Friday, April 8, 2011

Gunparade March Anime Review

Gunparade March
Media Blasters - Anime Works
Complete Collection - 12 episodes
292 minutes
$79.95 Collector's Tin (2004) $59.95 Box Set (2006)
ISBN 631595062373
English/Japanese Audio - English Subtitles
Director - Katsushi Sakurabi
Studio - J.C. Staff

Synopsis: In 1945 an alien race appeared on Earth abruptly ending the Second World War.  The aliens are known as the Genjyu ("phantom beasts") and have taken over half of the planet.  Massive 'brains' which hatch from eggs produce scores of 'drones', exude a poisonous gas, and kill anything showing emotions. 

54 years later it's the year 1999 and humanity has developed Humanoid Walking Tanks (HWTs) to battle the invaders.  Pilots are scarce and the Japanese government was forced to begin drafting students into the conflict.  We follow the lives of the 5121st Platoon consisting mainly of drafted high school students in their struggle to lead semi-normal lives while defending Japan against the aliens.

Pros: Characters eventually grow on you, Hayami reciting a fairy tale and emptying his mind to survive a Genjyu infestation was really cool, extras include an awesome hard rock/metal theme song

Cons: Aliens get killed and disintegrate into nothing, character designs were bland, opening/ending themes are boring

Mike Tells It Straight: Portraying the trials of growing up amid the hardships of war Gunparade March is a somber yet silly show.  The grim reality of these kids fighting a war for human survival really hits home as deadly situations are faced and characters die.  GPM is not just a mecha show and contains equal parts slice-of-life topics, but it's a tough balance between war and the silliness of teenage dilemmas.  I can't say GPM is tremendously memorable, but it did spawn a full-length sequel Gunparade Orchestra (24 episodes + OVA).

TO BUY and Recommendations: