Superior Defender Gundam Force Vol. #01 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B-
  • Menus Rating: N/A
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 3 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Bandai Entertainment
  • MSRP: 19.98
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Superior Defender Gundam Force

Superior Defender Gundam Force Vol. #01

By Andrew Tei     December 05, 2003
Release Date: February 03, 2004


Superior Defender Gundam Force Vol. #01
© Bandai Entertainment


What They Say
Neotopia is a land of peace and prosperity, where humans and robots live side-by-side in perfect harmony, but peace and harmony hardly lasts long these days. An all out invasion by the evil Dark Axis has taken Neotopia completely by surprise! Working in secret, the Super Dimensional Guard is established and their best hope to defeat the invaders is the top-secret Gundam Force! The team is comprised of several different Gundams with amazing and unique abilities and with the help of a brave young man named Shute, these fearless defenders will stop at nothing to defend Neotopia and defeat the Dark Axis once and for all!

Episodes
1. His Name is Captain
2. Soul Drive, Activate!
3. Zero, the Flying Knight

The Review!
Little robots in a tiny package. That’s the Bandai toy line for you, and here’s a show dedicated to selling even more toys and getting a younger generation of fans into one of the longest running anime franchises.

Audio:

The only audio available on this DVD is the ORIGINAL English language soundtrack track that is presented in PCM stereo sound. It shows great, with no distortion and the dialogue was clear. While there is a Japanese soundtrack being made, it didn’t make it in time for this DVD.

Video:

Produced in 2003, I have the highest expectations for the video quality of this show. While the source looks absolutely fantastic, a large amount of aliasing crept into the encoding due to the large amount of fine lines in the shows, and this has partly to due with the show using computer cel-shaded technology. The type of animation made popular by games such as Jet Set Radio. There was no cross coloration or bleeding. The eyecatch is also present, which was excluded from the Cartoon Network broadcast.

Packaging:

The front cover features Captain Gundam on the front, with his shield and gun in front of a SD Gundam Force Badge. There are two little Zakos also. It’s very colorful. No volume numbers is present on the package, and we only get a volume name “”The Hero Arrives!” The back features gives a two paragraph introduction to the world of SD Gundam. There are three screenshots from the show also.

Menu:

None.

Extras:

None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)

SD Gundam Force, or Superior Defender Gundam Force, is Sunrise’s addition to the Gundam franchise in 2003, and the US actually got it first. Let’s see what this means for Gundam.

The land of Neotopia is a land of beauty, bereft of crime and complete tranquil. In Neotopia, humans and robots live together as a society. Robots seems to do a lot of the manual labor type work though. Everything thing is just perfect. Living in the land of Neotopia is a young boy named Shute. Shute is a boy genius inventor it seems, and he has a pair of rocket skates. He has a little baby sister and he lives with his mother and father. Unbeknownst to him, there are forces interested in this little land of Neotopia.

In another dimension, the forces of the Dark Axis are gathering. A group of robots bent on destroying another dimensions by turning everything there into concrete. They are against organic life forms. Their forces are led by the Commander. He sends Zapper Zaku, who looks like a Zaku II Comander type, leading a force of Zakos, the Dark Axis main soldier type, through a dimensional gate into the land of Neotopia.

Zapper Zaku leads the forces into turning the land of Neotopia into concrete. Shute is one of the first citizens to notice them, and he gets notices. Just before Shute gets done in though, a mysterious hero arrives to save the day, and his name is Captain Gundam! Captain Gundam sends the forces flying away, but he gets damaged in the process from an explosion that sends the combatants in all directions.

When Shute arrives home, he finds the Captain in his workshop at home. He attempts to try to repair him, and discovers a mysterious force in him. The Captain finally wakes up, and has to go finds the forces of the Dark Axis, but he leaves a piece of equipment. It’s up to Shute to help him though, and during this battle the Captain is able to activate a mysterious power he has, the Soul Drive. He causes his hand to glow with a burning power, then he uses to smash his enemies.

The Captain’s existence is supposed to be secret though, and he tells Shute to forget his existence. Shute is determined not to just let things live. Now, the Captain used the Soul Drive for the first time, and he can’t seem to activate it again later when he practices. The Captain determines that Shute must have in some way helped him to activate it, and the Captain goes back to Shute despites orders from his commander not to. We have the beginnings of a beautiful friendship forming.

In the last episode, we are introduced to a few more characters. Shute’s next door neighbor is a young girl named Sayla, who loves to bake. Zapper Zaku has failed twice, so the commander sends Grappler Gouf with Zapper Zaku this time. Grappler Gouf almost succeeds in taking out the Captain, when another force of good shows up. Zero, the Flying Knight, appears out of nowhere to help the Captain, and Sayla, who Zero becomes infatuated with.

I first saw SD Gundam Force at Anime Expo 2003 at the first public showing, and I was laughing inside and out. To most Gundam fans, this show will seem like Bandai has pulled out their hearts, and started mashing it into bits in front of them while they are still alive to see it. If you take a step back from this though, there is funny show here. This show is obviously not targeted at the hardcore Gundam fan, unlike the SD Gundam made in 1989-1993.

The show is highly cartoonish in nature, and there are themes of friendship heavily targeted at kids. The Zakos are really cute. Shute can be just plain annoying though. There are still a few things for Gundam fans, as you recognize elements brought over from Gundam, and that’s part of the fun I have with the series. You can try and compare this to Gundam, but you really shouldn’t. It’s a show all unto itself that you watch after shutting your brain down. Kids though will love this, though it does have a high amount of violence. Plus if you get it for your kids, they’ll soon be wanting the toys for it also. Recommended for the child in all.


Features
English Language

Review Equipment
Toshiba 3109 to a Toshiba 36” Cinema Series via component, Pioneer VSX-810S receiver via optical, Cerwin Vega front speakers, Pinnacle center and rears

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