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ADV Films presents
Gasaraki #5: Revelations (1998)

"It's the Gasaraki."
- Yushhiro (Nobuyuki Hiyama)

Review By: Jeff Ulmer   
Published: July 27, 2001

Stars: Nobuyuki Hiyama, Mami Kingetsu, Seiko Fujiki /Chris Palton, Monica Rial, Laura Chapman
Other Stars: Yugi Takada, Sho Hayami, Isshin Chiba/Andy McAvin, Jason Douglas, Brett Weaver
Director: Ryosuke Takahashi

Manufacturer: IFPI
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (12+ for animated violence)
Run Time: 01h:13m:38s
Release Date: May 22, 2001
UPC: 702727005626
Genre: anime

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A- B+A-A C+

DVD Review

As we head into the second half of Gasaraki, we continue to have more questions to ask than are answered. This disc doesn't feature the same level of action as some of the previous ones, but is used to further expose the backstory and set us up for the final arcs of the series.

As the first episode opens, the state of Japan is discussed behind closed doors by the head of the Gowa family and top officials from the military. Japan is seen as an empty shell, with the lust for monetary gain having superceded the traditions of harmony with ones surroundings and nature. There is an air of resentment among many of the Kugai, a position the Gowas observe with some caution, as it is their family history being judged. Meanwhile, Yushiro and Miharu continue on the path of the kai, discussing their own backgrounds, and what has led them to this fate. We get some background on Symbol, but it is more a teaser than anything elaborate.

Things take a major change in tone and style as we enter the second episode, which transports us back in time to the Heian era, where we meet the Watanabe clan of the kai. All is not peaceful here, as there are challenges to the role the Kugai now play after securing the current government's position: the standing leader is complacent in his position, rather than challenging for a place in the imperial court. This, of course, raises opposition and a shift in power as we have previously witnessed in modern day, with the transition mirroring events that would follow much later on. Yushiro and Miharu are present here, though we assume they are earlier incarnations. The dance of the Gasaraki is performed here as well, with an interesting parallel to the battles seen earlier. This entire sequence is presented in a near black and white presentation, contrasting with the previous events set in present day.

While not a lot happens over the three episodes here, the depth of the story continues to grow, and the series keeps drawing you in to the legends it is creating. The only downside is that it is over too soon and that wait for the next installment begins again. This is still a series I'd highly recommend, rich in mystery and intrigue, full of action, with an underlying story arc that is meticulously revealed in stages as we move along.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: My comments on the previous discs in this series hold true here, as the image quality continues to hold up well with only minor issues like some infrequent aliasing detracting from a perfect mark. The use of color in the second and third installments here is very muted, and looks great in contrast to the more vivid color that is interjected on occasion.

Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Japanese, Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: Japanese and English tracks continue to be present, and exhibit a very rich use of the stereo field. Atmosphere is maintained throughout with a wide soundstage, and excellent sound sesign. No anomalies were noted.

Audio Transfer Grade: A


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 15 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Packaging: other
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Art Director Shigemi Akeda is the featured interviewee for this disc, which again can be found at ADV's website in its entirety.

Once again we get production sheets, featuring three more screens with elements from the show. If you've watched the episodes, these are free of spoilers, and provide some interesting background into the dress and characters in the show.

More glossary definitions are also included.

The behind-the-scenes is a short 01m:05s overview of the ADR process, with in-studio footage showing a voice actor doing takes for his parts while discussing his performance with the director.

The menus continue to feature nice animation, background music and transitions, in style with the rest of the series.

Gasaraki 5 has its trailers in a submenu with only an ADV mixtrailer at startup. Included are Getter Robo, Farscape,Shadow Raiders, Spriggan, Orphen, and Neon Genesis Evangelion

The inset booklet this time gives us the layout of the Gowa residence.

Extras Grade: C+


Final Comments

While probably the least action we've seen so far, this disc continues to build the Gasaraki story as we move into the second half of the series. There are some interesting stylistic introductions as we travel to the past, and we also get a new opening theme. With the amount of backstory that is being revealed, my feeling is that we are in for a heck of a finale when all these pieces get put together.


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