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Gad Guard #1: Lightning PDF Print E-mail
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R2 DVD Reviews
Monday, 28 August 2006 00:00
Volume One (Cover Art)Here's something that's been sitting in the review pile for a while.  My first exposure to Gad Guard, back when it was originally airing in Japan, didn't exactly fill me with enthusiasm, as apart from a rather intriguing setting it never really seemed to have much going for it - but reviewing has taught me one thing: you'd be surprised how good some shows turn out if you give them a second chance.  Here's where I find out if the adventures of Hajiki Sanda and his friends were worth the repeat effort...

1 - Looking up at the Same Sky
Hajiki Sanda, a resident of Night Town, a less-than-salubrious area where the power is cut off each night, never wanted much excitement from life, but when his job as a motorcycle courier brought him into contact with the Gad - small cubes of stone with the ability to transform into powerful robots known as Techodes - excitement's what he got.  After botching the delivery of a Gad (not that he knew what it was at the time), Hajiki attempts to recover the package & deliver it to the proper client - but after recovering the Gad he accidentally activates it, and finds himself the custodian of his very own Techode...

Clutching his valuablesDropping Arashi home

2 - Putting the Pieces Together
Despite having only just "met" his robot, Hajiki somehow finds himself wanting to protect it from Katana's efforts to seize it - and the robot seems quite keen to avoid capture, as well.  What's surprising is its ability to move and fight without any obvious pilot.  With the police on the way, drawn by the chaos, Katana's forced to withdraw while still wondering just what he's come up against.  Hajiki gets his own robot under cover, before trying to figure out just what he's found himself - but he's not the only person  who has and interest in his new toy...

LightningNo sale

3 - On a Street Corner in Night Town
Young girl Aiko lives quite the privileged life, thanks to her rich family (her father's the President of the local power company - someone the people of Night Town, with its regular power cuts, might want to have a word with).  Money doesn't necessarily bring happiness, as Aiko knows first-hand - but unknown to anyone else she's got someone who doesn't care about her money or family connections: Messah, her Techode, that she keeps in a forest near her home.  Back in Night Town, everyone's on the lookout for the second missing Gad, while Katana learns to control his own new Techode, Zero, before seeking revenge against Hajiki's...

AikoWho's idea were the dumb costumes?

4 - With Bright Eyes
While nosying around the sewers looking for more information about Gads and Techodes, Hajiki is passed by a Techode he hasn't seen before, piloted by a young woman, Takumi.  She's been investigating a string of robberies, the most recent carried out at a jewellery store.  The culprits are searching for a Gad, hoping it'll bring in a nice bundle of money for them, but when Hajiki gets wind of their next raid, he unexpectedly finds himself working with Takumi and Thunderbolt to stop them...

Fight! Fight!Rip-off merchant & Arashi

First, that intriguing setting: Gad Guard is set in the future, in a city that's grown up around the spaceport where humans first landed.  Since then, the town has split into various areas, according to the wealth of the residents: Gold Town, where 80% of the city's money is, Day Town, and Night Town, where the locals are poorer and the power is cut off each night.  For the most part, the city looks normal, but there are little glimpses of technology here and there that give away the futuristic setting, always in a very subtle and low-key way.  It's a fairly interesting way of presenting the show's world - although how much will be made of it remains to be seen.

The characters are a less interesting bunch.  Hajiki just doesn't care, Katana's a two-dimensional revenge-seeker, and the various other Techode owners remain undeveloped - they're just there.  Arashi's the most interesting so far, but that's not really saying much - she's decided to tag along with Hajiki for no apparent reason, she's moved to Night Town for no apparent reason, but she's cute and packs a mean punch, which should keep the fanboys happy.

These four episodes are mainly setup, introducing the Gad, the Techodes, and the various characters who either have one or want one.  Where the Gad come from and why they're worth so much in their un-transformed form is still a mystery, but the main thrust of the story here, past the introductions, is to set up excuses for the Techodes to fight each other.  I really hope there's a little more meat put on that bony story before too long, otherwise this is one series that will get tired very quickly.  There is some promise here, trying hard to get through - if it gets the chance too, Gad Guard should turn out to be an interesting show, but I'm not hugely convinced that'll happen...

Rating - ***
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