is a clone of Enkidu, created from his DNA. On returning to Hotel providence, Tatsuya confronts the Countess who simply throws in his face that his mother did not tell him this either. As the other children discuss the repercussions, Isamu is sure of one thing " that Tatsuya is different from Enkidu.

One of the Gilgamesh arrives at Kiyoko's apartment to take Novem back, and Tatsuya also goes to her apartment and is angered by the presence of Gilgamesh there. None of that matters though when the Blattaria show up and attack, blowing the apartment to pieces. While the rest of the Orga children show up to take Tatsuya and Kiyoko back, the two Gilgamesh are saved by a new member.

Faced with so much new information, Isamu, Toru and Fuko go to see Kazamatsuri to try and get the answers they desire, since the Countess is less than forthcoming. The showdown is interesting as it proves once again how blurred the lines between "good" and "bad" are in this show. Kazamatsuri reveals that all the Orga children are clones of members of Heaven's Gate. When they tell Tatsuya, there is a sense of relief since he knows he's not the only one and in turn, he's not alone in his experience.

Once again the Blattaria attack, and this time Kiyoko is their target and in the battle, she surprises everyone present by fending off the final blow with Dynamis power. It turns out that she is pregnant with what the Countess calls a "monster", and that Kazamatsuri was only trying to kill the child. Since he was unsuccessful, the Countess says she will do it instead. This leads into the final episode which is extremely surreal but revealing at the same time.

It's great to see Gilgamesh just building on the momentum it created in the last volume, as the story continues to be thrust forward and the lines between what's right and wrong are every blurred. The story is one of the strongest points of the series, and it continues to unravel in unexpected ways. From the revelation that Kiyoko is pregnant, which completely blind-sided me, to the information Kazamatsuri reveals about the unknown life form Tear, the pieces all make sense as they start to come together to give you answers to the whole. The way things are left at the end of this disc is extremely evil, and the repercussions will surely be felt in the final six episodes as everything should start coming to a head.

As the series has evolved, it's been interesting to see how the characters, who early on took a bit of a backseat to the story, are now coming across as very well-developed and their own personalities. The Orga children are all coming into their own, especially Isamu who continues to exert a sort of leadership over the rest of the group, and as a whole they are finally discovering exactly who they are. The sibling relationship between Kiyoko and Tatsuya is once again brought to the fore, and continues to be bizarre right to the very end of this disc. Often they are far more like boyfriend and girlfriend than brother and sister, but again, the events at the end of the disc look set to change everything.

One final comment I would make is about the animation quality again, or lack thereof. I am sure many people would be put off by it (if they weren't put off by the character designs in the first place), but even though there's often little movement (just witness the fight between the Blattaria and Gilgamesh in the first episode, which is mostly comprised of pans and stills) it's surprising how well the characters emote their feelings, and manage to give looks that say more than their words at times. The series was always going to be a lot of talking heads since it's dialogue heavy, but it works in spite of the lack of animation even during the high-impact action scenes.

In Summary:
With the revelations now coming thick and fast, the end is finally coming in to sight as the story is slowly heading to what will no doubt be a dramatic climax. Gilgamesh has been excellent at slowly unveiling its mystery as it goes along, holding up the interest with snippets of information and an interesting, if misfit, bunch of characters. Although it's quite a slow-start it's well worth sticking with, and if you put in the effort Gilgamesh is a series you'll find hard not to enjoy.

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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