Gunparade March

Alt title: Gunparade March: Arata Naru Kougunka

TV (12 eps)
3.399 out of 5 from 2,040 votes
Rank #3,928

In the year 1945, the most terrible creatures in existence visited the earth: bug-like entities soon to be known as Phantom Beasts. In that time of peril, mankind joined together to expel the threat, only to find that conventional weapons were useless and further damaged the earth. It is now 1999, and the student-wide draft has changed the lives of thousands of teenagers across Japan. While unwillingly fighting in an endless war that started before their births, one group of friends will experience the tragedy of death and the bittersweet joy of love as they struggle to survive.

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Reviews

sothis
8

StoryFirst of all, I think it's important to clear up what type of show Gunparade March is. I've already talked to a few people who picked up Gunparade March, watched one or two episodes, and promptly put it down. The reason? That they didn't want to see another mecha/fighting series. Indeed, the first episode does make it seem like that will be the focus of the show, but like many series, the first episode can sometimes be misleading. In actuality, the show is very much a slice-of-life series, centered mostly on romance in the vein of Boys Be. Granted, it is set in a very dark and sci-fi setting, and yes, there are mecha that they fight in. But again, keep in mind this is not what the show is focused on. Rather, it focuses on a small group of friends who grow together and experience a wide range of situations and feelings with each other, ranging from loss, to comradery, to falling in love. The story is presented very much in a slice of life fashion, with quite a few episodes being "filler", highlighting a certain event like a party, or exploring a relationship of two of the characters. For this reason, if you don't like slower slice-of-life type shows, you probably won't enjoy this. The sci fi elements are definitely neat, and are very compelling when they occur, but the focus is definitely romance and character development, NOT fighting and monsters. As far as rating the story, it definitely fits the 9 category. I like slice of life shows, and this series definitely was a good one. Character development was skillfully placed in episodes dealing with daily life such as school chores, parties, and going out to eat. The romance element was definitely a main feature, starting to kick in pretty strongly around the last half of the series, and was also very effective. Unlike very cookie cutter romance viewings such as True Love Story, Gunparade March instead shows us a romance mostly from the male point of view, similar to Boys Be, as I already mentioned. The romance itself is difficult and slow to occur, moving along in a more sentimental fashion. And the sci fi? Wonderful. You will recognize elements from Blue Gender or perhaps Silent Mobius, and the obligatory mecha to fight in. All in all, the sci fi aspects are not terribly unique, but still are very interesting if you are into that sort of thing. In general the tone is very dark, which makes the trials and tribulations the friends go through that much deeper and meaningful, and make you feel empathetic at the same time. Gunparade March effectively combines slice of life, romance, and sci fi into a beautiful viewing. AnimationGunparade March has a visual style that definitely is somewhat dated, even though it was made only a few years ago. Something that I found a bit unusual was that everything was made to look fuzzy. It's almost like a filter was used that made all edges fuzzy, including making the colors fuzzy and the textures. Although this was appropriate in some scenes, such as the beautiful sunset , it seemed kind of cheap in other scenes that didn't need that effect. Colors also sometimes looked washed out, with lighter tones and shades of everything (usually blues and grays). Nothing was ever bright or vibrant, except the sunset scenes, which bathed the entire screen in brilliant reds and oranges. Character designs were fairly generic, but still looked great, almost like Stellvia characters. Each person had their own unique look and feel, so it wasn't like some series where everyone looks the same *cough*KANON*cough. A variety of hair colors were used as well. I don't remember seeing any CG, or any memorable special effects. The mecha were well done, though not highly spectacular. I sound critical, but in general the animation was definitely above average, just not special enough to get higher than a 7. SoundIf one thing was a failure (even remotely) in Gunparade March, it was the music. It wasn't bad by any means, and it definitely fit the mood, but there just wasn't much variety in the songs and it got repetetive. The main track that was played was a trumpet fanfare of sorts, which was played during pretty much any light hearted time, or during the displaying of the title of each episode. It reminded me a lot of Full Metal Panic, to be honest. There were a few other forgettable mellow/melancholy/upbeat tracks, but they were few and far between compared to the same track that was played over and over. A single track being replayed isn't always a bad thing, and can be pulled off well, such as Stellvia... but I just wasn't feeling it with Gunparade March. Voice acting was decent, and even the characters that sounded wimpy, fit their wimpy characters perfectly! CharactersCharacter development was the crux of Gunparade March, and it showed. Being slice of life AND romance based, you can already guess that it had to have been something decent. Indeed, the group of friends all grow together and you see their changes by the end of the story. Some of these changes are good, some are bad, but all seem realistic. Relationships are explored on a shallow level, and on a deep level for two of the characters. Each character fit somewhat of a stereotype (the playboy, the super friendly girl, the person with a dark past), but still pulled it off well. One of the main characters' changes was the most dramatic, though... transforming from a very withdrawn, angry, isolated woman to something beautiful. Definitely high marks for the characters, as they were explored throughout the episodes, and had many changes by the end that you could identify with. OverallGunparade March was a very slow-paced, moody and dark romantic slice of life series (whew!). If you don't like slice of life series, do yourself a favor and don't watch this. If you think it's going to be sci-fi fighting nonstop (based on the first episode, or what you've heard), stop now, because it isn't! Think of GM like Boys Be + sci fi. There is definitely something in it for the action/sci fi fans, but mostly is a great look at relationships and human interaction during the darkest times, involving people that are just like us. If you like any of the above, and have some time, it can't hurt to try out Gunparade March, I certainly enjoyed it.

