Keywords: , , , , , ,
Notables: R1 License - ADV (Renamed)
The flames of war explode in the middle east as two shadow forces unleash monstrous new weapons of mass destruction! But in a world in which giant robots are real, the most dangerous weapon of all lies buried within a human mind. Yushiro, the forth son of the mysterious and powerful Gowa family, finds himself at the center of events that will change the future of mankind forever! Nothing can prepare mankind or you for what is about to be unleashed in Gasaraki!

[TV series, 1998-99, 25 episodes, 21 min]
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Watch 8 7 7 8 6 6 Ggultra2764 [series:203#1552]
Gasaraki is one of the more trickier titles I've had to try figuring out in terms of what it wanted to tell and how to critique it. Focused on young mecha pilot Yushiro Gowa, the boy is treated as nothing more than a tool by his family who have considerable influence in Japan's military and political world, considering they have Yushiro become part of the country's military to test out their mecha, the Tactical Armor. This starts off the complicated tale of Gasaraki, a series that dabbles into political conspiracies, elements of Japanese folklore and the "real robot" genre of mecha anime.

Let's first tackle the simplest element of the series in the form of its "real robot" approach. Directed by the same man involved with 80s mecha title Armored Trooper Votoms, Gasaraki depicts a near-future implementation of its mecha similar to how Patlabor pulls it off with grounded implementation of its technology and limits to how far humans can make use of said robots in battle. This series is one of the more meticulous mecha titles when it comes to detailing the various capabilities of the Tactical Armor units seen throughout the series, demonstrating various elements such as having support staff coordinate mission details and locations, use of the mecha's features for various battle scenarios and believably dealing with realistic circumstances such as physics and terrain.

The elements of mysticism and politics introduced to the series are the more complicated element to the series and what has led to its very mixed reception among fans. Let's dabble into the political element of the series first. The series focuses on some shaky elements related to real-life global issues such as a Middle Eastern conflict similar to the Persian Gulf War and a radical element to Japan's relationship with America as the Gowas are among a conspiracy that would involve returning Japan to the militaristic regime it was under before their defeat in World War II. The latter element is the major focus for many of the later episodes in the series as this conspiracy drives Japan and America to the brink of war and the tension escalating from the conflict make for the highlight to this series. The political focus, combined with Gasaraki's "real robot" element, gives the series a realistic feel as its events give off a serious mood and are often accompanied by news program clips that make for a unique approach to delivering details on the title's major events without resorting to narration or exposition.

The mysticism element is more of a mixed bag here. The series makes use of elements in Japanese folklore and Noh musical performances to symbolically represent Japan's cultural identity and attempt using as a major story element involving the Gowa family. But this attempt felt hackneyed, was not as polished as the political and realistic elements that were otherwise conveyed throughout much of Gasaraki's run and lead to a subpar and rushed final episode once events with the American-Japanese political situation get resolved.

But perhaps this show's biggest issue is that it can be hard for many viewers to stay engaged to it. As lead characters, Yushiro and Miharu are rather bland and even as they are fleshed out, their characters lack much in the way of dimension, they mostly serve as players to the conflicts that play out and Miharu spends a good number of episodes in the second half in a catatonic state. The series also can get in the bad habit of being very dialogue-heavy with the various philosophies and political banter exchanged between characters at a number of points throughout Gasaraki, which become increasingly present during the American-Japanese conflict that takes place. While the exchanges help to get into the heads of some of the characters within the Gowa family, they can be difficult to follow if one isn't savvy enough with understanding Japanese history and culture.

Visually, Gasaraki is a bit of a mixed bag. The series sports polished and nicely detailed designs for its mecha, solid choreography and fluid movement for mecha battle scenes, implementation of CG animation for computer displays and providing diverse looks for its characters that aren't reused for the many designs implemented. However, the color tones used for the visuals are drab, consistency issues with a number of the title's designs are an occasional occurrence and details on visual elements not involving mecha and computer screens look rather rough in their appearance.

The soundtrack to Gasaraki is perhaps the high point of the series for me, consisting of dramatic and haunting musical pieces that are effectively used in the show's many tense and suspenseful moments. The OP and ED for the series (Message #9 and Love Story respectively) are excellent fits for Gasaraki and do well to convey the regular mood and themes that you can expect out of the series.

