BGC: Grand Mal Review
We finally have the answer for why Americans get so little respect.
Any country willing to allow a man to legally destroy a great anime series the way that we did deserves to be shunned. Grand Mal is pure blasphemy. I went into it expecting something great and left the series with a new respect for Sarah Davis, author of Why Grand Mal Sucks.
There is nothing about GM that redeems its annoying lack of reasoning for its story, the pathetic attempt at answering puzzles, or its annoying American-Japanese art style. Adam Warren, the author, ruined the appearance of characters. He even managed to make Sylia look fat. It takes a lot of work to do that to someone with those measurements, but Warren created a double-chin for the leader of the Knight Sabers. How? It's not what one would usually refer to as talent.
The premise of GM makes little sense. There is this prosthetically/intellectually augmented man named Vashnevskaya who is obsessed with finding whoever is responsible for the technology that has driven him to madness. There are several gratuitous scenes involving his lapses into very sadistic, graphic violence that include eating the fingers of two passers-by who tried to help him (one of whom looked mysteriously like Minnie May Hopkins who looks mysteriously like Nene Romanova who looks mysteriously like...). When the guy with the really long name is finished with his orgy of violence he is kidnapped, it seems, but some cybernetic beasts from hell who want revenge on Doctor Stingray. When they learn he is dead, they target Sylia.
Why Sylia, one asks? What has Sylia got to do with her father's research? According to Warren's comic, Stingray augmented Sylia intellectually through the use of microbes that slowly turn the brain into a cybernetic organ that can receive and record information very precisely. And where did Warren come up with this theory about Sylia? Only he knows. He also drops hints that Sylia's augmentation was more severe than just cranial, for she makes a statement at one point that she can never have children. No explanation was given for that or other comments. It is also said that Mackie was augmented. There does the proof for this come from? Once again, no one knows.
Grand Mal has a poor story that ends in an irritating cliffhanger style with Sylia 'borrowing' a Data Unit from the Boomers and the guy with the really long name. Once more there is no reasoning behind this; it just sort of happens and everyone goes along with it.
If Warren's story were not screwed up enough already, he makes the Knight Sabers shallow, pale imitations of themselves. Linna is greedy and cruel to Nene, Nene is a smart-ass, Priss is an idiot, and Sylia... does nothing at all. Aside from a few fights and a short pseudo-explanation of what the guy with the really long name is after, she does very little. She assigns a task or so, but nothing else. It's a little depressing.
There are also many factors to the story that seem just... wrong. Where was Mason during all of this? Who were those two people always talking about the 'biologicals?' Why exactly did the guy with the really long name go after Sylia when she could do nothing to or for him? Where did the idea that Katsuhito Stingray operate on Sylia and Mackie come from? And why did Toshimichi Suzuki allow someone to do this to his work?
Speaking of Suzuki, there was an interview with Adam Warren in which Warren was asked what the BGC creators thought of his work, and he admitted that they were not entirely pleased. Priss' smoking bothered them a lot and Suzuki did not agree with Warren's theory on Sylia. Sonoda did a forward for the story in which he congratulated Warren's 'efforts at otaku-style art,' but other than that no official recognition of his works by the powers that be ever occurred. Even they thought it was bad.
The story has no good points, but everyone should own a copy. Why? It's BGC, and even if it sucked royally, it was fun to go through and laugh at the sorry excuse for a plethora of knowledge that Grand Mal turned out to be.