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DVD Review

DVD cover

Gunparade March Collection


Starring (voice): Akemi Okamura, Akira Ishida, Akio Suyama, Chiaki Maeda and Emi Shinohara
RRP: £29.99
Certificate: 12
Available 07 June 2010

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 were drafted in to man the monumental fighting machines, the Human Walking Tanks...

Gunparade March (2003 - 300 mins) is an anime show based on an original Playstation game, the show was created by the J. C. Staff studio (Ikki Tousen (2003), R.O.D: THE TV (2003), Starship Operators (2005)). The show was originally released as three separate discs, so if you’re interested in the show this three disc DVD set is a more economical way of catching up with the show and contains all twelve episodes.

The central problem of the show still remains even after you’ve watched the whole season; the central narrative is a smashing together of a mecha show with that of a teen school plot. Given that often the school elements supersede the fact that the world appears to have gone to hell, it makes for very odd watching. This is not helped by the general lack of clarification of the show's background which places you into the centre of the action without many points of reference; it makes the watching experience disorientating.

Now I have watched the show for a second time I still can’t really give a good explanation why Japan needs high school kids to pilot its advanced weaponry, apart from the fact that the adults seem reluctant to do so and the kids seem a bit gullible.

The animation does the show few favours with a uniformity of design which makes it difficult to distinguish the characters and therefore more difficult to care about them, even less so as they appear to exist in a world untouched by the devastation visited on the rest of the world. So you have a show which purports to tell you that the human race is facing extinction and then bizarrely spends a great deal of time chronicling the daily lives of a bunch of school kids with their associated crushes and arguments.

I didn’t think that the show really worked when I reviewed volumes 1, 2, and 3 and the collection hasn’t really changed my view of this. The discs appear to be the same as those originally released in isolation so the extras on disc one has the same textless opening and closing sequences as well as a few trailers, disc two has some production art and even more trailers and finally disc three contains the original Japanese TV trailers and even more trailers for other shows.

Audio is a rather basic 2.0 Japanese track with optional English subs and an English dub track. The show is presented in its original 4:3 aspect ratio and whilst there is the occasional twist that sparks the imagination, overall Gunparade March is a pretty average show.


Charles Packer

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