Mania Grade: B
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- 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. #04
By Chris Beveridge
March 09, 2003
Release Date: February 18, 2003
Mobile Fighter G-Gundam Vol. #04
What They Say
© Bandai Entertainment
Domon's reunion with Master Asia occurs in the midst of the battle-damaged city of Shinjuku. Together, they fight to save the city, but Domon is shocked when he realizes that Gundam Rose, Gundam Maxter, Dragon Gundam, and Bolt Gundam are all under an evil influence!
As the truth is revealed, reinforcements arrive in the form of the Shuffle Alliance, the greatest fighters in the galaxy! Now, with Domon as their new King of Hearts, they pledge their allegiance to him and his cause. But first, there's a battle to be fought... The Review!
I’ll say it again, never judge any Gundam series by its opening episodes. As G-Gundam gets deeper into its run, the twists and turns continue to provide a lot of fun for this series and expands its own little universe nicely.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 cover is particularly sweet looking, with the background having two of the Gundam’s going against each other, but it’s the smaller piece along the bottom that provides the best shot as we have both Domon and Rain together in their pilot suits working together to fight off the enemy. It’s an excellent shot, especially since it shows off Rain’s cleavage nicely in such a tight outfit. 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 George de Sand and a bio on the Gundam Rose. 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 are 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 G-Files continues with several more pages of commentary from series director Imagawa, mostly going over the reason behind the Shinjuku location for these episodes, which makes a lot of sense, plus some other interesting tidbits about outfits and more.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As the Shinjuku arc progresses, I found myself getting more and more intrigued by things, even as it starts taking on a few larger than life values (though admirably explained by Imagawa in the extras). Some of the details are starting to fall into place and the world of these characters is growing at a nice pace.
The Shinjuku battlefield starts to take on a new twist for Domon here as four previous fighters, those piloting the Rose, Maxter, Dragon and Bolt Gundams, have apparently fallen victim to the power of the Devil Gundam. This is something they learn after he and Master Asia go off to find out the source of a communication coming from the old Tokyo Tower. Through their journey, and throughout the episodes in general, we get more flashbacks to the past between these two men and see how Asia had essentially raised Domon from one point and taught him the ways of his arts. Though they’re brief, they do nicely get across the reasons beyond the obvious why Domon has such respect and love for his Master.
And it’s for this reason that Domon takes it so hard when he realizes the Master Asia has also fallen under the influence of the Devil Gundam and is using the four other Gundam’s as his front line fighters to deal with the nuisance things he comes across, including Domon. The revelations are pretty quick to come, especially since things start off with Asia going off and doing mysterious things pretty regularly. It also provides a really good plot twist for making Domon even more unstable since he also has his brother Kyoji and the Devil Gundam itself to take care of. But now he has the added pressure of making sure that he gets Asia freed from it – if he’s actually an unwilling servant, something they’re not sure of.
This provides some really good combat sequences, both inside and outside of the Gundam suits. It also brings into play a new element, one that’s fairly comical at first sight but actually blends into things well the further they expand upon it. Arriving during one of the fights is something called the Shuffle Alliance. This group of four, utilizing the cards as their names, such as the Jack of Diamonds or Black Joker, is a group that’s been together throughout most of human history and has guided wars to make sure they don’t go beyond a particular stage. Each generation has a new set that takes over from the previous, and these powerful Gundam fighters are the current incarnation. And much like Domon’s King of Hearts symbol on his hand, they all have theirs.
The Shuffle Alliance provides some interesting changes to the dynamic of the groups in general, especially as they progress. They’re not given a deep amount of history or time on screen, but they play key roles in changing the direction of many of the cast members here. As I said, it all seems comical at first, with the outfits, as they don’t use traditional pilot outfits, and their style of talk – and never mind their actual Gundam’s, but as their history unfolds and the connection with Asia and therefore Domon becomes known, it all blends well.
My only disappointment with these episodes is that we didn’t get to see more of Rain in a pilot outfit. Yum.
These episodes went by really quick since there was a lot of overall action to them. The show is still firmly in the guilty pleasure category since it’s got its own amount of cheese to it, but it’s really developing its dark side nicely. It’s not quite campy, but you get that kind of thrill when watching parts of it. Wow, anime that’s fun to watch. An interesting concept.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,G-Files
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.