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Gravion Vol. 2: "Knights of Gravity" Soar Into Action

Gravion is the world’s foremost defense against the Zeravire, mysterious beasts unleashing havoc upon the future Earth. This mechanical God for a new age can only be created when six pilots combine their ships. But when one goes to her father’s grave and two others take a night on the town, will Gravion be able to save the day? Soldiers of the Gran Knighthood, combine!

ImageEpisodes included on this disc
Episode 6: “Toga’s Day Off”
Episode 7: “Drill Girl on the Beach”
Episode 8: “Storming the Castle”
Epsiode 9: “A Distant Embrace”

The mysterious Sandman has created the Super Heavyweight God Gravion to defend future Japan from the threat of the Zeravire. As a combination of mech and armored vehicle it’s certainly capable of the job but it’s useless if the pilots can’t get it together.

“Toga’s Day Off” has Toga and Eiji, the only male pilots in the group (despite Toga’s… well… non-manliness when not piloting the Gran Kaiser), escape from Sanjelman Castle, their home and command center, for a night out on the town. Given that the castle is populated by (seemingly) hundreds of maids, they borrow a few maid outfits and sneak out when the maids go for supplies. This episode is meant for laughs, considering Toga’s naiveté (he doesn’t know how to open a Coke can) and Eiji’s choice of attire (they escape in female maid outfits), but it brings up an interesting plot point that I hope to hear an answer to later: What does the outside world think of Gravion, the Government’s foremost line of auto-piloted defense? Wait… Gravion’s backed by the Government and runs on auto-pilot? That’s news to the pilots of Sandman’s Gravion.

“Drill Girl on the Beach” has to be one of the weirdest “anniversary of death” episodes I’ve seen, a close second to the picnic on Tohru Honda’s mother’s grave from Fruits Basket. Luna’s father was killed a year ago, protecting the world from the Zeravire. She heads back to Okinawa, only to be followed by the rest of the crew who want to see the beaches. A somber remembrance turns into a party at the beach, which turns into the episode’s requisite giant robot battle. Mobile Suit Gundam Wing would be proud of the quiet-contemplation-followed-by-sudden-mech-battle pattern this episode follows.

Kicking off the episode with a mech fight is bad for the pilots in “Storming the Castle.” Seems a little chunk of the Zeravire hitched a ride back to Sanjelman Castle, and is now multiplying at an extraordinary rate. They can’t form Gravion while in the base and the Gran Kaiser’s their only hope, but with the Kaiser piloted by Eiji, who is only used to being a leg of Gravion, the team is sweating a bit.

Lastly, there’s “A Distant Embrace,” which is more characterization than anything. If you’re only into this show for high-flying robot battles, go watch Power Rangers DinoThunder instead. They always cram one in an episode, even if there is just a minute left. Remembering a forgotten plot point about Eiji’s lost sister (the only reason he joined the team), Eiji and Mizuki follow the trail to the tower where she disappeared. Will they find her, or even survive inside the mysterious tower in the castle?

For some reason, I feel compelled to bring up the nice animation on this disc. As usual, all on-screen displays in the show (like computer screens and holograms) are done actually in computers, and are very impressive. I wish Windows XP looked that good. One of the faults with a series with constant transformations is that they reuse animation, though they refit the combination scene for “Drill Girl on the Beach” to accommodate the bikinis and swim trunks the characters wear. Given that it would be incredibly easy to cut out shots (or the entire transformation), this was nice to see. In “A Distant Embrace,” one or two scenes look to be animated more fluidly for a comedic effect, and it certainly works. The difference in style reminded me of that mysterious second animation group that I love in Yu Yu Hakusho. A change of pace is always good.

The episodic plots are nice, though there are some flubs. Episode 8 and 9 would seem to flow directly into each other, but they don’t. Mizuki, the X-cup of the group (Seriously, throw in a letter and you’re probably underestimating it; blame Masami Obari, the director), doesn’t get any characterization at all until the final episode on the disc. Considering there’s only four episodes left, it’s kind of late in the game. The mech battles are nice, but I’ve never met a mech battle that I haven’t enjoyed in some respect. Also, we still have no backstory on the Zeravire.

For bonus features, it’s the typical ADV fare: the clean opening and closing, a design sketches montage, and the Japanese TV and DVD spots. Inside the case there are two clings, this time for Mizuki Tachibana and Eiji Shigure. For the insert, one side includes part two of “Super Heavyweight God Gravion Side Story: G’s Tragedy.” The other has Character Designs for Toga and Luna (No, not the Greek attire or the talking cat from Sailor Moon).

Did you pick up Gravion Volume 1? If you did, you have no reason not to grab this. No? Then go get Volume 1 and come back. Gravion is a real Super Heavyweight God when it comes to mech action, if you’re like me, you’ll find yourself yelling “Soldiers of the Gran Knighthood, combine!” at your television with each new episode.

Well… maybe you won’t. But you’ll still enjoy it.

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