Mania Grade: NA
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- Audio Rating: n/a
- Video Rating: n/a
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- Age Rating: 3 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Media Blasters
- MSRP: 29.99
- Running time: 125
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Gokudo
Gokudo Vol. #1
By Roman Martel
January 23, 2002
Release Date: December 18, 2001
Gokudo Vol. #1
What They Say
© Media Blasters
Where is it written that heroes have to be heroic? Gokudo is the perfect adventurer, reckless, greedy and ambitions. Unfortunately, that makes him one imperfect crown prince and an even worse hero. With his flaming sword, a tomboy looking for excitement and the prince of his rival kingdom, he sets off on a quest to uncover all the great treasures of the world. He'll succeed, or he'll make a total fool of himself trying!The Review!
Overall Rating: 3.5
(on a scale of 1-5)
Whoa, here’s something I haven’t seen in a while. It’s a fantasy/comedy that’s actually funny. It’s got a nice self mocking sense of humor. It’s got men getting changed into women. It’s even got fart jokes. Something for everyone! Just when I was losing faith in the fantasy genre in anime, this came along and made me realize... it can be easy and fun to mock all those fantasy stereotypes.
This is another disc form Media Blasters, and it’s just like the other I looked at. The sound and picture were both very good. Nothing looked or sounded off at all. The keepcase has a nice big picture of Gokudo (our hero) looking insane, as well as some of the other characters that appear in the series. The case has most of the info on it including: rating, region coding, length of disc, number of episodes, and number of languages. It doesn’t tell you how many channels of sound are used. This disc does not have any extras on it, but it does have five episodes, so it’s not a bad trade off.
As I mentioned before, I was losing faith in the fantasy as comedy genre. My prior experiences included Maze, the first season of Slayers and Fortune Quest. I was less then impressed. I did see the Slayers Movie and thought that it was much better than the series. Gokudo is done in that spirit. It doesn’t take itself remotely seriously. It’s going to be as goofy and obnoxious as it wants to be, and you’ll probably laugh a few times because of it.
The story follows our main man, Gokudo. He’s an adventurer who likes picking fights, robbing old ladies, and groping women. He’s loud, rude and obnoxious to just about everyone and he’s completely selfish. Sounds like a nice guy right? Through a series of adventures Gokudo meets a Genie named Djinn (who enjoys the booze), a tomboy princess Rubette who kicks more ass than Gokudo, a sappy goody two shoes knight, a cute wench and sexy mysterious woman. It turns out the local king wants the blood of virgins to obtain ultimate power. Gokudo gets turned into a woman and captured. But he realizes that if he defeats the king and saves the day he’ll get fame, wealth and babes. He decides to help, as long as things don’t get too dangerous. The first three episodes follow that story arc and the next two follow Gokudo and Princess Rubette to a town in the desert. There Gokudo enters a race to become the new king of the city. He’ll also be granted ultimate magic powers and that means... wealth fame and babes! Of course nothing is what it seems. Keep your eyes peeled for the Dumpling King and his catchy theme song!
The animation is pretty average in this series. The character designs are pretty standard, but likeable. There is lots of goofy super deformed action going on, so if that bothers you, you might want to rent this title first. Don’t expect awesome fight scenes either. This show is saving on budget (and they don’t mind telling you right off the bat). To change scenes and just add a special random touch, you get a cute little bunny girl (she’s on the cover even). She moves scenery, provides some entertainment while a very awesome fight would be happening if the budget allowed it, and generally pops up when you least expect her. The sound work is also pretty average. There is not awesome sound design, but there is some creative use of trumpets. Anyway, it’s not too bad.
I have to give a hand to the writers. They made a character totally selfish and obnoxious and yet you aren’t chanting for him to die. I think Gokudo’s saving grace is that he is pretty optimistic that he will eventually end up on top of the situation. He’s also pretty resourceful and makes the best out of a bad situation. The adventures themselves aren’t anything too new and exciting, but the self-mocking attitude the creators have make the whole thing fun. This also has an in your face approach to the comedy. Yes there is lots of physical humor and there were three episodes with fart jokes in them. But beyond that it’s mostly Godkudo’s attitude and the way others react to him. His Genie gives him a lecture on "man’s spiritual path" when Gokudo says he want’s wealth, fame and hot babes, for his three wishes. Princess Rubette openly mocks him and actually is braver than him and maybe even a better sword fighter. Even the villains aren’t sure what to make of this guy. A devil comments "You’re pretty evil. I like you." And I have to say that I’m enjoying the writing on the series so far.
The English voice cast is pretty average overall. Almost everyone seems a bit rough in the first couple of episodes, except for Rubette who was awesome right out of the gate. But by the last episode most of the main cast is pretty solid. Some of the supporting cast is off in places and drags the grade down a bit. It’s a pretty good dub for the most part. I watched a bit of it in Japanese and found that the actors are really wacky and wild, and it made the whole thing a bit more fun. I think the English cast needed to loosen up a bit and let things go. The script from the sub to the dub is different as well. Some of the changes are funnier in English and others aren’t as funny. It was kind of strange to see the difference. All in all, it’s not a bad dub, but I think the Japanese cast has a bit better of a handle of the feel of the series at this point.
The opening and ending themes are pretty average and nothing really spectacular. I do love the combination of the still images of Gokudo and the "Get Up!" lyrics in the end theme. The score itself works fine with the action on the screen. Too tell you the truth I don’t remember much of it and that’s good. If it sticks out too much (because it’s good or bad) it can take away from the feel of the series.
I had a pretty good time with these first five episodes. The characters are lots of fun and seeing them get in and out of adventure could prove to be a blast. I am worried that the whole thing might turn into a serious story-line, something that dragged Maze and Slayers into a boring place. But if it can keep up the total fun and wacky mood up than this could be one of my big surprises for this year. If you are looking for something funny and think that the fantasy genre could you some mocking check this out.
Roman J. Martel
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Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles
Phillips Flatscreen (27 Inch), Sony DVP-NS300