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DVD Review

DVD cover

Gunparade March
Volume 3


Starring (voice): Akemi Okamura, Akira Ishida, Akio Suyama, Chiaki Maeda and Emi Shinohara
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: 12
Available 07 December 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...

Gunparade March (2003) is a teenage science fiction anime show directed by Katsushi Sakurabi. The anime was based on the popular Playstation videogame Takidou Gensou Gun Parade March.

This ultimate volume continues with episodes nine to twelve of this twelve episode series. In previous reviews I did voice some concerns that the war which was being fought did not seem to have any real impact on the characters, after all these are young children drafted in to fight and die, so you would think that the ordeal would take its toll. This volume proves even more that the show is really about teenage relationships rather than war.

Episode nine is not really an episode at all, as it spends its time going back over the characters, which should already be well established in the audience's mind, until about half way when an unexpected proto lesbian scene suddenly appears out of nowhere.

Episode ten plumbs an even deeper depth by effectively being about the kids putting on a show wrapped around the central premise of an unlucky girl suddenly finding all the luck in the world. Very occasionally the war rears its ugly head for a few minutes but is soon forgotten and now almost seems like an afterthought.

Episode eleven and the team has decided to help Atsushi and Mai get together by throwing them together on a Christmas shopping trip.

Episode twelve and with the year coming to a close it looks like Atsushi has blown his chance for happiness, but with time running out he may yet have a last chance.

Is it me or has everyone else forgotten the war and replaced the action with teenage angst. It’s a real shame as the animation is pretty good, even presented in the original 4:3 aspect ratio. The audio doesn’t really help matters only coming in either an English or Japanese 2.0 track with optional signs and subtitles. The only extra of worth on the disc is the original television commercials (1 min, 10 sec). There are also a couple of trailers for other shows.

So the show is over and nobody has walked away happy. Although well made I feel that the series promised one thing but delivered something completely different. Fans of war or mecha anime should look elsewhere.


Charles Packer

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