Overman King Gainer Vol. #6 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • 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. #6

By Chris Beveridge     December 16, 2005
Release Date: December 13, 2005


Overman King Gainer Vol. #6
© Bandai Entertainment


What They Say
The Exodus is almost at an end but our heroes may not live to reach the fabled land. An Overdevil has been awakened and threatens to lay waste to the whole world with the deadly chill of its powers. Gainer must play a new game in order to save his friend and bring the Overdevil's rampage to a halt. As Gain and Gainer reach the crossroads of fate, their actions will decide the future of the Exodus... and their world!

The Review!
Overman comes to a conclusion and provides one of the most 80's feeling endings in recent memory.

Audio:
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.

Video:
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.

Packaging:
Using the same artwork as the Japanese release, the final cover for the series features a great send off image of Gainer, Sara and Cynthina leaning against each other in a field of grass with beautiful green and blue colors. It's a natural ending cover and the angle used with the looks on their faces is perfect.. 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 did 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.

Menu:
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.

Extras:
The last round of extras are fairly minimal but ones I like to check out. The last round of images in the gallery are here and the neat new one is three promotional clips that showcase things such as the DVD release. I love seeing how these shows are advertising for Japanese consumers and what angle they use to push a show that doesn't always match how westerners view the property.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The final volume of Overman King Gainer brings four more episodes to bear as we follow the final stages of the Exodus to Yapan. Like many things that are created or influenced by Tomino, Overman doesn't quite go according to the plan you'd expect. Much of the series has been careful to show that it's a big action piece with lots of pseudo-mecha action but at the same time it's really mastered its sizeable cast of characters and made you really become attached to them. Now at the end, it simply tosses them all into the air and lets them fall where they may.

In a way, these last episodes feel like a number of other Tomino series that have been out in the last year or two such as Aura Battler Dunbine, Zeta Gundam and going back a bit further with Brain Power'd. So much has happened up until this point and then one really big event happens, such as the discovery of the Overdevil, that everything takes on a heightened sense. The similarities are definitely strong to shows like Dunbine because the enemies that Gainer has been fighting have been continually getting stronger and more varied in powers and designs, upping the stakes at every turn. The Overdevil is the endgame representation of that and even here Tomino treats him like the final boss in a video game that's actually made up of several bosses. That means we get several episodes of fights to really deal with it.

With there being such a big boss and one that's definitely got an agenda about messing with the world at large, Gainer finds that he has to become more than he has before. Interestingly, the way he decides to do this is by recapturing his title as the King from Cynthia in the game since she's out of the picture. The game hasn't really been explored in awhile but it's crept up once in awhile so it coming back to the forefront isn't too much of a surprise and they actually do something fun with it. When Gainer goes to work on this and makes the challenge open to anyone, he takes on a wide range of Overmen during it. What's different this time around is that he does it in the midst of battle with the Overdevil and plays the game on a different viewscreen in the cockpit. It's hilarious watching the reactions of others during this as they realize what he's doing. All these scenes really needed was a j-pop idol singing along and it would have felt like watching parts of Macross or some other 80's shows.

As engaging as these episodes are for the final battles and the build-up, it does feel like a non-event in terms of the ending because it's the type, again similar to a lot of things we've seen Tomino and others do in the 80's, where that part of the show is really given over to the last few minutes and not truly resolved. Going into this volume you sort of knew that it was going to happen like that but I'd hoped that after years of other series and from his experiences on Brain Power'd that he might learn how to end a series better. That said though, seeing how all of these varied characters come together and still continue to change and grow as the situation becomes truly epic for awhile is fascinating and it is the characters that really carry the show in the long run. Mecha battles can be engaging for only so long if you aren't attached to some of the characters and their situation. Overman is filled with great characters and is one of the few that has not only a set of interesting leads and strong secondary characters but a large number of very fun to watch third string characters that impact things continuously.

In Summary:
Admittedly, I went into Overman King Gainer with low expectations based off of Tomino's Brain Power'd series but found that it turned into a very fun and entertaining show to watch. It took a bit to get underway and it wasn't exactly easy to get into since it didn't reveal much of itself at first but once it got to the right hook and found its groove, this series just won me over completely. The ending is what I expected so I'm not disappointed in it but I had hoped that Tomino and company would have surprised me. But what it comes down to is that the final few minutes weren't what I would have done myself but it doesn't minimize the other ten hours of great entertainment I got out of this show. This is a show I hope more people discover as collections and other versions of it come out in the next few years.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Image 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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