Rally Vincent knows her weapons well, while her partner Minne May Hopkins loves to play with explosives. The pair run a gun-shop illegally and one day Bill Collins of the ATF, blackmails Rally and Minnie May into working for the ATF. Little do they know, that they are getting involved in a mission larger than they could imagine.
Gunsmith Cats. The original Cowboy Bebop. Almost. There's a jazzy OP with simple 70's style split-screen graphics madness, bounty hunters, western sensibilities. The prototype for Shinichiro Watanabe's version which maxed out everything this franchise has. Unfortunately it doesn’t have Watanabe.
What it has is Rally Vincent and Minnie-May causing havoc in Chicago in their Mustang GT500 via their trusty guns and bombs.
Watching this OVA after reading the manga is preferable as if you dig the manga then watching it animated after 9 volumes of guncrazy magic, is nice. Another reason is that 9 volumes doesn’t translate into 3 episodes,
so you're only getting a small percentage of the glorious fun that is Gunsmith Cats.
The OVA feels like its set either during or after the manga and doesn’t bother following anything in the source material or setting up character relationships. It just jumps right into the lives of Rally and Minnie-May, so casual viewers will either fall on board or check out swiftly, and manga readers will begin enjoying it immediately, just to keep Gunsmith Cats alive for a bit longer.
Unfortunately there is a noticeable lack of certain characters in the manga, such as Roy the friendly cop who is relegated to a cameo, Misty the thief who is absent, and there's a gaping black hole where Bean Bandit should be. Becky's way too nice and Minnie-May appears much younger here also, like a ten year old which makes her hijinks with bounty hunter Rally even more ludicrous, and with absolutely no hint of sexual deviancy that was so rampant in the manga.
So yeah, this is filler but like the manga it has an attention to detail with the city of Chicago as a backdrop and other miscellaneous aspects that at least keep the anime somewhat in reality, when every scene with Minnie-May threatens to blow it into fantasy. The OVA is also full of call-backs to the manga that uber fans will recognise and grin at (prosthetic guns anyone?) so the OVA is going to be an acquired taste.
The animation is pretty average but the design is good, cars, guns, gorgeous Rally herself, it’s all watchable so don’t let the year of release put you off. The music is nothing to shout about unfortunately, as is the direction, editing, writing, ok so other than the brand name this is just standard entertainment.
But then the OVA at least does something that the manga did excellently. That is to say: have an awesome car chase! A definite highlight of the OVA and one of the best in anime, with kinetic visuals, edge-of-your-seat thrills and all based in reality, with no physics-breaking stunts.
And finally the story. Oh yeah, story? Bunch of generic bad guys shooting and blowing crap up, what else? If you're going to watch this, watch it because you're a completist, and watch it for that car chase. They say cats have nine lives, well the gunsmith cats just lost one with this OVA; time to reload.
Time to review a nostalgic classic! Be warned that this anime is VERY cheesy, but it is also quite fun! This is what you might call a "guilty pleasure" anime. Gunsmith Cats almost entirely revolves around 3 fetishes: guns, the 1967 Mustang GT, and tits. I have never seen an anime that seemed to try SO hard to pander to American rednecks. This is basically the anime Dukes of Hazzard! Too bad Rally's car isn't as cool as the General Lee. Firstly, the 69 Dodge Charger is cooler than the 67 Mustang. Secondly, Rally's car isn't painted an absolutely garish orange featuring the Confederate flag.
Lastly, no Dixie horn. sad face.
Plot and characters: 3/10
Our heroes are 2 chicks that illegally sell guns in "gun free" Chicago in order to combat oppressive gun control laws. They are also bounty hunters, because hired guns are better than a police force. Small government FTW! The Cats must protect a crooked DC politician (aren't they all) from an evil Russkie Commie named Natasha Radinov. You may be wondering why she would incorrectly have a male last name and not the feminine form Radinova, but this actually isn't a mistake. She is also a fairly offensive "bull dyke" stereotype in addition to being a dirty commie! Did I mention this was a redneck anime? What happens next are plenty of ridiculous car chases and shootouts. The Gunsmith Cats jump off many ramps, but unfortunately it never cuts to commercial break mid jump ala Dukes of Hazzard. Speaking of crazy driving scenes...why was this set in Chicago where it is physically impossible to drive fast without hitting another car? Dukes was set in rural Appalachia BECAUSE it is a region with virtually no speed cops and you actually can drive really fast! This is actually still true in 2015, which I know because I live next to Hazzard country Kentucky, where Dukes took place until the county sued the TV studio for defamation and the studio changed the setting to a fictional Hazzard county in northern Georgia. Gunsmith Cats: the only anime EVER that will make you say, "this is pretty good, but I think I might rather watch Dukes of Hazzard re-runs.
