Overman King Gainer Vol. #4 - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Bandai Entertainment
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Overman King Gainer

Overman King Gainer Vol. #4

By Chris Beveridge     September 03, 2005
Release Date: August 09, 2005

Overman King Gainer Vol. #4
© Bandai Entertainment

What They Say
The Exodus to Yapan has found a new foe. When the Exodus threatens to create a flaw in his perfect diagram, Kashmir uses a powerful Psycho-Overmen to wage psychological warfare against Gain, Gainer, and their comrades. Now, their thoughts, their hopes, their fears—the hidden secrets of the Exodus defenders will be forced into the cold light of day.

The Review!
Continuing to do relatively similar stories in each episode, Tomino manages to amuse and delight each time and nudge the characters along just right.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this series in its original language of Japanese. The series stereo mix is very well done with a lot of directionality throughout it for both dialogue and action effects that go both across the soundstage as well as some good depth areas as things come from the background to the foreground. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and while listening to both language tracks we had no problems with dropouts or distortions.

Originally airing in 2002, the transfer for this series is presented in its original widescreen aspect ration of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The series has such a mix of colors and a lot of focus on whites that it's a pretty vibrant visual experience that comes across very good here. The print maintains a very solid feel with all of these wide swathes of colors as well as avoiding any real gradient issues as well. Some of the areas are intentionally soft and look good without becoming pixellated and overall this is a really good looking transfer that's free of problems. Being produced by Sunrise, the opening and closing segments are fully translated instead of retaining the original Japanese text.

Using the same artwork as the apanese release, the strangeness of this volume is nicely covered with the artwork is really different from past volumes as the background is a bright blue sky and a grass covered ground with flowers while hearts float around the character artwork and the Overman designs. It's really cute once you know how the episodes actually play out. The back cover continues the brown tones but looks a bit better with more shots from the show here that add color plus all the additional text for the summary and production information. The discs technical specs and features are scattered in a couple of different areas and not all of it is quick and easy to find but it's there. With this release, Bandai does something new that I hope they do more of and that's using the reverse side for all of their insert information. The left panel has some headshots of characters as well as the original staff credits and a Japanese cast credit list while the right panel provides a summary breakdown for each episode plus shots from the show lined next to it. Even nicer is that it's all in full color and not black and white. While this does remove reversible covers, it's something that I like how it's done.

The menu layout is nicely in-theme for the show with a design looking out from inside the King Gainer cockpit. The control panel has the discs navigation selections while the viewscreen has action clips from the show playing throughout it while some of the action oriented instrumental music plays along. The layout is nicely done and has the added bonus of loading quick and being easy to navigate, though I miss having instant episode access at the top level. Language selection continues to be prickly though as once you make the selections there isn't anything that indicates what the show is set at. Access times are nice and fast and the disc did read our players' language presets correctly.

This volume has another interesting set of extras included in it. The opening and closing sequences are provided again in clean format which I'm really thankful for since I can't get enough of the opening sequence. The new inclusion this time around is three promotional clips used to push the show prior to its release. While there are similarities among them, it's always interesting to see how the various companies try to promote their shows.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Overman King Gainer moves much closer to the end of the series here and with the four episodes on this volume things take something of a repetitive turn as the main villain uses a number of similar styled attacks against the Exodus group. Normally this would be something that would easily turn people off to the show but with the kind of flair that Tomino uses and the way he manipulates his characters, even when you want to shake your fist about its nature you can't help but enjoy what the results are.

There are some really fun things happening in this volume. The main villain this time around continues to be Kashmir as he tries using his diamond diagram design to take down the Exodus and deal with all those onboard the ceilings. You could say he's ably aided by two soldiers who formally worked for Adette but they're both fairly incompetent and end up causing enough screw ups on their own but tend to make even more under the poor direction of Kashmir. He comes up with some interesting ideas but his execution tends to be poor and he makes awful decisions. In a way it's not surprising since he's an Operations Director and not really field combat personnel, but then again, this could be said about a lot of the Siberian Railway people we've seen.

