Gun Sword Vol. #4 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: MVM Entertainment
  • MSRP: £19.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Gun Sword

Gun Sword Vol. #4

By Bryan Morton     October 03, 2007
Release Date: September 03, 2007


Gun Sword Vol. #4
© MVM Entertainment


What They Say
Vengeance! But at what cost?

Chaos and destruction further escalates as the drifter, Ray Lundgren comes face-to-face with The Claw and exacts his revenge, but Wendy, Joshua and Carmen99 are caught in the deadly crossfire. At the same time, Van engages in a deadly duel against his former friend and mentor, Gadved, who discloses a startling revelation... a revelation and betrayal so shocking that it causes Van to fly into a blind fury, perhaps pushing his sanity further over the edge.

The battles are far from over, as Van is enlisted into an Armor Rider tournament and then a brutal and devastating assault by one of the new "Original Seven" leaves Van's Armor, "Dann" damaged and Van's psyche deeply scarred, as his will to fight begins to unravel...

Episodes Comprise
13 – Dream in Progress
14 – Swift Brownie
15 – Neo Originals
16 – The Electric Fireworks

The Review!
Van may have finally found the Claw, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to be able to kill him any time soon, as the Neo Original Seven make a formidable defence – and one of them in particular tests Van’s determination to breaking point. Along the way, there’s a meeting with a potential new ally – one who quickly gets Wendy’s back up for other reason than that Van can remember her name…

Audio:
Unusual set of audio options with this release, with Japanese 2.0, 5.1 DTS and English 5.1 Dolby Digital tracks provided. I went with the Japanese DTS option here for the best possible experience. There's a lot of action in Gun Sword, and the fight scenes make the most of the available soundstage to place dialog and effects pretty much where you'd expect them, and to give explosions that all-around feeling. Very nice indeed. Spot checks of the other tracks didn't turn up any problems, either.

Video:
Video is presented in its original 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen format, and is one of the best-looking releases I've seen in a while. The world of Endless Illusion is well-realised, with a lot of detail put into the background scenery helping to create the setting, while the quality of the animation and character designs is very good indeed. Good use of colour also helps bring the show to life. Add in that there were no obvious problems with the transfer, and you get one very happy reviewer.

Packaging:
No packaging was provided with our review disc.

Menu:
The menu on this release is a nice, simple affair - a static image of Pricilla in an action pose, providing a nice dose on fanservice. A snippet of the opening theme plays throughout. Direct access to the episodes is provided from the main screen, and submenus are provided for language setup & extras. There are no menu transitions, so it's all pleasingly quick & easy to use.

Extras:

Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
Ray makes his attempt to kill the Claw, but on this occasion he's unsuccessful - good luck and good defences save him. He may appear to be a frail old man, but the Claw is driven by his desire to complete his self-assigned mission, and he's not going to die until that's done. Outside the station, Van and his old mentor Gadved go at it - while they fight, Gadved tries to explain what the Claw is trying to achieve and why he's decided to help him, but Van's not listening - he's still dead-set on vengeance.

With the last volume of Gun Sword having ended on a cliff-hanger, this disc drops you straight into the action, with two major confrontations underway – Ray versus the Claw, and Van versus Gadved. Both attackers are convinced they’re doing the right thing and are hell-bent on securing their vengeance, both defenders are quietly confident in their own beliefs, but the battles don’t quite turn out the same. The Claw is a strange character – from the way he’s been built up throughout the series as a remorseless killer, I had a particular image of him built up in my mind (and the early versions of the opening credits that just showed him in outline reinforced that image), but seeing him and hearing him speak over the course of this disc gives a completely different image, to the point where a part of me wonders if he really is as evil as he seems. The answer to that is probably yes – but having him presented in a way that paints him in shades of grey rather than as a cookie-cutter badguy was definitely a good move.

With episode 13’s confrontations out of the way, though, the story shifts back to more stand-alone episodes. There’s a slight difference from the earlier part of the series in that, where Van has to confront evil now it’s usually against one of the Claw’s men, but the general style of the episodes remains as it was. The first of these eps sees Van hired to compete in an Armor battle – although with the outcome of the fight being heavily bet on, the fight’s organiser isn’t exactly looking to play fair. His opponent is the cute and cheerful Pricilla (who instantly earns Wendy’s distrust through the simple fact that Van remembers her name), who looks set to be more than just a bit-part character. She enjoys fighting, but not for any dark reasons – she just wants to use the power of her Armor to help others, and in that way she’s unique amongst the Armor-users we’ve seen so far. She develops something of an attachment to Van, and while they initially go their separate ways I’ve got no doubt that she’ll be back.

The final two episodes put Van in the unusual position of facing defeat, as Wo – one of the Claw’s new Original Seven – is able to take on Van and Dann and leave them unable to continue the fight. To add insult to injury, rather than finishing him off immediately, Wo gives Van three days to leave the area, or he will finish the job – a delay that gives Van plenty of time to think, and leads him to really doubt his abilities.

It’s curious seeing Van being anything less than comfortable with the idea of fighting, and here his doubts lead all the way to a rising desire to just run away and forget the whole thing – he’s almost in a panic at the thought of having to face Wo again, and it’s eventually up to Wendy to get him back on an even keel. I’m a sucker for ‘heroes’ that can crumble under pressure – Van here shows that he does have his failings, and that’s a good thing.

In summary:
Overall, there’s a good mix of the serious and light-hearted on this disc – there’s a real sense of threat in some scenes thanks to the Claw’s arrival on the scene, while Pricilla’s arrival took care of the more upbeat side of things. Overall, this disc is maybe slightly heavier going than previous volumes, thanks to the story moving on to meatier things, but it’s still great fun to watch. Gun Sword continues to surprise me, and this is another release that’s well worth checking out.

Features
Japanese Language 2.0,Japanese Language 5.1 DTS,English Language 5.1 DD,English Subtitles,Gun×Sword-san Episodes 7 & 8,Japanese TV Commercials,Japanese Trailer #3,Art Gallery

Review Equipment
Toshiba 37X3030DB 37" widescreen HDTV; Sony PS3 Blu-ray player (via HDMI, upscaled to 1080p); Acoustic Solutions DS-222 5.1 speaker system.

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