Art and Sound: 5/10
The art is pretty good for an early 1990s OVA, but will obviously look a tad dated by today's standards. Be grateful that all the porn from the original manga was cut out! You won't have to watch the loli character suck a single dick in this anime...unlike the fucking manga! The soundtrack is almost entirely Jazz music, which creates mood whiplash and was honestly a terrible decision. This is what the soundtrack SHOULD have sounded like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77hneLgt33k
Dropkick your brain out the window and enjoy this ludicrous bullshit! Don't question anything. Just be amazed that this fucking idiotic show somehow exists for your endless amusement!
Why would I rate a show like this so high? Because it's hilarious! Gunsmith Cats is a great guilty pleasure and highly enjoyable for people that like old school anime from the 80s and early 90s.
Oh what to say about Gunsmith Cats? One of the earliest anime I ever had the luxury to view, it was quite a fantastic experience as a teenager. Having recently re-watched the show I found that I enjoyed it even more, having noticed the little details that I disregarded when I was younger (such as the welded on 'S' on the Gunsmith Cats store, obviously indicating that the business was opened before Rally made contact with Minnie May) and understanding a bit more of the culture at hand. That is...Chicago. Yep, this anime takes place in the glorious U.S. of A, so if that isn't
your thing then maybe you should avoid it. That said, let's proceed with the overall story.
The story, while not exactly the most in-depth one, is insanely enjoyable. It's not too simple but it's not too complicated--Rally Vincent, the owner of a gunsmith shop in Chicago, is requested to help with a case being investigated by the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives) via the somewhat sleezy cop Bill Collins, and both her and her friend Minnie May end up in too deep. For only three episodes they make it through the entire story arc very smoothly--the first episode is getting involved with the overall case, the second is the rise of action and suspense, and the final episode is the peak. In general it never seems like there's too much going on due to lack of time despite there being only three episodes.
The main reason I give the story a 9 instead of a 10, though, is because despite it being a smoothly executed story...it does run into a few hiccups. My main complaint is the final bad guy. The man behind the conflict, so to say. It just doesn't work as well as it probably should. He just comes off seeming super hammy and forced, which is a real shame considering how well the story builds up to it. It doesn't help that said bad guy isn't introduced until the final episode so we aren't really too assed to care about him, especially since he doesn't really reveal himself until the last ten minutes of episode three. The overall short run also does serve to leave some background characters underdeveloped. So that does weaken the score.
I like this art. There's really not much for me to say about this besides that--I just like it. But I don't really LOVE it. It looks nice, and the faces have a pretty nice structure. These are based off designs from the manga made by Sonoda Kenichi, and in general his art is well done and well thought out. However, the women have a bad tendency to look alike. The male designs don't suffer from this, as each male character typically has a fairly unique facial structure, but the generic faces of the women does kinda hurt the art. The backgrounds looks fantastic, however. They've really captured the gritty look of Chicago here.
To start, the opening to this is something that I could just listen to all day. The song is completely free of lyrics, and stands out from your typical anime intro by being more focused around a jazzy feel as opposed to a pop feel (which is understandable considering the focus of the show). Comparisons to this choice in music have been made to Cowboy Bebop's 'Tank', and it's a suitable comparison. Both are fantastic earworms.
The rest is just kind of a hit and miss. The background music is more okay than it is fantastic. As for the voice work, the dub is surprisingly good for an ADV dub--most of the voices match the characters pretty well and overall they execute the lines pretty well. But it still has some typical early dub issues. Some lines don't match up to the lip movements, and while Rob Mungle does a pretty fantastic job on most of the sarcastic lines for Bill Collins...it's a little more hit and miss when it comes to the dramatic moments. He sounds just flat out kind of silly in dramatic scenes, and really tries to overplay it. Which is a shame, because the rest of the time his execution is perfect.
There is nothing I can really criticize about the charac...okay, there is. Let's start from the good points: Rally Vincent is an amazing protagonist. She's smart, sassy, and well equipped to handle the problems that face her but has a cocky side that can lead her into trouble. Minnie May is admittedly kind of a brat, but in a far more endearing way than your typical anime 'little bratty girl' archetype. You can tell she wants to help, she just isn't a very good judge of what is helpful and what isn't so her actions can either lead to great success or great disaster. I've heard a lot of badmouthing towards Bill Collins, the ATF agent, on other sites but I personally think he's a great character and oppositional force to Rally. He's just as cocky as she is, but with a thicker layer of sarcasm and sleeze. That said, he's not a complete ass anyways, since he does show a need to protect Rally and Minnie May as well as crack the case. Personally I think it makes him a really fun character and a lot of good dialogue comes from him.
