Gun Frontier Vol. #3 - 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: 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. #3

By Chris Beveridge     August 23, 2003
Release Date: August 26, 2003


Gun Frontier Vol. #3
© Media Blasters


What They Say
Tochiro and Harlock's journey across the American West leads them to the Wild Utamaru - the man responsible for betraying Samurai Creek, and a fierce duelist with the samurai blade. For the pain and torment he has brought unto Tochiro, there is only one cure. The two swordsmen will meet for a midnight duel in the rain. But behind Utamaru there still lurks the Organization and their plans to capture Tochiro and hang him high!

The Review!
The third volume of Gun Frontier brings us more naked Sinonura. This character must have signed an awful contract.

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 an amusing image of the trip being hung up on nooses as a naked Sinonura gets prodded with a rifle. 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)
In watching the third volume, you have to wonder just how much the creative team must have disliked Sinonura or whether she was based on someone they enjoyed humiliating.

The show continues to move on with the trip being led by Tochiro as he searches for survivors of the Samurai Creek massacre. After meeting Asaka in the previous episodes, he now has some new leads to follow as to the whereabouts of those who live and makes good on them, enjoying travel by train and wagon across the beautiful scenery that is Gun Frontier.

Their travels bring them to different people that Tochiro has word or rumor of, such as one that’s holding a Japanese style sword as well as another that may have been the inside man on the Samurai Creek massacre, a collaborator that helped the bad guys get into action and take down so many of those who lived there. Tochiro’s search for the man brings him into contact with his minions during a train ride. Though they manage to escape, the finally learn his whereabouts and set off to kill him.

Utamaru, named as the collaborator the led to the downfall of Samurai Creek, is eventually tracked down by the trio. Tochiro ensures that he has help from Harlock as Utamaru’s wife is something of a mankilller; literally and figuratively. After getting some help from the local Indians, the three head into Utamaru’s house and get right down to business. The fight sequences here are brief but some of the best yet as well as being some of the coldest yet.

Another episode brings the trio to a town where Tochiro is mistaken as the man who has numerous mistresses since he’s of similar build. This brings Tochiro into the hands of the law again where they once more try to hang the poor guy. This episode plays out very nicely in seeing how the relationship between Sinonura and Harlock is changing, but we unfortunately get a very degrading scene for Sinonura, though she sees it as her duty to try and help Tochiro. Basically, it seems like every other or every third episode requires Sinonura to either strip completely or to do a striptease. She gets to do both in this release and it’s really starting to feel out of place.

One of the best moments on this particular set of episodes is that we start getting flashbacks to Harlock and Tochiro’s earlier lives. Seeing Tochiro as a young lad with his younger sister and taking care of her is very cute. Or the revelation of how Harlock and Tochiro met each other, giving us the prize shot of Harlock as a pirate on the seas during one of the periods where foreign powers tried to take advantage of Japan through any means necessary.

The overall plot of the story moves along nicely, especially now that we get more information on Tochiro and the revelation of his sister and her involvement in all of this. There’s materially that really doesn’t feel like it fits, but it’s outweighed by the moments such as seeing Harlock as a real sea pirate or watching Tochiro go to town on the enemy. These characters continue to grow nicely on you as they ramble on about their philosophies and way of living while journeying across the great old West while searching for a killer. This isn’t revolutionary stuff, but it’s a fun interpretation of an older franchise, one that I’m really liking.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Outtakes,ProductioCredits

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.


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