Jan 6, 2020
Gamba no Bouken is a fantastic little adventure piece directed by Osamu Dezaki during the turning point in Dezaki's 70s series. Dezaki had largely focused on directing sports series like Ashita no Joe and Ace wo Nerae in the early part of the decade, shifting to classic book adaptations with Ie Naki Ko and Takarajima in the later half of the decade. Gamba represents a mid-ground between these two eras stylistically, with an art style shift away from the more psychedelic style of the earlier towards the bright colors and fantastic high detail backgrounds of the later.
is very split, with the main cast tending to look cartoony and rounded in character design, allowing for some more fast paced motion for the time. Antagonists are drawn heavily shaded and detailed, much closer in design to actual animals, leaving a contrast that makes both sides pop against each other. Humans tend to be drawn from an interesting perspective, tending to cover any face in shadow, keeping them as some large, mythical creature, furthering the size difference between the gang and humans. I'd say that overall this series looks quite nice, especially with its recent blu-ray release.
In the sound department Gamba uses a solid jazz soundtrack from the venerable Takeo Yamashita, well known for his work in the original Lupin III series. The opening is a bouncy, roaring fun romp, reflecting our main character rather well, with highly stylized visuals. The ending is a slower, more somber matter with a slow pan of a heavily detailed picture of our group facing on the antagonist, showing that their final struggle still looms ahead.
At its core Gamba is a fun children's adventure show with a surprising amount of violence and strife. It could in many ways be compared to a Redwall book. The series focuses on the adventures of a small group of mice adventuring to their destination, filled with comedic moments, and lots of enjoyable action. The characters are not full of depth, generally more archetypes (strong, smart, drunk, stubborn etc.) but are all acted well and full of vigor. I'd say that anyone looking for a solid adventure series with stylized 70s visuals and a fun cast should look no further. Enjoy!
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