Mobile Fighter G-Gundam Vol. #03 - 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. #03

By Chris Beveridge     October 23, 2002
Release Date: November 05, 2002


Mobile Fighter G-Gundam Vol. #03
© Bandai Entertainment


What They Say
Domon's quest takes him to Neo England! He challenges the invincible Gentle Chapman, the man who's won the previous three Gundam Fight Tournaments!

Afterwards, his travels lead him to the deserts of Neo Egypt, where he and Sai Saici confront the ghost of a former Gundam Fighter. Rain is reunited with an old flame, and learns the terrible secret of the mysterious DG cells. Domon is also reunited with someone special - his martial arts teacher, the great Master Asia!

The Review!
With the series starting off weak and then offering some hope in the second volume, the third volume manages to bring forth a lot more enticing tidbits, though not in a terribly subtle manner.

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. This volume has a great shot of two of the Gundam’s fighting along the lower half while the upper portion shows Master Asia set against the ruins of Tokyo. 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 Sai Saici and a bio on the Dragon Gundam. The back of the insert provides the production and cast information for the show.

Menus:
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 multi 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 this third volume, things manage to get rather interesting and something of the larger plot starts to get revealed. While we were introduced to the dark nature of the Devil Gundam and an inkling of Kyoji’s plans for it in the last volume, here we see just what he’s been up to in the time since the units revival and how it’s going to really affect the world.

Before we get to any of that, there’s an enjoyable side story that has Domon continuing to look for Kyoji. This time he’s in England, where he comes up against Chapman, a long time champion of the Gundam Fights over the years. The two face off in person in Chapman’s residence, but eventually agree to a match. With the fight set to take place in the ruins of London, Domon ends up getting a lot more than he anticipated, or more than Chapman anticipated. Unbeknownst to him, his wife has made the playing field decidedly un-level over the years by adding in a massive fog machine, a series of Gundam’s that distract the opponents in said fog as well as adding stimulants to Chapman’s daily intake. This proves to be an interesting battle, but it really makes you wonder at times how Domon earned the title of King of Hearts.

The follow-up episode I was pretty much writing off from nearly the get-go. The main premise of the episode deals with a long dead Gundam Fighter who won control of the colonies for Egypt back early on when the competitions started. Apparently there’s rumor that he’s come back and haunting the land, and we certainly do see this mummified Gundam Fighter and his Gundam coming back and attacking others. This in particular is tied to Sai Saici, one of my least favorite characters ever, even if he is voiced by one of my favorite actors. Something about the character simply keeps me from being interested. As expected, Domon and Rain as well as Sai all end up dealing with the long-dead warrior. The only thing that kept it even remotely interesting is during the hand to hand fight with him that Domon hits him and then gives a sort of knowing grunt about it, but nothing else is said. Some potential intrigue there.

Rather than dragging it out, it all gets explained in the next episode in a completely different setting. A visit to Neo Turkey brings an old romance of sorts into Rain’s life, but the former college friend and wrestling champ is now Turkey’s internally disgraced Gundam Fighter. He’s apparently lost consciousness at times and has razed half of Istanbul without knowing it, so the military is after him. Through his introduction, we start to learn more of the past of Rain but also of her medical background, which apparently includes learning quite a lot about the Devil Gundam and just what it can do.

Apparently, not only can it revive and repair itself, it can infect other creatures with its cels. These cels cause the infected victim to start growing a metallic-like skin. This is entirely treatable up until it infects their brain, which will cause them to go haywire. This sets the stage for the larger threat that the Devil Gundam represents. A world where it controls all of these metallic skinned creatures and devices, spreading out into the galaxy.

There’s some really up-front instances of this happening right away, as well as the introduction of Domon’s master, later on this disc. The character of Master Asia is amusing to say the least, and the meeting of the two after some time provides Domon with some really badly needed emotions other than anger and simple grimacing. The relationship between Rain and Domon gets some nice exploration as well, which the introduction of an old potential flame will almost always do, as well as getting a better feel for how these oddly designed colonies are like.

These episodes definitely built upon what came earlier and all for the better. The show is taking its time to get where its going, but with the nature of the competition and the fights, I can’t see really cutting much away and not losing the larger picture there in addition to the urgent need to find Kyoji and the Devil Gundam. This series is shaping up nicely, if you take the time to get through the first fourth of the run.

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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