Gun Grave – DVD 1 – Beyond the Grave

Armed with "CERUBERUS," his twin handguns, and a coffin filled with heavy weapons on his back, Beyond the Grave returns, cloaked in darkness and smelling of the grave on his deadly mission of vengeance!

For Brandon Heat, death doesn't matter. Driven by his need for revenge, he returns from beyond the grave to cripple Millennion, the huge mafia organization that uses undead monsters as its enforcers. His ultimate goal will be to destroy Harry MacDowel, the leader of Millennion and, at one time, Brandon's best friend.

The first Gun Grave DVD contains four episodes:

1. Destroyer in the Dusk – Brandon Heat is reborn of sorts, no longer the man he once was, now known as Grave, Beyond the Grave. Struggling with memories of his past, Grave has sworn to protect Mika, a young girl being hunted by the Millennion, will he be able to regain his past and hold off the mob of super natural creators?

2. Young Dogs – A flash back to Brandon Heat’s youth, he was a reckless gang member that fear nothing. As gang wars flare, Brandon and Harry must rescue a young member of their group that stole the wrong necklace from the wrong woman.

3. Rain – A member of Brandon’s gang has been killed in a revenge attack, a moment from his past, tells the story of how Brandon and Harry come into contact with the Millennion, those who are close to Brandon’s, lives will change forever. So begins his down fall.

4. Go – Brandon and Harry decide it’s time to leave town, on their way out an ambush takes place. If it wasn’t for the interaction of Big Daddy, the leader or the Millennion, they would be dead. However, this chance encounter with them, has lead the young friends down a path that may destroy them, will their thirst for power, be quenched or will they be yet another corpse rotting away in the desert?

Thus far with the Gun Grave experience the video quality has been nothing short of amazing, with the transference done from the small screen format to what was issued to me was seamless, there were no hints of a bad job done here. Each of the main story characters seemed to have there own unique style about them, from Brandon, tired often emotionless face, to Harry’s smooth charismatic yet cold persona. The audio features included with the DVD are Bilingual 5.1 Audio (English and Japanese). Also, 2 streams of English Subtitles: Dialog and signs or signs only.

As for the special features for the disc, an attempt was made to give the viewer a little extra, included is a conceptual art gallery depicting the characters in several different poses. Additional features found in the discs were, previews for upcoming Geneon releases and the original text less opening. The remaining bonus material featured with the disc is a small poster of Grave in a pose.

The Gun Grave approach to the delivering the story is sort of unique from what I’ve experienced in the world of anime, it’s more reminiscent of the video game world. Where we first get introduced to our characters at the beginning of the story and who the players are, then flashing back to the beginning where everything started off. In the Gun Grave universe, we are first introduce to Beyond The Grave, he comes to life to protect Mika, after initially saving her, we flash back to when Grave was still Brandon Heat, and we follow him as he grows older and more indebted with the mob. This method of story telling introduces the characters, allows for a better understand of who, how, why there are were they are, without having to constantly jump around later on in the story in a rushed approach to give more details. Definitely like what I am seeing so far.

Another enjoyable aspect of the Gun Grave series is the short monologue by Beyond the Grave between each episode, a sort of recap of Grave’s life, questioning not only what he’s doing, but where he is and for what reason’s he’s set himself down on the current path. It’s a nice touch to help bring home the idea of a series which starts at the beginning of the story and doesn’t start in the middle then jump all over the place without rime or reason.

Animation: 8 / 10
Story: 8 / 10
Audio: 8 / 10
Video: 8 / 10
Extras: 6 / 10
Impact Rating: 7 / 10

Overall 45 / 60

By Matt Capranos

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