Overall, Gasaraki's quite the mixed bag for me. It tries making an effort to be realistic and different with its political and supernatural themes, which works well to a degree with the political elements and realism conveyed in its storytelling. However, these efforts are a double-edged sword as they can limit accessibility and engagement to many viewers with its convoluted themes, heavy-handed philosophizing, sloppy implementation of its supernatural elements and rather bland lead characters. While reputable for its mixture of "real robot" and political elements, your mileage will definitely vary with the amount of enjoyment one can get out of Gasaraki.

Last updated Tuesday, October 01 2013. Created Tuesday, October 01 2013.
Avoid 6 8 2 5 6 1 manganime [series:203#1633]
I wouldn't say avoid it completely but I had to watch the blasted thing three times to actually keep my attension on what's going on in this extremely dire anime, coz before my mind went off and I started thinking about other stuff.
The third time I did watch this I must say it was quite interesting and was actually quite good, but what I had to endure before that was maybe not worth it.
The mechas in this are basic looking but the way they are animated is really good but the animation drops way down as all the characters are soooo plain, and uninteresting.
For a good mecha with a deep story i recommend Patlabor instead.

Last updated Thursday, October 14 2004. Created Thursday, October 14 2004.
Watch 7 7 8 6 6 Kaitou Juliet [series:203#137]

Gasaraki is a bit like an X-Files episode, in the sense that you have military conspiracies wrapped up with paranormal phenomena. It starts slow, but picks up speed as it goes on. Unfortunately, the ending kind of falls apart. They do a fine job of wrapping up the political/economic conspiracy plot thread, but the others (particularly the one involving Yushiro's sister) are overly rushed and left me scratching my head. In the end, I'd say plot took precedence over character, as most of the characters were not very vivid.

Although the series gets good technical marks, I wasn't terribly impressed with it overall. But then, I admit that mecha is not really my thing--and this isn't even a very "hard" mecha series. I did like the music.

Bottom line: Worth a look, especially if you're into mecha. But don't expect nonstop action.

Last updated Tuesday, March 01 2005. Created Tuesday, February 12 2002.
Avoid 9 8 6 7 3 3 Mizzle [series:203#269]
Gasaraki is the ultimate cure for insomnia. The art and music were "OK", but I really thought that the plot could use a little more spice. Much of the anime is politics. Avoid at all costs unless you enjoy watching a bunch of ugly guys sipping coffee and discussing the country's current affairs!!

Last updated Monday, January 28 2002. Created Monday, January 28 2002.
Avoid 5 6 4 8 1 1 Anonymous #185 [series:203#185]
You could watch it but then you put yourself at risk of seeing another Gundam'esque anime slowly drain your awareness factor to the point of no return (until morning when the movie is long over and you have forgotten everything you saw) another result of too much anticipation and a good score mixed with a horrible storyline and no character development(a big minus in my book).

Last updated Sunday, July 01 2001. Created Sunday, July 01 2001.
Unevaluated 0 0 0 0 Black Panther [series:203#142]
This has the potential to be a great anime, but one MUST pay attention! I myself have only see the first 3 dvds, and I have to say it was hard to understand. I assume its because they throw so much information at you all at once, and your left with a o_O expression. But no worries, it really is a good anime. However, my advice would be to watch it twice. ^_^ I hope to see more soon; I am anxious to see how it turns out... And on a side note I will remain unevaluated until I see the rest.

Last updated Thursday, February 28 2002. Created Monday, February 19 2001.
Buy 8 7 8 7 CatWoman [series:203#65]
I have only seen the first four dvds in this series, but so far it is very VERY good! And seems to get better with each show! It is clean, but I wouldn't watch it with little kides cuse they will not understand any of it! The charaters and the plot is very griping and I love the brother sister relationship they have in it! BUY THIS! IT IS WORTH WATCHING OVER!<--(on top of that you may have to watch it twice to understand everything!)

Last updated Friday, July 06 2001. Created Wednesday, January 10 2001.
Buy 8 8 9 7 4 The Coyote [series:203#64]
this is a great anime they take a risky twist to the mech idea and in my opionion it is the best mech out there it's like Tom Clancy wrights gundam. I love it. Excellent characters and intrigueing pasts they take a while to develop this story but don't give up on it. It really is worth the time. The end suprised me in that I was expecting it to be darker but still very well done Not for those that don't like political intruige or Charater development. If you just want action and romance you will probably find this too slow but I loved it and strongly recomend it. Possiblly one of the most underrated animes out there.

Last updated Saturday, June 29 2002. Created Sunday, November 12 2000.

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