Gad Guard #4: Collections Print
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R2 DVD Reviews
Thursday, 12 October 2006 00:00
Volume Four (Cover Art)The further we get into Gad Guard, the clearer it becomes that Gads and Techodes, while being very much sought after, don't bring happiness to their owners.  It's taking a while for Hajiki and his friends to realise that, but they're getting there - but in the meantime Katana's making good use of Zero to wreak havoc wherever he goes...

13 - Dwellers of the Dark
Katana's still wreaking his own kind of havoc with Zero, to the point where some of his adversaries have taken out a contract on him.  His would-be killer is no pushover, and Katana soon finds himself relying on Hajiki's help to avoid meeting a premature end.  Meanwhile, when Takumi finds a man who's half-fused with a machine of some sort - and unfortunately for him, has lived through the experience - he becomes determined to find out who was responsible, while Hajiki's beginning to develop something of an ego problem, no doubt thanks to his Techode friend...

Shocku!Xellos reborn?

14 - Seeking Lost Time
A series of suspicious fires in the dock area leads Catherine to believe someone's hiding a Gad there, and as usual she ropes Hajiki in to help her to investigate.  Her determination to find a Gad for herself intrigues Hajiki - although she's not giving away any reasons.  All they find is a man who rambles on about time and the value of the present and the past - but what seems to be a harmless wooden dool in his posession soon proves to be anything but...

Looking for cluesShow her the money

15 - A Garden in the Sun
Aiko's father is beginning to pressure her over her plans for her future - he's always intended to make her his successor, but she's unsure about what she really wants to do.  As part of his efforts to persuade her to see things his way, he shows her the thing that he believes sets the family's value to society - his collection of Gads, and a huge collection it is.  All he suceeds in doing, though, is to make Aiko wonder if she's just another possession to him.  Meanwhile, Takumi and Hajiki are on the trail of a thief who's building his own collection of Gads - and who's figured out that kidnapping Aiko could be his key to the largest collection yet...

Gads, gads, everywhere...Contemplation

16 - The Day we Bare our Fangs
Takumi's shocked to find one of the policewomen he keeps running into is working part-time in a brothel - one that has an underworld group's weapons stash in its basement.  Not that she seems to care - she's more interested in the Techodes that Takumi and the others are running around with, which really upsets Takumi's sense of justice.  Losing to Katana in a battle later that night doesn't improve his mood any, either.  Meanwhile, Aiko's father is taking an interest in the Techode-users his daughter has been hanging around with, while some of his previous contacts are beginning to threaten his position...

Part-time work*Stomp!!*

The message of these episodes is that "power corrupts", really, and Lightning certainly counts as power.  It's always interesting to watch Katana and Hajiki deal with each other, as they're not that different to each other under the surface - Hajiki just has more morals to keep the more primal urges in check, and that's something that Katana eventually spots and tackles Hajiki about.  The more I see of Katana, the more I like him as a character, even if he's still as two-dimensional as you could get.  There's just something about him that's oddly appealing.  The token bad guy for this episode, hitman Takenaka, also reminds me of Xellos from Slayers in some ways, and that's no bad thing.

From there, the elusive Gads become the focus of attention for the remaining three episodes, first as Catherine's attempts to track on down continue when she hears word of a series of suspicious fires in Night Town's dock area, then as Aiko's father, owner of possibly the largest collection of Gads on the planet, learns what his daughter's been up to while he hasn't been paying attention.  Gad Guard has featured family relationships several times so far, but this is probably the most up-front case of it so far, and it's interesting enough - especially as events move on and Larry learns of Aiko's Techode and her connections with the others, and begins to explore using them for his own advantage.   Personally, I'd find it hard to trust anyone who has a series of evil eyes embroidered down one side of his suit jacket, but the scenes with Aiko and her father working through their relationship are actually quite good, and help to explain a little why Aiko's so attached to her Techode.  Her father is definitely a shady character, though, and one whose past actions look like they're about to come back and bite him.

The final episode on the disc is the best of the bunch, though.  I always like it when fringe characters get some good screentime, and it's especially enjoyable here as her part-time job wasn't what you would really expect a good, law-abiding policewoman to be doing.  One of Gad Guard's stronger points has been the work that's been put into developing the characters - it hasn't always worked, but it's good to see the effort being made as it makes it that bit easier to connect to the characters.

Gad Guard still doesn't do anything to make it stand out as something usual, but what's here is enjoyable enough in its own way.  The series definitely works better when it's focussing on the characters rather than their robots, and the more it delves into the grey areas that owning a Techode seems to drag the kids into, the better it gets, but there's just something missing from making it really worthwhile viewing.  Worth checking out, but don't expect too much from it.

Rating - ***

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