Now let's get to the bad characters. Becky is obnoxious. I don't even know why she's in the show. She consistently serves absolutely no purpose besides balling out Rally and Minnie May. She just bitches and bitches and bitches and doesn't seem to have any helpful skills...I think she's supposed to be their accountant or something, but it's not too clear and it just makes her seem like an annoying space-filler. A lot of the side characters, like Roy and that one ATF chick who shows up in the third episode, don't really do much and probably could've been blessed to be expanded on more. Roy is built up as someone Rally has known for a while, but how? I guess there's only so much to be demanded out of a three episode anime, and they did really good with what they had.
OVERALL: I'd give this one a 9/10. It's a REALLY good anime, and I mean REALLY good. I wouldn't go for it looking for any deep or complex plotline but in terms of fun factors...this one should leave the majority of viewers satisfied, if not by the story than at least by the major characters. I'd honestly sit down and pop it in any day.
It's January and time to begin girls with guns month. Gunsmith Cats was a manga written by Sonoda Kenichi that ran from '91 to '97. In '95, OLM, Inc. released a three episode OVA. Incidentally, OLM also worked on Steel Angel Kurumi 2, Berserk and the anime that never ends or changes, Pokemon. So, let's take a look at the OVA and see if it's worth the three episodes.
Rally Vincent & Minnie-May Hopkins are bounty hunters who also work as gunsmiths. After a mission, they're approached by agent too much hair oil of the ATF. He coerces them into working for him,
using the gun shop as leverage because Rally, apparently, couldn't be bothered to get a proper license. Someone is sabotaging the ATF's operation to find the mastermind behind the man they just captured and several other illicit arms dealers. Little do they realise, the case is going to be more difficult and dangerous than it appears.
The biggest issue with the OVA is just that it's really formulaic. The ultimate antagonist and person behind sabotaging the investigation are both obvious from the first moment you see them. The narrative has no real surprises behind it. Which isn't exactly conducive to getting you invested in the action. The only thing the series really does differently is that it's very deliberate and absurd with how over the top it can get. It doesn't take itself particularly seriously, which definitely leads to its strongest moments.
The bulk of characters in this are tropes played pretty straight. The sleazy cop. The helpful friend. The corrupt politician. The cold-hearted assassin. They're all here. The only two characters who don't quite fit neatly into standard tropes are Rally and May. And the big thing that elevates them above that is the way they interact with one another. These two play off of one another really well, and not just for comedic purposes. They manage when things get more serious as well.
The artwork and animation are pretty good. Dated, but still solid. The biggest issue is the way the series shamelessly uses fan-service. We're talking close calls that conveniently tear shirts in order to show off the bosom shameless. The character expressions are definitely the best element of the artwork. These characters are highly expressive and they do different things with expressions for different characters. May's mischievous grin isn't the same as Rally's more wry smile and they're both distinct from hair oil's faeces consuming grin. The action scenes are pretty good. The car chase in particular.
I'll give OLM full credit for their casting. Our dynamic duo are voiced by Neya Michiko (Riza Hawkeye) and Araki Kae (ChibiUsa). Not only do they both do really well in their roles, but they work well together. I'm not sure if they were ever in the same room while recording their lines, but the direction is good enough that it maintains that illusion. There are some good actors in more minor roles as well, notably Hisakawa Aya, but their performances come across as a bit lacklustre since none of the other characters are particularly strongly written. The score isn't brilliant, but it does suit the OVA well and it has some good pieces. The best being the tracks played during intense action sequences.
There really isn't any. The closest you get is Rally offering to buy her trustworthy friend, Becky, dinner in exchange for her help. And that definitely doesn't come across as a date.
That's Gunsmith Cats. Ultimately, it's a predictable, clichéd action work. The only aspects that save it from true mediocrity are the dynamic betwixt Rally and May and its sense of humour. If you don't mind the tropes and you really love the genre, you may very well enjoy it more than I did. If you want something more original or aren't a fan of this type of thing, it's not going to change your mind. For myself, it was decent enough. My rating is going to be a 6/10. Next week we'll continue girls with guns month with a look at Noir.
In life, everyone should have at least one person they can truly call their friend. This is no different for our favorite anime characters. Let's take a look at 15 anime where friendship is paramount and the bond between anime friends is eternal!