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GENESHAFT Vol. 1 - 'Ring'

Company: BANDAI
Age: 13 and up
Episodes: 1-4
Languages: Japanese/English
Optional Extras: - See Optional Extras (below)
Time: 100 minutes
Created by: Satelight, Kazuki Akane
Manga Serialized in Monthly Ace-Next (Kadokawa Shoten) as 'Incomplete Arms Luna Shaft'
Screenplay: Sho Tokimura & Miya Asakawa
Director & Series Supervisor: Kazuki Akane
A Production of Bandai Visual & Dentsu



The lock, stock and barrel of the contents

The lock? - Contains first 4 episodes of series.

The stock? - Beginning of a brand new series.

The barrel? - There's a few optional extras to speak of (see Optional Extras below).

Subtitles - Off. It's default mode is English.

So, complete the chain and you have a new series. But how will it play out? Let's see.


GENESHAFT Volume 1 - Ring

Episode 1
Earth is once again NOT in it's happy place. In the late 21st Century things happened (I'm guessing overpopulation though they never come out and say it), and they end up having to control the Earth's population. In the end they come up with a ratio of 9 women to every one male (because women are less violent), and everyone is genetically engineered to bring out the 'best' traits- yeah, think that happened in another series- culminates in Star Trek II-The Wrath of Khan which is still one of my favorite Sci-Fi movies of all time.

Anyway, I don't like this genetic engineering thing. Don't trust it, no I don't. After all, just how disturbing is it if even the family pet is genetically engineered so it can take itself for a walk, and sit in a chair and work on a computer! Probably can even use the toilet too- weird.

As for the main star of this series? She's joining the Military (one girl named Mika, who is a 'white' (hasn't developed her special skills yet but you know it'll be a major one when she finally does). Now she was to head to the moon, but she ends up on a station in Earth orbit just in time to meet her 'Teammates' (some of the other girls of the series and major characters), which includes someone she hates so much that she could kill him- only he's majorly important and there's no way in hell she's ever getting close enough to do that.

However, all is not well in Earth orbit. A strange object called 'The Ring' (because it resembles a giant gold ring) is in Earth's orbit, and it's tied to a find on Ganymede in Jupiter orbit. Sound familiar? Because we've been through this scenario before with a Mr. Arthur C. Clarke (mainly 2001 & 2010) and this 'ring' has Monolith level powers as everyone will soon see.

It probably didn't help that the first survey team they land on the Ring is packing terrorists who start a shootout on the Ring, which provokes it, which causes it to take a shot at the Earth wiping out a major chunk of the United States (West Coast) and killing Mika's mom!

Oh, it also trashed a part of the space station Mika's on and it's now falling towards Earth. And one person onboard (a guy named Lord Sneak) may be more trouble than he's worth after he kills his assistant in cold blood. Yeah, now there's a guy I'd love to have in command of something- not.


Episode 2 - The Monolith
I mean Ring is not happy. It's first shot took out 30% of the station where Mika is now, and wiped out a large tract of real estate (and probably millions in lives). Shows of emotion over this? Not overtly apparent except for Mika, and that's not something I want to see after a major massacre like that. Not a good sign on the emotional level of this show. Worst, in fleeing the station Mika commits herself to saving four people still trapped on the station in a malfunctioning lifepod but fails (and they die). First use of the Shaft, by the way, is done during this rescue but the Shaft? Piece of junk! It's systems crash over and over again and it fails to do the rescue. As for the Captain? The one Mika hates with a vengeance? Guy has blood on his hands (he's failed people and let them die before). The fact a failure like him was allowed to command ANOTHER vessel is a sign that the culture he comes from isn't very interested in human lives.

Episode 3
Guy's barely Captain for one Volume and already he's gone suicidal. He sends his own ship into an attack against the Ring against orders from Earth, and he gets the crews of his own support ships killed in the process. They use Shaft again (though its only up to 30-40% capacity in this episode), but most likely as bait (another shitty move by El Capitan). As for the Ring? They think it's destroyed, and it might be destroyed- but for my money's worth I'm not convinced. Something with Monolith level powers that could withstand so much punishment? It couldn't have been destroyed. But then again it was having a hard time landing damage on the Biklis or the Shaft so maybe it underestimated it's 'opponents' and got whacked?

Can't be. Somehow I don't think this is the last we've seen of the Ring. If it is? Then I'm overtly cautious to an regretful degree, but we'll see.

As for the girls? Five of them (including Mika) are candidates to pilot the Shaft, and one of them is a survivor of the first survey team on the Ring, and she's got a bad attitude.


