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ADV Films presents
Generator Gawl #4: Out Of Time (1998)

"If history changes, the three of us might not exist anymore."
- Ryo (Tsutomo Kashiwakura)

Review By: Jeff Ulmer   
Published: October 24, 2001

Stars: Nobutoshi Hayashi, Shinchiro Miki, Tsutomo Kashiwakura, Satsuki Yukino, Koname Yoshida, Vic Mignogna, Jay Hickman, Matt Kelly, Rozie Curtis
Other Stars: Yuriko Yamaguchi, Hideyuki Hori, Masami Toyoshima, Kaytha Coker, Jason Douglas, Rachel Buchman
Director: Seiji Mizushima

Manufacturer: IFPI
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (12+ for graphic animated violence)
Run Time: 01h:14m:03s
Release Date: October 09, 2001
UPC: 702727014222
Genre: anime

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B- BB+B+ D+

DVD Review

With the closing disc in the Generator Gawl series coming a full seven months after the third disc, (a year minus a day from the first release), this has to be one of the longest mid-series waits I've seen, all the more frustrating as we only get three more episodes on this final disc. At least now that the full series is out, new buyers won't have to put up with this incredible delay between discs. The question now is was it worth the wait? The answer is mixed.

I had high hopes for this series when I first started watching it, as it seemed to be doing something somewhat original in its premise, and looked as if it was heading in a promising direction. The elements of time travel and how things were evolving in the series had me hooked for the first many episodes. As a 13-part series, it is expected that there can't be as much in the way of character development as a longer series would allow, and this would be my biggest criticism of Generator Gawl. Also, there is to some extent an unevenness in the feel of the show. That said, it was still enjoyable and pretty interesting, but may be a victim of the timing of its release, since its feature set and episode count are pretty minimal compared to other series currently being released. If you haven't seen the rest of the series, skip the next paragraph which contains some possible spoilers.

With only three days before the start of World War III, the boys are running out of time to destroy the include cells responsible for the future they have come from. We found out that Natsume wasn't what she appeared to be in the final episode of Disc Three, and the first part of Disc Four puts her story into the spotlight, and explains her part in the series. While the plot doesn't really move forward in this episode, the character exposition is a set up for what will follow, as Gawl faces his toughest challenge yet over the final two episodesˇones that will shape his and everyone's futures.

As a series based on time travel, there are unavoidable paradoxes that come into play, and Generator Gawl uses them to pretty good advantage. The storyline continues to be engaging, and there are a few major twists and turns of events that were pretty unexpected here. The tone of the final episodes becomes a lot more serious and moody, with only a bit of brief comic relief early on, otherwise we are in the thick of the final battle, which gets pretty violent. Although the background art seemed to look pretty elaborate still, I found the cell animation to be not quite up to par with the last disc, with characters seeming to lose some of their identity due to a lack of consistency. I also didn't think the relationships were as fully realized as they could have been, or looked like they were going to be, with an action ending pulling away from establishing all the characters fully. I won't even begin to comment on the dub track for this series, which is about the best excuse ever to listen to the original audio track. Perhaps on revisiting Gawl in its completeness, it may get a more enthusiastic response, but after a wait this long, I felt somewhat let down by the final installments. If you have gotten this far the ending is worth viewing, just not quite as satisfying as one had hoped for.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

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

Image Transfer Review: Aside from a few shots here and there, this disc looks pretty good, with solid colors and black levels. Grain continues to be a factor in darker scenes, and a bit of aliasing is present. Most of the problems appear source related.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Japanese, Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: Japanese audio is pretty center oriented, with only minimal use of the stereo spread. Distortion is nonexistent, but there are a couple of dropouts in the first two episodes. An English dub is also available.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 14 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
6 Other Trailer(s) featuring Soul Hunter, Sorcerer On The Rocks, Dirty Pair Flash: Mission 2, Dai-guard, Gasaraki, Princess Nine
Packaging: other
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Textless opening and end credits are again included. As with the previous discs, single screen diagrams showing four more Generators and three characters make up the limited extras.

Cover artwork is again somewhat underwhelming, though I'm thankful to say the spine art does match the rest of the series. No chapter listing is included on the insert, instead we get an ad for Orphen, which is a bit odd as that series has been out for months now.

In a flashback to the past, front end trailers include:

Soul Hunter, Sorcerer On The Rocks, Dirty Pair Flash: Mission 2, Dai-guard, Gasaraki and Princess Nine.

Extras Grade: D+


Final Comments

While I did find Generator Gawl to be interesting, it still wouldn't make my recommended list for a number of reasons. The story is good, but the character design was a bit weak, and especially the last episodes seemed as if the budget was running out for animation. The low per disc episode count and lack of significant extras also detract from a recommended rating. The series is only four discs, but ADV is presenting many other shows that are both more interesting and of better value. While I'm glad I was able to finally complete the series this one falls into the rental category.


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