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Anime Review of GunXSword
About Gun X Sword
"Gun X Sword" is a twenty-six episode Japanese anime series directed by Goro Taniguchi, written by Hideyuki Kurata, and produced by AIC A.S.T.A. with its original run starting from July 4, 2005 until December 26, 2005. FUNimation Entertainment currently has the North American license, MVM Films has the British license, and Madman Entertainment has the New Zealander & Australian licenses. The series first aired in Japan on TV Tokyo and Animax. It aired in Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, India, and South Korea on Animax. It aired in Canada on G4techTV Canada.
The genre is action and mecha. Gun X Sword is an interesting way to look at the way of mecha. In a sense, it feels like "Neon Genesis Evangelion" and "RahXephon" in a Wild West wasteland. It takes place somewhere in the distant future and on a different planet. It also has the feel of "Cowboy Bebop," "Trigun," and "Coyote Ragtime Show" due to the Wild West feeling that Gun X Sword brings. Still, everything has the feeling of modern-day Earth; but, with giant mecha.
After watching the first few episodes, I enjoyed it. I thought the story and the animation was great. I liked the way that Van was designed on the outside and the inside. This is an interesting way to put mecha battles in the Wild West.
As the series progresses, the dynamic that the heroes have with each other is similar to that of the Serenity crew from "Firefly." While Gun X Sword is strictly Japanese anime, it has Firefly-like elements that many Whedonverse fans may appreciate. If you enjoy mecha in general, Gun X Sword is worth taking a look.
Gun X Sword's story is straightforward and very simplistic. It is pretty much two stories, one revenge story and one rescue story, ends up converging into one singular story in which the heroes have to prevent the world from being destroyed by the elusive and dangerous Claw Man. The story is mainly character driven; later on, near the end, it becomes very plot-driven. Gun X Sword's story centers on Wendy Garret and the mysterious Van.
The story starts out with Wendy's village being attacked by bandits; her older brother Michael Garret gets taken by the bandits. Her home of Evergreen gets attacked by bandits and it's a losing battle for the citizens. She comes across Van and asks for his help; however, Van is indifferent and apathetic. He ends up saving the city after learning that the bandits are associated with the Claw Man. Since then, Wendy and Van travel together to find and defeat the Claw Man.
Wendy follows Van due to him being older and skilled in fighting. By following Van, who's on the trail of the Claw Man, Wendy hopes to find and be reunited with Michael. She's out to rescue Michael from the clutches of the Claw Man. Thus, she gets brought into “Van's world.”
Van, oblivious to everything else, is out to get revenge against Claw Man for murdering his bride-to-be on their wedding day. Consumed by lust for revenge, Van drives the story by following leads and taking on various jobs to get close to the Claw Man and kill him.
In their travels, the two of them embark on many adventures on the way to confront the Claw Man and his organization. They come across many allies and enemies on the way. So far, the story is character-driven as the two main characters have their own individual character plots.
Van and Wendy are the main characters of Gun X Sword. The two of them very well drive the story of Gun X Sword.
Van – When I first saw Van, his appearance made me think of either Spike Spiegel from Cowboy Bebop or Nicholas D. Wolfwood from Trigun. However, Van is by no means a ripoff of either character. He comes off as being quite the interesting main hero. Van comes off as aloof, distant, and apathetic. For the most part, many think of Van as a slacker; but, that's far from the truth. In reality, he wants to stay out of other people's problems so he can focus on finding and killing the Claw Man. When it's hand-to-hand, he uses a special type cloth that takes on the form of a sword. If hand-to-hand isn't enough, he can summon his humanoid mech called Dann of Thursday.
When it comes to socialization, he sucks at it. He has a habit of not remember the names of other people much to their annoyance. When eating, he has a habit of asking for all the types of condiments available and puts them on his food.
Wendy – Wendy is the reluctant heroine. Due to being young, she provides support for Van. Personality-wise, she's the opposite of Van. She is kind and compassionate; Wendy's willing to go out of her way to help other people in need. While traveling with Van, Wendy brings her pet turtle Kameo who is worn around her neck when traveling. By traveling with Van, Wendy learns about the world and more about herself.
Carmen 99 – Carmen, a major character, comes off as the proverbial femme fatale in the game. While having romantic feelings for Van, she hates it when Van always forgets her name. Personality-wise, she's somewhat similar to Faye Valentine of Cowboy Bebop in terms of money and feelings towards Van.
Ray Lundgren – Ray is a kindred spirit, rival, and polar opposite to Van. While not a villain, Ray comes off as being somewhat the antihero in the story. Like Van, Ray is consumed with avenging his wife's murder at the hand of the Claw Man. While Van comes off as being aloof, Ray is very brutal and withdrawn. He shuts out other people from his life and is completely focused with taking out the Claw Man. Due to Van also wanting to kill the Claw Man, Ray sees him as a rival. Ultimately, it's a race to see who kills the Claw Man first. He plays the role well of being the tragic rival antihero in the story.
Van and Wendy eventually get joined by Carmen and Ray; furthermore, they get joined by allies such as Priscilla, Yukiko Stevens, Joshua Lundgren, and the El Dorado Five. When they join together to prevent Claw Man from terraforming the world, they create a family dynamic.
As for villains, they were pretty interesting for the most part. However, the one villain that got my attention the most was the elusive Fasalina. I didn't care much for most of the villains as I felt the Claw Man was a typical villain who wanted to change the world to his liking. He reminded me of Dr. Zorndyke from “Blue Submarine No. 6” who wanted to reform the world in his own image. Fasalina was the only villain that made an impression on me.
I found the music to be very appropriate for the anime. Since Gun X Sword has that Wild West wasteland frontier kind of feel, appropriate music is needed to fit the atmosphere. My favorite track out of the soundtrack was “Niji no Kanata” which played when the El Dorado V mecha came into action for combat. That, to me, is one of the most memorable tracks.
Gun X Sword is an original mecha series. You don't see that many mecha series that place in a desert wasteland; but, you do see plenty of video games (“Wild Arms”) and anime series (“Desert Punk”) that take place in the desert wasteland. The series comes off as a beautiful blend of Trigun, Cowboy Bebop, and Firefly. If you are looking for an original anime series, then give Gun X Sword a chance. However, the story and the villains are average. But, the heroes' personalities do more than make up for it.