In 2100, terrorist attacks become such a threat to Bayside City that the mayor hires a mercenary group called Angel Arm. After all the trouble they go through to catch Hassein, an infamous weapons dealer, this band of mecha pilots will need to serve as his bodyguard until they manage to extort information from him. The job seemed relatively easy until a blast from the past comes to jeopardize the unity of Angel Arm.
summary by Kjeldoran
Highs: Main character has a background
Lows: Empty cast and plot; jerky animation; conflicting designs
Here comes an anime that, according to its director Katsuyoshi Yatabe, aims to “serve as a catalyst to blur any boundaries between anime and live-action”. I am still trying to figure out how Gundress was any different from other plot-deprived anime of its kind.
From the word go, the animation looked strangely familiar. Turns out this anime was made by ORCA, the studio responsible for Landlock. It’s the same scheme all over again: ask renowned manga artist Shirow Masamune (Ghost in the Shell, Appleseed) to draw a few mecha sketches for your anime, market the product as if made by Shirow himself and hope his fans are dumb enough to fall for it. Additionally, his designs do not fit the Gundress setting one bit and look very silly, especially when moving. Even the animators agree that something is not right with the way they look; oh, but the things one will do to put the name of an idolized manga-ka on the cover of one’s anime.
The main fiasco of this production is undoubtedly the way characters and storyline are served as side dishes for poorly animated action sequences. Only the lead role having some sort of psychological profile; there are so few character-related scenes, I wonder why they put them there to begin with. Storyline is even worse; it feels like a drawn-out episode of a low-budget sentai series and has the same effect as a Valium™, especially when accentuated by poor frame rate and tacky sound effects.
Gundress was not even finished the day of its theatrical release. An incomplete version with unpainted cells and recycled sequences was screened with promises of free videos of the final product to the appalled fans. If you want my humble opinion, even the final product still needs a lot of work. Worth a look if one wants to witness one of the most monumental failures in anime history.
Gundress can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.