The video game, Koukidou Gensou Gun Parade March (高機動幻想ガンパレード・マーチ?), was released on September 28 of 2000, for the PlayStation video game console. It was developed by Alfa System and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. Due to its creativity and attention to detail, it won the prestigious Seiun Award in 2001.
The anime, Gunparade March: The New March (ガンパレード・マーチ 〜新たなる行軍歌〜 Ganparēdo Māchi: Atanaru Kōgun Uta?), which was produced by J.C.Staff was broadcast on MBS from February 6, 2003 to April 23, 2003. It is licensed for distribution in the United States by Media Blasters as simply "Gunparade March".
In 1945, 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" (or Genjyu in Japanese) had effectively taken over more than half of the Earth. The year is 1999 – 54 years later, mankind is still fighting to survive against the alien forces. Earth forces now use advanced mecha called Humanoid Walking Tanks (HWTs) to combat the invaders, but throughout the ordeal, far too many pilots have been killed in action. To ensure the future of the human race, 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 and their struggle to defeat the Phantom Beasts and at the same time, lead a normal social life.
Despite being a mecha anime, Gunparade March mainly focuses on the relationship between Hayami and Mai. However, there are several technologies introduced
HWTs (Humanoid Walking Tanks)
- AMTT-519M Shikon "The Spirit of Samurai" (Single Seater Model): Appears to be the standard HWT. Its covered in a tanish hue and has most humanoid qualities such as legs, arms, hands, head, etc. The single seater model can utilize a variety of weapons which includes automatic rifles, ballistics and melee weapons such as swords (mainly used by Mibuya's unit). The arms can also be used to carry a PBE and deliver it to the Genjyu Brains. It appears to have a light coat of armor and can only sustain about two to three Genjyu kamikaze attacks. It is speculated that this model was the first (probably with a few slight upgrades) HWT created by Shibamura Industries.
- AMTT-519MW Shikon "The Spirit of Knight" (Double-Seater Model, "Tandem"): A double seater HWT. Unlike the single model, its covered in a maroon hue. In addition to its ability to using hand-operated weapons, it has two missile fins that can converge to one missile launcher. Furthermore, its speed and all-terrain capability is increased due to more advanced hydraulics. The armor is also more effective than the single model. It is piloted by Atsushi Hayami and Mai Shibamura.
- Atsushi Hayami (速水 厚志 Hayami Atsushi?), (Seiyū - Akira Ishida): One of the main protagonists in the story and an HWT pilot. Hayami is probably one of the most shy and naive characters in Gunparade March. His personality renders him to be dubbed a "goof" among his fellow colleagues and become somewhat an interest for several of the female characters. When he meets Mai, he develops an interest for her and gradually becomes infatuated with her. However, his timidity prevents him from admitting his true feelings and publicly, he considers her as a "good partner on the job". As an HWT pilot, his attributes are quite balanced and this caused him to be teamed with Mai for piloting the two-seater "Tandem" HWT. However, Hayami tends to be nervous during battles and has the habit of messing up. He also seems to be well aware of the concept that the Genjyu feed upon Human's fear and hatred for them which causes them to attack. This is shown when he elaborates a fairy tale (it is speculated that a fairy tale can bring one's childhood innocence back which eliminates most of one's hatred and fear) aloud while carrying Mai to a safe area when they were stranded in a forest full of Genjyu and the Genjyu were rendered motionless. Later on, the whole platoon tried to pair Mai and Hayami up by setting false tasks and trying to trap them into admitting each others true feelings. It initially appeared to be successful until Hayami's naive personality ended the operation in failure. During the New Year's Eve of 2001, Hayami admitted love to Mai and still pilots the Tandem with her.
- Mai Shibamura (芝村 舞 Shimabura Mai?), (Seiyū - Akemi Okamura): Another main protagonist in the story and an HWT pilot. Mai was a transfer pilot to the 5121st Platoon. She initially separated herself from everyone in the division but formed a friendship with Nonomi and eventually, the whole female crew of the platoon. She first saves Mibuya and Hayami when they were in the effective range of the PBE. Afterwards, she gained the gratitude of Hayami and a slight rivalry with Mibuya. Her skills as an HWT pilot are at near perfection. However, her teamwork is as relatively poor as her communication skills. Later on, Mai reveals that is the daughter of the head of Shibamura Industries. Despite that, she tries to lead a normal life and care for Nonomi, thinking she is responsible for her condition. When Hayami and Mai were stranded, she revealed why she came to join the army despite her status as being the daughter of the head of Shibamura. When she was in her old high school, she became infatuated with an elite HWT pilot but never admitted her feelings to him as he died fighting the Genjyu. Holding a grudge against the Genjyu, she trained to be an elite pilot and was eventually transferred to the 5121st platoon. After Hayami saves her, Mai begins to be infatuated with him but again, she is too shy to admit her true feelings to him.
The game and anime take place in the Kyūshū province of Japan, where many (if not all) sites are modeled after their real-life counterparts. For example, the Kumamoto Castle, where one defensive mission takes place (game only), is a famous landmark of Kyūshū. Others, like 'Ajinoren', a local restaurant, and 'Shoukei' Highschool, the protagonists' main base of operations, are both actual locations.
- Ginga Kurusu: Tomoyuki Shimura
- Haruka Yoshino: Miki Inoue
- Hisaomi Sakaue: Keiichi Sonobe
- Keigo Tohsaka: Kouichi Kuriyama
- Maki Tanabe: Chiaki Maeda
- Matsuri Kato: Junko Noda
- Michiru Katou: Satsuki Yukino
- Mio Mibuya: Junko Sakuma
- Motoko Hara: Emi Shinohara
- Nami Koumi: Mai Nakahara
- Nonomi Higashihara: Mayumi Yoshida
- Sarasa Wichita: Mariko Suzuki
- Seika Mori: Tomoe Hanba
- Setoguchi's girlfriend (ep 6): Mamiko Noto
- Tadataka Zengyou: Shouto Kashii
- Takayuki Setoguchi: Hideyuki Umezu
- Yasumitsu Wakamiya: Yoshihisa Kawahara
- Yohei Takigawa: Akio Suyama
- Official game web site (in Japanese)
- Official Gunparade March anime web site (in Japanese)
- Gunparade March (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia