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Gun Sword
voice cast: Takanori Hoshino / David Vincent, Houko Kuwashima / Jennifer Sekiguchi

director: Goro Taniguchi

97 minutes (15) 2005 widescreen ratio 16:9
MVM DVD Region 2 retail
[released 5 March]

RATING: 6/10
reviewed by Trudi Topham
Here's the basic premise: on a planet called Endless Illusion, a man called Van (pronounced Vaughan, Takanori in the original Japanese, and Vincent in English) searches for a guy with a claw for a hand. Van is pretty much indestructible, and along the way he collects a straggler, Wendy (Houko Kuwashima / Jennifer Sekiguchi), who follows him around in spite of his best efforts to dissuade her.

It's a peculiar little thing, this anime. It's yet another mecha seriesTM, yet it isn't. Yet another supremely powerful antiheroTM, but not quite. Scattered throughout GunXSword (the X isn't pronounced, it's just there for decoration) are some dialogue gems, freakish moustache-wielding bad guys, and truly bizarre secondary characters. It's these that rescue it from the otherwise formulaic set-up.

With four episodes on the disc, the whole premise of the series is laid out quite easily. It's a very accessible anime, clearly written with American audiences in mind - there's not much here that westerners haven't seen already on channels like Anime Network. Van's a bit Vash, really, and his gigantic piece of heaven-sent mecha is quite Evangelion in design.

With a dead wife to avenge, off he sets across the western-themed planet, facing lawlessness and bandits. Okay, crazy mad scientists and demented mayors, but you get the idea. He's not interested in getting involved to save anyone from anything, but he ends up doing so anyway, through no real reason in some cases.

All that being said it's entertaining enough. If I had nothing else to do, I certainly wouldn't object to watching some of this silliness. I was never quite sure whether it's meant to be a parody, but it certainly doesn't take itself too seriously. It's also very, very pretty - beautifully animated, and with all CGI incorporated seamlessly. If you like your anime lightweight and silly, this is for you.

The DVD extras aren't all that bad either. There are a couple of insane CGI glove-puppet theatres, wherein Wendy shoots everything in sight whilst espousing the joys of marriage. There's a fairy average art gallery. Credit-less opening and ending for episode one, and some trailers.
NEXT

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