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"Gravion Zwei Volume 1": Return to the "Eye Of The Storm"

Soldiers of the Gran Knighthood, combine once again! After a period of peace, the Zeravire have returned to invade the planet. But the pilots of the Gran-Divas won’t be the only ones to form a giant robot. The Earth Federation Government has now initiated the G-Soldier Squadron program to find pilots for man-made mechs officially sanctioned by the world government.

Episodes included in this volume
Episode 1: “The Super Heavyweight God Descends Again”
Episode 2: “The Beautiful Reunion”
Episode 3: “Scalding Battle! Gravion Hot Springs!”
Episode 4: “From Underneath the Waves”

Ah, Gravion. Some rag on it for being derivative, but I honestly loved the series despite—or potentially because—of that. It didn’t try to be much more than a super giant robot show, but it tried its best to be an entertaining one. Great visuals accompanied a fun plot and crazy mech action, making it my favorite mech show of 2004, easily beating out its only Japanese-origin competitor in my mind, Gundam SEED. Megas XLR might tie with Gravion, though.

ADV continues the fun with Gravion Zwei, and though the creators deemed this sequel series different enough to gain a new title (“Zwei” means “Two” in German, by the way), it will seem more like a second season to us fans.

If you’re one of them you know the plot of the first series. The mysterious and eccentric Sandman leads a team of teenagers into battle against the Zeravire, mechanical beings from another world hell-bent on… well, it’s not really clear. If they’re trying to take over Earth via random destruction, then they’re certainly sticking to Plan A. Given that they’re apparently not sentient, we can assume they exist just to give the Super Heavyweight God Gravion a reason to form and fight each episode.

As Zwei begins things haven’t changed much since the final volume of Gravion. During the break in Zeravire invasions, the Earth Federation Government’s Earth Fighting Agency has set up the G-Soldier Squadron, a team with their own giant-monster fighting robots, the Gran Troopers. Led by Faye Xin Lu (the girl being undressed in the box art, more on that later), this team is not the focus of this volume and gets very little screen time. Here’s hoping we see them team up with Sandman’s Earthgertz team at some point.

Much as Sandman does, the series itself revels in the fact that it’s cheesy. Eiji, the main hothead of the show (yet not the pilot of the Gran Kaiser, core of Gravion) makes an imprudent poker bet to keep his shorts and loses. Naturally we’re treated to ridiculous scenes of the pilots in maid uniforms, since the residents of Sanjelman Castle are almost all maids.

Yes, that includes the two guys. Though the show promotes fan service, I just want to point out that Gravion Zwei is an equal opportunity employer.

Then the Sanjelman residents and friends go on a picnic, only to end up with a drunk ferret, a runaway G-Driller, Sandman performing some samurai maneuvers, and a Gravion combination literally for no apparent reason other than to satiate the mech fans. The third episode, as the “Hot Springs!” in the title suggests, is the requisite trip to the hot springs. Everyone gets naked, vicious ping-pong battles are waged, which makes me wonder if all hot spring resorts have vicious ping-pong battles. After all, it happened in Love Hina as well. Finally, “From Underneath The Waves” attempts to add some drama into the show, which while welcome, is far from necessary.

The show is far from deep, but you should’ve figured that out yourself by now. The most serious line in the show is “Soldiers of the Gran Knighthood, combine!” Not much has changed from the past season, outside of a new intro, credits, and theme song. The combination sequence is still the same semi-stock footage (at least they change the clothing appropriately), and some classic songs from the first series are still heard. This is honestly not much more than “Gravion Season 2.”

The disc has a decent number of extras. There are profile and art galleries for the two teams of monster-smashers, an episode art gallery, clean opening and closing, Japanese commercials, and ADV previews- the standard stuff. Continuing the cheese factor is a preview for Volume 2 that comes off as a prime-time TV “Next season!” commercial, with the near deaths, explosions, masks coming off—the shameless cliffhangers that make you want to buy the next volume to see what’s going on. The longest extra is “Insider the Actor’s Head,” an interview with the cast members of the series. While the VAs don’t exactly contribute deep insight (“What’s the most legal fun you can have?”), it’s worth watching once.

The box is shameless, featuring fan service on all sides, including Faye Xin Lu being stripped by the G-Driller’s less nervous pilot. It’ll fit all three volumes and look nice next to your Gravion box.

Did you like the first Gravion series? You’ll like this as much. Hated Gravion? You’ll hate this as much. The second season/series isn’t creative by any means, but it’s still the same classic giant robot fun.

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