Gasaraki blends high-quality animation with interesting mecha designs and a convoluted plot that borrows heavily from Evangelion. In the not-too-distant future, the robot-suits of the Gowa Corporation fight in a Middle Eastern conflict modeled on the Gulf War. That battle is linked to the Gowa family’s attempts to unleash the Gasaraki, a powerful entity from another dimension, through a Noh dance by Yoshiro Gowa, the youngest of the brothers. Miharu, a young woman who shares a psychic bond with both Yoshiro and the Gasaraki, thwarts their efforts. While his older brother Kazukiyo plots with a fanatic right-wing cabal to "purify" Japan, Yoshiro and Mirahu embark on a voyage of self-discovery. They learn that the real Yushiro Gowa died eight years ago, and share a vision of a revolt in Heian Japan (794-1185) involving Kugai, huge mobile suits with faces modeled on Noh masks. When Yoshiro and Miharu block Kazukiyo’s plot to resurrect the mysterious Gasaraki, they are carried into an Evangelion-like collage of still artwork, processed live action, drawn animation, and computer-generated imagery, overlaid with a pointillist vocal track. Toru Nozaki’s screenplay leaves major plot threads dangling, including Yoshiro’s death and replacement. Director Ryusuke Takahashi struggles to move the various subplots along, but the result is like watching a juggler trying to keep one ball too many in the air. Gasaraki divides viewers into fervent partisans and furious detractors. Rated 12+: Violence, tobacco use, brief nudity, occasional profanity, grotesque imagery.
About Gasaraki (1998)
Starring: Jason Douglas, Chris Patton, Hilary Haag, Illich Guardiola, John Swasey, Jay Hickman, John Kaiser, Andy McAvin, Ted Pfister, Brett Weaver, John Gremillion, Heather Bryson, Mike Kleinhenz, Andrew Klimko, Randy Sparks, Jennifer K. Earhart, Bob Biggerstaff, Nobuyuki Hiyama, David LeMaster, Vic Mignogna, Kelly Manison, Ralph Ehntholt, Victor Carsrud, Foley Gang, Kevin Charles, Shô Hayami, James Marshall, Isshin Chiba, Mami Kingetsu, Satomi Koorogi
Director: Ryôsuke Takahashi