If you had to categorise Gilgamesh it would most certainly be put in the box marked 'intriguing'.
In a future time an extremely talented scientific group halt their own research on the verge of completion, having realised their project could cause untold disaster across the globe. However, one scientist - known as Enkidu - decides to set the disaster into motion, an act of terrorism that turns the sky into a strange mirror, brings down all electrical technology and causes death and destruction on a global scale. Several years later in the dystopian aftermath of the disaster, two young siblings are on the run from debt collectors when they encounter the eerily beautiful members of an organisation known as Gilgamesh. After seeing off their pursuers the Gilgamesh members invite the pair to join them in battling a Orga, a group of mutants with amazing powers. But things are never that straightforward, Gilgamesh is attacked and the pair end up with Orga, whose enigmatic leader - The Countess - wants them to join her side. Torn between the two factions, the pair desperately want no part of any of it, but why are both groups so intent on the seemingly normal siblings joining them? And what are their real motivations?
In fairness I have been looking forward to seeing Gilgamesh ever since is saw it reported in NewType USA over a year ago, and I was not disappointed. The first thing that really grabs your attention is the unusual art style, it really looks like no other series available in the UK, the characters look excellent and the visuals are great but it's the sheer gothic cool that really sets it apart. Dark and moody is the order of the day, ethereally beautiful pale characters glide around in elegant black clothing against a backdrop of collapsing skyscrapers and grand mansion houses, all mirrored in the psychedelic, shimmering sky. It's breathtakingly cool, and the mood is cemented further by a portentous classical score which simply oozes class.
But what about the story? Well, it lives up to the visuals, building slowly around the unusual pairing of a brother and sister as principle characters. The story is very character driven and after the five episodes on this volume the motivations and true nature of near enough all of them is still pretty unclear, there is intrigue galore and plenty of intellectual meat to get your teeth into, but it doesn't scrimp on the action either. There are plenty of impressive battles throughout the volume, and the series so far seems to balance the action and drama superbly, never overwhelming the viewer with either. The story is pretty slow moving but tells you enough to keep you interested whilst keeping a lot close to its chest, and really fits in superbly with the style of the series itself.
It is true that Gilgamesh won't be for everyone, the story is slow moving, the visuals are unusual and the muted colours and frequent night scenes sometimes makes it so dark that it's hard to see what is going on. However, if you like something a bit different, a bit cerebral and something extremely stylish then you can't really do better. If the rest of the series lives up to this first volume then we will be in for a real treat, it is simply a modern gothic masterpiece and if you like your entertainment with a seductively dark edge then you need this in your collection.
ADV have never scrimped with Extras, and they provide a decent selection once again on this DVD. As with most of their recent releases we get clean opening and closing sequences, a decent number of trailers and two galleries, which are presented as rolling sequences put to music. Also included is a short preview of volume 2 and, unusually, the DVD has alternative menus, subtitles and a dub in German. Good stuff.