Elemental Gelade Volume 4

The fourth volume of Elemental Gelade sees Cou and the others searching for Ren, who has been separated but continues alone in her search for the Edel Gardens, while her friends fight to be reconciled.

Because the story usually consists of moving from one habitually endangered but scenic town to another (in typical fantasy style), or between episodic detours while getting in fights with other Edel or Sting Raids at every possible juncture, it’s what happens in terms of characterisation that comes to be most important. In particular, these episodes see Cou and Ren falling for each other a little more, Viro (an obsessive fan of Cou) joining the group, and the Arc Aile trio clarifying their feelings on Arc Aile (the Edel Raid Protection Agency) in the light of its recently dubious behavior.

The characters met throughout the series aren’t always two dimensional, but it’s not often they’re fleshed out enough to be worth remembering when everything is wrapped up. The real dynamic is in the relationships, politics and economy of the Pleasures and their Edel or Sting Raids, with Cou and Ren’s being the typically heroic, gender-structured ideal of almost every action film or series. Villains are frequent and few preoccupy the whole series, but that’s probably for the best, given the fact that many are just novel, but the Chaos Choir organisation, believed to be undermining the work of Arc Aile, is finally elaborated on to a greater degree in this volume, with their powers also becoming more apparent.

Though enjoyable, Elemental Gelade is too modest, average and generic to really warrant the attention of most viewers, but has its redeeming qualities. If you’ve followed the series this far then the fairly outdated animation shouldn’t be much of a foil, and you’re probably used to it by now. At the very least, it’s serviceable, and other than during a few moments of corner-cutting, the series does enjoy slowly improving standards, while the light-hearted tone and comedy still prevails.

Unfortunately, very little of any substance actually happens in this volume, with a fairly slow pace failing to hide the clichéd content and delivery of the story, but the group does get considerably closer to the Edel Gardens, and can even point it out in the sky, giving way nicely to future volumes, as opposed to the drawn out pacing of other series, which can tend to deal with everything at the end.

In Summary

Elemental Gelade is watchable, but lacks ambition, and is, for those who don’t take to its individual character, little different to numerous other series made ten years ago or today.

6 / 10