Shaenon takes a crawl through the manga version of one of Makoto Shinkai's beloved films.
Reviewby Bamboo Dong, Nov 13th 2002
DVD 4: Out of Time
In the fourth and last volume of Generator Gawl, secrets are revealed about some of the characters true identities, as well as their origins. In the meantime, Gawl is forced to do battle with a horde of Generators, as well as Ryuko, a Phase 5 generator who wants to usher in the wake of the Third World War.
Warning: This review contains a small spoiler about the ending of this series.
Generator Gawl reaches its conclusion in the fourth volume of the series. Released in the United States by ADV Films, the last DVD contains three episodes, as well as a few extras. Interestingly, the names of the episodes listed on the back of the DVD cover have nothing to do with the names of the actual episodes themselves. Although this is more amusing than anything else, it may confuse some viewers when they go to the menu and try to figure out which episode they want. As for the extras, there's a section with line art for some of the characters and another section with line art for some generators. Both only include a few sketches though, so there's not much to look at. There's also the option to view the creditless opening and ending themes, which is somewhat cool, especially for the ending theme, which has a very cute and funny animation sequence. ADV also proudly boasts on the back of the DVD cover that the disc includes interactive menus, which is amusing, given the alternative of menus that do nothing.
As far as series finales go, the ending of Generator Gawl is not impressive. It seems very rushed and weak, with heartless attempts to make the series more provocative and profound by inserting badly done dream sequences and personal character asides. The closer the series approaches the end, the more plot holes there are, it seems as if the writer ran was running out of ideas while trying to end the series as fast as possible. Compliments are given to the writers, however, for at least attempting to explain the characters' actions and knowledge. While this approach is very much appreciated, it falls short of its intended goal of clearing things up, as the explanations of the characters circumvent the actual topics, and instead trail off and stray to tangent points. Somehow, even with all the indecisive hemming and hawing in the episodes, the story still manages to make a bit of sense, given the simplicity of it. The ending is rather cheesy and hard to swallow, however, as it features a shot of a large crowd of children waving happily at the prospect of their new future. In fact, viewers need to be cautioned, lest they puke at the fakeness of the ending.
For the most part, the art in the series is very mediocre and unimpressive. The objects in the foreground are undetailed and lack any perspective. Possibly the quirkiest aspect about the art is the character design. The men in the series look fine, and but the women, for some reason, are extremely ugly. Perhaps the character designer just couldn't draw women, but all of the ones in the series are horrifically ugly, to the max. It makes the series rather hard to watch, because at times, instead of paying attention to the subtitles or dialogue, all that might be in one's head is the fact that the women are ugly. On the positive side, some of the backgrounds are kind of pretty, but just that. The animation, like the art, is also mediocre. Character movements are oversimplified at times, and not much thought was given to making the characters' bodies and faces look natural. While the series doesn't look entirely like a low budget, it doesn't look like a well-financed one either. The animation is just rather slow and repetitive, with characters faces frozen for an extended period of time with just flapping jaws.
Also mediocre was the acting for both tracks. The Japanese acting was done well, but at there was nothing that particularly stood out about it. The lines were delivered properly, but the actors didn't really step into their roles, with the exception of a few. The English acting is flat, for the most part, and dull. Even during the action scenes, the voices are blasé and very tiresome to listen to. Also, as with many of ADV's releases, such as Orphen, Gasaraki, Those Who Hunt Elves, and others, the English script had absolutely nothing to do with original Japanese script. People were speaking where they weren't supposed to in the Japanese script, or characters would utter whole sentences, where only a one-syllable name was uttered. ADV has a tendency to do this, which is vary annoying, as the story sometimes is altered by their reckless translating, or lack of any translating whatsoever.
It seems that the only redeeming quality about Generator Gawl is the ending theme. The animation sequence shows Gawl and his friends doing small activities in a cartoony fashion. It's cute to watch, and it allows one to forget after a bad episode how bad it was. The rest of the music is unimpressive, as nearly all of the tracks sound exactly the same. The music is very unimpressionable, and even after an episode, one can't really remember the music too much, other than few musical bars here and there.
Overall, the series just isn't impressive. The story is mediocre, the characters are mediocre, the art is mediocre… everything is average, and doesn't stick out in one's mind. It may be somewhat entertaining to watch for its action scenes, but only as a way to pass time. Still, if one wants to do that, there are many better choices of anime than Generator Gawl.
Overall (dub) : D
Overall (sub) : C
Story : C-
Animation : C
Art : C
Music : C
+ Cute ending theme
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