Gunparade March Volume 1
“Gunparade March” originally started out as ,a video game for Playstation. Due to its huge award winning success, it was later featured as a twelve episode anime series and also a three part manga. The anime version of Gunparade March was produced by J.C.Staff and broadcast on MBS in February 2003 and April 2003 in Japan and only recently made it’s way across to the UK. It is comparable with many other animes, such as: Gundamn Wing, Baldr Force EXE and bizarrely enough, Tenchi Muyo.
The opening of the first few episodes gives a brief but detailed description of what is happening in a fictional world, where alien life forms known as the Genjyu have taken over control of the world and people have been living in fear of these creatures since the late 1940s. Rather than being intelligent life forms, the Genjyu are no more than parasites, spreading across the world at an incredible rate and leaving nothing but destruction in its wake. To try and battle these creatures, all modern forms of warfare have been employed and it would appear that not even a Nuclear bomb is able to disperse the creatures and prevent full invasion. As such the use of these powerful weapons have left the planet poisoned with radiation. Yet the aliens continue to live on whilst the human race struggles to live ordinary lives alongside them.
On first impression this anime is nothing special, it could even be described as cookie-cutter. The storyline, though interesting, would only appeal to one type of audience – the sort that love guns, machines and robots thrown in for good measure. Not to forget the Genjyu, who are huge, vicious aliens that can only be destroyed by a monster fighting-weapon-laden-robot, the Humanoid Unit AMTT-500, who incidentally looks a little like Metriod. This is all discovered in the first episode and not to mention a bit of bloodshed to seal the deal for those out there that judge an entire anime within the first twenty minutes.
However, by the second episode the story widens out a little and it can entice a much larger audience. It becomes humorous, with typical characters with similarities that can be found from across the Sci-fi genre and a few others to boot, such as a cute girl like Sasami from Tenchi Muyo. The storyline has pulled on inspiration from Tenchi Muyo with a lot of action, but with a lot of comical every day life moments thrown in. There is plenty of time to get to know the history and the lives of the characters, which the first few episodes spends a lot of time doing.
The main characters are actually young adults still in a Training school where they are taught to use the Humanoid Unit AMTT-500. These students treat the Genjyu invasion like an everyday thing, laughing and discussing more ordinary concerns such as having a boyfriends and homework. The characters seem to vary from very serious, to flirtatious, Lolashota to playful. As could be expected from teenagers, some of the subject matter isn’t always family friendly and the humour can be a little crude now and again.
The artwork is nothing out of the ordinary, with a pleasing look but the characters are all a little generic however the backgrounds and the characters themselves have enough detail. The animation quality is fairly good, although there are an awful lot of still shots of space, robots and a lot of close-ups of people talking but with little movement. The voice acting is very standard, almost forgettable on the whole and the Japanese cast isn’t much different either.
A good opening to a series, although the first episode will lead many fans away from the series who would probably end up liking later episodes in the volume.