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AKA: 超獣伝説ゲシュタルト (Choujuu Densetsu Gestalt), Super-Beast Legend Gestalt
Genre: Fantasy adventure with some comedy
Length: OAV series, 2 episodes, 25 minutes each
Distributor: VHS and R1 DVD from Anime Works / Media Blasters
Content Rating: 13+ (violence, some adult themes, brief nudity)
Related Series: N/A
Also Recommended: Ruin Explorers, Rune Soldier, Slayers, Star Ocean EX
Notes: Based on manga by Yun Kouga (Earthian).
Rating:
 

Gestalt

Synopsis

A young, handsome priest named Olivier sets out to discover the secret of a forbidden island known simply as "G" - saying its full name (gee, I wonder what THAT could be?) is said to be a bad omen, as "G" is said to be the god of evil who rebelled against the supreme god Vasaria (yada yada yada). While on his journey, he meets an enigmatic, but very attractive girl named Ohri, who is cursed to be mute. (Sort of.) Meanwhile, the church of Vasaria aims to stop Olivier from completing his mission - and Olivier's travels bring him to a city where his righteousness and sense of justice get him in big trouble with the local royalty. So is pretty-boy Olivier destined to be carrion crawler fodder? Will Ohri get to actually talk? Will we ever found out what the land of "G" even looks like? Well, don't hold your breath ...

Review

Think about this for a moment.

Gestalt is two episodes long. There is no conceivable way they're going to complete a story in that time frame - there's hardly even enough time to get the concept of "introducing the characters" complete in the span of two episodes. So are we going to see the land of "G"? Hell no.

Does this mean Gestalt is a lost cause? Not necessarily.

First off, the characters (what few of them there are) are actually a whole lot of fun. It's nice to see a pretty-boy fantasy hero who's competent, but not a "munchkin" - Olivier is very much the archetypal cleric in fantasy terms. Think Etoh from Lodoss War, except bishounen, somewhat effete, and wearing a typically anachronistic pair of tinted glasses. (John Lennon lives!) Given his apparently good looks, the SD expressions he will put on are priceless.

Ohri, on the other hand, is a super-powered sorceress with a hitch - when we first meet her, she's a slave and cursed to be mute in the most amusing way possible. Anyone who's played console RPGs like the Final Fantasy series or Star Ocean the Second Story is familiar with the standby speech box. Well, that's the only way Ohri can converse - a speech box pops up on the screen and that's her dialogue. Very, very wrong, and very, very cool.

It's obvious that the creators of this show (probably including the mangaka Kouga Yun in this case) are familiar with the tropes of role-playing, right down to the stock Dungeons and Dragons monsters you see in the show, like carrion crawlers and dark elves. Except that the carrion crawlers in this series are gigantic monstrosities (not the wimpy 2nd-level critters of D&D). And the two dark elves you meet in this series are complete and utter ditzes - excitable, clumsy, unlucky, and generally the complete opposite of everything you learned in Lodoss War or Forgotten Realms. (Geez, must -every- character named Suzu be a whiny Valley Girl?)

Behind the tongue-in-creek skewering of fantasy cliches, there is, in fact a story to be told here. Olivier's questioning of his faith is a rather interesting instance of "history being told by the victors", as it seems to be that perhaps "G" isn't the god of evil like everyone has been taught. However, the story really doesn't have much time to explore this, or anything much deeper than Olivier and Ohri going from point A to point B and having Ohri smacking things down with magic, especially given the clipped runtime.

Numero uno on the smackdown list are the aforementioned hapless dark elves, as well as Ohri's archrival, Soushi (uh oh, another pretty-boy, but this time with bad hair), who is basically in this story long enough to pose a threat or two, then get thoroughly trashed and humiliated. The "villains" oscillate between cruel and comical, especially the queen in the second episode, which gets a little annoying at times.

The animation has some early and rather obtrusive CG elements to it - it's not uniformly great, and fairly two-dimensional with some character animations (watch out for those static backgrounds!), but occasionally quite colorful (especially with those cool spell effects) and certainly not grating on the eyes. The character designs are generally appealing, if nothing extraordinary. Ohri herself is -very- pleasing to the eyes (as is Olivier for those of you looking for pretty men in your anime), but the dark elves have those ridiculous Lodoss elf ears that look like they'd snag tree branches if their bearers weren't careful. (They're still easy on the eyes anyway.) The summoned creatures that show up later on look pretty impressive, though.

Music? It's largely forgettable, really, neither bad enough nor good enough to catch my attention.

In the end ... well, there's only two episodes. Since the series ends without ever once setting foot on "G", the viewer is left with infinitely more questions than answers, like "How much double-sided tape is being used to hold up those girls' costumes?" or "Where in the world did Olivier get tinted glasses, anyway?" Gestalt isn't out to answer these questions, or any other important issues in the minds of fantasy fans. What do you think this is, Berserk?

Gestalt's good for a laugh or two, and then you can return the DVD to your rental outlet, or watch again and again if you're so inclined. It's no classic, but it's silly fun, just so long as you don't expect a whole lot out of it.

Fun, but far too slight to be a classic. Carlos Ross

Recommended Audience: Don't let the silliness and the bright colors fool you. There's at least one rather nasty death at the hands of a carrion crawler, and the amount of violence in this film renders it a bit out of bounds for children and younger teens. While this is a fantasy film, the idea that Olivier basically gains Ohri as a slave may not sit well with some. There's a little bit of sexual innuendo here, and some equal opportunity fan service shots of busty girls and pretty men in sometimes scanty outfits. One brief nude shot, but nothing explicit.



Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD
Review Status: Full (2/2)
Gestalt © 1997 Kouga Yun / Enix / TV Tokyo / Sony Music Entertainment