Mobile Fighter G-Gundam Vol. #02 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Bandai Entertainment
  • MSRP: 19.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Mobile Fighter G-Gundam

Mobile Fighter G-Gundam Vol. #02

By Chris Beveridge     October 20, 2002
Release Date: November 05, 2002


Mobile Fighter G-Gundam Vol. #02
© Bandai Entertainment


What They Say
Future Century 60. Domon and Rain continue their travel across the Earth, seeking out opponents to challenge in the Gundam Fight and continuing their search for the clues towards teh whereabouts of Domon's missing brother Kyoji.

The Review!
It figures, now the show starts getting interesting. Just when I thought there’d be a Gundam I didn’t like…

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. Though originally released in 1994, the track for this appears to be a pro-logic mix, though I don’t really hear anything coming through the rear speakers unless my ears are playing tricks on me. The Japanese track feels a small bit lower than the English track, with dialogue feeling a slight bit muffled at times. There’s not a whole lot of directionality going on, since when things happen, they’re loud all-encompassing moments of destruction that fill up the entire forward soundstage.

Video:
The transfer for this release looks decent, but in general feels like it’s not up to snuff when compared to other Gundam series. The shows look and feel continues to be of a more drab and lifeless feel, even when you do have the bright outdoor exteriors. It may be a bit simply animated, but the only real problems we noticed with this transfer is some occasional cross coloration and aliasing as well as some light color banding during a few areas of solid colors.

Packaging:
The artwork for this looks great, with an over the top feel to the characters and some of the usual excellent looking Gundam imagery. The cover here provides a good shot of Domon set next to his Gundam while in the shadowed upper area we can see his brother and the image of the Devil Gundam. The back cover provides a few shots of the show itself and a few paragraphs of show summary. The discs volume numbering, done in rounds, shows up on both the spine and the front cover, earning good kudos from us. The back cover lists the episode numbers and the basic features of the disc. The insert provides another shot of the front cover while it opens to reveal a bio on Chibodee Crocket and a bio on the Gundam Maxter. The back of the insert provides the production and cast information for the show.

Menu:
The menus are nicely done though a bit simple. The main static image is of a circuit board while to the right there’s some visuals from the episodes playing. Selections are mixed into the circuit board area and access times are nice and fast. There’s little to the disc outside of the basics, so moving about is pretty easy and the layout is fairly standard for Bandai releases. One of the best spots is the episode selection area in how that’s laid out. Very neat.

Extras:
The extras for this release are minimal but excellent. The only thing included is a good 12 page interview with the series director and talks about his plans for the series as well as some interesting casting information. There’s some really good stuff inside of this that will help illustrate what the series was trying to do.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the basic plot and premise laid out in the first volume, the show starts moving in similar directions here, but we start getting more clarification on what the early overall goals are. With a show that runs as long as this, you just know the initial plot isn’t going to be the long term one. We hopefully won’t spend all forty odd episodes watching Domon waving that photograph around.

Domon does continue his multinational journey and ends up in Neo Russia this time, in a place where Gundam’s and their pilots actually manage to disappear. He starts scouting it out, and through his own natural luck, ends up finding out that it’s basically a prison where they draw in Gundam pilots by letting them think that the Neo Russian Fighter is there. So now Domon’s part of the prison members of mostly criminals and some really depressed and downtrodden former pilots.

Things play out in a mini Alcatraz style with a break-out and the luring out of the real Fighter to take on Domon as well as using him to draw out his Shining Gundam. The sneaky Russians use the entire set up to gain more technology from other colony nations so that they can continue with their massive project of a Gundam. The one they have is a massive blocky but powerful unit. While this all seems like another one-off episode, they do an excellent job of using it as a launching pad for later on in this disc.

What really got me into watching more of this series is the second episode on this disc. Unbeknownst to him, Domon is spirited away back to his colony (in direct opposition to the competition rules) and is placed into the remains of his family’s home. Using some advanced hallucination techniques, certain elements from the colonies military and science groups place Domon into the sequence of events in his family’s past. Through this sequence, we learn about how his brother and father had completed building their own Gundam, the Devil Gundam. This beast is vastly different from other models built, as it literally seems like it’s tapped into the dark powers. Domon’s brother, Kyoji, watched as the military came in to take the Gundam away from them, watched without emotion as his mother died, and espoused his plans for global domination as he takes the Devil Gundam to Earth.

The general belief was that the unit burnt up during re-entry due to it’s speed, but the scientists believe that with its dark powers, it would actually rebuild itself over time. So using their skills, they convinced Domon that he must go to Earth to find his brother and destroy the Devil Gundam, and that the best way to do it is in the competition. Through all this flashback, in a period where Domon didn’t actually take part in, we learn a lot of very useful information. And how the military people who do consider Domon a friend are being used by their superiors. Though it’s done in a fairly cartoony way, it adds some good levels to the series that I expect from any other Gundam series.

Of course, with all this good serious stuff, we then move into the more comical, though done with a serious enough touch. The entire episode that featured the Tequila Gundam with its sombrero or the fact that their colony looks like one massive sombrero… well, that’s what stands out there and I can’t recall much more of it. While that one was sort of a loss for me, I was surprised at how good the Lumber Gundam episode was, as it brings back into play the Neo Russian Fighter and the pasts of the two pilots from over five years ago. Some of the plot is fairly obvious, with the obvious misunderstandings causing years of anger and hatred, but it plays out well. I’ll still call the Canadian Gundam the Lumberjack Gundam though, cause he’s okay.

The show is continuing with its fairly dark nature, though it has a number of moments of unintentional comedy throughout it. The art style is also growing slowly on me, as well as Domon. That’s mostly being helped by Rain getting more fleshed out with his past and their growing dependence upon each other. The show now has me in the “really curious to see where all this goes” mode, so I’m looking forward to the third round.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Interview with Director Yashuhiro Imagawa

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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