Review

by Maral Agnerian, Jul 18th 2003

Gokudo

DVD 1: Swordsman Extraordinaire

Synopsis:
Gokudo DVD 1
Gokudo's just your normal mercenary adventurer--he'll do anything for money, dreams about striking it rich and being surrounded by hot babes, and has no morals whatsoever. Despite his best efforts, however, he ends up in a noble quest to save the princess from the evil King of Magic....but don't worry, he'll manage to screw it up somehow.
Review:
Ah yes, the asshole hero...bane of the melodramatic villain, source of aggravation for fellow adventurers, and darling of the spectators. There's just something infinitely entertaining about watching someone like Xelloss or Dark Schneider in action...totally badass, totally undependable, utterly unrepentant and simply beyond caring what anyone thinks of how much of a jackass they are. You'd never want to associate with these people, but damn is it funny to watch them kick ass, take names and piss off everyone in the process when it's not YOU being pissed off. Gokudou-kun takes the crown for being the biggest jackass in anime...he REALLY doesn't give a rat's ass about anyone but himself and if there are any redeemable features to his personality he has hidden them better than the purloined letter. He has a propensity for nose-picking, ear-picking and pick-pocketing, and is possibly even more mercenary than Lina Inverse.

But the lovable asshole isn't the only thing this show has going for it; the other players are no slouches either. The innocent-looking Princess Rubette is as almost as good with a sword as Gokudo, and usually ends up doing all the grunt work while Gokudo sits and watches. Djinn, Gokudo's sidekick, is a lawful good genie...the worst thing anyone like Gokudo could ask for, and he can't get rid of him till his wishes are used up (too bad the genie has some rather strict ideas of what is an acceptable wish and what isn't). Lastly we have a really freaky prophetess who keeps bugging Gokudo with "advice" and manipulating the party into doing her bidding. Gokudo just wants her to shut up, which usually results in her whacking him over the head a few times. I swear I've been in D & D groups that were at least as convoluted as this.

The animation is very good for a TV series, if rather stylized and very very goofy, and although they descend into cheap CGI for the occasional special effect, it's not too jarring. Ishida Akira, who brought us Xelloss in Slayers, plays Gokudo brilliantly. The dub cast aren't spectacular, but they're not horrible either...although many of the jokes don't work as well in the dub as they do in the sub.

This disc is pretty bare-bones; there are nice menus, but no extras beyond the usual trailers for other anime. With a show this fun, however, you don't really need fancy add-ons. The opening and closing songs are full of truly excellent high-energy genkiness and will have you bopping in your chair.

Silliness abounds in this fantasy romp, from SD Atari-style fight scenes to the adorably kawaii bunny-girl scene transitions. This 5-ep disc covers the first story arc in which Gokudo achieves all his dreams of money and power (with a catch, of course), and then continues on to the second storyline. Kind of a more uncouth, slightly obnoxious and consistently silly version of Slayers, Gokudo is a worthy successor to the rather lonely-of-late genre of fantasy comedy.
Grade:
Production Info:
Overall (dub) : B
Overall (sub) : B+
Story : B
Animation : B-
Art : B+
Music : B

+ Very silly; hilarious characters; great comedic fantasy
Cheap CGI used occasionally; no extras on disc

Series Director:Kunihisa Sugishima
Script:Sumihiro Tomioka
Storyboard:
Yoshitaka Fujimoto
Kenichi Kasai
Goro Taniguchi
Episode Director:Kenichi Kasai
Original creator:
Takeru Kirishima
Usagi Nakamura
Character Design:Miho Shimokasa
Art Director:Junichiro Nishikawa
Animation Director:
Koji Iwai
Miho Shimogasa
Miho Shimokasa
Yukio Takatsu
Director of Photography:Hitoshi Torkigoe
Producer:
Atsuko Kobayashi
Takayuki Yanagisawa

Full encyclopedia details about
Gokudo (TV)

Release information about
Gokudo - Swordsman Extraordinaire (DVD 1)

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