America, 19th century. Viu Bannes, a young and determined boy gets to know the legend of Gun Blaze West - a perfect place, where only the best gunmen can get. With his friend, the wanderer Marcus Homer, they began training to be able to overcome the difficulties during the planned journey to Gun Blaze West. But soon they have to face the first enemies, and the gang of robbers are just the first step during the long-long journey...
Gun Blaze West is a manga that had potential to become something special, but because of its cancellation, it never got a chance to take off, thus making it difficult to judge the manga. It's fun while it lasts, but it's definitely a manga that won't leave you satisfied. If you've ever read Zombie Powder by Tite Kubo, you know what I'm talking about. Gun Blaze West to Nobuhiro Watsuki is more or less what Zombie Powder is to Tite Kubo.
The story isn't exactly original. Its plot is akin to popular shounen manga such as One Piece and Naruto. It's the "I'm gonna be the best" plot we've all seen a billion times before. For a lot of long-running shounen manga, this isn't necessarily a bad thing because subplots will make up for a lack of intriguing plot. However, in this manga's case, there aren't enough chapters to properly get into any interesting subplots. I will, however, give this manga credit for its unique setting. It utilizes a Wild West theme, and it really helps this manga stand out a little.
The artwork was good, but I can't say I liked the particular style that Watsuki went with for this manga. I personally liked his artwork in Rurouni Kenshin much more. That said, it's still a decent-looking manga. Its style didn't really click with me, but there's no denying that the artwork was done well. The action scenes and backgrounds look good, and the character designs are alright.
It's difficult to judge the characters because they never really had a chance to be fleshed out completely. Viu Bannes is a likable protagonist, but he's also a walking cliche. He's determined to be the best and he's partially motivated by a childhood tragedy. Sound familiar? Of course it does. Mr. Bannes isn't all that different from characters such as Monkey D. Luffy and Naruto Uzumaki. The other characters aren't terribly interesting, but they, too, are likable, even if we don't get a chance to see the characters develop.
I can't deny this manga was enjoyable. The Wild West theme makes for some very entertaining action scenes. The story may not have a chance to go anywhere interesting, but the potential it sets up is what makes this manga so enjoyable to read. Overall, I'm not sure if I'd recommend it to everyone, but if you're a fan of Nobuhiro Watsuki and enjoy shounen manga, then go for it. If not, then steer clear. It's a fun read, but its untapped potential makes it hard to recommend.read more
It was a nice concept that they used with the West rather than go with your generic Japanese setting. A goal is enough to power someone's life. The very same can be said about this story. Gun Blaze West focuses on only one true path. It may have been a short series with a disappointing discontinued ending but Gun Blaze West forever takes us to the place we've always dreamt of going to. And it gives us a strong realization to embrace our goals. One that is as strong as that of the main character's, Viu Bannes.