Episode 4
As the pilot candidates bicker (Mika and that woman I told you about, the survivor from the survey team), they're off now running independently (Earth doesn't approve of their actions) as they head to Ganymede for answers. We'll end here, there's some things that happen that I want to save for you to find out.

Let's check the optional extras then break this down.


The Optional Extras

Pilot Film - Give this a watch first because it'll get you hyped up and in the mood for watching the episodes that are to come.

Character Gallery - Basically your 4-1-1 on the main characters (10) of the series.

Geneshaft Glossary - Remember the Glossary in Meltylancer & Arjuna? Same thing. It's a big infodump on what your watching (details wise). It covers the stuff in the first four episodes you might not understand, but you should give the episodes a view before you go reading this so you have some background to associate with as you read this.

Bilkis Programs - Same as Glossary, lots of info you need, but you should watch the episodes at least once before digesting the information here.

Trailers - Argentosoma, Banner of the Stars - We just reviewed Volume 1-2, Arjuna.

And now the breakdown.


GENESHAFT Breakdown the 1st

What's Hot? - It's too early to say but the animation is very well done (CGI animation so there's lots of useage of computer animation in this one, but on a different level than, say, Arjuna or Betterman). The plot needs getting used to, but I'm intrigued enough to say that I find interesting things about the characters, plot, story and the series itself to watch more.

The music? I can't seem to get into it, but it works for this show so it's a plus. Overall there's lots to point at and find approval with in this show, which is a turn-on.

What's Not? - But I also find there are things that are as much a turn-off about Geneshaft as there are turn ons. This genetically engineered culture? Thought of one word when I heard that, 'Khan' (As in Khan Noonian Singh from Star Trek) and it in a sense holds true. They eliminated men (9 women for every 1 male in this culture), and eliminated the cause of war- but they also eliminated love (from what the notes say) and that's damn wrong- and it shows by how people die in this show and it doesn't even rate a mention. So, are people just throwaway now that they can breed new people? Not to our heroine of course (Mika) but there are several large death scenes of people and barely a reaction is shown for it. From something as small as failing to save four people trapped in an malfunctioning escape pod on the self destruction station in Earth orbit (knocked out of orbit during the Ring's first attack), the destruction of escort ships to the destruction of a major s Then we come to the script. The dialogue and scenes can either be good, great, or drag into 'Why am I here watching this?' dialogue. The worst is when they talk genom. All the scenes about their genetic engineering thing (their 'types ', and traits, and explanations for viewers who don't know what they're talking about) just drags on and on and I like it better when they're not talking about their DNA and their genom thank you very much. When they talk about things you might see in Babylon 5 or Banner of the Stars (that rich dialogue stuff) it gets good, when they rattle on about genes and types and their genetic engineering then it gets dull. I know Mika's a 'white' already, and going on about it and everyone else's 'colors' and whatever else they can talk about gene wise is dull. Move on already. (And if they spent more time talking about themselves and less about their genetics I wouldn't feel this way.) Finally, we come to the fact that sometimes this show loses momentum. We're moving along at this pace and then things just- stop. We watch, and watch, and things are slow getting back in gear. When we're finally headed along again at a nice solid pace- we stop again! Then things build up. I know there's such thing as timing and pacing, but this show at moments comes to a stop (dialogue about those pesky genetic engineering topics brings the show to a halt pretty quickly.)

However this isn't to discourage you. This is still the start of the series, of course, so I'm still out jury-wise on Geneshaft, but I find there's both reasons to like this series, and reasons not to like this series.

Moments to Remember? - There's quite abit to remember, but too many to post here.

What to Ignore? - The dog can take itself out, walk itself, and work on the computer? I don't even want to know what it downloads on it's spare time. Ignore it. Also ignore how life is cheap in the 23rd Century when everyone is genetically engineered and love is dead. It might just depress you.

Overall? Right now there is some heart, soul and life in Geneshaft, but there are also 'malignant' things about this show that might put it into cardiac arrest. Right now I'd have to say that it's a judgment call. Action wise? It's a solid action show that isn't lame (the stuff doesn't always work, the good guys don't always save the day, and people make mistakes). Drama wise there's lots of that as well. However, Sci-Fi wise it pales abit to counterpart series Banner of the Stars which BANDAI is also releasing. Banner of the Stars is in par with shows like Babylon 5, while Geneshaft is more in level with-- hmm- I think it might stand alone as a series unto itself (with nothing to compare it to), hence why I'm having a tad bit of a time getting into it. OK then, we'll see this as a new experience, and I invite you to experience it with me as we watch the series as a whole over time and see where it goes episode by episode, and volume by volum


Next review: RONIN WARRIORS II Vol. 1


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All Things Manga by David Rasmussen
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