Gokudo Vol. #3 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • 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: 29.95
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Gokudo

Gokudo Vol. #3

By Paul Grisham     December 20, 2003
Release Date: May 28, 2002


Gokudo Vol. #3
© Media Blasters


What They Say
Everyday life has gone to heck as war rages between the God world, the Magic world and the Buddha world.

Not a problem for Gokudo, the greatest adventurer ever to serve himself and save the world. The real problem is that Gokudo is stuck babysitting the sun goddess, Nano. She's a spoiled brat with unbelievable cosmic powers, and if that combination doesn't give Gokudo a star-sized headache, nothing will.

The Review!
Though it has been quite a while since I last enjoyed Gokudo and his misadventures, and after a few minutes of confusion, I was thrilled to discover that I was able to settle in and enjoy these characters as if I had only left them yesterday. This continues to be one of the funniest ongoing series on the market today, and volume 3 takes a bold step forward from previous volumes.


Audio:
After the slight audio trouble in the English track on volume 1 was resolved, I've had little complaint about either audio track. Volume 3 is spot on and maintains the high quality of the series.

Video:
Unlike previous volumes, this volume only contains four episodes. One might expect that the video quality would improve, given volume 3 is still using dual-layer discs. However, the episodes here seem slightly worse than previous volumes. Some of the color balance and saturation problems from earlier seem better, or at least less significant. Unfortunately, there is more visible grain than previous volumes. Overall, it is still a very satisfying picture.

Packaging:
The first volume was red, second was indigo/blue, so it's only fitting that we have a green cover now. These covers have been favorites of mine since I first saw them, and the fact that volume three uses my favorite color is a bonus. My only complaint continues to be that Media Blasters does not provide any useful information on the inserts.

Menus:
Menus are nearly identical to volumes 1 and 2, though they have added some volume-specific artwork to the submenus. Selecting episodes in the chapter menu requires an unnecessary number of button presses, though.

Extras:
Volume 2 contained a creditless OP as an easter egg. Volume 3 includes the OP as a full-fledged extra this time, so no bonus points for that, but with the extra space afforded by the lower episode count includes a set of production pencil sketches. I didn't find any other hidden goodies, like maybe a creditless ED.

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

As you may remember in my previous review, I praised the writers of Gokudo for maintaining an internal logic to the show, an attention to detail that makes even the most outlandish plot developments make sense in retrospect. Well, I have to say that the first four or five minutes of the first episode on this disc, I was thoroughly confused while I tried to remember all the different complications and twists of the plot up to that point. But very quickly after that, the characters settled into their respective roles, provided enough back story and detail, and I was able to just keep on going.

Last time, Gokudo had been contracted by the underwater Dragon King to recover a magical artifact called the Magic Sphere from a rival god. Gokudo had gotten the dragon's sister, the spoiled and bratty Sun Goddess, to help him in his quest. Unfortunately, everybody wants the Magic Sphere for themselves, and was willing to lie, cheat, and steal to get ahold of it. The first three episodes here wrap up the Inaho arc in typical Gokudo fashion. Just by being himself – that is to say a selfish, greedy bastard – Gokudo puts the villains in their place, restores peace and freedom to the kingdom, and this time, even keeps the personal humiliation to a minimum.

With the end of the Inaho arc, the series has reached its midpoint and shows no sign of slowing down. The writing and art direction have maintained the high levels set by the first episode. It looks like there won't be a mid-series slump for Gokudo. The mythological references may seem a bit foreign to some Western viewers, being drawn heavily from Japanese, Indian, and Chinese lore this time around. Translation or cultural reference notes would be a nice inclusion with this series, but even without them, the stories are pretty funny even without prior knowledge. Even so, the jokes involving a miniature Momotaro or the twin giants Ah-Ng will have additional meaning for those with some prior knowledge.

In the final episode on this disc, the series rolls into its second half with a new arc in which the adventurers find themselves trapped in each other's bodies. Gokudo takes sly advantage of Rubette's feminine charms for personal gain, and Prince Niari becomes something of a monkey Casanova. The series has always used disguises, mistaken identity and gender-switching jokes to great effectiveness before, but this new arc carries it to an entirely new level, and had me rolling on the floor. Better still, demon-child Ikkyu makes his return, this time as the reformed assistant of a Chinese monster hunter.

Those who have been following Gokudo from the beginning already know what a great and fun series this is. The rest of you? What are you waiting for?

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Textless Opening,Production Sketches

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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