• Gad Guard


    published in Empire No.83, Sydney
    Complete Collection


    Most anime is undoubtedly formulaic, but as I’ve mentioned many times here, the formulas employed are so scintillatingly complex they generate imaginative permutations even when the sources are derivative. However I would have to consent that Gad Guard falls a bit short in producing something entirely unique from its constituent parts.

    A dysfunctional youth – Hajiki, living with a sister and widowed mum – attends a Catholic school (!) while running dubious errands in Night Town where he lives. It’s a grimy Depression-era world, whose design is very much enthralled by Times Square in the 30s. Hajiki is dressed like a J-Hip-Hop skater dude, and enroute to a delivery he stumbles across a ‘gad’: a compacted meteorite fragment which transforms into a Heavy Metal giant robot. Once activated, this Industrial-era behemoth clunks around at Hajiki’s command.

    Four other ‘gads’ are activated by Hajiki’s friends and one nemesis, and they form an unlikely team of sorts, who become embroiled in a battle to save Night Town from succumbing to corruption and crime. There’s a lot of moral criss-crossing, changed allegiances, disclosed motivations and familial secrets which keep the stories spinning across all 26 episodes, but despite the uniquely Japanese approach to stylistic hyper-mixing, the series fails to transcend its generic material.