Gilgamesh Vol. #7 -

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Mania Grade: A

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 15 & 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. #7

By Dani Moure     July 02, 2007
Release Date: May 21, 2007

Gilgamesh Vol. #7
© ADV Films UK

What They Say
"You Didn't Think This Would End Without A Little Pain. Did You?"

In the heavenly embrace of "mother", Gilgamesh reunites and receives a gift - new power - a force that both resurrects and destroys, rebirthing the Professor's fallen children and fueling his grand plan.

"A total cleansing of this flawed planet."

Yet Gilgamesh is not the only contingent amassing strength. Kazmatsuri has created a massive, devious machine that should ensure his victory over the deadly terrorists and, literally bring them to their knees. So in the lush gardens of a glamorous hotel, blood spills, thunder pounds, and the cocooning sheltering sky shrink to birth a new world order.

But in the midst of the battle, new players arrive, revealing the motives, with surprising consequences and revealing shocking truths.

Who's really behind every sick and sadistic event of this battle - and who always has been.

Don't miss the shocking, violent and devastating conclusion to the year's most talked-about, critically-acclaimed thriller.

Contains Episodes 24 - 26.

The Review!
It's time for reunions and massacres in the brutal final 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. As the characters have grown emotionally, so have the performances of the actors and this has turned into a surprisingly well done dub.

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 Fu outside, 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 episode backgrounds, which provide a real good insight into the meaning of the show.

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.

Once again we get plenty of extras. First up is a Japanese Promotional Video, running almost 7 minutes and outlining the show and what it's about. Next up is "Revelations: Final Secrets", the last instalment of the excellent behind-the-scenes features on the characters and what they're about, talking about the new Gilgamesh this time. The music of the series also gets showcased, with a piece running over 30 minutes and detailing the songs used in the show and who wrote them. "Dark Diary: Lost Memories" is an audio commentary from Stephen Foster, which is an interesting set of audio snippets of a production diary for his ADR recording of the show. Also returning is the glossary of terms, which is always useful in giving more background to the show, and the usual clean opening and closing. Gilgamesh really has had some great extras, and you can see that it's been a labour of love for ADV. For that I commend them.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
In the final volume of Gilgamesh, it would be fair to say everything goes to hell. Quite literally. There are few series that do what this one does at its end, and for that you can only applaud the creators for having the gall to go through with it all. It's quite surprising, but in the end the impending arrival of the apocalypse makes perfect sense and is the natural plot progression given how things have been building up.

With Kazamatsuri firmly building up his Blattaria force to destroy Gilgamesh, the members of Enkidu's team discuss during a confrontation how the Blattaria are just mindless drones and that's why they need to be purified in the impending Cleansing Flood. Meanwhile, the Countess continues to make plans for the future as she hands over the hotel to the House of Werdenberg, so it's occupants aren't caught up in the melee.

Using Reiko's Dynamis as an aide, Tatsuya manages to speak with Kiyoko in her cocoon. During a dream-like vision, Kiyoko tells him of their father's plan to do something to the sky again " bring on the Cleansing Flood, to usher in the era of a new human race. She also tells him they won't be lonely no matter what happens.

It's a time of reunions at the hotel though, as Isamu and Fu return to their residence having been to see their "originals" " those people they were cleansed from. The group have a final meal together, and it gives some downtime for some really nice character moments. The Countess shows how much everyone means to her, being so happy that they could sit down all together for at least one last time. Fu and Isamu also make peace with her in a nice scene, both having realised how much she means to them (and they to her) from how she raised them and how much they missed her. It also has a real "last supper" kind of feeling, and actually adds to the atmosphere of coming doom, especially with the photo sessions that follow.

And sure enough, doom is exactly what comes as Kazamatsuri ruins the evening by bursting in to seize the hotel. With the Blattaria on hand, Gilgamesh arrive for the final battle. It's almost one-sided, with the full group of 10 Gilgamesh running rampant over the Blattaria, until the remainder use a special weapon that inhibits their powers, and was developed by Kazamatsuri after he captured Tatsuya. But when the machine malfunctions some familiar faces appear, and it really is time to all fall down.

The way things have built up slowly to the ending of Gilgamesh has been brilliant, and the first two episodes on this disc just continue that trend of putting more and more pieces of the mystery together. There are some real stand-out character moments here " the aforementioned dinner scene and photo night being my favourite of them all, simply because it's like one last hurrah, a great reunion with all the guys back together again having realised how much of a family they are.

Another great scene though is one with Kazamatsuri and the Countess, as they discuss Enkidu and why he would've changed as much as he did. Kazamatsuri begins to question outside involvement, possibly from Tear, and it gradually starts to make sense. Everything has been showing us how much of a change of character Professor Madoka has had since he became Enkidu, and when it's all linked together by Tear it somehow makes sense.

Of course, it's impossible to discuss the ending without getting in to spoiler territory, so skip to the summary if you need to. The final battle is just brilliantly done. Spanning almost an episode and a half, it brings the series to the ultimate and expected close in the most spectacular fashion. You have the ups and downs with Gilgamesh initially seeming to destroy the Blattaria, only for them to unleash their new weapon. Then the old crew arrive to bring things to an end, and the massacre begins.

It's rare that a show promises the apocalypse and actually goes through with it, but I couldn't be more pleased to say that Gilgamesh delivers it. Everyone dies, and no matter how you look at it that was the only way the story could go. Once it's revealed that the Countess created Tear and caused everything from the jealousy within her heart, a slightly corny but certainly justified reason, and then Isamu stops her killing myself, you know there's only one conclusion. It's bloody, it's brutal, and it really makes you feel for all the characters, as the Orga kids watch each other get ravaged by Gilgamesh, and they in turn are savage back.

I'm sure there are some who didn't like the ending, and wanted something happier, but I just really liked how everything, all the foreshadowing and all actually came through. In fact the only thing that's a bit of a downer on the last episode is that, like the series, it suffers from poor animation. It's a shame, because I think combined with the character designs it probably put a lot of people off. If you can excuse that though, the story is excellent and just begs to be watched through again to piece everything together from the earliest clues, and the music is actually pretty good as well.

In Summary:
Gilgamesh is an underrated series that you don't often see talked about, but deserves so much more. It tells a great mystery, slowly piecing together parts of the puzzle in each finely plotted episode. There's a lot of talking heads and cheap animation tricks, but the story and characters, who initially seem stilted but soon become so much more, make up for it by far. The way it sees its promises through and delivers in the end just makes me want to recommend it even more. This is a very good series that I have no hesitations in recommending.

Japanese Language (2.0),English Language (5.1),English Subtitles,Japanese Promotional Video,Revelations: Final Secrets,The Music of Gilgamesh,Dark Diary: Lost Memories,Glossary,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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