Reviews

Apr 22, 2007
NaughtyCalibur (All reviews)
Some of you might not know it, but I grew up at the movies. I spent the majority of my life going to popcorn flicks with friends and family. Besides horror flicks, it was always the action movies I couldn't get enough of. Die Hard, Demolition Man, Bad Boys, Lethal Weapon - all a big part of my childhood. Miami Guns manages to take the Hollywood action genre that I hold close to my heart and pay homage to it the best way it can, by making a total joke out of it. And you know what? I love it! Miami Guns starts out simple enough, with a pretty basic plot outline and a cast of fairly stereotypical characters, but it's the second episode when this series really shines as a comedy, and everything after that is comedy gold or damn close to it. Its been a while since I've been able to watch an anime like Miami Guns and not feel numb or apathetic towards its cause. I personally think this series' cast of likeable characters and good use of spoof humor is to blame for my "reawakening" to the genre I began to grow a distaste for, but there is so much more to Miami Guns than what you see on its surface.

Unlike many spoof animes out there, Miami Guns chooses to be a bit more subtle when making references to other franchises. For example, in one episode they introduce Bruce Tsuji and refer to him as a real 'die hard.' Obviously this is a reference to Bruce Willis in Die Hard, but while other similar animes would more than likely have this character running around screaming 'Yippie-ki-yay, motherf****er!' every chance they got, Miami Guns just leaves it at that. I think this works well, and it helps from making the comedy in the series feel forced. My main gripe with a lot of the comical animes I've seen over the years is that they try to be too crazy for their own good, and once you've seen one anime like that you've pretty much seen them all. Miami Guns is far from sane, but it seems to have an intelligent method of laying out the funnies. This is a welcomed change.

Miami Guns has an interesting setting. I assumed it would take place in Miami, and while the city is called Miami it seems like it's the only place left on the Earth. Not to mention it is revealed in the second episode that the Earth was destroyed and Miami City was built from scratch, but in animes like this I take every plot arc they toss at me with a grain of salt. Either way, the scenery is very nice with its southeastern vibe. Even though Miami Guns is mainly a parody of the Hollywood action genre it doesn't mind getting its hands dirty and cracking fun at other clichés and animes. Seeing how it was released in 2000 you just know there is going to be a Matrix reference thrown in there somewhere, but I don't know if you'll be expecting the Astro Boy one. It's all in good fun, and even though the series doesn't really follow a main storyline I couldn't help but get attached to some of these characters over time. Miami Guns isn't without its blemishes though. The opening episode was rather weak, as were a few of the last episodes, and this is something that can really hurt an anime as short as Miami Guns. For the most part the series redeems itself when it's all said and done since I was craving for more, but there are some episodes and plot developments I wish they would have just gotten rid of. The Yao, Lu, and Nagisa triangle for example only helped slow the series down for me. Nagisa is evil, Lu knows, and Yao is too blind to see it. Okay, I get it, you don't have to keep beating the dead horse. Nagisa becomes the evil side villain of sorts but none of the cast members really do anything about it, so ultimately we just have a wasted character and, due to her numerous appearances throughout the series, a lot of wasted time that could have been spent on something more entertaining.

Animation and music in Miami Guns is actually pretty good. I liked the OP and ED themes, and all the music throughout the series really got me into the whole police action movie theme it was trying to develop. I love the character designs and I love the general design of Miami City. It's all good stuff. Once again, this is a series I ended up watching the English dub of and I must say I am happy with that decision. Some of the voices can get on your nerves, especially given the character they're coupled with, such as Yao who is almost as annoying and hyper as Excel, but after switching over to the Japanese audio and listening to how high pitched the female voices were I was forced to switch back to English. Julio Peacemaker's voice actor alone makes the English audio my personal pick. I don't think any Japanese voice actor can pull off that kind of Hispanic accent. Seriously, this guy is pretty damn talented. It's sad that his only credited role seems to be for Miami Guns. A lot of U.S. distributors could really use a talented voice actor like him, and it's obvious from sifting through the piles of anime with crappy English voice acting.

Typically, animes can become one of two things: 1) Instant classics that everybody clings to and makes a big deal about, or 2) forever lost in obscurity. Miami Guns seems hopelessly destined to be the latter. The series has the workings of a really fun comedy, but it just hasn't been able to really catch a fan base large enough to put it up there with other comedies like Excel Saga and Azumanga Daioh. This is unfortunate, but it's not surprising. While the main cast members of Miami Guns are likable and memorable, they are hardly stand out characters that draw in fans. Besides Al the talking alligator and his master Julio Peacemaker (both supporting characters only featured in a few episodes), Miami Guns doesn't exactly have what many would call a 'crowd pleaser.' Also, this series doesn't have a very strong Japanese theme to it and takes place in 'Miami.' This too is something that could very well be the cause of Miami Guns not getting the exposure it deserves. Or possibly this anime just flat out sucks and I'm one of the few people who enjoyed it, but I'll try to hold onto my dignity and pray for the former.

It's really hard to review a comedy, arguably harder than any other genre simply because comedy is a lot like music in the sense that It can never be perfected. People all have their own idea of what's funny and what's not, and, well, I think Miami Guns ranks up there with some of the best. It's not about the quantity of humor that really matters to me, or about how edgy and groundbreaking it is. If I laugh then that is all that matters, and is all that should matter. I have to defend this anime after a lot of people were telling me how crappy it was. Yes, it has its flaws and doesn't always hit its mark, but that is something that can be said for literally every comedy out today. Comedy has always been hit or miss, trial and error, but it's all about the miss/hit ratio that determines whether something is comedic brilliance or cheesy garbage. Miami Guns manages to hit far more than it misses, at least for me. While there are other animes out there that serve the same purpose as Miami Guns I argue that this series stands alone on its own merits. Miami Guns is no FUMOFFU by any means, but it doesn't have to be in order to get my seal of approval. I suggest you check this anime out if you ever get the chance.

My Score: 9.0

Version Watched: English Dub