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Video Game / Gunparade March

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Gunparade March is a Japanese video game later adapted to a three-volume manga and 12-Episode Anime of the same name.

The video game, Koukidou Gensou Gun Parade March, was released on September 28, 2000, for the PlayStation. Developed by Alfa System and Sony Computer Entertainment, the game won the Seiun Award in 2001 for creativity and innovation. It was followed by the development and release of the Gunparade Orchestra trilogy for the Playstation 2.

The manga by Hiroyuki Sanadura was serialized in the magazine Dengeki Daioh-. The three volumes published by Media Works between 2001 and 2003 were translated into English by ADV Manga between 2004 and 2005.

The anime, Gunparade March: The New March, which was produced by J.C.Staff, was broadcast on MBS from February 6 to April 23, 2003. It is licensed for distribution in the United States by Media Blasters as simply "Gunparade March".

The plots of all adaptations are similar, involving an Alternate Timeline wherein World War II was abruptly ended when an alien race appeared on Earth and began to slaughter the human population. This alien force, known as the "Phantom Beasts" and "Genjyu", have effectively taken over more than half of the Earth by 1999 where the story takes place. To combat the aliens, humans developed Humanoid Walking Tanks (HWTs) but with high death rates, the Japanese government enforced a student draft which recruited high school students to become HWT pilots. Gunparade March follows the lives of the 5121st Platoon, which consists mainly of drafted high school students, including the main characters, Atsushi Hayami and Mai Shibamura.

Gunparade March provides examples of:

