Gilgamesh Vol. #6 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: A-
  • 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. #6

By Dani Moure     June 11, 2007
Release Date: March 19, 2007


Gilgamesh Vol. #6
© ADV Films UK


What They Say
"It's time I found out what happened there. What were you really doing in that place? And why did you bring us here?"

While the children of Orga deal with a devastating loss, the ice-cold Countess attempts to make a kill of her own, pushing Tatsuya to shut her out at last, in a violent, spectacular rage. Isamu, in turn, gets even closer to the secretive widow and demands to know how this sick war began - and what part he and the Countess truly play.

Thus, the truth of Heaven's Gate is revealed.

Elsewhere, a key Heaven's Gate player is murdered by the least likely soldier in this shadowy combat. And as Gilgamesh regroups and restores their power, Kazamatsuri strengthens his own force, at last showing to what depths he has descended in effort to end the conflict.

But is he really destroying the world - or trying to save it?

And for you...Time is running out. The choice must be made.

Whose side are you on?

Contains Episodes 21 - 23.

The Review!
This volume of Gilgamesh continues with revelations abound.

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 Countess inside the hotel, and is another stand-out cover. 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 extras on this disc are two long features in the ADR studio with the actors that form New Gilgamesh and the Mitleid Corporation. These discuss various points, from the actors in the roles to the characters themselves. There's also another 15 minute feature called "Heaven & Hell" that discusses some of the history of the series and, like previous ones, helps piece together information on events and characters to help make more sense of the story. ADV really has done a brilliant job with these features. 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)
When you're watching a series like Gilgamesh, that has built up such a big mystery over the course of its run with some finely crafted plot points and characters that have really developed, and you hit the penultimate volume, you just know you're going to get plenty of story to sink your teeth into. And sure enough, this is the case here. In fact, it proves why it'll be a good job to marathon the series at some point to pick up on all the hints and throwaway scenes that have hinted at things to come along the way.

With Kiyoko dead at the end of the last volume, the unborn Gilgamesh foetus inside her has lapsed into a coma, giving the Countess the perfect opportunity to want to kill it. Naturally that idea doesn't sit all too well with Tatsuya, who unleashes his Dynamis to shut himself, Kiyoko and the child inside the infirmary and out of harm's way. As the Countess' new family is beginning to crumble, Isamu manages to get his hands on documents that show the origins of the children, which for some proves quite painful.

At dinner, Isamu tells the Countess she must explain everything that's going on, and why she gathered them all here. She reveals what she can to him, though whether it's everything or not is a question only she is really capable of answering. Flashbacks are the name of the game here, and having had over half the first episode devoted to following the origins of the Heaven's Gate project through the eyes of Asuza and Madoka, Tatsuya and Kiyoko's parents, we get to see things from the Countess' side, and what certain things truly mean to her.

For starters, it's clear she was in love with Professor Madoka, despite the fact that he was already married and had a child with Asuza. But there came a point when Madoka realised the experiments at Heaven's Gate were a mistake, and the programme was swiftly shut down. But before it was all over, Madoka broke into the main plant and became the cause for Twin X. This event put the Countess in a coma, and the man she had married, like so many others, was killed in the disaster, leading to her taking control of his money. She tells Isamu that this is exactly what drove her to bring them all together " to use the money to find out the truth about what happened.

Unsurprisingly, Isamu is sceptical, and he ends up leaving the Providence with Fuko, who's still messed up over what she found out about her origins, although Toru stays behind.

The use of flashbacks works really well throughout these episodes to flesh out events that we've only heard people talk about up until now. Seeing them take place and all the timelines involved really helps add a degree of clarity to everything. Seeing the Professor and his wife as they help uncover the tomb that starts the whole Heaven's Gate project off, to what it drives people to, and ultimately the final results really helps expand on the background so that the current events leading up to the end have true context. It's also interesting to see the people the Orga children were cloned from, and how they fitted in to events at the time.

The final episode on the disc is what drives things towards the grand finale though. The foetus inside Kiyoko has begun to melt into her, fusing and becoming one, though part of Kiyoko's consciousness remains and can be heard. The mysterious girl Reiko turns up at the hotel, having been scolded by her "brother" Kazamatsuri, as Chairman Yuki has unexpectedly died. This leads to Kazamatsuri taking over Mitleid, and assembling his Blattaria force to lead a final assault against Gilgamesh.

With these events, we're really set up for an explosive finale, as Kazamatsuri and his Blattaria are set to face off against Enkidu and Gilgamesh for one last time. The big question though will really be whose side will the Orga children be on? They've gone through the emotional wringer in the last few volumes, and it culminates in some beautifully played out moments throughout this disc. As each of the children find out about their origins, seeing the pain and despair it brings to some, namely Toru and Fuko, as opposed to how Isamu takes control of the situation just shows how much they've been moulded by what's gone on in the series.

Things have really begun to crumble around the Countess, although she does seem to get a visit from what could be the real Enkidu. All the while Kazamatsuri has managed to get himself into a position of ultimate power where he is free to pretty much do as he pleases. And how exactly Kiyoko and her baby, and in turn Tatsuya, will factor in to the equation is anyone's guess, but I can't wait to find out.

In Summary:
Like any good mystery Gilgamesh took a little bit of time to get going, but ever since it did it has really continued in its stride. Although it's slowly paced, it's also meticulously planned and it becomes immensely satisfying as you see the pieces of this puzzle gradually coming together. It just gets better and better and I absolutely cannot wait to see the final volume. This has turned into a really good series and one of the more under-appreciated shows to hit out shores.

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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