Godannar Vol. #4 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: TV MA
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Godannar

Godannar Vol. #4

By Chris Beveridge     March 10, 2006
Release Date: March 21, 2006


Godannar Vol. #4
© ADV Films


What They Say
When someone takes your man and your robot, what's a girl to do?

With Shizuru's robot destroyed and Mira taking Anna's place as both Goh's partner and the pilot of the Neo Okusaer, the Dannar team is just barely able to keep up against the new wave of Mimetic Beasts. But as the attacks continue, it becomes increasingly apparent that something is very wrong with Mira herself.

With the Earth in danger and a new robot in the wings, Anna is forced to make a painful decision: will she quit piloting forever or will she swallow back the pain and sign up for a second tour of duty... both wifely and in the cockpit?

The Review!
Godannar's second season gets into full swing with a bit of a recap and then a whole lot of ups and downs centered around relationships and marriage.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this series in its original language of Japanese. The included stereo mix for this track is really well done with a lot of directionality across the forward soundstage in just about each area. Be it incidental music, the large sweeping moments or just the dialogue itself, the stereo channels are well used throughout the episodes and certainly helps the show flow and move along considering the general fast pace of it. We didn't have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback and overall found that track to be quite solid.

Video:
Originally airing in 2003, the transfer for this series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. With the color palette used for this series and the high frenetic energy and action of most of the scenes, the transfer here comes across practically sparkling. The colors are bright and vibrant throughout and maintain a really great solid level. The blues in particular are gorgeous in a lot of sequences when there is both water and sky in the same shot. The print looks to be free of problems as there wasn't any visible cross coloration or serious aliasing going on. This in the end was just a lot of fun to watch and admire.

Packaging:
The style of the series covers continues onto the second season here with a good large cast shot along the bottom above the logo which leaves plenty of space for the rest of the cover to highlight the robots and plenty of destruction. The designs continue to be appealing to me and look great here with the color design and layout. The back cover is much nicer and cleanly laid out with a mix of whites and greens that showcases the fanservice and attractive designs of the show along with a one paragraph summary of the premise. There's a good selection of ten small pictures to check out in-show images while the discs extras and technical information is all clear and easy to read as it surrounds the production information. Unlike a lot of other recent releases, there's an insert in this one that starts off with a sexy shot of Anna in her training outfit. The booklet is made up of interviews with the opening and ending song singers that talk about their experiences with the process.

Menu:
The main menu continues the mechanical look from the back cover with the white and green rotating along the left while the main portion of the menu itself, a design of various angles and sections that are just "SF" in feel, are done up in a black and blue filter and have the instant episode access and other basic navigation features. Access times are nice and fast and the layout is very easy to navigate. Like practically every other release from ADV Films, our players' language presets worked perfectly and without issue. Why does it seem like nobody else is capable of this?

Extras:
Similar to previous volumes, there's a lengthy list of extras here but it's a bit deceptive. The clean opening and closing segments are welcome and right at the top of the list and they're followed by three sections of profiles. It's split up between character material, mechanical material and the top secret section which is filled with bits about the creatures that they're fighting. The Key Words section is basically a glossary of terms, some of which you hope don't really need to be explained but probably do. The top secret case files return to cover what happened in the first season and a new round of production sketches is included. What's nice and fanservice oriented this time around is a swimsuit gallery that provides a look at some full color pieces as well as production sketch pieces.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Godannar ended its first season on quite an interesting note with a lot of things happening and almost in a way that it felt like things were going to hell in a hand basket. Given that there was a break between seasons it was a good way to do it since it kept anticipation up for more material and didn't leave you with episodes that felt like they wrapped most things up. In fact, with the way it was left, there's so much going on that it practically demanded your attention when the next season kicked off.

Naturally, that means we get a recap episode right at the start of the volume. To some extent, with how busy the show has been, I didn't mind it too much. It also helped that it was done with the angle of showing what's been going on from Shizuru's point of view of being dead and watching events as they played out before she came back to life. It's a simple hook to make it effective but it doesn't run in a lot of scenes other than maybe a brief voiceover or a quick cameo so it does feel like a typical recap episode in general. Considering the way the first season ended though, even if it was just two months ago that the last volume came out here, it's still very welcome since it helped to streamline some of the ups and downs of the relationships.

When things get rolling with new material it's rather a lot of fun if pretty chaotic. The situation has changed considerably from what a lot of the first season felt like. The focus was mostly on Goh and Anna's relationship as the lead pilots of the Godannar and Okusaer, but with her leaving at the end and him simply waiting, the dynamic is not the same. It also comes at the same time that the mimetic beasts are making new waves in the world and a lot of it feels like what happened five years prior in the scope and scale of it. To make it feel even more like that, with Anna gone the base is filled with those who fought before that were mostly absent in a fighting way for quite some time. Mira's return to piloting has her working hand in hand with Goh again, Kouji's making claims of Goh's manhood and is in recovery and even Shizuru is pushing hard to get back into the swing of things.

There are several arcs that follow through here though the overall one is still centered around the relationship between Anna and Goh. With them separated, we get to see the different sides of it. For Anna, she's trying to spend time by herself, figure out who she really is and what she really wants out of things. A lot of her problems stem from not understanding what he dreams really are and trying to work through that while keeping a paying job and trying to find someplace to live. It also comes at a time when someone from her young past returns with the oldest cliché in the book about promising to get married. Why the cat face is beyond me though and it really feels like it's an arc that's tacked onto the show.

Goh's arc is less personal in a way since when it revolves around him there's more action going on as he's now paired up with Mira and dealing with the general situation of the mimetic beast attacks that have intensified during the three months since Anna left. The attacks are interesting in that there's a deluge of them but they're weaker than before. They're still a big enough problem to deal with so it keeps everyone busy. There are touches upon the way Goh and Mira have gotten back together in a way but it's all quite light and kept more towards the mystery of how she even came back to life. This is a big focus with Shizuru as well though there are other things going on with her that are neat as her return brings about the revival of one of the prototype robots for the Okasaer as they need more robots for the pilots.

The relationship angle hits a lot of other characters as well which has always been a plus with this show. While many shows tend to play around with this at a distance, bringing maybe one of them to fruition with some small backgrounds characters, almost everyone in Godannar is in love with someone openly or pining in secret. This lets a variety of relationships to exist and mess with the others, such as the very open young mechanics in love couple to the kind of pining that Tonko does for the chief. It's a lot of fun watching all of this since it's so overt and obvious and several of them progress along the way. The entire concept of marriage is obviously a huge part of the show and that radically changes how many of the usual clichés play out.

In Summary:
A lot of me still says I shouldn't be enjoying this show as much as I do but it's just such a big campy fun ride that's filled with gorgeous animation and beautiful character designs that I can't help it. The plot is pretty formulaic and it's obvious where a lot of things are going but it's just so well done and competently executed. I even have no problem admitting I love just how boob-tastic everything is in this show. In fact, it's overt nature in this regard, which they use to highlight scenes to make it all the more alluring, is just like everything else in that it's done so well that I can't even flinch from it. Godannar is really the epitome of a guilty pleasure and I can't help that. The second season is building well on what the first season provided and as much as it titillates, it fascinates and engages as well.


Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Character Profiles, Mech Profiles, Production Sketches, Swimsuit gallery,Top Secret Case Files,The Seven Mysteries,Clean Opening Animation, Clean Closing Animation

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI set to 480p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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