Volume 3 - Undead War

Starring (voice): Tomokazu Seki, Kenji Hamada and Tsutomu Isobe
RRP: 19.99
MVD 2071
Certificate: 12
Available 08 August 2005

Brandon Heat is living an uneventful life, hanging out with friends and falling in love with Maria. When Maria's father and his friends are brutally slain, Brandon goes on the run. Eventually, he discovers that Maria has been adopted by one of the largest underworld Mafia organisations - Millennion. In order to remain near to Maria, Brandon and his friend, Harry, join Millennion. What they find is violence, blood and death...

Gungrave is a dark and intense anime. Although it's not The Godfather, one of the characters looks suspiciously like Al Pacino. This is defiantly not a children's animation, it contains a lot of expletives and blood. Such was the success of the title that it spawned a computer game.

This disc represents volume three of Gungrave, also known collectively as Undead War, and contains episodes nine to twelve. In Dispute an army of zombie gangsters is raised by the Lightning Group and Blood War to challenge the authority and might of Millennion. Can Brandon and Harry find out what's happening in time to stop them? Conflict follows on from Dispute, the Lightning Group continue to expand their army of zombies. Blood War directly challenges Brandon, whilst an all out war between the two organisations erupts on the city streets. Heat sees the traitor in the Millennion organisation finally uncovered. Brandon goes after Blood War alone. But some things never last and even a traitor can sometimes bring surprises. Kind follows the Undead war. Harry continues to extend his power and influence in the organisation, while Brandon's thoughts turn towards Maria.

The disc runs to about one hundred minutes. Extras are a little thin on the ground consisting of only fifteen pictures of production art and the inevitable trailer section.

On the sound side things get a lot more interesting with the audio being offered in English 5.1, Japanese stereo or 5.1 DTS. The best audio track to use is the Japanese DTS with subtitles. There is good use of ambient sound to add atmosphere, even though the rear speakers are rarely used it's a vast improvement over the stereo version. If you can't stand subtitles then the English 5.1 does almost as good a job. The print as usual is superb, making the best of the vibrant colours.

Overall, another good slice of anime. The four episodes represent an interconnected ongoing story which doesn't require the buyer to know anything of the back story.

Charles Packer

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