Gravion Zwei Vol. #2 - 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: 13 & Up
  • 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: Gravion

Gravion Zwei Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     May 19, 2005
Release Date: May 03, 2005


Gravion Zwei Vol. #2
© ADV Films


What They Say
The Gravion team is in total disarray. Two of the Gran Knights turn up missing and one has fallen into a deep coma. And, there seems to be no promise of improvement. Even Sandman seems to be on the edge of a breakdown. He’s discovered who is behind the Zeravire attacks, and it isn’t a pretty picture. All we can hope for is that the team can overcome all the challenges that are associated with protecting the Earth.


The Review!
Gravion Zwei goes with the idea of crushing the teams spirits and breaking them thoroughly before it can raise them back up even better.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The series has a lot of things going on during it as well as some in-series specific music, so the stereo mix gets used pretty heavily here. Dialogue is generally center channel based but does spread out a bit throughout the show, but it's the music that really fills things up. There are a lot of action scenes throughout here as well so those tend to use the stereo channels a lot to emphasize their location on the screen. Dialogue is clean and clear and we had no problems with it during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 2004, the transfer for the four episodes of Gravion Zwei here looks really good. The show has resolved the blending issues of the previous series and the foreground characters feel much more natural against the backgrounds and they look far less like they're on top of things instead of in a setting. The colors are rich and solid without any noticeable breakup. Cross coloration and aliasing are both very minimal throughout and there weren't any real playback issues at all.

Packaging:
Continuing with the idea of showing as much skin as possible, this cover goes with Ena getting the center of attention as her maid style uniform becomes shredded in the window while the background provides a softer view of two of the other women from the series that helps give the overall picture a much more relaxed feeling. The detail is nice and I like how they sneak little things into it. The back cover provides a few shots from the show and a sexpot shot of Mizuki along one side while the other has a few paragraphs of summary and just how much fanservice you can find inside. The discs features and episodes are listed in a small block but no episode numbers are included – at least the spine has the volume number. The rest of the cover is made up of the usual production credits and a decent block of technical information in the grid. No insert was included with this release.

Menu:
Going with the futuristic layout by using the mystical symbol associated with the Gravion, the main menu is nicely in theme with bits of animation playing around it. The layout is easy to use with instant episode access and a fairly intuitive navigation style. With no transitional animations to the menu, access times are nice and fast and everything loads quickly. The disc also correctly read our players' language presets and played accordingly.

Extras:
There is a fair bit of extras included on this opening volume. A lot of it is in the form of art galleries as there are separate ones provided for the maids, the zeravire and episode art. A lengthy extra included here is Inside the Actors Head piece which is similar to how the first one ran and covers a lot of time with the voice actors. And as a standard, the opening and ending sequences are provided in clean format.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the increasingly more common release schedule of thirteen episodes across three volumes, the releases are becoming much more balanced in terms of what the story arc is generally like. This allows for each volume to be much better contained with what's going on and you feel like you're getting less filler in a sense since the larger story is coming across in better chunks. Gravion Zwei seems to hold to this as well as this middle volume provides for some fun, changes and revelations and sets things up just right for the final arc of the show in the next volume.

The show opens with a mildly amusing near-filler piece where supposedly the Zeravire have taken over or are controlling a massive amusement park that has numerous themes throughout it but what it really does is let the characters go and have fun playing around together and being light in tone and mood, though it does push things towards some changes. The change that we get with Mizuki is surprising and to some extent I'm not sure it's entirely plausible but to be really sure I'd have to rewatch the entire series and I'm not exactly keen on that. That said, it does provide for a change in the team dynamic going forward and adds some new pressures onto the entire situation.

To my surprise, this volume has probably the most interesting episode of Gravion between both seasons that I've seen yet as we finally get the goods on just who Sandman is and what his history is. And not just of him, but of his relations and of the Zeravire. This episode, revealed to most of the characters that are pilots of the Gravion, is something that helps them understand the true nature of the Zeravire and just how terrible they can be so it does reinforce their desire to fend off the things. But there's such a personal drama wrapped around it with Sandman that it really surprises a lot of them. There is a lot of information given here that's still done in the standard episode template (which means the required Gravion action scenes are indeed here) that it really is surprising that they covered as much as they did. Between the revelations here and the way it affects the team, it's almost like they could have hit a high by learning the reality but it whacks them so hard that they're almost all the way down.

Which of course is when the Zeravire attack and the Gravion isn't up to handling it all that well. But it does allow for the EFA forces to bring their craft into play and this starts to open up some of the hinted at relationships and connections that the cast of pilots from there have with the larger storyline as well as bringing in a lot of varied action. While they don't have maid outfits on, they do wear similar to what the rest of the Gravion folks where so there's still a lot of style to it. Style does continue to be the main fuel of this show and it's well displayed here. Between the flashbacks which only ups the style quotient to the revelations made about certain characters that will change how cosplay is done for them, this is the volume that really manages to do a good job in at least one full episode of combining style and substance without one overwhelming the other.

In Summary:
Gravion and Gravion Zwei haven't been the easiest series to get through and Zwei really started off on some poor notes for me but even within a show like that there can be some great highlights that help raise it up even for a time. Whether they're able to take this new energy and direction and run with it enough through the next and final volume remains to be seen but I'm actually looking forward to that release now instead of dreading it. What's here doesn't make all that came before worthwhile but it does lessen the pain somewhat.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Profiles of the Maids of Gravion with Art gallery, Zeravire Mech profiles and art gallery, Episode art gallery,“Inside the Actors Head” interview with the voice actors, Clean opening animation,Clean closing animation

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

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