"Do you know anything about that Overman?"
Sometimes, action just isn't enough. That's the case with the Overman King Gainer series, an action-packed, poorly told story about a bleak future in Siberia.
Corporations control the last human settlement of the world, Domepoli, keeping a tight reign on the remnants of mankind. A group of settlers decides to leave the city, forming a giant Exodus to a new promised land, Yapan. For reasons yet unknown (and, possibly, never known) the military powers that be can't allow this Exodus to go on.
The settlers rely on a group of fighters, led by the handsome and powerful Gain and the talented cyber gamer kid Gainer, to fight off the military, which battles the fleeing colony-to-be at every step. Gainer and the military both utilize Overmen, giant half-biological, half-machine monstrosities that can cause great destruction. Other, non-piloted Overmen pop up along the way, giving everyone the feeling that there's a larger, more powerful force at work in this world.
The problem with Overman is that the story seems like it came after the idea for some neat new mecha designs. The movements and discussions of the characters make little sense, as the rulers of this sad world should have no credible reason to continue attacking these poor escapees.
This third volume is much like what came before it: the Exodus defends itself constantly against the military and now it has reached the halfway point of its journey. Two entire episodes here are dedicated to one long battle, while Gain continues to spend his free time dominating his Internet game. That's about the extent of the plot here.
Overman does look great, with sharp animation and fantastic mecha and creature designs. The Overmen battle creatures are very unique, as are the fighting machines the members of the Exodus employ, Another neat part of this show is the segue animation, which looks like a claymation bit but is likely a short CG bit. Characters are also pretty decent looking. When battles occur, often a bit of CG is employed, adding to some terrific battles.
But because the reasons behind these battles are murky as hell, and the actions of the characters off the battlefield make little sense, Overman just seems like an excuse to showcase a few designers' talents, instead of telling a tale we can care about.
A decent 1.78:1 widescreen picture is present on this DVD, with little in the way of spots and scratches, and just a touch of grain here and there. This is a very colorful anime, with flashy clothing and flashier mecha designs, and the colors come through sharply. Blacks look reasonably deep and defined.
Simple Japanese and English 2.0 options, and I preferred the original language, mostly because the English voice acting just sounds so damn excitable and rushed. Most of the delivery seems like it had little kids in mind. No problems with inappropriate noise or bad breaks, though both tracks are underwhelming when you get right down to it. Explosions are soft, background music tends to clash with the dialogue, and ambient noise is used sparsely. Neither mix is impressive, though both are serviceable.
A line art gallery is about as exciting as it gets in the extras department on this DVD. Broken down into mecha and character designs, the gallery requires the viewer to scroll through the art, and no music accompanies the feature. Textless opening and closing animations are featured, along with a "special" extra textless ending, which is more modern-looking, but less interesting, with a blue orb moving over characters and mecha from the show. A short episode 1-11 compilation brings viewers up to date in case they missed the previous volumes. DVD credits and Bandai trailers are also included, and the main menu is sharp with video playing in the background. The inside of the cover art features an episode synopsis.
As DVDTalk reviewer Don Houston noted in reviews of volumes one and two, Overman is a great show for the general giant robot action fan, but not nearly as enjoyable in the story department as the Gundam or Robotech series. The heroes don't earn our favor and the enemies don't earn our disdain. Add that to a paper-thin plot, and you're left with the action and mecha designs for entertainment. Feel free to Rent It if you've seen all the other good fighting mecha series out there, while this volume of Overman is Recommended for the giant robot enthusiast.