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Geneshaft #3: Orbit PDF Print E-mail
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R4 DVD Reviews
Monday, 26 July 2004 00:00
Geneshaft - Volume 3A whole disc without any intervention from the Rings - whatever is Geneshaft coming to? For all that, though, this disc manages to up the action level over previous installments, along with introducing perhaps the most unhinged character in anime since Escaflowne gave us Dilandau...

8 - The Moon is a Harsh Master
The Bilkis crew are not in the best of situations - forbidden from landing on Ganymede on account of disobeying orders, with an IESA interception fleet on the way, and the Captain out of commission, things really couldn't get much worse. Or could they? Lord Sneak & the Council of Elders are scheming behind the scenes - the Elders hoping that the actions of the Bilkis will provoke the Rings' makers into direct intervention, while Sneak works on his own plans - with the Bilkis crew the pawns caught in the middle. Meanwhile, Mir & Remmy both discover what betrayal feels like, although from different perspectives...

9 - Less than Human
The IESA fleet has arrived at Ganymede & ordered the Bilkis to surrender - not that there's much hope of them complying, although the crew aren't overly happy at the thought of fighting their own people. After some negotiating, Mario manages to get the IESA fleet commander to give them some time, but one of the commander's subordinates, Jean Gedoux, brings new meaning to the term 'loose cannon' when he takes matters into his own hands and attacks the Bilkis head-on. Meanwhile, Mario gives Beatrice a lesson in a matter that's almost alien to the Register - emotion - while Mir is still having trouble getting her head around Sneak's betrayal...

10 - The Men Women Don't See
With the IESA fleet commander's ship having been 'unfortunately' destroyed by Gedoux's first attack on the Bilkis, Gedoux finds himself the new fleet commander and is determined to destroy the 'scum' before him. It doesn't help that he's had a one-sided rivalry with Mario since they were at the Academy. Mario decides their best option is to run, but their escape attempt is hampered by a virus in the ship's computer system. Time for Mir to display her elite Skills - at program debugging?

With this batch of episodes, Geneshaft moves away from set-piece encounters and starts giving us the details of what's going on behind the scenes. The main adversary also changes, with no Ring appearances & the arrival of Jean Gedoux. Given that the show shares its director with Escaflowne, it's perhaps not surprising that Gedoux has more than a few things in common with Escaflowne's resident psycho Dilandau, and is perhaps even more annoying. What I don't get is how someone quite so unhinged could even exist in a world where detailed genetic engineering is the norm, but then Geneshaft is known for its many plotholes.

The overall theme of the three episodes here is betrayal, with more back-stabbing going on between the main groups than you can easily keep track of. Episode 10's fleet combat scenes give a break from all the plot exposition & make sure Mika & the Shaft get some decent screen time.

All this somehow manages to develop the remaining characters, and brings a few of the less-prominent cast members out of the background, making them very likeable characters in the process - the show may not have the greatest plot consistency, but it does manage to find some interesting ways of getting the audience to link with the characters.

Overall, then, the ever-present plotholes will be a source of frustration for some, but if you treat Geneshaft as the pulp SF it is (rather than as 'hard' SF, where scientific accuracy is demanded), you'll find it's hard not to like it. Still visually beautiful, and with characters that do grow over the course of the series, it's turning out to be one of my favourite shows this year.

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