Morrow1994
4.5

Not a horrible premise. Not original either, but that's fine. The biggest issue with this anime confronts you before you can even get into the story.  The graphics are downright horrendous. Just absolutely awful. I don't understand why either. There's anime made years before this that have way better graphics quality. Blue Gender, Ghost in the Shell, Cowboy Bibop, all made long before this anime and all have way better visuals. For fu** sake, Ghost in the Shell aired almost TEN YEARS before Gunparade, yet has better graphics. WTF?!?! This is the first time I've ever almost dropped an anime just because the animation was so bad. Moreover, to the trained eye, you can tell the difference between bad animation and bad video qualty, and every single anime site I could find all had bad video quality, which made the already bad animation almost unbearable.  Animation aside, the main male protagonist ruins any potential for this anime to be great. Aside from his incredibly boring, flat personality, the guy in no way shape or form creates any kind of emotional attatchment to his character. By the end of the 12th episode, the dude could have died and the only reason I would have been upset is because the miniscule amount of romance that is present in this anime would have been disrupted.  I watched this anime hoping for at least a half decent love story, with some action in there. If you are here for the same reason, trust me when I say move on, you are not missing anything. At all. At best, this is a great anime to put on while you go to bed as background noise. 

MagicalWay
3.3

First, I just have to say: At this point, I really have no idea what the hell I just saw.Gunparade March has a tried and true idea, with a different twist on the chronology involved. The 'invasion' takes place in the World War II era, and continues up through our present day. You would think over the span of 50+ years this ruthless race of alien killers would have humanity beaten, or vice-versa.Ah, who cares right? It's just the fate of humanity, it's already been this long, why don't we go on some dates, have some laughs? How about we put on a play? I wanna be the princess! Give me a break. Story: (2/10)Alright guys, man up! It's time to go kick some Genjyu ass. Combat, tragedy, and a reason to fight. Awesome. I'm in. Oh wait, we're not going to do the war thing anymore? Now we're going to go ahead and completely forget about the foundation of the show, and switch the focus to a long-winded, overly complicated, and unrewarding love affair? Oh, OK.Gunparade starts off slowly, but over the course of the first half, builds itself into a compelling war drama, with all the potential in the world to hit home as a memorable icon in its genre, which was supposed to be: Action-Mecha, right?Right at about halfway, let's shift the direction. I would like nothing more than to laden this review with spoilers on what exactly this story did so wrong, but let's just say that this train derailed around the time it decided it would be a good idea to stray from its initial progress, in favor of: irrelevant episodes about unimportant characters (in a 12 part program, this is already a huge issue, anyway), and wasting time regurgitating the same scene of the main two characters fumbling over how to word their feelings to one another in every episode all the way up to the end. Be prepared to have a huge, awkward, floating question mark above your head for a majority of the show, wondering when you're going to get back on track. Well, unfortunately, you never do. It seems the creators had banked on their Romance sufficiently stealing the limelight from the war. It failed. Animation: (4/10)So I'm watching this show, wondering what kind of references I'll be able to pick out to past shows of its kind. Most shows give discreit references, a head nod if you will, to their predecessors. Gunparade shamelessly rips the clothes off their backs. To begin with, the military uniforms strongly resemble those used from the special forces unit of RahXephon. On top of this, our main character looks just like Akito. (more