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Gasaraki Vol. 1: The Summoning back to product details

"How can we make this a unique robot show?"
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written by tommyk February 21, 2012 - 6:56 PM PST
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
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written by manuelvillanueva November 23, 2007 - 7:06 PM PST
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.
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written by Ursus February 22, 2006 - 11:24 AM PST
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.

Incredible Begining, Disapointing Ending
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written by Daedalus August 11, 2004 - 1:05 PM PDT
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
This is one of those animes that has real potential, and then loses it all at the very end. The first five or so disks are absolutley riviting, but the last ones lose the momentum that is produced early on. Having said this, I would reccomend this series to anyone, if only for the incredible visuals and intersting story. Thos who enjoy giant robots and explosive action sequences will find Gasaraki exciting, but this series also offers a complicated, interesting, and intricate plot, that leaves you guessing until (almost) the end.

Mystical and Political
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written by Calafragious June 3, 2004 - 8:38 AM PDT
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful
As another reviewer noted, the story line of Gasaraki builds slowly, and some of the episodes are relentlessly political, grounded in the administrative and personal conflicts between various groups within the military and civilian power structure. If you like Michael Crichton's military thrillers, you'll probably like this aspect of Gasaraki. The other plot concerns mystical, magical and historic matters, more in the tradition of an old-time samurai story, and the uncomfortable union of these two radically different story lines makes Gasaraki unique, but sometimes frustrating. However, I know of no anime, except the second Patlabor movie, that meditates so deeply about modern Japan and its place in the world. This is a show for grown-ups and it will reward your patient attention. The character designs are unfortunately rather simplistic and flat, but the mecha are first-rate, and in most ways this is a very fine show.

I don't like robots
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written by pumpkinchick28 August 8, 2003 - 3:06 PM PDT
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful
Okay, this is a review from a girl who doesn't like robot movies. I really like Gasaraki. It doesn't substitute robots and big powerful weapons for a plot like most mecha shows I've seen. Be prepared, however, to not have the slightest idea what's going on in this series until you've gotten through the second volume (and even then, you'll still be wondering).

I found Gasaraki highly addictive, there are always new elements being introduced. I have a few complaints though. First of all, the plot moves very slowly at some points, and I got a little impatient with that. Secondly, you don't ever really get to know many of the characters. On one hand, this kept me guessing. On the other, it made me feel cheated. All in all, I would recommend Gasaraki to just about any anime fan. It's hard not to like.

If you're patient, you'll find a gem...
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written by markhl March 30, 2003 - 12:52 PM PST
7 out of 8 members found this review helpful
Give this series a chance... The surprisingly low rating that I see (6 out of 10 at the time of this review) is probably due to the fact that 1) the plot builds very slowly through the first couple of DVD's, and 2) most people coming in expect to see the shiniest, accessorized mecha and fantastic fighting sequences which does not happen. The mecha that you see is primitive and the look and feel of the series is of something that could happen in the not too distant future.

What makes this anime unique? Akadot.com's informative review describes it best:
"The primary innovation of the Gasaraki epic has been its seamless weaving of the familiar battling-robot story with endless layers of Japanese and Buddhist mysticism." In this respect, the plot of Gasaraki is much more Evangelion-esque than Gundam Wing/Robotech-ish (in comparing to familiar mecha animes).

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(Average 6.35)
168 Votes
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