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Gad Guard #3: Persona PDF Print E-mail
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R2 DVD Reviews
Written by maehara   
Tuesday, 03 October 2006 00:00
Volume Three (Cover Art)Time for the third volume of Gad Guard.  Hajiki's finding out that life can be both a blessing and a curse, Katana revisits his past, the Techodes continue to wreak chaos in the city, and the girls each try to find ways to make best use of their metallic friends - each with different levels of success.  But are the Techodes really forces of good, or is there something evil lurking within..?

9 - Snow Melts the Heart
Katana and Sayuri leave Night Town to pay a visit to Unit Grey, to catch up with his old master, Radigue - a Heavy Metal expert, and someone Katana wants to hire to carry out repairs on Zero (currently missing an arm).  Problem is, Radigue's skills seem to be on the wane, and parts are hard to come by.  Meanwhile, someone else is in Unit Grey, and seems to be on Katana's trail...

ReunitedEnd of the chase

10 - Bundles of Bills in the Setting Sun
Hajiki and Lightning have lost any pretence at sneaking around town - now everywhere they go there's invariably a convoy of police cars giving chase, and it's reached the point where Takumi and the others can't go out with their Techodes for fear of drawing too much attention - although Katana's still happy enough to follow him everywhere he goes.  To add to their usual rivalry, Hajiki's taken on a delivery job, where the package is something Katana would very much like to get his hands on...

A cop's life isn't easyImpressing a classmate

11 - No Returning to Rainbow Town
Hajiki inadvertently gets involved in a gang war when a package he delivers to some gangsters turns out to be a bomb.  Takumi's been keeping an eye on what's going on for a few weeks now, and the rumour is that one of the sides has enlisted the help of a strange Heavy Metal.  Eager to calm his guilt over having killed people, however inadvertent it was, and having a hunch that the Heavy Metal involved was Katana, Hajiki picks up Takumi's investigation,

Takumi's digging for infoEaten by his Techode

12 - Bluebird
Hajiki's been skipping class a lot lately (too busy hunting for Gads and fighting with Katana), which firstly lands him in trouble with his mom, but also earns him a special report assignment from his teacher - which he then promptly forgets about, until Arashi reminds him about it the day before its due.  If only having to deliver a rather larger bundle of wedding invitations didn't keep getting in the way.  Meanwhile, Arashi's got worries of her own after her cat Andromeda goes missing...

In trouble againGratuitous Arashi pic

The trip away from Night Town means no appearances for Hajiki and the others this episode, as it's really a character piece for Katana - almost an attempt to show that he's not completely the hard-ass character he's been painted to be so far.  Certainly, the way he gets on with Sayuri does show he has a heart in their somewhere.  We get a few snippets of interesting information about his past here, but nothing to really tell us what happened in between his "apprenticeship" with Radigue and where he is now, which I would have liked to see.  Katana's the last of the main characters to get any real background to his character, but unfortunately while this episode is good at painting him in a different light, it's back to usual for the rest of the disc as his rivalry with Hajiki is renewed.

The thing that surprised me most about this volume is how little screentime poor Arashi got - after finally getting her own Techode at the end of the last volume, she ends up sitting most of these episodes out, only really getting involved towards the end of episode 11 (where Hajiki and the others are dealing with a gang's Atechode), and even then only making an impression because she clearly has no clue what she's doing.  In some ways Arashi comes across as very confident in herself, but in other scenes she seems very insecure, especially where she's trying to get more involved with Hajiki and the others.

The gang war / bomb episode was particularly interesting.  I quite like the way Gad Guard's beginning to dig into the darker side of its setting, even if it's not directly related to the Gads, and letting us see how some of the characters deal with situations that aren't all fun & games.

The final episode, where Hajiki's busy delivery wedding invitations while Arashi looks for her missing cat, is one of those episodes where nothing really happens other than seeing a fairly ordinary day in the life of the characters.  If you don't go for "slice-of-life" stories you'll probably find it quite dull, but I quite enjoy this sort of story, and it had a slightly feel-good feel to it that made for a nice change after the previous episode.

For the conspiracy-minded, there are few little tidbits thrown into the episodes (the way Aiko's father is able to call off the police hunt for Hajiki and the others, and the police investigator who's killed and absorbed by his Techode, for starters) - the way Gad Guard is developing I'm not 100% sure how much these events will be used later in the story, but they certainly feel significant.

Gad Guard so far seems happy to work with essentially standalone episodes that give the characters a decent amount of development - sometimes even the Techodes themselves feel almost secondary to that.  For the most part that's no bad thing, but it does sometimes feel the series is just treading water and not really going anywhere.  Hopefully that'll change as the series progresses - in the meantime, Gad Guard is enjoyable in its own way, but isn't anything really special.

Rating - ***

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