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suiru

  • Connecticut
  • Joined Apr 15, 2008
  • 35 / F

Saiyuki Reload Gunlock

Nov 15, 2009

                                

 

Story: 6.5/10

 So, here we are: a fifty-episode prequel, one movie, an OVA, and another twenty-five episode follow-up series, and BOY, HOWDY! India sure still seems a looong waaay off, huh!? The first episode of “Gunlock” promises not to deviate from Saiyuki’s previous format. The Sanzo party arrive in yet another village being terrorized by demons, and our four heroes are nominated to save the day. Gojyo hits on a few girls, Sanzo fires a few unnecessary bullets, Goku eats like a horse, and Hakkai sits in the corner smiling his enigmatic bishounen smile. They defeat the offending demons, and drive off into the sunset with their dragon-jeep thing, while Goku and Gojyo bicker in the backseat.

 Rinse. Repeat.

 “I wonder just how far they’ve gotten now,” grumbles Kanzeon Bosatsu’s elderly servant, as he and the goddess both survey the party’s sluggish progress through a mystical lotus pond.  “Exactly how long is it going to take them to get to India?”

She responds with a none-too-promising smirk.

“Oh, they’ll be there before you know it,”  she assures him; a statement that has probably elicited more than a few snorts of derision from the show’s viewers.

 But is a solid, fulfilling ending finally in store for Saiyuki fans? I’ll try not to spoil anything, but don’t hold your breath. This series appears to have graduated from the “Naruto-School-of-Useless-Mary-Sue-Centric-Filler-Episodes,” and we’re gonna have to watch at least a dozen more “Hourans,” “Fumikas,” and “Kougyokus” get killed off before the torture ends.

 

Animation: 6/10

 Aside from “Requiem,” Saiyuki has never boasted anything above average graphics. Kazuya Minekura’s manga offers up an aesthetic feast for fan girls and boys alike, serving up scores of long-legged bishounen and big-breasted women, sprawling landscapes, and bloody brawls. Each stationary panel, frozen in time, seems more dynamic than the show’s clunky animation. Fight scenes, of which there are many, consist of still shots and speed lines. (Look! They’re really moving!)

 No. They’re really not.

 On the other hand, the character designs strive to meet Minekura’s standard of excellence. The characters are usually very attractive and charming-looking: save for some of the women. Is it just me, or did that red-headed Mary Sue from episode eight look like a drag queen? I kept expecting one of her boobs to slip.

Sound: 5/10

 The opening and ending theme are pretty average, but stay consistent with Saiyuki’s premise. (Four bad-ass guys, driving around doing bad-ass things.) I always expect to hear a bunch of random Engrish exclamations peppered into the Japanese lyrics, such as: “let’s go!” or “wild rock!”

However, where “Gensou Maden’s” composers excelled at compiling back ground music, “Reload” failed pretty hard. Rather than opting to write original pieces, they plugged in what can only be described as crappy MIDI versions of the opening and ending themes.

Characters: 7.5/10

 The starring cast of Saiyuki have always carried the show remarkably well. Sanzo is bizarrely charismatic, despite his anti-social tendencies and steady stream of death threats. Goku and Gojyo have always provided ample humor, and Hakkai is the perfect gentleman… when he’s not ripping apart demons and disposing of their entrails in tidy little piles of gore. I’m also something of a “team Kougaji” fan. I’ve always enjoyed that the Sanzo party’s rivals aren’t explicitly evil.

Points were deducted for the two new useless plot devices, Hazel and Gato, both of whom suffer from “sacrificial-lamb” syndrome. Characters exhibiting symptoms of this syndrome often pop up out of no where, hang around the lead characters just long enough to derail all of their primary objectives, consume two or three episodes detailing their tragic past, then die dramatically in a shower of sparkles.

 

Overall: 6.5/10

 Are we there, yet?

6.5/10 story
6/10 animation
5/10 sound
7.5/10 characters
6.5/10 overall

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