DVD Review: Ga-Rei-Zero – The Complete Series

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Will you kill someone you love, because of Love? That is the question asked throughout Ga-Rei-Zero, but is it answered? Find out in our DVD review of Ga-Rei-Zero – The Complete Series.

Synopsis:

Kagura and Yomi may look like ordinary school girls as they walk the streets of Tokyo clad in short skirts and knee-high socks, but they’re the heroes you scream for when monsters creep out of the darkness. These sword-toting sisters are part of an elite counterattack unit that specializes in suppressing outbreaks of supernatural activity. They train together, live together, eat together, and spend their nights disembowelling demons with sacred blades together. (via MVM Entertainment)

Our View:

On the offset the story of Ga-Rei-Zero seems to focus on the ever increasing battle between the Ministry of Defense’s Paranormal Disaster Countermeasure Headquarters (PDCH) and the supernatural demons that appear in the city, However in reality this is just a ploy, as the real story is the ever-developing relationship between Yomi and Kagura. During the initial episodes viewers are introduced to the members of PDCH’s 4th Division as they take on a variety of supernatural enemies; but it’s also where we witness their brutal downfall by one of our true protagonists, Yomi Isayama.

Rewind three years into the past (and fast-forward two episodes) we find ourselves with Yomi Isayama a recently adopted girl and currently the next expected heir to the Isayama family. It’s here at a funeral that Yomi introduces herself to Kagura Tsuchimiya, a young girl who is grieving over her recently decased mother. Shortly after her mother’s funeral Kagura is accepted into the Isayama household and put under the care of Yomi as Kagura’s farther, Garaku Tsuchimiya, is nowhere to be found, and Yomi insisted that she stays with them at the Isayama household.

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Introduction aside, it’s around this time where the real story of Ga-Rei-Zero starts to unfold, as we see Yomi and Kagura interact with each other as regular sisters, while at the same time Yomi reveals her secret job as a Vanquisher at the Supernatural Disaster Countermeasures Division (SDCD).

Fast forward three years into the future (and fast-forward one episode) we find that Kagura has also become member of the SDCD and that she works with her ‘big sister’ Yomi in the field, however despite this new found happiness a dark entity is lurking in the background as both girls are soon in danger from friend and foe alike.

Extras:

Over two hours’ worth of extra content is provided with this UK DVD Release of Ga-Rei-Zero, and since there is so much of it, it has been placed onto its own Disc, something which does not happen very often in the anime industry.

Included on this ‘Extra Disc’ is six 20-minte long Location Specials, a variety of Japanese promotional TV adverts for the show as well as the standard textless opening and closing songs. In addition to this we find three trailers in the form of Rosario & Vampire, Broken Blade & Fruits Basket – all of which are currently licensed by MVM Entertainment.

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While the disc provides plenty of content its the six 20-minte long Location Specials that are the real centre piece of the extra features. As not only does it provide 2 hours’ worth of additional viewing, but it also shows the real-life locations that are used within the series. For instance the underground tunnels seen within the first two episodes of the TV series are shown and explained in the first Location Special. While some areas were re-created for the TV series, other areas were used as inspiration and all of this is explained within the six episodes, not to mention fans of Japan will get a closer insight into the country they like.

Tech Specs:

Media: DVD 9 x3
Running Time: 2:16:34 (Disc 1), 2:16:34 (Disc 2) (12 Episodes)
Video: MPEG-2
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 / 448 Kbps (English), 2.0 / 224Kbps (Japanese)
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 25 fps

Overall:

Ga-Rei-Zero is one of few anime shows that I think most people will enjoy, as from start to finish it features unique twists, such as the miss-leading opening, and devastating surprises. It also has an interesting brutal, but mothering, approach to violence whereby for a few episodes we see Yomi & Kagura in vicious combat with the enemy, but then later on we see them supporting each other with words of encouragement and sisterly advice. In a sense its a mixture of moe-ish styled anime (during the mothering scenes) combined with the violent fight sections of Devil May Cry, and it works well by offering a refreshing balance of both throughout the series

There’s nothing I can flaw with this UK DVD release either, as the picture quality is perfectly smooth with no jagged lines, frame issues or picture blur. Futhermore the DVD, when played in a HD Device (and connected via HDMI), offers an extremely similar experience to the US Blu-ray, this is due to the fact that the US Blu-ray is a HD Upscale, so if your thinking of importing the Blu-ray i’d hold off and just get this DVD instead as you’ll get the same experience.

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The inclusion of a strong English dub, which has been presented in 5.1 Surround, offers a cinematic approach to the show, while to those interested, a Japanese (2.0 Stereo) audio track, with removable English subtitles, is also included on the discs. A Special mention should also be made surrounding the series soundtrack, as the opening (and closing songs) are both extremely enjoyable to listen time while background music during crucial scenes provides the perfect atmosphere.

Overall this DVD release of Ga-Rei-Zero is a perfect example of how Anime should be released, if possible, within the UK, as it features the entire series in perfect visual and audio quality as well as a whole disc worth of extra content that’s just as much fun to watch as the show itself. If you liked shows such as Devil Mary Cry, Ghost Hunt and Blue Exorcist then I suspect you will thoroughly enjoy Ga-Rei-Zero.

Score: review-stars-5

Ga-Rei-Zero – The Complete Series will be available on DVD from the 22nd April 2013.

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About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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