Grenadier Vol. #3 (also w/box) -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B+

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Media Blasters
  • MSRP: 29.95/34.95
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Grenadier

Grenadier Vol. #3 (also w/box)

By Luis Cruz     November 23, 2005
Release Date: November 15, 2005

Grenadier Vol. #3 (also w/box)
© Media Blasters

What They Say
Rushyuna and Yajirou's journey to the Imperial Court to confront Tenshi reaches it's conclusion. The last pass is guarded by Fuuka, one of Yajirou's closest friends and a fellow member of the rebellion. But he left her for dead, and she was a given a new life by the Jester. Now Yajirou must choose; either Fuuka or Rushyuna must die. But there is still one final member of the Ten Heavenly Senshi, Tenshi's Shadow. She was trained in the same double-barreled gunplay style as Rushyuna, and their duel will bring the Empire to its knees.

The Review!
Bouncing her way to the final showdown, Rushuna and company provide a fantastic final volume of Grendier.

The original Japanese stereo track was used for my primary viewing session. It is a typical stereo mix that has most of the action pumped through the front soundstage. The action sequences do have some directional effects added, and all elements from dialogue to music were balanced well. The track did not suffer from any distortion, drop outs, or similar problems. It simply lacks the punch one would expect from a title that has gunplay at its core.

The English audio track is an equally solid stereo track. It too does not suffer from any problems. The English voice cast does a decent job overall; fans of either language will be pleased but not blown away by either track.

Presented in anamorphic widescreen, the video for Grenadier is crystal clear and free of any noticeable defects from the digital transfer process. The colors are quite vivid, and the show features some great details especially in the weaponry used. The normal firearms, while anachronistic, could pass for images from a gun shop catalog; the detailing reaches down to even the bullets Rushuna uses.

The final front cover artwork features Rushuna with her guns gleaming. The series logo and volume title are at the bottom of the cover with the volume number placed tastefully in the upper left corner. The back cover features a clean, readable layout for the requisite screenshots, plot synopsis, disc contents and specifications, and the series credits. No insert other than a small catalog of other Media Blaster titles was provided.

The menus are simple static images with loops of the songs playing in the background. They are very clean and functional with no transition delays when switching between menus. There just is no punch or style to the menus, but they get the viewer setup and into the content quickly.

Included in this round of extras are three bonus scenes, audio commentary from the director and cast, and a documentary that followed the director throughout the production. The documentary was the best extra as it featured a first-time director and his growing pains. It also featured a great look behind the business aspect of producing an anime series. From a conversation with the broadcast company over the rating for the show to the director forced to alter his artistic vision for the DVD release, the documentary showed a side of the business not often seen. Hopefully, the Japanese market will continue to produce great extras like this documentary, and US companies will continue to pick them up.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Leading up to this volume, Grenadier has been a fun series but not a particularly strong. Surprisingly, the last volume pulls out the big guns and ends the tale with four exciting episodes. The endgame opens with the group still climbing up the snowy mountain; Yajiro glimpses Fuuka, a companion of his that he thought died on the mountain nearly two years ago.

However, it is just a shadow of the Fuuka he knew; the Jester fanned the remaining embers of Fuuka's life using the gun of Enlightened Evil. Now, she is another Juttensen seeking to destroy Rushuna. As the battle rages, the Jester is finally unmasked and revealed to be Kaizan Doshi, the warrior that led Fuuka and Yajiro over the mountain two years ago.

Kaizan seeks to use force to unify the world and asks Yajiro to join him once again. Yajiro refuses and loses Fuuka once again. Despondent, Yajiro continues to accompany Rushuna and Mikan to Tento and a showdown with Tenshi. The showdown comes quickly, and Rushuna learns that the Tenshi on the throne is merely a double whose anger is being manipulated and fueled by Kaizan.

The build-up to the final showdown was done quickly but managed to give the series a more serious tone without feeling rushed. Rushuna may be the heroine of the series, but Yajiro's involvement has been slowly evolving in the background. The Jester's revelation finally pushes Yajiro to the forefront allowing him to not only face his worst foe but also to show just how much influence Rushuna has had on him.

As for Rushuna's final battle with the fake Tenshi, we learn that she received the same training and is Rushuna's equal on every skill level. The gunplay between the pair is fast and furious, showcasing some brilliantly choreographed and animated fight sequences. The series still manages to inject some humor into the final episodes, but it the more serious tone of the story and action managed to draw me into the material more than it had before.

In the end, Rushuna and Yajiro both defeat their enemies with the teaching of the true Tenshi. With true Tenshi back in power, Rushuna, Yajiro, and Mikan begin a new journey to spread the ultimate battle technique across the world. At the time of the initial airing, the manga series was still running, so this ending opens the door for possible sequels or OVAs.

And after this volume, I would more than welcome them; it is not an exceptional series, but it did manage to be entertaining from start to finish. The creators jokingly billed the series as a "bath anime", but the fanservice is not overdone and is used more for appropriate comic relief. It does have a decent sense of humor throughout but will not be as funny in repeated viewings.

However, this final volume shows that the writers can take the characters and put them into more serious roles and situations without the move feeling forced or overly trite. One wonders what the series might have been if it were given a longer set of episodes to develop the story. If a sequel is produced, this last volume of Grenadier has ensured I will pick it up to see where it bounces our favorite pair to next.

In Summary:
The final volume of Grenadier takes a bit of a serious turn but does not lose the sense of humor or fanservice it established over the previous episodes. Overall, the series is amusing but not one that would warrant many repeat viewings. However, the final volume does provide enough of a hook that would draw me into watching any sequels produced. The characters are unique, and the writers have proved that they can do humorous and serious material with them. Grenadier is the ideal series for someone looking for a fun, light series with a good payoff at the end.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Three bonus scenes,Audio commentary by the director and cast, Documentary

Review Equipment
Mitsubishi 27" TV, Panasonic RP-82, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Bose Acoustimass-6 speakers, generic S-Video and optical audio cable


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