I love talking about studios, whether I’m giving some less–respected ones the credit they deserve or driving the ones I hate as far into the ground as possible. It’s hard to call Gonzo a less-respected studio because in reality they’ve been one of the best-loved studios in anime for over a decade, but I’ll be giving them some love anyway.
I’ll take you back to a time when Gonzo was a well-respected studio whose shows all got licensed by virtue of simply being made by them—the mythical year 2002. That’s when Gatekeepers 21 came out, although it was about a year and a half later that the show became one of the oldest fixtures of my on-hold list. I’d caught the tail end of the OVA on TechTV’s anime slot back when that existed and liked what I saw enough that I’d always intended to buy it on DVD. Of course, there were a *lot* of things back then that I’d intended to buy on DVD.
Gatekeepers is an interesting franchise, being one of those from the late 90s/early 2000s that few people seem to remember or care about even though it must’ve done pretty well at the time. In what looks like an attempt to launch a franchise all at once (going by the data I have), it was released as a Playstation RPG, a short manga, and a 26-episode anime by GONZO all at nearly the same time. A couple of years later there was a sequel OVA and novel that I can’t help but feel weren’t the result of the franchise being a success, but of people that worked on it wanting to do more with it.