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Peacemaker Vol. 7- Decision

ADV Films // Unrated // September 13, 2005
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by John Sinnott | posted September 19, 2005 | E-mail the Author
The Show:

The seventh volume of Peacemaker brings the show to a very bloody conclusion.  As the Shinsengumi rampage through the city looking for revenge for their fallen member, Tetsunosuke has to finally decide if he is willing to kill to protect his comrades.  This volume, like the last, is much darker and gore filled than the volumes leading up to it.  This series certainly changes at the end.

Series Synopsis:

In nineteenth century Japan, young Tetsunosuke joins a fighting band, the Shinsengumi.  (They were the antagonists in Ruroni Kenshin, and this series is one of the few that show them in a positive light.) and He does this in order to learn to fight and become stronger, so that he can avenge his parents death.  He's still not sure if he wants to become a killer though, and for the time he's a page one of the leaders of the group.

The Shinsengumi are the police of the capital city of Japna, but they aren't without troubles though.  There are several groups in Japan that would like to see the members of this group killed.  There are several factions warring, and the Shinsengumi are holding on to power, but just barely.

This volume:

Things come to a head in this last volume of the series.  The Shinsengumi are running through the capital looking for any anti-shoganate members who are hiding at the inns throughout the town.  They arrest them if they can, and kill them if they run.  The blood flows in rivers as some of the anti-shoganates stand to fight.

As the fight begins, Tetsunosuke is still traumatized from his near death experience in the previous volume.  Gathering his nerves, he rushes to the scene of battle and runs right into a confrontation with a wounded but powerful fighter.  Fighting against his own demons, he fights the enemy but is put in a position where he has to kill or be killed.

This volume had a lot more action and adventure than the previous volumes, which I really liked, but I was disappointed that they changed the tone so radically.  After being fairly tame, the last two volumes were filled with splattered blood, severed limbs people being tortured to death and young children being driven insane.  I don't mind that in series like Gantz, but that show starts off with bloody scenes and doesn't spring them on you in the last volumes.

Having said that, the animation in the fight sequences was very impressive.  They were fully animated, without any of the cheap pans across still images that are sometimes used to save money.  There was a lot of camera movement with attacks from the point of view of the sword and sharp close up angles that would have been very hard to do in a live action film.  I was really impressed with the thought and work that went into these scenes.

The series also ends on an ambiguous note.  Tetsunosuke has grown a little as a character, but he's chosen to walk a seemingly impossible path.  I am more interested in how he thinks he can achieve his goals now than I was at the beginning of the series.  Things are not resolved for the Shinsengumi either, as a matter of fact, they are more precarious than ever, as one character notes.  This didn't seem to be the right place to end the show.  Of course the manga is still running in Japan, but you would think that before someone starts an anime series, they would consider how it was going to end.

Looking back over this series, it was about average but it has one fatal flaw: viewers don't care about the main characters.  Tetsunosuke was interesting at the beginning, but they didn't develop him enough.  The relationship between Tetsunosuke, the fighter, and his brother, the accountant, was a dynamic that I was hoping would be explored, but it was almost totally dropped.  The supporting characters were also fairly bland.  Many of them had a lot of potential to develop into interesting people that you could care about, but this was never done in the series.  Overall, this series had a lot of potential but it was never developed.

The DVD:

This volume contains another scant three episodes in a white keepcase with an insert.  Even with the credits, that runs to a bit over 70 minutes, which isn't a lot of content.  I really wish they would put at least four episodes on each volume.  ADV gets docked some points for stretching this mediocre-at-best series over seven volumes instead of the usual six.


This DVD offers the viewer the choice of an English 5.1 dub or the original Japanese language stereo track.  I listened to both tracks, and I enjoyed the original language a little bit more than the dub track.  The dub track had some strange sounding accents that didn't really blend well with the show, though there were all minor characters.  Most of the Geishas had pretty awful accents.  The English track did make good use of the soundstage, with sound effects and some dialog coming from the rear.  The Japanese track made use of the front soundstage and was just as full.


The full frame image looked pretty good.  The picture was just a tad soft, with the lines not being as tight as they could be, but this was very minor.  The colors had a nice tone to them, and the contrast was good.  Digital defects were just about nonexistent.  A very nice looking DVD.


This disc also includes clean opening and closing animations and a series of production sketches.  There are also a pair of two-minute long video "Character Collections" that give the background information on Toshimaru and Saya, and a music video.  One of the more interesting bonus items from this series is the Festival of Gion Video.  This is a 17-minute spoken story illustrated with stills from the show.  A member of the Shinsengumi tells a tale about the formation of the group and some of the events that took place involving them.  Well worth watching.

Final Thoughts:

When all has been said and done, Peacemaker wasn't nearly as good as it could have been.  The characters were never developed, there were too many plots that were dropped and not enough engaging material to carry the series.  I enjoyed this final volume a little more than some of those leading up to it, but it still lacked the emotional punch that a final volume should have.  Add to that the fact that the series wasn't wrapped up as tightly as it should have been, and this volume rates a Rental.

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