Gun Sword Vol. #6 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B+

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  • 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. #6

By Bryan Morton     January 24, 2008
Release Date: January 07, 2008

Gun Sword Vol. #6
© MVM Entertainment

What They Say
As the countdown to The Claw's launch of the catastrophic "Time of Happiness" project draws ever closer, the deadliest "Original Seven" member, Fasalina, makes her move against Van and his allies.

Thrown off by her bizarre and unorthodox attack, Van incurs major damage to his Armor and is further crippled when Fasalina's comrade, Michael Garret, destroys his orbital repair satellite. Unable to mend his Armor, Van grows weaker, while Wendy goes off to secretly meet with The Claw!

Episodes Comprise
21 – Prayers to Heaven and Peace on Earth
22 – For Whose Sake?
23 – A Song for Everyone

The Review!
The Claw's plan to "renew" Endless Illusion enters its final stages, but with Van facing defeat at the hands of Fasalina and Wendy finding herself ever more curious about the Claw's scheme, will our heroes be in any position to stop him..?

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 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.

No packaging was provided with our review disc.

Michael takes centre-stage this volume, looking almost mournful. 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.

This volume serves up another two episodes of the Gun Sword-san shorts, a collection of creditless opening sequences (they change slightly each episode, and the first 11 versions are included here), and a gallery of colour artwork based on the show.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
Unable to persuade Van and his allies to join the Claw's 'mission', Fasalina opts to take the more direct approach, and attacks in her Armor, Dahlia. Convinced that Fasalina's trying to hide something ahead of them, Carmen, Wendy and Pricilla head on to try and find what it is, leaving Van behind to deal with Fasalina himself. Normally, that would be a fairly safe option - but Fasalina & Dahlia are far more powerful than anyone expected. Meanwhile, Michael himself is overseeing the next stage of the Claw's plan - and time is running out for Van and the others to stop him.

Later, Van has to deal with the destruction of Dann's orbital platform, Wendy faces the Claw and gives him another chance to explain his plans for the world, and we discover that the farside of Endless Illusion's moon holds a secret that could destroy the world – and will, if the Claw has his way…

Only three episodes on this volume, with quite a bit of story to be worked through – but some unfortunate filler along the way. With the series now rushing towards its conclusion, it's mostly deadly serious, too – there's very little of the humour that ran through the earlier part of the series. I miss the funnier aspects of the show, but given the world-changing events that are going on here, comedy would have probably seemed just a little out of place. Instead, we get a good series of confrontations between the two sides, as Fasalina plays guardian to protect the Claw's interests on the surface and Michael heads into orbit to put the final stage of the Claw's plan into action.

One of the best things in Gun Sword is the way the villains each have their own distinct personalities. The Claw seems simple, but he's convinced of the rightness of what he's doing and has a way of explaining himself that makes you want to believe him. Fasalina is deliciously evil, and during the combat sequences on this disc when she's piloting her Armor there's a positively seductive side of her personality that comes across, as she gets off on the thrill of battle in any sense of the term you care to use. Michael's the weakest of the bunch – he has skill and ability, but he's enough under the Claw's thrall that he comes across more as a mindless, unquestioning drone. But he's a drone that, perhaps more than any other of the Claw's henchmen, has the ability to defeat Van, and that prospect is a draw in itself. As the story switches between the various villains and the efforts of Van, Wendy and the others to hold their own against them, there's a real feeling built up that the good guys may not win the day here – with the thought always in the background that the Claw may be right, and that Van losing may not be a bad thing.

It's a passage of story that would have been truly fascinating to watch – were it not for the small flaw that what's done across these three episodes could probably have been done in two. There are some scenes dotted around (efforts to repair Van's Armor, Carmen's arrival at the Claw's abandoned base…) that take much longer than they really needed, and they draw some of the sense of urgency out of events and kill the suspense a bit. Van's group of tag-alongs has also grown quite large by now, and there's an effort to make sure that all the members get a look-in, even if they're not going to play any part in proceedings.

On balance, though, this is one very enjoyable volume, which ends on a cliffhanger that leaves you just wanting the next volume now to see how things turn out. Gun Sword seemed to be quite a lightweight action / comedy way back at volume one, but it's developed nicely as it's progressed – it's still not something that requires a lot of thought to watch, but there's definitely more to it than there first appeared.

In summary:
Picking too many holes in this volume would be churlish, as there's a awful lot of good here, with the story, character and action bases all well covered. The early-season comedy has almost gone, though, and there's more filler than I'd really expect to see at this stage of the series, but all told this is another Gun Sword volume that's well worth picking up.

Japanese Language 2.0,Japanese Language 5.1 DTS,English Language 5.1 DD,English Subtitles,Creditless Opening Sequences (versions 1-11),Gun×Sword-san Episodes 11 & 12,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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