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Gasaraki Vol. 1: The Summoning (2000)

    see all cast/crew...
Studio: A.D.V. Films
Genre: Anime, Mecha
Running Time: 100 min.
Languages: English, Japanese
Subtitles: English
    see additional details...

This title is currently out of print.

Synopsis
Get ready for an all-out assault on the senses as the key creative talents behind Patlabor 2 and Bubblegum Crisis join forces with the producers of the Mobile Suit Gundam saga for the ultimate animated epic! The flames of war explode in the Middle East as two shadow forces unleash monstrous new weapons of mass destruction! But in a world in which giant robots are real, the most dangerous weapon of all lies buried within a human mind. Yushiro, the fourth son of the mysterious and powerful Gowa family, finds himself at the center of events that will change the future of mankind forever! Nothing can prepare the human race for what is about to be unleashed in Gasaraki!

GreenCine Member Reviews

"How can we make this a unique robot show?" by tommyk February 21, 2012 - 6:56 PM PST
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In the extras on the disk, the question in the subject line was supposedly asked by the director to the staff. The answer he got was "Only have two robots."

I think they meant "only two types of robots", one a sort of Eurasian Dictatorship, the other a JSSDF model, with just two groups of 5 prototypes each. Unique? I wonder if it's a problem with translation...

It's not a good show, from what I saw, I'll admit, I only watched 1 disk, but it dug itself a hole so deep in 1 disk. It's not all bad though, just mostly.

The high points:

1. Good idea: a realistic very near-future ( from 1998 ) where tank-sized power suits are deployed for the first time in combat. Not unique, nope, but it's a road less traveled not go over the top with the mechs.

2. Animation is very workmanlike and of decent standard overall. Not perfect, a little staid but decent for 1998.

3. The characters and robot designs are appealingly realistic, for anime.

The low, low points:

1. Anime plot is once again off the deep end of conspiracy theory. This time, with such realistic, boring mechs that use conventional weapons, was it needed to have the space aliens to justify the tech? Plus, Noh is the way to contact inter-dimensional entities. Noh, the dancing. Don't ask.

2. The human characters are dull, personality wise, and their actions make little real sense in the context of the plot.

3. The robots are not believable as a "game changer" on the battlefield, so it makes little sense.

4. Oh, my god, Article 9 is such a problem, again. It's undermining our very manhood. Yawn.

So, in short a non-original, but workable concept which never pulls itself out of the tar pit of bad ideas it's stuck in. Most of these ideas are not needed, and just gum up the works. It might have been interesting to see mobile suits that AREN'T the ultimate in super weapons... just more hardware with soldiers in them, trying to survive.

Next time, spare the Noh and spoil the Fake!

Unfortunately this is just another Anime where the director didn't know what to do, so he threw stuff in, always checking out what his peers were doing but not thinking about why. A Japanese take on "unique", including hints of incestuous sibling romance. "Wai!", as they say. Just what this thing needed.

Political Thriller Anime Style by manuelvillanueva November 23, 2007 - 7:06 PM PST
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In my opinion, Gasaraki overcomes the presumptions and stigma held about anime. Contrary to what some would believe, not all anime revolve around fan service and power-ups. Gasaraki illustrates how anime encompasses all genres with a tale of conflict between ancient beliefs and the current political scheme of Japan. To give you a taste of the dialogue in Gasaraki I've included a brief passage from Wails (episode 19) during a meeting between Mr. Hiraku Nishida and Colonel Tamotsu Hayakawa of the Japanese Strategic Self Defense Force:

Nishida: Colonel Hayakawa, why did you become a member of the SSDF? Well...You're not a person to become a part of the SSDF without a good reason. Hirokawa is much the same. He is not simply seduced by the concept of protecting and ensuring the integrity of the nation. The land that gave birth to us, that brought us up. When he thought back about this affinity that arises naturally toward your own homeland, an ideal manifests with himself. Hirokawa joined the SSDF as a way to answer to that ideal. That is what he said to me. But to remain true to your ideals is an arduous path to confront. Everyday, reality rears its ugly head, and imposes tremendous obstacles in your quest to realize your ideal.

Hayakawa: But does not society prosper from the process of vigorous competition between different ideals?

Nishida: Ideals do not crush ideals. Only ignorance born of indifferent apathy does.

Dialogue such as this will either pique your interest or turn you off depending on your preferences. I found Gasaraki interesting and entertaining with many competing themes. 1) While conflicting ideals is a major theme, 2) ethical and philosophical dilemmas arise. 3) Gasaraki could be considered a mecha anime although their role is minor in this political thriller. 4) Gasaraki is enshrouded in mystery with reference to an ancient "terror" and an unknown element used in mechas much like in the Evangelion anime. 5) Spiritualism plays a role summoning the ancient terror as well as bonding the two main characters.

I tried, I honestly tried... but this both sucks and blows. by Ursus February 22, 2006 - 11:24 AM PST
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3 out of 4 members found this review helpful
The first thoughts that came to forefront of this reviewers mind when finishing this eight volume series was: Gasaraki, that was a good animated series... FOR ME TO POOP ON! I tried folks, I honestly tried, hoping against hope that somehow this incredibly "flat" series would pull a rhinocerous out of its pants -being perfectly frank- and raise my resting pulse rate beyond the ranges typically reserved for the recently deceased. The story/plot, far from being engaging or entertaining, was dull and uninteresting with a liberal helping of lathargic pacing... it makes glacial-creep look like Steve McQueen in Bullit. (Which you should have rented in place of this!)
Besides being painfully slow, which is not to be confused with being intellectually deep or of great substance -which the story isn't- the animation is banal; more underwhelming than average, with mech battles that suffer from delusions of adequacy let alone excitment -ultrasounds of fatty-livers and gal stones are better, people. This is, of-course, an oddity considering the pedigree this series claims in regards to those people invovled with its being(e.g. Patalabor, Gundum, etc.) Perhaps they lost a bet or were trying to finance a fledgling drug habit, who knows? I have no explanation.
And lastly, from a medical-wonk POV, whoever was the technical consultant regarding this series' anatomy and physiology must have gotten their credentials from the back of a match-book... so many glaring impossibilities of B.P., Heartrate, etc... beyond the realm of suspended disbelief.

So, please, for pity sake, keep right on moving past this series, don't make eye contact, don't acknowledge it, don't give it a dollar or even a nickel, just keep on moving. Unless of course you are the proud owner of a self-inflicted ice-pick lobotomy in which case... good luck with that! Otherwise, there are sooo many far better series to choose from.

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GreenCine Member Rating
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(Average 6.35)
168 Votes
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All time enjoyable audio-visual wastes of time.
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