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Notables: Animation - Studio Elle
Animation - l-a-unch BOX
It started in Venice in 2028--Gibiate, a bizarre disease which causes humans to transform into terrifying monsters. Within two years it had spread all over the world. Kathleen Funada is one of a colony of human survivors in what was once Tokyo. She hopes to help discover a vaccine for Gibiate before it's too late. One day she comes upon two strangely dressed men, Kanzaki Sensui and Sanada Kenroku. what's most strange is that the last thing they remember is being on their way to exile back in the year 1600.

12 episodes
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(All episodes watched):

As bizarre and implausible as it is--both freaky monsters and time travel?--I found episode one of Gibiate to be intriguing and fun. Indeed, perhaps it needed two weird twists and wouldn't have worked nearly as well if there had only been one. It's sort of like a story about zombies except victims of Gibiate turn into monsters rather than the walking dead. When we switched from Kathleen's introduction of the situation in the year 2030 to Kanzaki and Sanada's tale back in 1600, I became convinced for a minute or two that there had been a technical error and I was now watching part of a completely different show. I wondered if this show had been put together entirely since the Coronavirus pandemic began, since the basic problem here is a pandemic of sorts as well (my guess is probably not). On the one hand the people who remain alive are curiously quick to believe that these two guys are indeed a Samurai and a Ninja from 420-odd years ago; after seeing all sorts of Call of Cthulu sort of monsters maybe such a thing doesn't seem all that unlikely by comparison. On the other I can empathize with these two who find themselves in a strange new world and are often considered insane themselves. So, while I would have changed a few things to make it more convincing, this did not seem bad and I was curious where it would go.

I feared that perhaps the entertaining episode one had been a fluke, and the show would now fizzle out, but episode two was satisfactory as well. Kathleen teaching Sanada and Kanzaki a couple tricks for being fashionable in the 21st century was amusing and interesting. On the other hand, the fighting isn't all that brilliant; typical stuff like a sword being more effective against the Gibia than an assault rifle. But I think it was always the time travel bit that intrigued me most, and that hadn't changed. The action in episode three was ridiculous to the point of making me laugh. It's hard to take seriously things like our heroes leaping from a helicopter in mid air and catching a cable after falling a hundred feet or more, or a Gibia that emits 'supersonic waves'. I wish the makers had brought me in to edit this show and tighten things up somewhat. The animation is sometimes a sloppy mix of two- and three dimensional images. Sometimes there's nothing but stills. But Gibiate was still kind of fun nevertheless, albeit in a cheesy way. Wild action without worrying too much about whether it makes much sense, basically. Yet another survivor from the Warring States period, the monk Onikura Yukinojno, turns up--will we ever get an explanation of how this is happening? A good deal of episodes four and five are spent recalling how Kanzaki and Sanada first met, and Onikura's backgrounds, though I don't see why that was necessary. It was largely just a warring states period history lesson. I was a little dismayed to learn that Kanzaki and Sanada were once trying to kill each other; that kind of undermines the comradeship that I would like to feel. Despite all its faults, I found Gibiate to be odd and amusing and remained curious where this story would go. But for the time being, it wasn't going much of anywhere. For a good while no significant progress is made towards finding a vaccine, and it's not clear where the cast is going in their big camper. One more colorful character appears, though she is an ex-policewoman rather than a time traveler. A gang of punks, led by a Yakuza boss, starts shadowing the team, but they seem more laughable than threatening. Just hacking down more Gibia each week in a cheaply written and animated manner isn't good enough. Again, this show has a sort of half-assed feel to it, but the characters are good enough and I guess it was just the bizarre premise of this show which kept me interested, despite the cheesy way it played out. One unusual touch is that even fairly major characters get killed sometimes, though what with the second or third class feel of the show such events don't feel all that tragic.

Things go south in a hurry during episode eleven. (Spoiler)We learn that there's a traitor among the cast of characters; but this person's story was so bizarre and unlikely that I had a hard time taking it seriously. So, there's another planet where the inhabitants look exactly like humans? And Dr. Yoshinaga was never really working on a vaccine to begin with? At least that would explain why a 'vaccine', which prevents a disease from ever getting started, was being sought here to undo the effects. The fights that break out were so badly done that they made me cringe; why the f--- didn't somebody shoot or behead at least one character before this person had time to transform into a Gibia? Were they twiddling their thumbs while this person underwent the lengthy transformation? Timing matters. Another example of an anime episode which I wish I had been brought in to sharpen up, because I think that in a number of ways I could have done a better job than the paid professionals did. In the final episode we do finally get an explanation of how Kenroku and Sanada wound up in the present, but it made no sense at all to me. The climactic fight with the main boss was weak, with physically impossible things happening more than once and generally poor choreography. In general the last episode seemed full of missed opportunities. Still, a semi-plausible trick turns things around and the good guys win in the end. It's not exactly a happy ending--all hopes of a vaccine have been dashed, for one thing--but it could have been worse. As sloppy and corny as it was, in the end I don't regret watching Gibiate.

Last updated Sunday, October 04 2020. Created Monday, July 20 2020.

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