Gasaraki: conclusions

I spent the whole morning just finishing the final episodes of Gasaraki, and I think I now know the reason why the series is lacking in popularity even with serious fans of anime. For one, it cannot be categorized into a purely visual feast of motion and agency; for another, it is not as evocative or pathos-inducing as series like my oft-quoted Honey and Clover. I find that even for my broad and esoteric tastes, the series remains difficult to get into. How much more difficult would it be, then, for the casual anime viewer?

gasaraki
Miharu is cute, though.

After all the years of watching anime series, I believe that this series has been the first truly political one I have seen. This series has its flaws, but I truly admire its ability to paint somewhat accurate caricatures of the complexities of politics. Trying to do so has muddled its themes as well as its presentation, but I admire the effort.

I especially laud the creation of characters such as Nishida, he who embodies true idealism only to perish because of his inexorable nature. It is sad that I have not seen the romance that I was looking for between Miharu and Yuushiro. There really was no tension. They loved each other, and there was no question about that, but it was more in the vein of companionship and camaraderie; it was not steeped in emotion and passion.

All in all, the anime series was good. It is not as remarkable as certified perennial favourites, but it was novel (in many ways), and it was engaging (to some degree). Darn, I almost forgot: the ED was so awesome. I could not stop singing it. 🙂

(Frankly, I wanted to write more, but what else could I say? It was a good anime series; politics was both a curse and a boon to it, and it is an interesting watch.)

10 Responses to “Gasaraki: conclusions”

  1. IKnight Says:

    I’m trying to get ahold of this on DVD right now, so it’s interesting to read your assessment. I hope my taste is broad enough to appreciate it.

    Oh yes, and I’ve seen the ED and it is indeed beautiful.

  2. Michael Says:

    Be careful of bootlegs is all that I can say. Ahaha~

    The ED is wonderful. It is a very moody and evocative piece. 🙂

  3. Martin Says:

    *gasps* someone else enjoyed Gasaraki!

    Seriously though, I agree with you on pretty much all of the above points. Yes, it was ‘hard to get into’ (I took a second attempt to finish it) and not at all geared for the mainstream otaku-type of fan. It was also lacking in ‘passion’ and ‘tension’ but at the same time was mature, convincing (as convincing as a ‘giant robots’ show can be!) and ambitious in combining disparate themes and doing it well.

    ~IKnight: I’ll warn you that the DVDs are really hard to find these days though – after discovering that it’s out of print from ADV, I ended up buying the dics second-hand. The OST too is hard to find but it’s a really worthwhile purchase if you’re a fan of the series; the OP and END themes are among my favourites.

    Kudos to you for drawing attention to an underrated classic!

  4. Michael Says:

    @Martin

    I remembered the first series of episodes, and I was surpised: more than action and physical conflict expected of mecha series generally, what I saw was heavy dialectics. I believed that turned off many prospective viewers, but I realized that this series attempted something new, which was to portray politics as a focus of an anime series. I persisted, and despite the fact that I yawned quite a few times while watching the series, I have come to the conclusion that it was still a good one.

    I would agree, it was mature and it was convincing: as I said, I admired how the creators painted the character of Nishida. It remained to be a conflict between the old and the new (ubiquitous problem of current Japan), between authority and raw power, and other dichotomies that made the series fun-to-watch (to some extent). It was ambitious, and that led to some of its flaws, but yes, it was well-done.

    At least you guys have the DVDs. I want to buy ;_;

    Aaannd … the ED is one of my favourites. It’s a great piece.

  5. Sorrow-kun Says:

    Gasaraki was one of the first anime series I saw, and the first one I ever purchased, so I sort of look back on it with rose-tinted lenses, but it is an outstanding example of the types of anime I wish we saw more of, ie, series that tackle complicated political issues without trivializing them. It’s obvious why the series isn’t popular, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, and really appreciate the way they handled the themes, and the well written dialogue, particularly in the confrontations, such as the ones involving Nishida.

    Good to see that other people have actually bothered to watch it all the way through to its completion.

  6. Cameron Probert Says:

    Yay, I’m glad you liked it. I’ve always found Gasaraki was kind of a reaction to Gundam. Although I don’t think it was as effective of a reaction as RahXephon was to Evangelion. I did find Nishida to be a fascinating character. And also the older brother, who’s name escapes me now.

    I thought Yuushiro played an interesting role as someone who grows out of the restrictions placed on him and into a person onto himself. And some of the framing and artwork on the scenes was really impressive.

  7. Michael Says:

    @Sorrow-kun

    I wish I could purchase the Gasaraki DVD, but I discovered from Martin that it was no longer in circulation. It became out of print. 🙁

    The dialogues were awesome. I would even argue that the series was like Lions for Lambs without the fat and cholesterol.

    @Cameron

    You know, I thought of that, too. I believed that someone was tired of the impossible politics that occurred in the world of Gundam that Gasaraki was made. I’d also agree, too, that RahXephon was a better reaction to Evangelion than this series (if ever) to Gundam.

    RahXephon contained characters that were human, and flawed, but not as irritating as Eva’s. People may flame me for this, but, I found the love story between Haruka and Ayato to be among the best in any series, romance or whatnot. 15 years is a long time. 😉

    Nishida was a fascinating character. One of Gasaraki’s strengths lie in that man. I would also agree that Yuushiro is a character with an interesting role.

    Let us not forget the ED of awesome, too. 😛

  8. Cameron Probert Says:

    It’s funny because on the extras for the DVD, they actually have a discussion about the making of Gasaraki and how it was produced by Sunrise. And when they told them that there was only going to be one mecha design, the producers freaked out.

    I actually just posted my analysis of the RahXephon/Eva comparison on my blog 🙂 That isn’t intended as spam, just that it’s a really long argument and it took up a lot of space. But I have to agree with you, I think the Haruka/Ayato love story was amazing. And I thought Kisaragi made a great tragic character. And so did Ishki. Honestly, RahXephon is my favorite anime of all time. I could talk for hours about it.

    The ED was indeed awesome 🙂 Although they did get fairly limited air time. All in all, I always thought that Gasaraki brought both the politics and mecha designs back into the realm of realism rather than the far off, space opera realm they’d been in.

  9. Idetrorce Says:

    very interesting, but I don’t agree with you
    Idetrorce

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