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DVD Review

DVD cover

Gunparade March
Volume 2


Starring (voice): Akemi Okamura, Akira Ishida, Akio Suyama, Chiaki Maeda and Emi Shinohara
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: 12
Available 05 October 2009

In the last years of World War II, when the peoples of the earth were intent on exterminating each other, a greater threat arose in the shape of alien invaders, the Genjyu. Although the human race banded together to fight this new threat, their own wars had seriously weakened their abilities to defend themselves and they were quickly overrun. By 1999 only the island nation of Japan was successfully fighting a defensive war, but with resources running low children as young as sixteen are drafted in to man the monumental fighting machines, the Human Walking Tanks...

Volume 2 of Gunparade March (2003) continues with episodes five to eight of this twelve episode series. Even for an anime based on a game Gunparade is a bit of an odd mixture of apocalyptic fight for survival and school romance. Directed by Katsushi Sakurabi, the main problem here is that the two parts of the show are so mismatched that neither element works as well as it could have. I can only presume that this is a case of the source material being better than the anime as the game won the Seiun Award in 2001.

The story here swings wildly between too few battle scenes and the mawkish fascination that the teenagers have for each other, so the show contains a far higher proportion of the males and females talking about each other and navigating the problems of relationships. Now there is nothing wrong with this, there is a whole sub genre for that type of show, but juxtapose a light romantic comedy with a story about the survival of mankind and both elements feel false.

This is a real shame as there are elements of a good story trying to claw its way past the teenage romantic angst. In one episode they kill off one of the characters before stranding two of the characters far from aid. In their battle for survival we learn more about their motivations for fighting as well as filling in a little of the back-story.

With only four episodes to go it is difficult to see how the makers intend to pull the show out of its personal ennui, I suspect that it will simply grind to a halt.

The disc comes with options for either English or Japanese 2.0 stereo, with optional subtitles and signs. Even if the story doesn’t work that well the level of animation is above average. Extras are a bit thin on the ground with only a selection of production art and trailers for other shows.

So, it is a show that had much promise but it desire to appeal to two disparate groups means that it will seem to be something to many, but not really finish up having found its own voice.


Charles Packer

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