Godannar Vol. #5 - Mania.com

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

Godannar Vol. #5

By Chris Beveridge     May 18, 2006
Release Date: May 16, 2006

Godannar Vol. #5
© ADV Films

What They Say
By day they fight side by side, but at night their dirty little secrets all come out... in and out of bed. With Goh and Anna's own ties on shaky ground, the question of how to juggle the complicated relationships that keep both a marriage and a Dannar team flying become a matter of intense interest. Just how do the other giant robot teams do it? Against a background of constant combat, the truth behind what makes a giant robot team really work is finally exposed in this daring set of tell-all tales! Get ready to go around the world in a daze as the other pilots let it all hang out in the fifth soul-baring volume of Godannar!

The Review!
As if being a man surrounded by all these buxom women wouldn't be bad enough, but now if you pilot a robot and have strong feelings for said women, you'll got insane and your body will distort hideously. That's some job perk.

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.

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.

The cover art for this volume actually matches up with the content, something a lot of covers across the board haven't done too well lately, and the cast that's strong for these episodes make an appearance here in sexy poses with minimal amounts of clothing. 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 several 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 two piece bathing suit, conveniently falling away and obscured. The booklet is made up of interviews with the music director as well as some of those who worked on the mimetic beasts designs.

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?

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 top secret case files return to cover what happened in the first season and a new round of production sketches is included.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Godannar's second season shifts away from the lead cast for a good part of this volume as Anna and Goh's troubles become secondary plots. The focus shifts more towards some of the other pilots in other areas in order to bring about the virus that seems to have multiple names, being called either the Max Virus, Rabid Virus or the Insania Virus. Nothing like a little consistency but it's such a strange sickness in how it infects people that it could probably stand to be named for each individual that seems to exhibit it.

For what we do get of Anna and Goh, it's mostly dealing with Anna trying to work through using her equipment in a manner that almost nobody else can and doing maneuvers with it that could potentially destroy everything and kill them all. A lot of her time is spent with Shizuru during the training as each of them are working through emotional problems, Shizuru in recovery from everything and Anna dealing with everything about her marriage to Goh due to Mira being around, but they have a lot on the line and keep at it. There is a lot of little moments that are cute throughout it as each of them realize just how much they're pushing themselves but also with the secondary characters commenting on what's going on and going through their own little dramas. The love lives of the mechanics and others on staff continue to be a really cute and amusing area of the show that adds some fun to all of it.

The bulk of the volume focuses around a trio of other piloting couples and things that are ongoing with them as they help to fight off the now seemingly never ending hordes of mimetic beasts. The pair that lasts throughout a lot of this as sort of the senior couple is that of Ekaterina and Kukrachyov. The pair have an amusing relationship as is since she's very much a rich prima donna type who in the downtime enjoys the fabulous parties, high clothes and having a chance to just feel like the upper crust. This isn't the only time she's like this as it's very much her personality which is just as skewed as the relationship she has with Kukrachyov. He's like a faithful lapdog where she can do no wrong and he'll do almost anything that she asks without issue. Their relationship is nicely explored across the series of episodes here as they have to face

The virus is what starts creeping up into a lot of the pairings though after some of the information starts to come back about it and the understanding of what it's really about based off of Max's experience with it only serve to really frighten in the end. The pairing that was most interesting to watch I think is the middle one of Luna and Shadow. While there's some obvious potential lesbian overtones to their relationship since we've seen practically every other piloting couple turn into a real couple, it's something where you can see that Shadow is restraining herself from carrying through on these feelings. There's plenty of tension in their battles since the mimetic beasts continue to be numerous and dangerous, but for this it's something where Shadow is more afraid of herself than of anything else as her body doesn't seem to be under her own control at times. The back story we get for both of them, mostly through Luna's memories, is far too short but it sets up their present well enough and lets you fill in the gaps with your imagination. While their relationship turns out to be rather ugly, it's almost poetic in how it's done.

While the final couple that gets to play out here with the Chinese characters of Moukou and Shukuyu it's one of the weakest parts of the show and only really strengthens the entire virus formula by giving us something so completely blatant. It does have some emotional highs to it as the cast has to deal with pilots run amuck but it's just so over the top in how it's done that it loses a lot of its steam and momentum. The results of the actions and the virus here are more interesting than the lead-up to it which is a shame since we haven't seen all that much of these Chinese characters before. The virus and its changes overall though, while somewhat amusing in its pseudo-science, is one that adds a nice twist to the ongoing fight against the mimetic beast and it allows the series to work through some of its large cast of pilots by killing several of them. It's sometimes a cheap way to add dramatic tension but at the same time it's nice to see things not be so completely safe for the characters. Then again, Godannar hasn't exactly been all that friendly with its pilots to date.

In Summary:
Even at its most dramatic, Godannar brings in plenty of fan service while mixing in giant robot action. This set of episodes is a bit of a mixed bag just because the leads are pushed to the background for a lot of it but some of those that get the spotlight are interesting to watch since it brings more life to the series of pilots overall as well as their bases and issues they face. A lot of what this set of episodes represents is the setup for the finale of the series coming up in the next six episodes as the remaining pilots have to face down the threat of both beast and virus. From that perspective this volume may be a bit heavy handed at times but it gets the job done while still entertaining.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Character profiles,Mech profiles,Production sketches,Clean opening animation,Clean closing animation

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Toshiba HD-A1 Progressive Scan HD DVD player via HDMI -> DVI with upconversion set to 1080i, 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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