The story circulates around a mysterious and dangerous island referred to simply as "G". A long time ago, a powerful god named Gestalt was banished to the earth and he had found refuge in the island known as G. To utter the name for which it stands is forbidden, for people were so afraid of the wrath of the god that they considered his name a curse. Father Oliver is a priest who has left his order and traveled to the island of G in order to discover the truth behind it. He ends up making the acquaintance of a young girl named Ohri, who turns out to be quite adept in magic.
Meanwhile, the head of the order has hired a dark elf named, Suzu, to track down Oliver and bring him back. Suzu finds him easily enough. However, she hadn't anticipated the powerful sorceress in his company, Ohri. The girl disposes of Suzu for the moment, and she and the Father continue on. As if things weren't rough enough, the island of G has it's share of monsters and magic-users to get in the way of their travels.
Gestalt seemed to be an interesting story concept when I read about it and I found myself intrigued by the good artwork (for this era). Unfortunately and mostly because of the overall length and lack of any follow-up anime to carry on the story, Gestalt is left with a very unfinished feel to it.
The story revolves around a priest named Olivier, who having some sort of crisis of faith announces he is leaving his order and traveling to a forbidden land known as Gestalt or G as it is believed to be a cursed place. There he hopes to find the answers to
his questions. Along the way he comes across a mysterious girl, Ohri who seems to be from the very land he wishes to visit. From here he begins his journey, while being pursued by a bounty hunter type elf that was sent by the leader of Olivier's order to bring him back. There is some good magical action and a good amount of comedy and mild fan service. Gestalt is not meant to be taken seriously but I did not find it excessively silly either. The plot is not exceptionally deep but it does do a pretty nice job of building up the world and delivering an interesting chapter of the overall story. Yes just a chapter, because by the end you will not get a resolution to any of the major plot elements. I do not know if there was an intention by the producers to make a further OVA but the ending as it is now is not satisfactory. Because of this series age I find it doubtful there ever will be one either.
The main characters of Olivier and Ohri were enjoyable but a bit shallow. Again the brevity of the series is mainly to blame. I found them interesting enough I would like to have seen more. The supporting cast is pretty basic and flat as well, though Suzu as the dark elf bounty hunter was the highlight. The villains’ motivations were not adequately explained either and seemed to be bad just because.. well they were the bad guys.
For a series of this era I found the artwork to be really good. Though they use a lot of the pastel colors that seemed washed out I still liked the overall style used. It loses some points for the inclusion of bishies, the main male villain in particular who if not for his voice actor I would have sword was a girl. I just never will understand what is so attractive about these feminized men. There is not much to comment on with the sound. The acting is good and I can’t complain about any of the performances but there is very little music at all. No opening theme and just a brief and unmemorable closing.
If you’re interested in a light hearted magical action then you could do worse than Gestalt. As long as you can look past the lack of a complete ending, there is some enjoyment to be found. I suspect the manga which ran 8 volumes would complete the story but at this time it has not been scanlated by anyone though it does seem be releasing this year in retail from Viz. I found it interesting enough that I plan to read it when it comes out.
Choujuu Densetsu Gestalt is a somewhat obscure two episode OVA produced by TV Tokyo. It's based on an eight volume manga by Kouga Yun. What is it about and why has it been largely overlooked by people? Is it a forgotten gem or should it be left in a refuse bin somewhere? Let's delve in and see if we can find out.
We open with a dark elf named Suzu, who incidentally looks nothing like the traditional jet black skinned, silver haired dark elf, talking to a priest. He tells her that Father Olivier has left the order on a journey to the forbidden land of
“G” in order to find the truth about their religion and the world and needs to be returned because religious orders frown on truth finding excursions. Plus there's the whole forbidden thing. We transition to a scene of Father Olivier performing a blessing for some townspeople at the urging of the innkeeper. She's so grateful that she gives him a woman named Ouri who can only communicate in video game style text boxes. Having a moral compass, he doesn't approve of slavery but he reluctantly takes her just so that she won't be sold to an establishment of ill repute where terrible things will happen to her. They encounter Suzu but they're saved when Olivier dispels the silence spell that's sealing Ouri's magic. The OVA covers their first stop on their way to the cursed island and what happens with that.
Let's start with the first really noticeable problem with the OVA. The spontaneous romance. Being a decent person, Olivier offers Ouri her freedom pretty much the instant they leave the town where they met, but she needs a reason to stick with him because otherwise there wouldn't be a story. So, they use the most cliched, and one of the most contrived, excuse they can think of. She instantly falls in love with him. The climax also has a deus ex moment but, in all fairness, it's kind of a light offender since it's clearly establishing something for later in the narrative. The OVA just doesn't get far enough into the story to have the payoff.
The comedic elements in this are kind of weak too. The whole thing with Ouri communicating with text boxes for a while is clearly meant to be funny, but it really isn't and there are a lot of jokes like that. You can tell what they're going for but it's either just not funny or the execution isn't good so it ends up not working. It's not cringe-worthily bad or offensive, it's just lacking actual humour value.
The cast is pretty basic. Olivier's the generic nice guy. He has convictions but isn't strong enough to do anything about them. So he ends up in situations where he's completely inadequate. Ouri is the action girl love interest. Suzu is... a romantic rival for Ouri, I think. Her character is so bland it's hard to tell. I suppose that they might be decent enough for a comedy if there were really good jokes surrounding them, but that isn't the case so they just come across as dull and rather listless.
The artwork is pretty good. The character designs are nicely done and the action sequences are quite good. The only real problem is that the backgrounds can be kind of stock and lazy.
The acting is fine. They got some really talented actors like Koyasu Takehito and Araki Kae. But, there's not a lot for them to work with. Koyasu doesn't get to show much emotion and Araki doesn't get to employ any subtlety, with a lot of her dialogue being exaggerated. They're still passable performances, just not ones that leave much impact. The music is pretty mediocre.
This one doesn't have any homo-eroticism. Of course, it's bad at romance so that's probably a good thing.
Choujuu Densetsu Gestalt doesn't really do much. As a comedy it's largely unfunny. As a fantasy work it's just banal. I don't particularly dislike it and I wouldn't call it bad per se. It's easy to see why it's largely forgotten since it really doesn't have much impact whatsoever, positive or negative. My final rating is going to be a 4/10. It's a sub-par piece. Next week I'll look at Glass no Kamen, which was requested quite a while ago but I had the Gintama request to finish first. So look forward to that next week. I'll try to make it worth the wait.