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ADV Films presents
Gasaraki #3: Betrayal (1998)

"We must gain a checkmate, no matter what."
- Daizburou Gowa (Takehiro Koyama)

Review By: Jeff Ulmer   
Published: February 27, 2001

Stars: Nobuyuki Hiyama, Mami Kingetsu, Seiko Fujiki /Chris Palton, Monica Rial, Laura Chapman
Other Stars: Yugi Takada, Sho Hayami, Isshin Chiba/Andy McAvin, Jason Douglas, Brett Weaver
Director: Ryosuke Takahashi

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (12+ for violence)
Run Time: 01h:13m:35s
Release Date: January 30, 2001
UPC: 702727005428
Genre: anime

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

ADV brings disc three in Ryosuke Takahashi's Gasaraki television series. Infused with copious amounts of action, political intrigue and complex plots, the series gets a high recommendation from this reviewer. Up to now we have been taken through a number of smaller story arcs, which have been developing the ongoing conflicts between the many factions involved. Centered around the Tactical Armor developed by both the Gowa Corporation and their rivals, Symbol, the series also delves into the many layered relationships these entities have with each other and their respective government agencies. Episodes 9-11, Inferno, Storehouse and The Kugai, are included on this DVD. Skip to the technical reviews if you aren't already involved with the series.

Their first encounter with Fakes over, the TA team returns to Japan amidst publicity and controversy over the existence of the Gowa Corporation's Tactical Armor, and its use in the field, which may contravene Japan's nonmilitary involvement policy. While the TA team is put into quarantine to keep them from the press, the Gowa organization steals back to its headquarters to analyse the data captured in the Belgistan incident. To recover this data, Symbol uses its latest Fakes to infiltrate Gowa headquarters, and while searching for the information, Miharu (Mami Kingetsu) uncovers information about Yushhiro (Nobuyuki Hiyama) that will have him questioning his place in all the goings on, and send him back to Stage of Stone in search of his own answers. Meanwhile, in more secret meetings, the state of Japan is being discussed by one of the elder Gowas and an old samurai warrior distraught over the country's direction. New plots are being hatched as the fate of the nation is being molded from all sides.

With these three episodes, the plot deepens and more questions are posed about the forces behind the factions involved in the Tactical Armor development. The series is extremely exciting to watch, with plenty of action, a complex narrative style, and a storyline the gets progressively more complicated as things move on. More story arcs are beginning to emerge, and those already in action are being expanded upon. The many layers involved in the series definitely keeps the interest level up, and makes one want to continue watching as the credits roll. The only downside is the number of episodes per disc, which, while perhaps improving the video quality, also increases the budget for the series, and as a viewer will probably leave you looking for more sooner than later. However, the bonus features do round the set out nicely, so this really isn't bad value.

Rating for Style: A+
Rating for Substance: A


Image Transfer

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

Image Transfer Review: Image quality is extremely good on disc three. Colors are rich and solid, compression artifacts are nowhere to be found, and shimmer and line noise are minimal. Another great looking disc.

Image Transfer Grade: A


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Japanese, Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: Both the Japanese and English tracks are presented in stereo. This series has great sound design which makes good use of the stereo field, and is highly immersive, dynamic and full range. The audio transfer here is flawless, and really adds to the feel of the show in a big way.

Audio Transfer Grade: A


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 15 cues and remote access
6 Other Trailer(s) featuring Generator Gawl, Farscape, Shadow Raiders, Orphen, Arc The Lad, ADV mix trailer
Packaging: other
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Interview with Mechanical Designer, Yutaka Izubuchi
  2. Behind the scenes ADR session
  3. Production notes
Extras Review: Gasaraki 3 expands on the extras a bit over the first two discs in the series. First up is a collection of front end trailers for Generator Gawl, Farscape, Shadow Raiders, Orphen, Arc The Lad and the ADV mix trailer. Press either your chapter skip to proceed to the next trailer or menu to go right to the disc's navigation controls.

Like the first two discs, this one contains the preface to an interview, on this disc we have Mechanical Designer, Yutaka Izubuchi, who discusses his role in the creation of the series. The remainder of the interview is on ADV's website.

The production sheets section returns, again featuring a trio of screens with a number of elements from the show, such as the characters, different armor and so forth, described via popup text boxes accessed by clicking on the text next to each item. Descriptions are thorough yet relatively spoiler free.

Another short glossary of some of the abbreviations and terms used in the series is also included.

The really cool extra here is the behind-the-scenes section, which includes a video recording of voice actor Monica Rial (Miharu in the English version) dubbing the parts for her character in studio. She and ADR director Matt Greenfield can be seen working on her parts and discussing the treatment required. I'd like to see more of this behind-the-scenes stuff on upcoming discs, as it shows just how much work is involved in creating these series, even though I avoid dub tracks as a rule.

The menus again feature tasteful animated backgrounds and screen transitions, which are conceptually based on the show, and also featuring the series background music.

The inset booklet features extensive details on the MFX-02 Metal Fake, including descriptions of several of its appendages and accessories.

Extras Grade: B-


Final Comments

Though the episode count isn't as high as I'd like to see, the quality of the animation and it presentation continues to impress. The series is getting even more interesting, and is definitely not a run-of-the-mill storyline. Extras are well chosen, and round out the disc nicely. If you liked the first installments of Gasaraki, this disc does not disappoint.


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