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Preview: "Gilgamesh": Goth That's Awesome, Only It's Not

One of the more obscure genres of anime is goth. Sure, you’ve got giant robots out the wazoo, enough bouncing breasts to form a trampoline the size of Texas, and angst-filled pretty boys (AFPB), but not too often is this done in a goth setting. Apparently, there’s no love for our leather-wearing, spikey-haired brooders of the night, but all that’s going to change. After much anticipation (well, not by me, but somebody out there has been starving for good goth), ADV is set to release the biggest goth series of the 21st century: Gilgamesh. Whose side are you on?

I recently got a chance to preview the series with a disc featuring the first two episodes of the series (“les préludes” and “gräfin werdenberg”). The eventual release will likely include 5 episodes. Whether more eps will add value or subtract it will depend on your tastes.

GilgameshDown in the South Pole there’s this research facility called “Heaven’s Gate.” What they’re doing there we don’t know, but it apparently has something to do with making our lives better. However, a freaky scientist named Enkidu sets off a chain reaction that is supposed to destroy the world once and for all. Because, dammit, if he’s not happy, nobody else should be either, I suppose. But things don’t go as planned, so instead of killing all life on Earth, he only kills off a really big chunk of it, causes all computers to go haywire, and turns the sky into a really big mirror.

Well, the mirror-sky part is pretty different, at least.

Anyway, nobody knows how to fix this mess, known as Twin X, since it happened on October 10th, a.k.a. 10, 10 or X, X). That was all twenty years in the past by the time we hook up with our two heroes, Kiyoko and Tatsuya Madoka. Like any good set of poor main characters struggling to survive, they’re on the run from the mob. They try to hide out both in an abandoned house and on the streets, but this is the mob we’re talking about, so they get tracked down pretty easily. Eventually they find themselves inside a gigantic mansion with all sorts of mutated freaky salamanders. It’s also inhabited by several pretty boys in leather (since they’re not angst-filled yet, we’ll call them PBILs) who offer shelter and tea to our young duo. Unfortunately, the mob finds them (surprise, surprise) and begins to tear the mansion apart. Luckily, the PBILs are pretty good fighters, what with their ability to turn into big hulking monsters and all. With the mob are three special goons who have the power of nature behind them (you know they’re cool because they eat lollipops) and who kidnap both Kiyoko and Tatsuya and take them to the Countess (you know she’s high class because she watches operas). The PBIL, now known as Gilgamesh, regroup and vow to take Kiyoko and Tatsuya for themselves.

If you’ve ever watched a dark, brooding anime such as Witch Hunter Robin or Wolf’s Rain, you pretty much know what to expect from this anime. The only difference is that all the action is put in the backseat instead of the forefront, so we just get talking, talking, and more talking. I don’t often mind this, this is one of those times that I do. Kiyoko and Tatsuya are powerful prizes because of who their daddy is, but it’s not really known how exactly they can save the world or whatever, since neither child seems to have a special talent. It figures that my screener stopped just when it seemed like they were going to explain some backstory. I just hope that the next episode does clear up a lot of a questions, because the first two episodes answer very little, such as who the Countess really is, why her henchmen have freaky powers, who the Gilgamesh are, and why the Gilgamesh have nanite-like skin. There’s a few dozen more questions to be asked in these first two episodes, but I’ve no real desire to go out and find the answers. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m not a big fan of a cast filled with brooders, or maybe it’s because I don’t understand goth, but I feel depressed every time I watch these episodes.

One of the Gilgamesh serves a drink, because they're sophisticated like that.Then again, it’s not all bad. For instance, there’s an actual character named “Sex” in this series. No, I’m not kidding. Unfortunately, I have no idea which character it is. But you take your plusses where you can find them.

The animation is supposed to complement the story, and it does, in the sense that it’s as muddled as the story it’s illustrating. “Action” scenes are limp, the lighting could use work, and the animators can’t seem to animate someone walking or running. Seriously, pretty much any time a character walks or runs, something is wrong with it. Sometimes the character’s in an unnatural position (especially when running so slowly), while other times they are just off model. Regardless, when the best animation comes from a CGI whirlwind-dome-thingy, you’ve got problems. Saki Okuse and Masahiro Sato’s character designs leave something to be desired. With the clumps of hair, larger-than-usual eyes, and really freaky lips, none of these characters look very good at all. Yet, for some strange reason, they fit the series. Whether that’s a good thing or not you should decide for yourselves.

The music isn’t exceptionally good, but it’s not bad, either, and what there is fits the series well. The opening theme, “Crazy 4 U,” is bright and peppy, which sets it apart from the series in a good way. It’s not nearly as good as, say, Gundam SEED‘s themes, but it’s still very catchy. As for the ending theme, it’s a bit more fitting, but kind of boring. Dub-wise, we get a very inexperienced cast, but the actors are sufficiently good at pitching things in a goth-ish monotone. My screener did not come with a Japanese vocal track, so I can’t compare the two.

Goths will love this series, I just know it. But since I’m about as anti-goth as you can get, I just found it boring. Whose side am I on? The side that’s staying away from this release.

Gilgamesh: Tablet 01: Orphans of the Apocalypse and the Gilgamesh Starter Set, will be released on June 21.

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Vol. 1 link: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg…v=glance&s=dvd
Starter Set link: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg…v=glance&s=dvd

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