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R2 DVD Reviews
Wednesday, 20 December 2006 04:00
GestaltDoubting priest Father Olivier gets started on his search for truth, which will lead him to the land that must not be named - the land of the dark god Gestalt.  Unfortunately, he doesn't really get very far, as Gestalt almost ends before it begins...

Father Olivier is a priest of the Vesaria Order - or he was, until recently when he left the Order to seek the truth about the origins of the god Salsaroa.  That involves going to a land referred to only as G, as to say its full name (Gestalt) invokes all sorts of ill fortune.  Unfortunately for Olivier, the head of his order, Father Messiah, is in no mood to let him leave, and has sent the dark elf Suzu to bring his back to the Order's HQ, but along the way Olivier has acquired the services of young sorceress Ohri, who proves quite useful in keeping Suzu at bay.

The pair's first stop on their journey to G is the city of Dangai, capital of the Bilmol kingdom, where strange things have been happening ever since the arrival of the new queen.  Olivier is persuaded to help find out what's happened to the king, who has become unusually cruel of late - a case in point is the next day's fighting tournament, where the losers will be fed to a carrion crawler.  Just a little over-the-top, perhaps?  It turns out the queen is being aided by a sorcerer named Soushi, with whom Ohri is already well acquainted...

SuzuOhri

The first thing that's worth pointing out is that, while the two episodes here make up a self-contained story, they're clearly the first part of a much larger quest (Father Olivier's journey to G) - but since this was all that was made of Gestalt, there are a few plot lines that get started and will never be finished.  That could be annoying to some, and is the first black mark against the show.

The show feels a lot like a console RPG game - a feeling that's heavily reinforced by Ohri's early scenes, where she's under a spell of silence and speaks only by way of a text box.  I kept thinking I was going to have to get the remote control out to scroll down through her lines.  It's a fun gimmick for the first few lines, but it soon wears thin.  Thankfully, her spell of silence is soon dispelled, allowing her to speak normally for most of the show.  Ohri's a reasonably interesting character - it's strongly hinted that she's from G herself, and once her powers are fully unsealed (by way of a kiss from Olivier) she's impressive with the magic, as well.  She has a very subservient master / servant attitude towards Olivier, but you do get the feeling that she's putting on an act there in the hope of getting something out of Olivier - but since the series doesn't continue, that's one of those plot threads that's left dangling at the end of the disc.

Powering upEvil sorceror

Olivier himself is fairly bland.  He's a priest who doubts his faith and wants to try and reaffirm it by proving some of the legends around Salsaroa, but being generally a good guy he seems quite gullible, and doesn't really do anything in these episodes that's really noteworthy - he just seems to be there to give Ohri someone to play off.  The other main character, dark elf Suzu, fills the comic relief role with her efforts to bring Olivier back to the Vesaria Order.

Gestalt is interesting enough, but nothing spectacular.  It plays to most of the fantasy-story cliches, and if you enjoyed the likes of Slayers you'll get at least some enjoyment out of this, but knowing that it's an unfinished story does make you wonder why it's even been released.  It's also quite expensive, given its age and running time.  All that adds up to a show that's hard to recommend, other than as a rental.

Rating - **

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