Tuesday, January 28, 2003


3/5 Stars

Studio: A.D. Vision
Director: RyƓsuke Takahashi
DVD Release Date: August 20, 2002
Run Time: 650 minutes

On the surface, Gasaraki is a sharp, cutting edge mecha series. It has top notch animation, exquisitly detailed mecha and some great action and conspiracies. Dig a little beneath the surface, however, and you'll realize that everything in this series has been done before, and ofen better.

The series follows Yushiro Gowa, the youngest son of the powerful Gowa family. The Gowas have been working with the Japanese government to develop "Tactical Armor" or TAs. TAs are the worlds first mecha, large robot combat vehicles that can take out any conventional armor with their state of the art weapons and enhanced mobility. Things are not what they seem, how ever, as the Gowa seem to be conducting an experiment in contacting aliens. They're not alone in their quest either, as an enigmatic group know as Symbol have also developed TAs called "Fakes", and have a girl they're using to contact the same aliens. As the plot thickins, it appears that Yushiro may not be who he thinks he is but rather a reincarnated pilot of a god-sent giant robot from feudal Japan. It would appear these medieval death machines, the Kugai, are what both the TAs and the Fakes are based on and were sent by the Gasaraki who both Gowa and Symbol are trying to bring to Earth, despite the horrible destruction caused by it in the past.

Gasaraki is full of numerous plot twists, occult references, and exciting fights. What it lacks is a human element to tie everything together. None of the characters are developed strongly enough to make us care about one side or another, for much of the series Yushiro is wandering, trying to find his past. The various conspiracies are muddled, and it's never clear what their true purpose is, since the people behind them don't seem real. Most of what happens in Gasaraki has been done before; Gudam and VOTOMs both have a near superhuman mecha pilot, Evangelion has a much better conspiracy, and even Escaflowne has done a better job with medieval mecha.

While the art, sound, and animation are excellent, it's not enough to keep the viewer satisfied. Even fans of action who couldn't care less about plot will be disappointed, as several episodes are mainly people wandering around on giving monolouges on warrior philosophy (ala Gundam Wing). There are only about two or three really good battles in the whole series, which is disappointing. Gasaraki tries to be a deep, meaningful series that makes you think, but it just doesn't work. It would have been better off as a pure action series.

Gasaraki - Perfect Collection (DVD)

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