Gokudo Vol. #2 - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: C+
  • Age Rating: 13 & 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. #2

By Paul Grisham     April 06, 2002
Release Date: March 26, 2002

Gokudo Vol. #2
© Media Blasters

What They Say
As Gokudo continues his quest to finish the King's Race, he is betrayed by his own fiancee, Princess Coco. Apparently she isn't quite as in love with him as she once appeared, but she is in love with the fact that his demise is prophesized saved her kingdom. Gokudo vows never to trust women again, as Coco gleefully hands him over to his arch-nemesis, the Dumpling King. Will Gokudo become a dumpling? Or will he live to face Prince Niari, son of the Magic King and rumored to be an even bigger slimeball than Gokudo himself. Episodes 6-10.

The Review!
The adventures of Gokudo continue onward and downward as this disc delivers more of the same - without ever seeming repetative.

The Japanese audio track continues to sound very nice on a surround stero system. Now that the series is well underway, I've almost completely left behind the English audio, though a simple spot check reveals that the English track on volume 2 is much improved. The basic mix is better and the volume levels between the two tracks are nearly identical. The OP/ED theme songs are indistinguishable between the Japanese and English tracks.

(A word of warning ? I did notice that the dub track has been changed selectively from the subtitle script, especially in relation to some of the more sexual references.)

Video quality was similar to the previous volume in that a bit of knob fiddling was required to get a good picture. But once it's done, the picture looks very nice, indeed, with only a bit of red bleeding, especially on Gokudo's cape. Why the higher score? I guess I'm just feeling generous.

As usual, Anime Works continues the use of cover art based on the original Japanese packaging. It's a very busy design, but it does seem a little more striking than the original. Right up on front is one of the new additions to Gokudo's travelling party, Niari. I scored the packaging a little low last time, but I really like this cover, and I think I like the basic design for the series. The back cover has good, accurate information, so I'll bump the score a little.

Menus are identical to volume 1, though they seem a little more responsive than that volume's. With five episodes per disc, I'm not expecting many changes to menus for the remainder of the series.

The only extra listed under the menus is a collection of Anime Works trailers. This time, the trailers work with either audio track selected, so I feel good about bumping up the score a little. A hidden extra is a creditless version of the OP, which I only found by accident when I dropped my remote control. Hmmm, I wonder if there were more hidden extras on disc one.....?

(Please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers.)

When last we left Gokudo, he had been tricked into participating in a treasure hunt in the magical kingdom of Parmetta, with the reward being the throne of Parmetta and the hand of one of the beautiful princesses in marriage. Of course, things aren't quite what they seem, and Gokudo quickly learns that he's being set up by Princess Coco and her paramour, Issa. It seems as though someone has kidnapped the Goddess of Parmetta and bound her magic. This has causing a bit of an economic downturn in the region as vacationers are no longer paying to see the wonders of Parmetta. The prophecy fortells that the sacrifice of an adventurer from a foreign land can free the goddess's power and restore the land. However...., BAH! Why am I telling you this? It's not really like the plot matters.

Gokudo's story isn't really about the plot, but about the various ways that Gokudo manages to save everyone, find a happy ending, and still get his comeuppance in a humiliatingly painful way. In fact, the first episode or so on volume 2 drags quite a bit simply because it is focused on filling in the plot when it's absolutely unecessary. Fortunately, midway through the second episode, I was laughing hysterically again, and didn't stop until I was finished with the disc.

The first three episodes conclude the Parmetta arc begun on the first volume. As I mentioned before, these episodes aren't quite as intensely funny as the Magic King arc on the first disc, but they are still worth watching for the zany, yet utterly logical, plot twists. They also serve to add a new character, Niari, a high level wizard who is stripped of his powers for his lecherousness, to the mix. The remaining two episodes form the beginning of the Inaho arc, a clever riff on the legend of Urashima Taro and Otohime, that returns the series to its slapstick roots.

Ten episodes into Gokudo, and I think I know what's working for me about this series. There is a deeper logic and continuity at work here that is rarely seen in comedic fantasy series. Minor plot points from earlier episodes become relevant later in the series. And even the most unexpected plot twists, in hindsight, seem logical and even inevitable. The way the writers of the show tie things together is very nice. Except for the ubiquitous fart jokes, the humor reminds me a lot of The Irresponsible Captain Tylor.

But the part of the show that works the best is the large and very rich cast of characters and their interactions. Gokudo himself is the star of the show, and he fits that position well. Never have I seen a character who I've been so enterainingly conflicted about. On the one hand, it's so much fun to watch him suffer the humiliation he is forced to endure; but on the other hand, I really want him to succeed and find happiness. Most of the supporting characters resent some part of Gokudo, especially Niari, whose vanity and greed rival Gokudo's, and Rubette, who either hates Gokudo or loves him. Moreover, each story arc thus far, has a set of memorable supporting characters whom I hope we will get to revisit before the end of the series.

This is the part of the review where I summarize everything and draw the whole thing together in a clever way. I really don't know what else to say about Gokudo volume 2, except that female Djinn makes an appearance. No, wait! It's better than that. Drunken Female Djinn! Buy it.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Textless Opening (hidden)

Review Equipment
Panasonic Panablack TV, Codefree Panasonic RP56 DVD player, Sony ProLogic receiver, Yamaha and Pioneer speakers, Monster cable. (Secondary equipment, Pioneer 105s DVD-ROM, ATi Rage Fury Pro, ViewSonic A90f, PowerDVD 3.0)


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