Talking about Riding Bean in my 80’s ova post earlier was a lead into this post. Not hiding that. Especially since I’m so glad that my Gunsmith Cats kickstarter from Animeigo came in recently. If you want to see what the package look like, here are a few tweets.
Originally, Gunsmith Cats was a seinen manga written and illustrated by Kenichi Sonoda, a massive military otaku. A popular novel that must have been amazing. Instead of adapting the manga, the OVA is a like 90 minute movie in three episodes featuring the same characters from the manga, and some not, in an original story. That’s the Kickstarter Blu-ray which showed up at my door. I was planning on doing some sort of box opening post, but I’m not good with those sorts of things. I hope seeing these tweets is good enough to show you the quality of what appeared. This is the standard edition, but it’s still a beautiful package don’t you think? The visual quality of the ova was also phenomenal, which is what Gunsmith Cats deserves after all. At least, I think so.
Let’s jump into this ova, shall we? In the city of Chicago, Rally Vincent is an expert gun owner and maintenance expert who owns a gun shop by the name of Gunsmith Cats. That’s her primary business, but at night Rally takes to the streets as a bounty hunter using her amazing gun handling skills to take down criminals for pay. Rally being a expert is how she makes a living. Her partner is Minnie May, an explosive happy person who loves throwing grenades everywhere. Minnie is a lot more happy go lucky, so she helps balance Rally’s professionalism and rigidness with her own sense of wonder and spontaneity. They live together too, which one can interpret anyway they want to.
Our story starts with the two cats capturing Jonathan Washington for drug operation. Immediately after that, an ATF officer, by the name of William Clinton, shows up at the Gunsmith Cat store to black mail the two Gun Shop owners to make a deal with Washington and capture his gun smuggling and selling operations after Washington posts bail due to not having any drugs on hand. Considering there is no pay, the two don’t agree to do this yet. Unfortunately, the ATF officer black mails them into doing this by noticing that the Gunsmiths don’t have all of the licenses for the guns they are handling and selling. What a scum bag, right? Yeah, Rally and Minnie think so too, but they have to do this job anyway or otherwise they can’t legally run their store.
What follows is a very action packed movie scenario where everything is always worse and the corruption is always deeper then it seems. Washington was only a starting point for the plot the to happen, the real problem is more complicated. There is a corrupt, anti gun politician waiting in the wings to stop Chicago from having guns so he can increase the prices on his illegal dealings. Plus, he hires a Russian assassin by the name of Radinov to clean up the politicians mess with Washington and the Cats. She’s a pretty bad ass assassin. There is some politic messages with all of this given that the politician also wanted to get rid of immigrants too, but I think it’s centered on a little bit of gun control by handling guns to the right people and I am generally ok with that. Generally. It’s a complicated issue I’m not talking about on my post.
The ova itself is three episodes resulting in three different acts. The first episode is the start up or introduction into this world of Chicago where bounty hunters still roam the streets and also show off on gunsmith cats and the ATF officer William in action. As a second act, the second episode features almost all the cards appearing on the table and an awesome car chase featuring Rally Vincent driving her Shelby Cobra GT 500 and whatever Radinov’s car is through out the city of Chicago. Last is the finale in the third episode where everything connects together and works in a much different and realistic direction then we thought it would. That’s all I will say besides it easily challenges every character in this anime in a good way.
I suppose that leads to characters and I feel happy in saying while there aren’t particular character arcs in this ova, I feel like I know these characters just by seeing them live out their lives. I don’t think layed characters are necessary in an ova like this, but I feel like we got that anyway. Rally Vincent is a fantastic character who is great at handling guns, selling guns, and driving an exotic sports car, but sucks at personal things like getting a boyfriend. Minnie May on the other hand, loves throwing explosives everywhere and actively goes on dates with her boyfriend (who is off screen.) The rest of the cast is one note, I feel like you can watch away from the show still knowing them and what they stand for. That’s just a way of saying that the characterization is solid.
A way to describe Gunsmith Cats visuals are realistic. The only things that don’t feel that way are the character designs sometimes because of the anime like expression they have on their faces from time to time. Other then that, gun shots and harm to bodies feel like how they should be. Everything else couldn’t feel more real then we’ve been. The character’s movements are well animated and always feel grounded even in the largest action scenes. Ok, maybe not the high speed chase as much, but whatever. The guns feel realistic, Chicago looks breath takingly real, the attention to detail in the weapons and car chase are incredible considering that they actually used sound effects from the car in question in the anime. I miss traditionally animated cars. It’s just all fantastic and makes sense considering that the production crew actually made their way to Chicago to see gunshops and take location shots. It’s honestly astonishing how great and grounded everything feels.
I don’t think I need to say this out right, but I really loved Gunsmith Cats. I feel like it’s as perfect as a ninety minute ova series could be. It’s well constructed, makes Chicago in this anime feel like a realistic place where everything happens, has a decent understanding of how to build characters through different situation things, provides some solid and nonintrusive and characterizing fan service on the side, and has pretty amazing action that is a lot of fun to watch happen. In that amount of space, I think that’s all a person can ask for from an almost nonstop thrill ride. The only weakness is that there isn’t more Gunsmith Cats to watch, but I suppose there is the manga to read that I really need to get to at some point. Maybe. If it’s available anywhere.