Saturday, August 24, 2002

Gunsmith Cats

Genre: Action
Parental Guidance Recommended
1995. Author: Keniichi Sonoda. Kodansha, TBS, VAP

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Cover Description (Edited by Firesenshi):
She's tall, she's dark, she's Rally Vincent, the professional bounty hunter and gun-expert extraordinaire who brings a whole new meaning to the phrase 'pistol-packin' mama!' Together with her street-wise, grenade-happy partner, the luscious Minnie-May, Rally's going to clean the scum from the streets of the Windy City with a few quick flicks on the trigger of her trusty pump-action sidearm... for a price, of course!

When gun runner James Washington claims his life is in danger and makes a desperate plea for help, the girls are disinclined to listen to him. However, when Washington and a whole host of agents are gunned down inside an ATF safehouse mere minutes after the girls leave, Rally is forced to go looking for the killer. Then, when May is kidnapped by a psychotic Russian, the chase is on and traffic in the Chicago area may never recover!

The Cats are back and Rally proves that her intuition is something to be respected. The ATF case is far from over when Radinov, a true femme fatale, reappears and is out for blood, of the feline sort. Add a handful of surprisingly high-placed gun runners who are after their coats as well and Rally and Minnie May are going to need every one of their nine lives just to make it through the day!

(3-Part OAV Series)

A hell of a ride that comes to a crashing halt. >>> by Masterchief
The anime Gunsmith Cats takes place in Chicago, and chronicles protagonists Rally Vincent (gun expert and bounty hunter) and Minnie-May Hopkins (explosives maniac) as they are swept into an ATF case against a shady gunrunning cartel. The first thing that is noticable upon beginning to watch it is the detail and believability of the city and everything in it. Cars, signs, buildings, and especially guns, are drawn with a level of detail seldom seen in feature length anime, let alone most OAVs. The city itself was especially amazing. Instead of just imposing a stereotypical American city backdrop and calling it Chicago, the animation crew went to great pains to reproduce the real city (which they saw as part of research for the show), resulting in a city that feels like it's in the heart of America as opposed to on the west coast. Every single weapon and automobile in the series is given similar attention, with everything functioning as it would in real life, including Rally's Shelby Cobra and her favorite pistol (The CZ-27 if I remember correctly), drawn to match the real thing to the letter. This detail is not limited to the visuals, either. Everything from the honk of a horn to a shot from a weapon is reproduced using sounds from their real life counterparts. Very nice to see how much effort was put into the realization of the world this anime takes place in.

The story, as one would expect from the heavy emphasis on weapons and cars, is action oriented. The first volume features a large gun battle, while the second showcases a car chase along the freeway between Rally and a menacing assassing, with what starts off as an interesting and slowly developing plot of murder and betrayal within the Beaueau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. It's sad to say that in the final volume, things are wrapped up far too quickly, and with several plot twists exposed very suddenly and with very little foreshadowing, as though the story writers wanted to get this one in the can quickly. Thankfully, the final episode is saved by a climatic duel between Rally and her nemesis, but the sroty's fall-flat conclusion left a sour taste in my mouth about the whole product. Not to say I don't like GSC, I love it. I just wish it was given the full 26 episode TV treatment as opposed to three small OAVs.

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 7; Story 8; Characters 9; Sounds 9

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