on this later) Plain-Jane artwork, but noticably better in the close-ups.There is a huge amount of animation rehash in the combat sequences. When combat is used in anime, it is 'hit-or-miss' as far as whether or not it can be taken seriously. The ridiculous amount of animation recycling in the action scenes of this show make it seem dilatory and apathetic. If the animators don't care, than why should we? Sound: (5/10)The Intro Shinjitsu no Tobira, by Yoko Ishida , feels overly upbeat for a show that has the serious undertones of war. The Ending theme, Yami o Koete by Masumi Harada, felt like a perfect way to lead out of every episode.The voice acting here was perfectly average. Although, Akira Ishida, did a great job of acting out his character, Hayami. Normally one to play a character with a strong personality, Hayami's indecisive and kind demeanor was a nice change of pace. Akemi Okamura's character, Mai Shibamura is fairly one dimensional for a very long time, but eventually begins to blossom a bit later on.Just like its rehashed Animation, the sound effects, and background music are used over, and over...and over. Character: (2/10)Shinj-... I mean, Hayami, is weak and as calculable as a second grade math problem. If this guy were any more transparent, he'd have been a walking window. Even after the ample time he was given for development, he barely evolves at all. This is of course a big deal, considering that the creators opted to take a huge cast of characters, make them all irrelevant, and focus all their attention on two people, Hayami being one of them. A positive note to add: His strength appears in the combat situations, when friends are in danger, and this gives him the feeling of at least being a capable player in this game of war.Mai Shibamura is your typical strong, but silent type. She is fighting with an agenda, and has herself set up to be the main muscle in the show. Unfortunately, around the time the show decides to shift the story, a certain series of actions has her emasculated in the wake of Hayami, the same weak scrub of a main character afore mentioned. This makes her resolve and toughness vastly dillute. From then on, about the toughest thing she does, is keep herself from knocking out her sad choice of a love interest. In the very last portion of the show, her resolve resurfaces, and you see an evolution of her character.Around about the mid point in the show, the entire supporting cast is reduced to a band of lackies for what seems like a bad reality television show. Every single characters sole mission in life appears to be hooking up our protagonists. Last but not least, we have the Genjyu. Who in the world are these guys? How menacing can they be, having let humanity just kind of hang out for over fifty years? The answer, is not very menancing at all. To defeat them, it's a simple matter of sending in a couple of mechs, which have absolutely no resistance whatsoever getting to the 'brain' aliens, and using a weapon manned by an eight-year-old child to take care of business. Rinse, repeat. Other than a brief scene in the middle of the show, there is absolutely no feeling of danger at any point in this show. Last I knew, villains were supposed to produce a feeling of crisis.I would have been able to enjoy Gunparade so much more, had they just kept on track. Even if they wanted to switch the focus of the show, at least make it a less awkward shift. Finally, when you make a shift like that, and give so much buildup to a single goal, make it worth the wait. To say that I didn't enjoy the Romance between Hayami and Mai at least a little, would be a lie. However, I think the stronger part of this show was when things were tense, and tragedy struck. I generally felt like I was robbed of the buildup, by a lackluster Romance. The ending itself resolved what became the major issue in the show, but left me with alot of questions. Overall Rating: (3.25/10) If you're a fan of Mecha and Action, wait for something more original. If you're a fan of Comedy and Romance, Gunparade is vastly unrewarding.

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