  • The Ace: Mai, who's fairly smart and skilled with HWT's.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Tanabe, the unlucky girl, gets much of the screen time in episode 10.
  • Acrofatic: Nakamura, he is too fat to wear war dress but still available as a pilot like Kariya. Both of them are the only ones who still wear uniforms while the others wore War Dresses in battle mode. It gets worse that both of them are unable to evacuate from their units causing instant death when their mechs are destroyed.
  • Alien Invasion: Type 1 with the Genjyu, whose origins are unknown, and showed up during World War 2, wiping out much of humanity in the process.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Nakamura, Iwata, Tohsaka, and Mr.B/ Shibamura Shouri are socks crazy guys.
  • A Mech by Any Other Name: Humanoid Walking Tanks, or HWT.
  • Amusing Injuries: In episode 8, two girls get hit on the head trying to catch a ball Hayami hits in a baseball game. Tanabe, the first one, gets knocked out, and Yumi, the second girl, fakes being passed out so she could spend some time alone with him in the nurse's office.
  • Apologizes a Lot: Hayami tends to do this. When he first talks to Mai, his constant apologies to her angers her a little, which she points out. He immediately apologizes again. Then, we have Tanabe, where she can grant "Apologize" command by befriending her in-game.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: In game, several characters as NPC when deployed especially in HWT will automatically charges at enemy force without second thought and will be quickly surrounded in at least 2 turns. This trait is miraculously downplayed by Takigawa which instead uses Hit and Away move pattern.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Mai, unknown to the other main characters at the time, does this to save Hayami and Mibuya in the first episode.
    • The other squadmates do this for Hayami and Mai in episode 7.
  • Born Unlucky: Tanabe, who often has misfortunes befall her such as slipping and spilling her favorite food on the floor.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Both Hayami and Mai suffer from this.
  • Can't Act Perverted Toward a Love Interest: In the Socks Hunter scenario, Tohsaka resisting himself from taking Tanabe's socks then went against his own team for assaulting her.
  • The Casanova: Setoguchi, who hits on every girl that he sees.
  • Cheerful Child: Nonomi for the most part.
  • Child Soldiers: The main characters of the 5121st Platoon are still high school aged students, due to the long war against the Phantom Beasts.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Mai in episode 8 when Yumi starts aggressively pursuing Hayami. She vehemently denies having any feelings, but it does affect her performance in that episode.
  • Date Peepers: Various characters do this in episode 11 while spying on Hayami and Mai while they shop for stuff the class claimed was needed for the Christmas party.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Mai gradually becomes less standoffish towards everyone, especially Hayami.
  • Designated Love Interest: Each characters as NPC will start with default high friendship/love points with specific characters(Hayami and Mai, Hayami and Tashiro, Akane and Mori, Tohsaka and Tanabe, Kurusu and Yoko, etc.) but most of them will ends up loving Nonomi who can automatically increase other’s love points to her except Kurusu and Yoko who will eventually ends up as lovers in few days even without Player Character’s involvement.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Several NPC(especially Mibuya) had their own arsenal set when deployed and some of them won’t equip any guns instead brings Katana’s or even bare handed.
  • Everyone Can See It: Late in the series almost everyone realizes that Hayami and Mai both like each otherr. However, since both Cannot Spit It Out, it frustrates them to no end when their attempts to hook them up fail.
  • Expy: Kurusu has quite similar traits to Kujo Jotaro. What's more convincing is he is from Italy.
  • Festival Episode: Subverted in episode 5. The 5121st Platoon prepares for a puppet show, and even spends a lot of time doing it, but just as the show starts, the Phantom Beasts attack.
    • Its subverted again in episode 10, this time while preparing a play. However, this time around they manage to film it during rehearsal, and the video/narration is played while the 5121st is out fighting. Unlike the first time around, the kids really enjoy it.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Kaori Tanabe, the delinquent mechanic have a unique skill “Godfist” where punches command will deal twice attack power(systematically, punch command deals half attack power).
  • Love Epiphany: Both Hayami and Mai realize this in episode 8.
  • Love Letter Lunacy: Hayami gets one in episode 8. Naturally his squad mates are curious who it is and tease him a lot about it.
  • Love Confession: Yumi does one to Hayami in episode 8.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: The new mecha the platoon receives is capable of this.
  • Masochism Tango: Iwata seems frequently got punched by other students. But he doesn't even mind or rather enjoying it.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: When Hayami watches the interview he and Mai gave while shopping on Christmas Eve in episode 11, it suddenly dawns on him that she really likes him. Unfortunately, the night before, he stupidly brings up the subject of the guy who died in her previous school, which motivated her to become a soldier in the first place, causing her to get uncomfortable and leave.
  • New Transfer Student: Mai, who joins the 5121st Platoon in the second episode.
  • Nice Guy: Hayami, who often ends up losing in betting games with the other male soldiers to get snacks, and takes care of a stray cat that hangs around the dorms.
  • No Fourth Wall: Iwata Hiromu is completely aware that he's a character in this game and often talking about loops(he meant New Game Plus) and even goes far giving Gunparade Guide Book to the player after talking to him several times.
  • No Guy Wants to Be Chased: Yumi goes after Hayami rather aggressively despite his lack of interest.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: The 5121st Platoon does this for Hayami and Mai in episode 7. Hayami himself does this for Mia, refusing to leave her behind despite her broken leg and their increasing lack of air filters.
  • Non-Lethal Deadly Weapon: Nakamura's "One Year Unwashed Socks". The smell was strong enough to make Tohsaka and Nakamura himself collapse seconds after.
  • Real Robot Genre: The HWT's are just as vulnerable as other troops deployed in battle.
  • Relationship Upgrade: After a lot of false starts, Hayami and Mai do this at the very end of episode 12.
  • Rescue Romance: While it takes a while, Mai gradually warms up to Hayami after he saves her when their HWT is heavily damaged. Bonus points for managing to do it on foot in heavily infested Genjyu territory, and telling her No One Gets Left Behind despite her injuries.
  • Serious Business: The female students in the Socks Hunter scenario, when Nakamura and Takigawa stole socks from the girls schools, the girls are searching them with a SPOTLIGHT, having ARCHER CLUB SHOOTING AT THEM, then having MISSILE CLUB SHOOTING AT THEM. The two somehow survived.
  • Shipper on Deck: Practically all of the 5121st Platoon does this for Hayami and Mai, especially in episode 11.
  • The Stoic: Hayami utilizes this in episode 7 while trapped behind enemy lines. Instead of thinking about rage and hate, he recites a fairy tale to remain calm, then tells Mai later how stories went around with monks who survived going through Genjyu held areas with nothing more than a prayer and a gas mask. In one scene, Mai's nightmare causes her to be filled with rage, and makes the aliens hostile to them. He theorizes that the Genjyu attack if a person is filled with hatred and rage.
  • Terrible Trio: Nakamura, Iwata, and Tohsaka in Nakamura's "Socks Hunter" scenario. Takigawa who only joined in terms of money, quickly quits after facing thrills of stealing socks.
  • Tonight, Someone Dies: See We Hardly Knew Ye.
  • Tsundere: Mai, Type A, is cold and hostile towards almost everyone, especially Hayami.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Mibuya, who doesn't get a lot of screen time, then gets killed in the 6th episode.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Episode 5, when Mibuya gets killed. Made worse by the fact that as the newscaster lists the names and ages of all those killed in that battle, her name isn't listed first, and she's just one of many who perished.
    • In episode 11, Mai is given an offer to join another unit.
  • Wrench Wench: Several of the girls, such as Matsuri, perform maintenance on the HWT's.
  • Yandere: Hara, she will stab the player character (limited to male) if he occurs a "Two-timing" event which includes her.