Mania Grade: B+
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- 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: Media Blasters
- MSRP: 24.95
- Running time: 75
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Gun Frontier
Gun Frontier Vol. #2
By Chris Beveridge
July 28, 2003
Release Date: June 24, 2003
What They Say
Tochiro wanders the West, an outcast because of his short stature and round face. Only his good friend Harlock stands beside him, as they track the inhabitants of a legendary town called Samurai Creek. A mysterious conspiracy follows them everywhere they go, involving even their closest companions. Will they uncover the secret of Tochiro’s kinsmen, or will the secret find them first?The Review!
With this volume of Gun Frontier, it seems like you can’t go an episode without Sinonura getting tied up and sexually molested.Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese, primarily due to my enjoyment of Harlock’s voice actor. The show features a solid stereo mix that makes good use of directionality across the forward soundstage with the bullets flying and swords swinging. Dialogue is nice and clear throughout it and we noticed no dropouts or distortions during regular playback.Video:
Originally airing back in the early spring of 2002, Gun Frontier sports much similarity to Cosmo Warrior Zero but without the overly digitally layered look. The transfer here looks fantastic with lots of bold solid colors, excellent depth and vividness. Cross coloration is extremely minimal and aliasing is very limited. There’s pretty much nothing to take issue with here.Packaging:
Continuing with the western motif, we get a great image of Harlock and Tochiro at the campside fire eating away while Sinonura sits off to the side a bit in the cold. The back cover provides a number of shots from the show and a decent summary of the shows premise and a clean listing of the discs extras and basic production credits. The insert lists the chapters on one side done up as the kind of sheet you’d find from those days while the reverse side is just boxart advertisements for other shows.Menu:
The main menu is a again a quiet piece that just has the static image of the front cover with the selections lined along the left side, though with the colorful use of bullets as the selection indicators. The menu looks good and is definitely in-theme but it just feels odd with it being so quiet. Access times are nice and fast and there are no transitional animations to slow things down.Extras:
The extras here mirror things from the previous volume for the most part as we get another round of various production sketches as well as something like three minutes worth of dub outtakes of varying amounts of humor.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Having rather enjoyed the first volume and the change in locales (and time!) of our lead characters, the second volume follows things up nicely as we go along with Tochiro, Harlock and Sinonura as they continue to search for those from Samurai Creek who survived.
Their travels take them from town to town, such as one where they discover someone who had helped many of the victims of the massacre who survived to go to their new home. Unfortuantely, this doctor is in a spot of trouble due to the town that they live in being the kind where anything goes based on the mayor having given approval for that many years ago. Thus, his daughter having grown up in this kind of environment, has a different mindset about how things should be done. While Harlock and Tochiro try to deal with this, Sinonura finds herself captured by the daughter Katrina and held for not properly obeying the directives of the organization.
The episode plays out slightly convoluted but manages to mix a good amount of humor, such as the one resident who sits in the main street on a toilet all day, to the tragic ending and realization of one of the characters. The show really tries to push its theme of being a “man’s world” due to how harsh it is, as well as how the women try to live in it and make do with things.
There’s also a great tragic episode here where Tochiro takes a little down time to take an assassination job as they pass by one town. Harlock and Sinonura idle outside of town while he goes in to take the job, leaving the two to have some short but amusing conversations. Tochiro’s time in this town proves just as weird as the previous one, as he ends up taking a whiz on a wall in an alley only to find out that it’s an arrestable offense and it carries the death penalty with it. In a very amusing twist, he’s rescued by the person who hired him, and it turns out to be a woman and a Japanese woman at that.
She whisks Tochiro off to her residence, a great looking Japanese style residence, and we learn her tale of woe as being the wife of the one whose husband led the cavalry to attack Samurai Creek. The time these two spend together as she tells her tale and the two end up in a fiery and very charged affair is great, bringing in an element of love and passion not seen here yet outside of the teasing nature of Sinonura.
With this show continuing to be one of discovery as the pair travel to understand what happened to Samurai Creek’s survivors, each episode brings a slight bit more enlightment about it and provides another piece of the puzzle. They’re teasing it out, especially with the number of Japanese people in these three episodes, but we’re also getting some really good moments all told. This continues to be a really nice change of pace from the epic/galactic Harlock we’re used to and surprisingly enjoyable, particularly the deadpan nature of Harlock and the sexual Sinonura.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Production Sketches,Dub Outtakes
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.