Gungrave Vol. #7 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: C+
  • Age Rating: 15 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: MVM Entertainment
  • MSRP: £19.99
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Gungrave

Gungrave Vol. #7

By Paul Jacques     January 17, 2007
Release Date: November 06, 2006


Gungrave Vol. #7
© MVM Entertainment


What They Say
Grave's success in dismantling Millennion has come at a steep cost. The constant fighting and the many attacks he suffers have left his wounded body weakened and he may not last long enough to finish the job. Fortunately, he might not have to. The mafia executives finally begin to openly rebel against Harry's depleted forces that are no longer strong enough to hold the organization together. As Harry flees from the bloody chaos of his imploding organization, he puts himself on a collision course with Grave and their bittersweet past!

The Review!
At long last, the final volume (3x episodes) of this top-notch series has dropped onto my door mat, and so it's time to find out how they close the final curtain.

Audio:
I listened, cycling between Japanese 5.1\ 2.0 and English 5.1 audio as each episode changed. All tracks were excellent, although the DTS was very quiet (needed the volume turning up). All tracks provided clear sound with some light use of directional sound effects. Although it has to be said that the English track has the best gun sound effects. Though the English VA did a good job, I'd recommend going with either of the Japanese tracks..... I think it's just the way the Japanese VA's manage to get more feeling into the words, especially Brandon's VA, Seki Tomokazu. The narration from Seki Tomokazu for each episode's prologue and epilogue is spell binding at times, you really feel the depression and bleakness of their lives.

The opening song is called Family and is a really good (sombre) track, very reminiscent of the lounge music you might find a modern Jazz combo playing. The closing song is called When The Sunset Turns Red and although it's sung in Japanese (with a blue grass fiddle and Jazz funk guitar), you easily get the impression that it's full of hope, with Brandon and Harry chasing their dreams in the accompanying animation.

Video:
Quality of the transfer was top notch, with no artefacts or bleeding problems detected. The TV playback was perfect and no problems were detected on the PC.

I still find some parts of the episodes a little light on the animation detail, and a tad ruff in places. There are plenty of visual elements and artistic touches to enjoy along the way. Sometimes the background are pure, other times they are grainy, but nothing too intrusive.

Packaging:
This is a promo only disc with no box or packaging.

Menu:
The menus are static with a background image of Brandon & Harry from the Op titles. The menu links themselves were placed in the centre of the screen. All the links worked quickly and no dead-ends or slow responses were encountered.

Extras:
We get a promo real which I advise to pass over as it's just clips from the episodes. And I wouldn't dally overlong on the 15x stencilled production art drawings either. The trailers included are for Tenjho Tenge and Burst Angel.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
Episode 24 finds Harry reviewing aftermath of Brandon's attack on his secret facility and the subsequent annihilation of most of the Orgmen army. Now he finally begins to realise that Brandon is out to erase everything that he has built over the years and everything he stands for.

Meanwhile the city remains quiet, the streets empty as the population senses the great upheaval that is underway. Only the foolish, the lost or the brave would be seen out in the streets in times like these.

Within Harry's organisation the revenge plotting is now in full swing, with Millennion Executives seeing this threat to Harry (from Brandon) as their chance to kill Harry themselves and take over the business. And so it becomes very obvious that Harry's time is drawing near as those around him are eliminated by the Executive. Only Harry has a backup plan, a plan that will eradicate his enemies and ensure he stays gangster no1.

Brandon realises that time his running out, and that soon his Necrotized body will shutdown and stop completely. And so he takes the war to Millennion head office in an effort to bring this vendetta to a close. It's there that he encounters his old partner Bunji Kugashira waiting in the lobby...... only this time Bunji has been tweaked to max with Superior- queue big shoot out between old comrades.

At the end of this episode every loses something of value, as one-by-one the pieces on the board of life are removed, permanently.

In the penultimate episode Harry is now on the run, with no friends, no money and no protection. Where can he go?

Brandon is now badly wounded from his encounter with Bunji, so he walks the streets looking for Harry, but can he last long enough to find Harry?

As the end draws near, both men begin to reflect on the past: we get a really nice flashback scene where we see how Harry and Brandon first met Maria (and the early days of the gang). This is a prelude to the finale, with both men now alone and preparing to die, reminiscing to themselves as their end draws nigh.

Eventually the two find each other, and the episode ends with an eerie (almost tumbleweed like) encounter as the two enemies square off for the final showdown.

The final episodes finds Harry and Brandon back in their old stomping ground, now all run down and dilapidated. And in their final minutes they talk about dreams and ambition, betrayal, hate and friendship, while surrounded by the ghosts of the dead they have known and the guns of the Millennion organisation.

More importantly this is the episode we find out; why Harry killed Brandon; why Brandon couldn't kill Harry. And we understand why Harry went out of his way to eradicate the old Millennion and everything associated with it. Many times in this volume the question is asked "where did it go wrong?" and the answer is summed up in one word used throughout the series- betrayal. We've quite often seen the what (the consequences) of the characters action, but only partially glimpsed the why. In this last episode they lay it all out for everyone to see.

The ending? Well let's just say the end was EXACTLY how I wanted it to happen. It may not be your cup of tea, but it worked for me and once again I may have got a little grit in my eye at the very end.

In summary-
The thing that made this series stand head and shoulders above other anime series is the real effort the script writer put into the characters. Everyone had personality and motivation that made them react in a 3D manner, no weird crap, no actions coming out of left field- proper cause and effect throughout. As such you really cared about what happened to them throughout the story. Couple this with a core plot of a friendship gone bad and the dire effects it has on those around the main protagonist. Throw in some great music and mix it altogether with masterful direction and pacing from Toshiyuki Tsuru, you can see why Gungrave is so good in every episode.

Gungrave is perfect example of a gangster movie (check out Once Upon A Time in America if you like gangster movies). At the end of the day all you need to know is that Gungrave is one of the most engaging and intelligent animes to come out of Japan.

JVC 28" Pure Flat Wide Screen TV, Pioneer 696 Progressive Scan code free DVD player, Logitech Z-680 THX DD/DTS receiver & Speakers. Secondary equipment, 19" Samsung 930BF TFT, ATI X850 & PowerDVD v4, Creative Audigy 2 & HS-400 headphones and a duck.


Features
Japanese Language DTS 5.1,English Language DD 5.1,Japanese Language DD 2.0,English Subtitles,Production Art,Promo real

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