ADV Films // 2002 // 325 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // June 22nd, 2006
Boobies and a huge mecha battle...yep, it's anime.
In 2041 a mysterious billionaire named Klein Sandman decides it's time to battle an alien invasion of Earth with one of anime's most used weapons -- the giant robot formed from several ships. Yes, it's another mecha battle in the tradition of Neon Genesis Evangelion or Voltron. Gravion deals with the battles of a rag tag group of orphans who become fighter pilots in a struggle against the violent Zeravire invaders. The series rests on a monumental amount of clichés including: bouncing breasts, pretty young maids, boyish fighter pilots, apocalyptic robot battles, a military team with issues, and a space opera feel of old time serial adventures.Gravion lacks a lot of depth, but it offers enough frenetic action to make up for that. The characters are not particularly well-drawn in both the literal and literary sense. Gravion, ironically, lacks any sense of gravity. It bops along without a brain in its head, moving from one epic battle to the next.
Gravion: The Complete First Season is a box set from ADV films that collects all thirteen episodes of the first season of the show, in one convenient package with three discs housed in slim cases and a colorful cardboard sleeve. The transfer is bright and clear, showing off the anime's almost comical palette well. The show looks like a low budget affair without much complexity to the images, and lots of the old "pan across the cell to create action" cheat that Japanese animation is famous for using. ADV has done a great job with the visual presentation. The English audio track is a full surround affair that provides ample punch to the proceedings. The American actors sound slightly stiff in comparison to the Japanese originators (although Greg Ayres does an amazing job voicing Toga), but the sound effects come off great. The original language track is quite solid, but only offered in stereo. No extras appear on this incarnation of the series since it is a straight forward complete collection offered at a lower price. That's a shame, as the original ADR actor interviews from the original releases were entertaining.
Gravion kicks anime out "old school" style with plenty of battles and fan service along the way. I didn't mind the journey, but it seemed stereotypical. You've seen a series like this a million times over if you're a fan of the genre. Young kids will probably find it a kick, and there's not too much offensive material to worry about save for some strange cross dressing and preoccupation with breasts. There's tons of robot battles, inspirational Japanese pop, and predictable melodrama. It's a fine diversion if that's what you're seeking, but this is hardly a revelation in anime. Gravion: The Complete First Season houses a competent "cover song" version of many more popular anime titles. If you love loud mecha battles and busty women it's worth the investment.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: ADV Films
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Japanese)
Running Time: 325 Minutes
Release Year: 2002
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* DVD Verdict Review of Gravion Volume One