Posted by psgels on 5 November 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews



Right now, I’m going to be saying something that I never would have thought to claim a year and a half ago: Sunrise Mecha-series rock! Of course, I’m not talking about their cheesy Gundam or Code Geass series, but their lesser known works: I’ve seen quite a few of them by now, and time and time again they deliver an amazing series. Gasaraki is another one of Ryousuke Takahashi’s series. I was already a huge fan of him before I started watching, and this series made me an even bigger one. He yet again puts down an original series that takes both itself and its audience seriously.

Even though the series has a teen-age couple as its main characters, there’s much more to this series than just that. In fact, the most interesting part of this series is a huge political scheme to try and take over Japan, executed by the superiors of the male lead. The politics in this series are deep, imaginative and detailed, and a great watch for anyone who’s looking for a mature series with a lot of emphasis on dialogue. The teen-aged leads aren’t that bad themselves either. They’re nowhere near those annoying teen-aged brats that you usually see in the lead character’s seat, and they contribute really well to the mature nature of this series despite their age.

At its core, this is a series that combines action with politics. However, those who are merely looking for the former will probably be very bored by the latter. It’s because of this I guess that this series is very underrated: Ryousuke Takahashi’s series have always put a lot of emphasis on very complex dialogue to flesh out their setting, and with Gasaraki this goes more than ever. If you’re not interested in Japanese politics, you probably won’t find much enjoyment in this.

The animation in this series varies from standard, to absolutely beautiful. the frame-rate at times is so unbelievably smooth that it becomes hard to believe that this is a TV-series, made more than ten years ago by now. Especially the first episodes are incredibly well animated because of this, but even after that, the animation kicks ass at times. The music is also simple, but effective.

Overall, Gasaraki’s politics are incredibly fascinating and its action is gripping and down to earth. If I had to mention a flaw, then it’s that the characters lack a bit of spark and could have been more fleshed out and a few of the plot events could have been more explained, but the rest of this series really makes up for it. This is no series with good guys or bad guys, but instead it’s about people with different morals and ideals. I really enjoyed watching it, and the show closes off with a strong finale.

Storytelling: 9/10
Characters: 8/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 9/10

17 Responses

  1. Avatar Camario says:

    I don’t hate their newer works myself, but there’s definitely a lot of truth behind your statement. Sunrise’s lesser known series can be quite interesting indeed.

    I remember trying to watch this specific series when it was on a certain TV channel quite a few years ago, but there were occasional problems with the subtitles that turned out to be deadly to my enjoyment of such a dialogue heavy show. Sometimes the translated texts would disappear temporarily or permanently.

    If lots of conversations are taking place and you can’t understand them completely, that’s a big problem. I ended up giving up and forgetting about it.

    From your description, it definitely sounds like I should go back and give Gasaraki a second chance through alternative means without those technical issues that originally got in my way.

  2. Avatar Autonomous Monster says:

    Right now, I’m going to be saying something that I never would have thought to claim a year and a half ago: Sunrise Mecha-series rock!

    Who are you and what have you done with psgels?! >:(

  3. Avatar Autonomous Monster says:

    Right now, I’m going to be saying something that I never would have thought to claim a year and a half ago: Sunrise Mecha-series rock!

    Who are you and what have you done with psgels?! >:(

  4. Avatar Autonomous Monster says:

    Argh, sorry, fucked up the captcha

  5. Avatar Meep says:

    Oooo this looks cool!! -plans to watch this-

  6. Avatar AKI says:

    psgels you need to watch DT EIGHTRON now. It’s also from Sunrise and was released around 1998, probably the same time as Gasaraki.

  7. Avatar Keith says:

    You know, the guy that co-directed this was the director of Code Geass. Ha! TAKE THAT!!!

  8. Avatar Camario says:

    @Keith: Actually, Goro Taniguchi was the Assistant Director to Ryousuke Takahashi, who was the main guy in charge.

    I definitely don’t think you can argue that they were equal partners in the production, as the term you’re using might imply, since Takahashi was clearly the senior, but it’s an interesting bit of trivia to see that he was involved.

    On that note though, I’d say once again that Taniguchi has directed other shows besides Geass, such as Planetes and Infinite Ryvius, which have a very different feel and subject matter.

  9. Avatar Reltair says:

    I remember seeing an advertisement for Gasaraki when I first started watching anime. Even though I was interested, I never got around to watching it. Need to do so!

  10. Avatar meow says:

    A really nostalgic title but like Camario said, unless you have access to some really brilliant subtitles, you’re going to be very lost, like I was. I bought 2 different locally distributed versions of Gasaraki years ago – the only kinds available here at the time. The first had no english subtitles but I had hoped to be able to pick out alot of the plot through the raw. I was very wrong. I believe two thirds of the story is dialog, with very little mech action which I felt was of minor consequence to the story (I felt it was tagged on to attract mech fans as they didn’t seem to have much impact on the story) and some supernatural traditional japanese cultism thrown in. I bought another set that claimed to offer english subtitles years later, which turned out to be complete fails. I did like the character designs and the haunting music though.

  11. Avatar qwaszx says:

    this is new to me, even after 7 or 8 years.

  12. Avatar DLP says:

    Glad you like Gasaraki – sometimes I think I’m the only one who enjoyed it.

    I especially like two things about it:

    (a) The very realistic mecha designs (and the detail shown in things like tactical displays)

    (b) The evocative songs and back ground music, particularly the closing theme.

  13. Avatar Icipher says:

    Have you watched Seikai no Saga (Crest/Banner of the Stars)? Definitely one of Sunrise’s best sci-fi series ever (though it’s not original series, but adaptation of Hiroyuki Morioka’s novels) – a head above the Code Geass and some other childish bullshit. Gorgeous space opera with great cast of charactes. Must I say it’s kind of “must see”? ^_^

    Oh, about Gasaraki. I really loved realistic approach of this series, even when it’s combined with mystical/pseudo-historical elements. Ryousuke Takahashi rules!

  14. Avatar ServantOfPriss says:

    One of the most underrated mecha series if you ask me. In a way, this is good, but at the same time, I feel like this series (and Ryosuke series in general) don’t get at least the respect they deserve.

    Shows the taste that mecha and anime fans in general have.

  15. While I know this is a very old post/review, I see no point in me crowding up the chatbox with a show nobody watched giving my views on it.
    This had been on my rewatch list for 20 years, it used to air on the UK scifi channel, I remember it getting my attention when I was young but not fully comprehending the show.
    Having spent a week blowing through it, I’d happily call it an underated show, but at the same time, a rough gem that I can understand why people wouldn’t enjoy it.
    For me this was a mixed bag, while people hated the fight scenes, I thought the slowness added to them, but on the flipside the art is kind of bland and the animation re-uses too many stills. The voice acting, both in English and Japanese is so-so.
    I found the initial half an interesting but un-even balance of being downright too vague and genuine intrigue.
    In the end I also felt that the story could have been less muddled and more developed.
    It succeeded for me on a thematic level and most of its plot beats and I loved the political element to the story and despite how abruptly it ended and how messy the experience was as a whole, it was matched by a same level of ambition and I respect it for that.
    Like psgels I thought the newsreel segments were a unique way of conveying the story.
    Something I’d recommend, although with caution and advise patience as it does somewhat get better/improve.
    I hated that little sister though.

  16. Thinking it over further, this felt Mamoru oshi light, I almost wished to see what he could have done with the material.

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