DVD
Elemental Gelade
Volume 1 - Scrolls of Blood

Starring (voice): Akira Ishida, Mikako Takahashi, Nana Mizuki, Naoko Suzuki and Yuji Ueda
MVM
RRP: 19.99
MVD2173 / MVD2173B
Certificate: PG
Available 14 May 2007


Coud Van Giruet is a sky pirate of the wind, a rather inept member of the Red Lynx gang, who hopes to one day to become the boss. On a raid against another ship Coud rescues Reverie Metherlence (Ren) who turns out to be one of the Shichiko-hoju, an Edil Raid, who, in conjunction with a human being can become the ultimate fighting machine...

Elemental Gelade - Volume One: Scrolls of Blood is based on the manga by Mayumi Azuma. The show was directed by Shigeru Ueda and produced by TV TOKYO. The disc hold a very generous five episodes of this twenty-six episode series, so unless there is a sudden drop in the number of shows per disc this should be quite an economical show to collect. One of the nice things about the show, and a thing which will help younger viewer and people like me (who has the short term memory of an ant) is the omnipresent narrator. Find yourself getting lost with all the new names and terminology, no problem, every so often the narrator pops back into the story to let you know what's happening.

Some of the animation backgrounds in the show are relatively crude, certainly a level above your usual Saturday Morning fare, but not by a great amount. Character design and detail is much better, with each of the characters having a distinct look, making it easier to follow the show.

Although it is an action/comedy show squarely aimed at a juvenile audience, it does follow the tried and trusted pattern of exploring the burgeoning relationship between Ren and Coud, promising the possibility of later episodes providing a deeper, richer show

Episode One: The Songs of the Sky and the Wind is your average introduction episode. Coud discovers Ren in a recent haul. Before he can get to know her they get a visit from the Edil Complete Protection Agency (Arc Aile), who tries to purchase Ren. Coud discovers a moral centre, which is odd for a pirate, and refuses to sell Ren. Well this is an amine show. So, for no good reason Ninjas attack and all hell breaks loose.

This first show demonstrates both the strengths and weaknesses of the following shows on the disc, good humour, interesting characters and an odd problem with the pacing. For some reason the makers have seen fit to interrupt many of the fight sequences for exposition, disrupting the flow of the show.

Episode Two: A Fateful React. Cool, the girl turns into a sword. The unnamed Ninjas kidnap Ren, although the rescue is successful Ren and Coud are separated from the rest of the Pirates. Ren tells Coud that she wants to go to Edil Garden, a mythical place where science is far advanced.

So we have the main thrust of the story set up as a series of journeys. Cloud and Ren's journey towards a relationship, Couds journey towards manhood and their journey towards Edil Gardens. Accompanying them on this journey are the three members of the protection agency who provide the comic relief.

Episode Three: Betrayal and Confusion, and Ren has been kidnapped. Ok, so the show's general set-up is Coud looses Ren and has to fight to get her back, with the bad guys getting larger and more difficult as they head towards Edil Garden.

Episode Four: Elemental Gelade of Light and Darkness is the second part of the story, and the gang are still fighting to release Ren from the castle, more running and more fighting ensue, but little in the way of character development.

Episode Five: The Teardrop from that Day and the journey continues. Having rescued Ren the gang has to find food and shelter in the surrounding countryside, but all they find is some old comrades of Coud's and trouble.

Although the extras are a little underwhelming, textless opening and closing sequence, trailers and the DVD credits, it's interesting to note that the PR blurb says that the disc will also be available in a limited edition which will include volume one of the original manga.

Audio is a rather vanilla English or Japanese stereo track with subtitles.

Charles Packer

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£14.99 (Amazon.co.uk)
   
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£14.99 (Play.com)
Limited Edition with Book
   
£11.99 (HMV.co.uk)
   
£11.99 (HMV.co.uk)
Limited Edition with Book
   
£13.99 (Sendit.com)
   
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Limited Edition with Book
   
£13.99 (Bensons-world.co.uk)
   
£13.99 (Bensons-world.co.uk)
Limited Edition with Book
   
£12.97 (Thehut.com)
   
£12.97 (Thehut.com)
Limited Edition with Book

All prices correct at time of going to press.