See, there's this guy named Gokudo, and since this show follows his exploits (for lack of a better term), you'd think he'd be the hero. Not quite - for he is a bundle of quirks, odious personal habits, and ignoble desires that couldn't possibly be called a hero. Protagonist, perhaps, but not a hero. Still, with a growing retinue of miscellaneous folk following him on his journey, he travels through a strange fantasy land and does strange fantasy things.
This was one of those series I saw pictures for in Animage magazine and simply assumed the worst. Obnoxious, brash, lecherous anti-hero - low-budget animation - scantily-clad women ... this is going to be bad, right?
Well, not entirely. Actually, Gokudo is a goofy, hectic, and eclectic bit of anime that, while not for everyone, is certainly interesting and entertaining, which is more than can be said about other titles out there.
But if you're here to see Dragon Ball Z, or Slayers, or Soul Hunter, prepare to be disappointed. There are precisely zero major action sequences in this film (as far as I've seen). Frankly, this show isn't about that. What it is about is placing as many silly sight gags and mildly lecherous humor into a fantasy setting as possible. Let it be known that the spirit-swapping gag is one of them, and it's worse than Kimagure Orange Road and Ranma 1/2 combined when dealing with the possibilities of such a stunt. There's also lots of general SD madness, and the show's quite cartoony in style anyway.
Speaking of style, the animation, while competent, doesn't exactly stretch the limits of a TV series budget. Anything that could have remotely posed a challenge to the animators is omitted by a very convenient (but very cute) bunny girl scene-changer, which is kind of a gag in itself (though not quite as cool as Haunted Junction's wipe scenes). The music makes sense for the series, though sometimes it's rather hard to tell, with Gokudo's seiyuu yelling constantly as if he's listening to heavy metal while trying to act his lines.
As for plot ... well, apart from the whole "anti-hero's journey" thing, there apparently is no plot. But there are plenty of cliches to stomp on, and plenty of sight gags to perform, and that seems to be enough for Gokudo and crew. Personally, I'd normally prefer a bit more class and subtlety in a title (of which this show has neither), but I sure wouldn't mind perusing this Travelogue again.
Light, entertaining, though perhaps it aims a bit too low. — Carlos/Giancarla Ross
Recommended Audience: A healthy bit of sexual innuendo here, on the part of most of the cast, and Gokudo has quite a mouth on him. Also a bit of violence as well. Safe for teens and above, though I don't see this being more than eye candy for the diligent otaku.
Version(s) Viewed: VHS, raw Japanese
Review Status: Partial (3/26)
Gokudo © 1999 TV Tokyo
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