A lot of the equipment he uses with the attacks tend to be psychological in nature. One of them causes vast amounts of distrust among people which is used at a really opportune time of when the people from Gangalan find themselves being helped by Yapan after their place was destroyed, which was due to the Yapan folks being there of course but the destruction was caused by Kashmir and his insane plan of stimulating magma underground to try and take down the Yapan Ceilings. The psychological aspect has both sides inside the Ceiling's and everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts, which leads to the "cover of lies" that people use to get through every day to be known and it sets off all kinds of violence and accusations.

While this is yet another eye rolling Overskill power that's brought to bear, it does provide for some interesting moments and revelations. Sara learns that Gauli was the one who killed Gainer's parents so now she has that on her shoulders to deal with as well. One of the best parts is when Lioubov and Manman end up revealing their feelings for each other and he goes on about how he's old enough to be her father but she just needs time to sort things out. And then she mistakenly has a thought along the lines of thinking of him in a fatherly way and he's crushed. The best though is that Kashmir uses the ability in his Overman to fight against Gain and Gainer and every move the two make is known to him before they make it. Gainer comes up with the best plan to defeat him by making sure his thoughts are so extreme that Kashmir has to turn off the device. What to think about? His teenage love of Sara, which ends up being broadcast all over the Ceiling and for Sara to hear.

This was just priceless, especially since he didn't know until he got back and Sara's there confronting him. Even Gain has some great fun with it.

Another fight that Kashmir starts is by using a psychological device that causes worries to be exacerbated which has people making bad decisions and not trusting their own instincts. It's little things at first that move in a wave throughout the Ceiling and people each seem to react differently to it, such as Gain seeking more support for his ideas while Gauli ends up with massive worry lines on his face. Kashmir's plan works in drawing out at least one person who is so worried that they feel they have to fight on their own and he uses him to implant a massive explosive in their rider so that they can take it back to the Ceiling and catch it in the explosion.

While there are plenty of action scenes, it's the characters that make the show. The opening episode has Gainer going to Gangalan to have a date with Cynthia Lane, the girl he's known online for so long. He's positively comical as he wears one of Gain's suits which is far to big on him and he does his hair up completely wrong so that he can try and impress this girl. The girl, of course, is one of the highest regarded pilots for Kid Muntz so you know it's not going to go well in the end. When Gainer heads over, Adette goes to follow and Sara finds herself drawn into it. Watching them follow him as he goes through the game that Cynthia sets up for them to meet is fun since she can't believe she's doing it.

What really surprised me with this volume is how much I've fallen in love with Adette. With her now closer relationship to Gainer since she's living there, she's become much more involved in his life but also just doing the things that make her happy. When she follows Gainer on his date she has a lot of great lines and just looks excited about doing something fun. When the Gangalan's end up in the Ceiling, she takes on a group of them that want her to be their leader and she shapes them up into a vigilante repair crew of sorts. But the best is that she's definitely being more active in helping out in combat and she wears the best uniforms ever. That red piece she wears on several occasions here is just fantastic. Adette was a character I really wasn't sure of at first but she's grown on me slowly but hit me over the head with a hammer in this volume. If I wasn't already happy about the idea of the Gainer/Sara relationship I'd be pushing for her instead.

In Summary:
Overman King Gainer is a fun show but for some reason every time I get ready to watch it I don't feel that I'm going to get anything out of it. But then I sit down and the show just has me laughing out loud at times or enjoying the weird and different action sequences based on whatever bizarre kind of Overman that Tomino and company have come up with. While there are problems with how this volume plays out in that the Kashmir villain really is a one note wacky character, the results from what he does is spot on and it advances the character arcs slowly but in interesting ways as the entire Ceiling continues its Exodus.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Line Art Gallery,Promotional Clips

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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jnager 3/13/2012 5:39:03 PM

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