ADV Films // 2003 // 75 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // June 13th, 2006
"You didn't think this would end without a little pain did you?"
The final chapter of Gilgamesh is an utter mind bender. Gilgamesh: All Fall Down (Volume 7) contains the last three episodes of this anime series, and finally answers the questions we've been asking all these months. Personally I wish the series would never end, but with such an apocalyptic climax there's no way we'll ever see a sequel. This is the perfect way to end things in anime -- total chaos, and the biggest reveal you can muster. Finally the question "Whose side are you on?" will no longer hang over our heads, taunting us as the volumes spin out every couple of months.
Everything involved with Gilgamesh has been riddled with controversy. It eschewed normal anime formulas, and offered a dark, brooding drama without levity and hardly any fan service. There was never a straightforward plot, or clearly defined motivations for the war. Even the style of the drawings seemed minimal and black and white, as if a graphic novel had been set in motion with all the color drained from its pages. Style took the place of substance, but we still had strong lead characters to cling to throughout the run. Jjust wait until you see the last moments of the show! The actors were kept in the dark as to how the show would end, and read their lines off a teleprompter to keep them from reading ahead to ruin the surprise. It's a doozie too. Religion, myth, science, and the supernatural collide in ways you'll never see coming as the series sprints across the finish line. Even after the closing credits, we are offered some enigmatic parting shots just to seal the deal.
The transfer is clear without detectable aliasing or digital artifacts. The subdued color palette lends itself well to ADV's visual treatment, and the reds pop appropriately. There's a full surround English dub which is wonderfully done, and a simple stereo Japanese mix with the original actors. The only gripe I have with ADV's presentation is that the last three volumes have only included three episodes per disc. That seems like a paltry amount of episodes for a series that had five episodes on the first volume to get us hooked. Extras are robust, including production galleries, a glossary, promotional video, all the musical pieces presented as videos, and an explanation of the characters by the English voice actors. ADV's ADR director provides a commentary over an episode and a half that is entertaining as hell, but hardly informative about the series (giving only insight in to the recording sessions with his "young, hot actors, dressed in black").
Gilgamesh has been the most refreshing anime released in a long time. It's sexy, striking, and concludes in a shocking way you'll never see coming. It stands out as a relentlessly dark series with a wood block print sensibility. Gilgamesh: All Fall Down (Volume 7) doesn't disappoint with it's strong finish and robust extras. Supernatural science fiction was never this cool, and anime finally has a noir classic to claim as its own.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: ADV Films
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Japanese)
Running Time: 75 Minutes
Release Year: 2003
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Clean and Opening and Closing
* Production Art Gallery
* Glossary of Terms
* Japanese Promotional Video
* Commentary by American ADR Director Steven Foster
* The Music of Gilgamesh
* Revelations: Dark Secrets Featurette
* Anime Nfo -- Gilgamesh
* ADV Gilgamesh Site