Gilgamesh: Whose side are you on?
Post-apocalyptic sometime in the not-too-distant future setting? Check.
Big mech-looking creatures? Check.
Characters with unexplained special powers? Check.
Scantily clad females? Check.
Random lesson in Physics? Check.
Sketchy brother-sister relationship? Check.
On the surface, Gilgamesh seems like any other series of high technology gone awry with the forces of good and evil doing battle in order to right wrongs. However, what makes this different is that you're never really sure what good and evil actually are. Motivations are sketchy, histories are fuzzy and what's the deal with this fascination with ancient Babylonian mythology?
A huge explosion at a research facility in the Middle East causes the disaster known as Twin X, where the once blue sky is changed to a mirror-like state known as Sheltering Sky. Due to this catastrophe, more advanced technology like radios and computers become useless. Tatsuya and Kiyoko, parentless siblings, struggle between men looking for payback for loans, mysterious uniformed figures with special powers and a cold Countess whose real motivations are unclear.
It's easy to draw parallels between the current terrorist situation in the world today and some of themes presented in Gilgamesh. One of the appeals of the series is that, even with the otherworldly superpowers and characters that are introduced, the underlying theme of that gray area between good and evil is easily understood. Only in our childhood fairy tales was good and bad clear cut, and this anime plays off the fears that you can never tell just who is on your side.
My biggest complaint with the series is that it progresses at a fairly leisurely, some would say downright slow, pace. I found that that there was quite a bit of filler where it seemed like the producers needed to stretch the story to fill the 26 episode standard. Also, despite having over 20 different characters the only people you really learn about are those immediately surrounding Tatsuya and Kiyoko. However, I enjoyed the play between stereotypical views of good and bad and the fact that you never could fully trust what was presented to you in the story at face value. The ending should leave viewers pleasantly surprised, confused and intrigued, like all good post-apocalyptic anime should. So, really, "whose side are you on?"
Volume one of Gilgamesh containing the first five episodes is now out in stores through ADV.
official English site
official Japanese site
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