Gad Guard #6/7: Techodes & Star Travel Print
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R2 DVD Reviews
Wednesday, 22 November 2006 00:00
Cover ArtTwo volumes for the price of one, as Gad Guard draws to a close with some unexpected revelations about the true nature of Techodes, while Hajiki lives his father's greatest dream.  Just try not to think about what you thought Gad Guard was about back when it started, as it seems to be a different beast now...

21 - Blue Slumber
Back in Night Town, the police have been running a clamp-down on the organised crime families - but the more family members are rounded up, the more violent the city seems to become, and Katana's making the most of the mayhem.  Unfortunately for him, Zero seems to be reaching the limits of its power.  Without Thunderbolt, all Takumi can do is sit back and watch, which is really beginning to grate on his sense of justice.  He's now living with Hajiki's family, and it seems he's got a lot to learn about how to properly deal with people.  Meanwhile, Katana receives a visit from someone from his past...

Night Town mayhemGetting ready to leave

22 - Spiral Dance of Glass
Hajiki and Arashi's trip to Unit Khaki involves a trip across the sea, and buying passage for the two Techodes is proving expensive, so Hajiki eventually wrangles himself a part-time job and free lodgings in an abandoned & allegedly haunted house - but the house isn't as abandoned as he thought, as young girl Kirara - a glassworker - has also been hiding out there.  As luck would have it, Arashi's arranged work & lodgings at an art shop where Kirara's been selling her work.  Meanwhile, trouble arrives in town in the form of Sayuri...

Explaining himself. Again.Hajiki & Kirara

23 - The Atoning Man
A trip across the sea, and Hajiki and Arashi finally arrive in Unit Khaki - but the search for his father is really just beginning.  With just a photo to work with, you'd expect it to take a while before they'd find any information, but at pretty much the first place they ask the photo is recognised.  Soon, they have the name of an otherwise uninhabited island and some descriptions of a very unusual person - a person who may well have been on the boat with them.  Under cover of darkness, Hajiki and Arashi head for the island, but the welcome they receive is far from friendly...

The old manWatching the sunrise

24 - The Will to Strive for Heaven
While Arashi does her best to help Hajiki's father recover from his burns, Sayuri arrives on the island.  At first Hajiki's worried she's brought Katana with her, but she claims he's dead - killed in a fight back in Night Town.  Now she's come to help his father - or rather, the techode that looks like him - achieve his dream: to go into space.  It is, after all, where techodes came from - and Sayuri wants to return there too.  The only person standing between them and their dream now is Katana, who's not as dead as Sayuri seem to think - and who seems to have a dangerous obsession over her...

Katana arrivesWatching the injured

25 - Time Towards the Sky
Stand-off time - Katana's determined to destroy the rocket launcher to prevent Sayuri leaving, Hajiki's equally determined to make sure the launch goes ahead.  With 15 minutes left before Bob takes off, in theory all Hajiki's got to do is keep Katana occupied for that long - but in practice, that's easier said than done...

Pre-launch battleReunited

26 - Young Traveler
Hajiki's trip looks set to be one-way - his rocket's not designed for re-entry, so getting back home as he'd promised Arashi could be a problem.  As intended, the rocket reaches its destination - an orbiting graveyard made of hundreds of other wrecked rockets, where Hajiki learns the secret of the Gads and gets to meet the spirit of his dead father.  His questions answered, it's time for Hajiki to go home again - where there are a few loose ends to tie up...

Father & sonTender moment

Night Town has very little impact on this disc - things there are getting increasingly violent, and with the good guys' techodes destroyed or elsewhere & the police unable to cope, the situation's only likely to get worse.  That's not what we're interested in, though - the key here is Sayuri, who opts to leave Katana and sets off in pursuit of Hajiki.  At this point Sayuri's true nature is still a mystery, but she's going to play a major part in events later in the series.

The first of a series of important revelations takes place elsewhere.  Gads, techodes, atechodes - initially all seen to be mechanical (you just need to look at Lightning or Thunderbolt for proof of that), but as the series has progressed we've seen them looking more and more human.  Follow the logical progression, and you find Kirara - a techode, the embodiment of its owner's dying wish, but you wouldn't know by looking at her.  This revelation turns a lot of what's been shown about gads and techodes on its head, as they're no longer just tools for people to use or convenient weapons - they can be almost human under the right circumstances and can be tools for creation.  It's a nice idea, but I couldn't help but feel it was a little late in the series to be changing the concept quite so drastically.  That revelation is key to the final episodes, though, as when Hajiki finally tracks down his father, he finds "he" is really another techode, going through the motions of fulfilling his father's dream of flying into space.

For all the exploration in the final episodes of what a gad or a techode really is - a sizeable chunk of episode 26 tries to cover that ground in detail - I really was none the wiser by the end of what had really been going on, or what the point of it all was.  Gad Guard started off as an action series, developed into something deeper and far more enjoyable after Hajiki and Arashi left Night Town, but ended with a confused exploration of the true nature of a gad, which was doubly strange when gads and techodes had been largely ignored for a large chunk of the series.  Personally, I'd been hoping to see more of the developing relationships between Aiko & Takumi and Hajiki & Arashi, while Arashi does get some screen time the other pair only make the briefest of appearances, and I can't help but feel that was a wasted opportunity.

Gad Guard has had its good moments, and there are a good number of them on this disc, but it never really seemed to know what it was trying to be.  This volume again changes track a little, and while it does try to provide a sense of closure to the story the final explanations still leave too much unanswered for it to really be a satisfying end, although the journey there is certainly enjoyable and gets this volume a good score.  The series as a whole is hard to really recommend, though - while Gad Guard's worth a look, especially as a rental, the good doesn't rise far enough above the rest to make it a really worthwhile purcase.  That's a real shame given the potential that was there.

Rating - ****

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