Anime Meta-Review


Gunsmith Cats


By Date




Title Info

  • alias: Bulletproof
  • seen: 1-3 of 3
  • type: OAV
  • grade: worthy
  • made: unknown
  • Review created: Mon Jan 8 14:43:38 EST 2001
  • mod: none

Note I also found a Gunsmith Cats movie named "bulletproof". It only took a couple of minutes to realize that this is simply a repackaging of the three OAV episodes in a movie form. As such it isn't worth it's own review, and you're probably going to be really annoyed if you bought both.

I've been thinking for quite some time about starting a `girls with guns' genre, I still might, and if I do this anime is likely to be exhibit A. On the other hand, once you get over that element, it's sort of hard to review.

Anyway, this anime is derived from a, presumably popular, manga series which is carefully designed to appeal to it's readership. It follows two American bounty hunters and is set in America. But these are not your typical hunter types. One of them, the more sensible one (and I use the term very loosely) is a master with all sorts of firearm, and I don't mean in terms of target shooting. She's also into cars in a big way, and her high performance pursuit vehicle is as much a part of her personality as the multiple firearms on her person. Then there's her dimunitive partner who is a master of explosives (and loves demonstrating this). Together the two run a gunshop and hunt desperado's on the cool but dangerous streets of America.

And, considering that a lot of the gunshops weaponry is a touch over what is legal, the agents from the American ATF (alcohol, tabacoo and firearms agency) are almost as dangerous as any criminal. The Gunsmith cats learning this when they bust a small time courier and find that he actually involved in something much bigger than they expected. It also seems that the criminals involved are powerful, have inside information and think nothing of killing anyone who gets in their way or knows too much. Certainly the ATF has been learning this, losing multiple agents in its investigations. One rogue officer within the ATF has a solution though, threaten the gunsmith cats and use them as pawns (albeit valued) to find the truth of what's going down. Although, given the nature of the gunsmith cats, usage of correct and restrained police procedure is much less likely than some good old fashioned violence and a high body count.

And, really, there's not that much more to say. The plot is really pretty familiar, although it's also well written and paced. It's got all the staple elements of the `hard-boiled street crime' drama adapted for anime. Informers, thugs, contract hits, russian assassins and corruption at the highest levels. It's actually got quite a lot of characters, with many obviously inherited from the manga and introduced in the most cursory way, but they're also familiar (but cool too). This feeling of familiarity may be due to the series only being three episodes long, which isn't much time for such an ambitious story. However it's also because it is obvious that the story is just a foundation for the girls with guns formula to go to work on.

As such we're really most interested in the two leads and the main `villain' on the other side. The two leads are clearly meant to create an interesting tension between being `cute' girls while simultaneously being deadly killers. And there's some interesting, but short, dialogues between them on `normal' issues to make this clear...and also a bit of fan service. The explosives partner also has the appearance of a very young girl ( for reasons made explicit in the manga but not mentioned in this ) which is clearly meant to enhance her cute and girlish behaviour. Thus you've got the cool partner, the cute partner and the deadly opponent to provide some nice action.

Still, while it all seemed a bit artificial it's also quality stuff. And the action, which is spread throughout all the episodes, is complex, nicely staged and animated and quite fun to watch. And, compared to many action anime, the sense of character, atmosphere and story make it much more interesting. It's also neatly balanced around the action, with guns, cars and explosives largely getting an episode each. The animation itself is good quality, with detailed devices and environments plus some nice motion work. However, the line detail is not that high which combines with the slightly weird looking lead characters (kept close to the manga appearance?) to give them a slightly odd cartoony look. While it's not a problem it significantly detracts from the attractiveness factor which, personaly preference aside, would seem to be a central part of this type of anime. The voices seemed fine, loved the russian voice, and the music was pretty cool and well linked to the ambience of the series.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:19 WST 2009