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mdchan

  • USA
  • Joined Aug 9, 2011
  • 40 / Other

Warning:  This review is written from the point of view of someone who has read the manga version first. 

If I had to sum up this series in two words, it would be "filler episodes".  Boasting all of 6 out of 26 episodes actually based off of the manga counterpart, this season is practically nothing but filler episodes.

The characters are the same as always, so we're not going to touch on that; yes, two new characters were introduced as antagonists, which was actually why I docked points.  I didn't find Hazel interesting in the manga, and I found him even worse in the anime adaption.

The animation was still as clunky as always with the fight scenes, preferring a dramatic still-scene (and sometimes not even seeing a point of contact) to actual blows being traded.

The sound was rated off of the intro and exit songs, which really didn't impress me much.  They aren't as bad as one song from Reload, but they didn't serve to psych me up like the songs in the first 50 episodes did.

I also didn't care to rewatch it just to pinpoint various failings.  Rather, I'll go over the biggest disappointment and the reason for for such a low overall score (despite the fact that I love the Saiyuki series):

Story

Reload:Gunlock was completely crap in storytelling to the point where I can't even sum it up without getting annoyed.  It didn't do the "Just a Worm" saga in the manga ANY justice at all, as it deviates quite a lot from the actual events of that.  When I first heard that there was an animated season which went over that saga, I was thrilled.  There was one fight scene in particular I was looking forward to the most...

...and it never appeared.

That was an early fight, in fact, but was the point where I threw my arms up into the air and went "well, they've just completely screwed it over".

Everything was downplayed, and there wasn't nearly as much emotion and drama as there was in the manga (this saga in the manga spans from the last chapter of volume 4 up through volume 10).

The ending was also much different in the anime than the manga, and incredibly disappointing.  In fact, the entire thing was, and I really have no desire to watch this season again (aside from episode 7, which remains one of my favorite filler episodes of all time due to the sheer hilarity of it; I call it "The Jumanji Episode").

When I looked back on it, I can only describe this season as being something of an AU story from the manga.  It uses the same characters, but deviates in the situations and what happens. 

A poorly written one, as it doens't go deeply enough into it that you even feel bad for Hazel or Gat.  There aren't any raging emotions or breath-holding moments.

Overall

What I said in the beginning stands:  A poorly written AU version of the "Just a Worm" saga of the manga (volumes 4-10) with horrible storytelling, flat characterizations, and mostly filler episodes.

I would not recommend this to anyone who has read the manga version (volumes 4-10 of Saiyuki Reload), especially those who really wanted to see that one heart-pounding, dangerous, and awesome fight scene (fans of the manga, you know what scene I'm talking about; I'm trying not to include spoilers) in volume 7 animated.

Fans who haven't read the manga...I'm on the fence about it.  My suggestion would be to read the manga instead of watching episodes 13-26.  Though, you might find it interesting, but once you read the manga version of it, you'll see just how badly Reload:Gunlock is lacking.

Some of the filler episodes are good for a laugh, but it's otherwise not really worth watching (not for the plot/story, at least).

2/10 story
6/10 animation
6/10 sound
7/10 characters
4/10 overall
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