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A little known anime series, Generator Gawl should be on your list. Those who have seen it will probably agree that it is one of the best series available right now. The story strikes a balance found in the best anime, mixing stone-faced seriousness with cartoony wackiness to create a series that is one of the most intriguing, action-packed, and funny things I’ve seen.

The basic premise is a sort of anime take on Terminator. Three young men are sent back in time to 2007 to prevent Professor Nekasa from discovering a genetic code that will enable scientists to alter humans, creating super soldier transforming robot-demon-human things called "generators." Ryo and Kouji are scientists, and Gawl is their bodyguard. Gawl can transform into a generator when necessary, which is often because their enemies in the future keep sending back evil generators to stop them. While Kouji is the stoic leader and shows virtually no emotion, Ryo is a tortured soul feeling guilty about his involvement in creating generators like Gawl.

All alone this could form the basis for a space opera like Neon Genesis Evangelion, but Generator Gawl manages to push things a step further. Gawl is the non-intellectual part of the team, driven by things like emotion, hunger, and more physical, gritty desires. A lot of work is done to emphasize his loss of humanity having gone through the transformation into a generator. These aspects of Gawl’s character play nicely off Masami, who is introduced in the first episode.

Gawl and his associates rent rooms in Masami’s mother’s house, posing as university students. Masami is the stereotypical loud-mouthed, opinionated anime Harpy, and it just so happens that she is secretly in love with Gawl, although she’d hit you in the head with a frying pan if she heard you say that. Their relationship is very much like Ranma and Akane’s relationship in Ranma , but Masami seems a bit more perceptive than Akane, who is never too driven to figure anything out. Masami’s constant tracking of the trio leads to some humorous scenes, although those who are unfamiliar with or don’t care for a bit of anime slapstick might find these scenes the worst.

The series is short, twelve episodes available on four discs, but, having viewed half of it, I can’t wait for the rest. I would like to see more extra material – background on the series, a making-of, interviews with the director, whatever. The DVD releases suffer from the same lack of additional material as most other anime series.

Regardless of the lacking extras, desired by the fanboys and girls, Generator Gawl has something to satisfy all types of otaku and is sure to generate a cult following, if not an intergalactic army of fans. Get in on this series right away.

Shawn Rider   (01/17/2002)


Ups: Excellent sense of humor; great action; cool drama; really good story.

Downs: No real extras.

Platform: DVD