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R2 DVD Reviews
Tuesday, 10 March 2009 00:00
GravionADV UK are dipping into their back-catalogue again, and this time they've pulled out a little piece of giant-robot action. Sometimes I'm not sure if Gravion is trying to be a parody, or a serious attempt at a giant robot show, and I don't think GONZO are too sure, either. Whatever it's trying to be, though, it's good...

Welcome to the Earth of the future, and it's a peaceful place. The military of the time have grown complacent about what is needed to defend the Earth, though, so when the alien force known as Zeravire sets the planet in their sights, they're hopelessly outmatched. Only mysterious billionaire Klien Sandman and his giant mecha Gravion, with its elite group of young pilots, seem to be strong enough to fight back. For young man Eiji Shigura, Sandman holds another solution - to the mystery surrounding the disappearance on his sister, Ayaka, and Eiji's search leads to him becoming part of Sandman's plans for defending the Earth...

EijiGravion

LunaSpying

Like I said, sometimes Gravion feels like a parody, sometime it feels like a genuine, classic giant robot show. Usually shows that try to be two things end up making a hash of at least one aspect, but Gravion seems to happily pull off both, with a liberal helping of fanservice comedy thrown in. The parody aspects are easy to find - the characters are pretty much all overblown caracatures of the usual anime stereotypes, and the 'mysterious alien invaders' story won't win any originality prizes. Come the combat scenes, and the serious side comes out of hiding for a while, again with all the usual combining sequences and loudly-shouted attack names. It's everything a mecha show should be, with the added bonus that it's very hard to take it too seriously. It's a show that you just can't help having fun watching.

ThoriaZeravire

There is ostensibly a plot here - Eiji's search for his missing sister, and Sandman's efforts to protect the Earth from the Zeravire threat - but don't expect it to be payed too much attention, it's really just a flimsy outline that's used to hold the fun together. Sandman is Mysterious (deliberate capital M), his sidekick wears a daft mask that must never be removed, we've got meganekko girl, tsundere girl, shy girl, and an army of maids who carry out all the work that needs to be done around Sandman's castle, including maintenance of the various parts of Gravion. Just the job that wearing a frilly dress is really appropriate for. Not. But for all that it's just pulling a whole bunch of fanboy-friendly ideas together and mixing well, it actually works - the end result should be a disaster, but it turns out surprisingly well. The characters are archetypes but likeable; the battles are clichéd but visually impressive, and that makes them enjoyable to watch.

The series does develop a small serious streak towards the end, but it's nothing that gets in the way of the fun too much. If there's a problem, it's that this set is the first of two seasons, and the second season has never been released in the UK - this set ends with a few unresolved plot points (most notably Ayeka's fate), but to be honest the show's underlying plot is so flimsy that missing out on parts of it isn't really that big a deal, and I don't have it in me to be overly critical about a show that's just fun to watch.

For full episode summaries and screenshots, check out our reviews of the individual volumes:
» Volume 1: Divine Steel
» Volume 2: Knights of Gravity
» Volume 3: Upgrade

Rating - ***

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