Gatekeepers 21: Volume 1

Gatekeepers 21: Volume 1 (2002)
Pioneer Entertainment
Extras: Art Gallery, Openings without credits

’Gatekeepers 21’ is a fairly recent anime TV show from Japan that decided to take the themes and visuals of Japanese anime a bit into the future. It is based on the 60s TV series ’Gatekeepers’ but freshens up the theme and background of the world it takes place in, placing it firmly in a modern-day urban environment.

It is the story of Ayane, a high-school student who is also an Invader Hunter for AEGIS, a network run by the mysterious tycoon, Reji Kagemyama, who pays her for bringing the Invaders’ life crystals to him. She tries to recruit her classmate Miu for help, but despite her incredible abilities, hunting Invaders is not something Miu takes pleasure in. What follows is a sequence of action filled adventures as Ayane is relentlessly fighting Invaders in three of the series’ episodes, ’Encounter,’ ’Mad Dash’ and ’Late Summer.’

The DVD contains a fullframe presentation of the series that is meticulously clean. Not a speckle mars the image and there is virtually no grain evident, even in the darkest scenes. Colors are vibrant and stand out nicely. They are sharply delineated without bleeding or noise. The transfer reveals an incredible amount of definition, bringing out even the finest details in the movie’s artwork – especially the backgrounds. The image is razor sharp but entirely free of distracting edge-enhancement artifacts. Blacks are rock solid and firmly root the image with its deep shadows and blacks. The compression, of course, is also masterfully done and the release is free of compression artifacts.

The DVD contains 5.1 channel Dolby Digital audio tracks in Japanese and English., as well as complementing Dolby Surround tracks in both languages. The Once again, it becomes quickly evident how contemporary the show is, as the audio tracks are aggressive and engaging. Making very good use of the surround channels, ’Gatekeeper 21’ is certainly on impressive showing that bombard viewers with sounds from all directions. It vastly underscores the action on the screen and adds a lot of atmosphere to the film. With its great bass extension and the wide dynamic range, this is a powerful audio presentation you wouldn’t immediately expect from an anime release.

As extras the DVD contains the opening scenes of each episode with out the credits blocking out parts of the image, as well as a gallery of promo images and trailers to other Pioneer animation releases.

’Gatekeepers 21’ is a great release that makes a powerful showing on DVD. With a stunning video presentation and bombastic audio tracks, this is a DVD release fans of Japanese anime, and especially fans of the original ’Gatekeepers’ series should keep an eye out for.