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Title:
  Elemental Gelade vol 1

UK Distributor:  MVM (DVD Only)

BBFC Certificate:  PG

Suggested Retail Price (SRP):  19.99

Episodes:  1-5 (of 26)

Audio Options:  English 5.1 & Japanese 2.0

Subtitles:  English

Reviewer:  Rich (Webmaster)

 

You know what?  I'm a sucker for action-packed fantasy series, and because of this I was looking forward to seeing Elemental Gelade.  I read and enjoyed the first volume of the mange the series is based on and was quite interested to hear that MVM would be releasing the anime of it.

Set in a fantasy/sci-fi world where technology and mystic powers live side by side, the plot follows Coud van Giruet, a young member of the Red Lynx sky pirates.  This notorious band of brigands roam the skies and rob the airships of wealthy merchants, but their latest raid throws up a treasure bigger than most.  Sealed in a dusty old box is Ren, a beautiful girl who is not all she seems, as Coud finds out when he opens the box and awakens her.  Ren is an Edel Raid, a being capable of transforming into an awesomely powerful weapon if she joins with another person (not in that way you perv...).  Moreover Ren is not just any Edel Raid, she is one of the strongest and rarest of all.  Unfortunately for Coud there are a lot of people searching for her, from the allegedly benevolent Edel Raid protection society Arc Aile, to thugs craving for power and a sinister, as yet unnamed organisation.  During an attack by assassins sent by this organisation, Ren joins with Coud in order to save his life and grants him amazing powers.  However, this makes him a target as Edel Raids can only join with a single person at one time - meaning that he would have to die before Ren could join with anyone else!  Beset by foes on all sides and accompanied by Arc Aile agents Cisqua, Rowen and their ever hungry Edel Raid Kuea, Coud begins a journey to take Ren to the mystic land of Edel Garden.  But with rival Edel Raids, nefarious villains around every corner and Cisqua's secret desire to take them back to Arc Aile, will they ever reach their goal?
 

Elemental Gelade was pretty much everything I expected.  From the off there is plenty of action, a cocky lead character with hidden depths and entertaining support characters.  The story is pretty standard stuff, the meeting and bond between Coud and Ren is taken care of in the first episode and after that it's pretty much a road trip as the pair set off to find a mysterious land.  The animation is good and the character design is distinctive enough to give the series its own identity, which is lucky as the series lacks originality in other areas.  The problem with series like Elemental Gelade is that boy's action stories are two a penny in

the anime world.  Things like Naruto rise above the others because they have original angles and engrossing storylines that don't always go in the directions you expect.  Elemental Gelade is exciting and entertaining, but it lacks the originality or the depth that would set it apart.

The main issue is that Coud is overly cocky and pretty annoying, and the series focuses more on him than the far more interesting Ren in this first volume.  When it does touch on Ren's feelings, and those of the other Edel Raids and Cisqua, it really becomes more interesting and engrossing, but it doesn't dwell on these aspects enough.  Side plots about Sting Raids - humans who are implanted with a stone that gives them similar powers to an Edel Raid, but slowly kills them - show that the series has a lot more flesh than it seems at first, but these aspects only form a part of the stories on this disc.  Admittedly this is the first volume though, and it may therefore delve more into the characters themselves over the coming episodes, but at the moment the focus is more on action and adventure.  Although there's nothing really wrong with that it has yet to really flesh out the characters, and this is a drawback.
 

However, what the story loses in depth it covers with entertainment!  You get plenty of fights, explosions and mayhem to keep you watching, and there's also some comedy and drama thrown in too.  Much of the comedy comes from the excellent Cisqua and the food-obsessed Kuea.  Cisqua seems cutesy and nice, but rub her up the wrong way and she breaks out the automatic weapons!  Despite her looks she has a explosive temper and loves money, making her kind of similar to Lina Inverse from the fantasy comedy Slayers.  Cisqua keeps things entertaining, but the five episodes on this disc also find time to glimpse

into her past at Arc Alie and explains why she does not join with an Edel Raid like her partner Rowen.  Rowen however is a bit of a non-entity, he's just the calm, dependable one who keeps her grounded.  It's a shame it doesn't spend more time focusing on the characters or their pasts, as things really get more interesting when it does.  At the moment most of them remain underdeveloped.

Although Elemental Gelade at the moment lacks the spark that makes it special, it is still a solid and enjoyable action series with plenty of action and comedy to keep you interested.  The characters have depths that are hinted at but remain largely unexplored and this should bode well for future volumes.  There are flashes of intriguing ideas throughout but none have really come to the fore, but it's good value for money and will keep you entertained.  Elemental Gelade vol 1 as a fun but average anime actioner with plenty of promise for future volumes, worth a look if you need an action fix before the next volume of Naruto hits the shelves.

Extras:

Take a guess.  If you guessed character bios, creator interviews, behind the scenes documentaries and music videos then you'd be....dead wrong.  Yes once again an anime release wows us with two trailers and a clean opening and closing sequence.  Hooray.

Ratings

Feature:   Extras:
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