Samurai Gun Vol. 1

by Joe Luscik

Once again, I was drawn into an anime that seemed to have a really cool concept. You have a samurai who uses guns, and as the box says, he's a trained killing machine in love with a prostitute; now how can you mess that up? Well, a good start would probably be really bad animation, uninteresting characters, and a show that seems like it could be loaded with style, but it ends up having almost none.

The story of Samurai Gun is about Ichimatsu, who is the lethal weapon that kills for justice, but he decides that he doesn't want to kill anymore. Picture Kenshin, only he falls off the wagon every once in a while and ends up killing quite a few people. I guess deciding not kill anymore is like trying to quit smoking; it takes two, three, a few dozen tries before it finally sticks. Ichimatsu is known as the Samurai Gun, although the group that he works for that kill people for justice is also called the Samurai Gun, making this an Alice Cooper situation where he's the lead singer and it's also the name of his band. It's also touched upon that Ichimatsu is the most deadly of the entire group.

We get to meet two more of the Samurai Guns, Kurenai and Daimon. Kurenai works at the same tavern that Ichimatsu works at during the day. These characters are even less fleshed out than Ichimatsu, so we never really get to know much about them, making the cast seem pretty flat at this point.

The Samurai Gun have become quite infamous, and the Shogun isn't very pleased about their existence, so he forms an anti-Samurai Gun unit to eliminate them. The Samurai Gun have been interfering with his less-than-ethical ventures, and getting rid of them would make his job a lot easier.

That's basically the story of Samurai Gun. As of now, it's just been Ichimatsu not wanting to take a job, taking it, saying he won't kill people, killing people, and then life goes on as usual. Ichimatsu does have a past that we get to know in some pretty graphic detail, as his sister gets raped and murdered while he watches. This leads into what makes Ichimatsu continue on fighting, and perhaps the reason that he started in the first place. He seeks revenge for the murder of his sister and mother.

That leads right into another good point to touch upon, and that's the fact that Samurai Gun is quite a mature anime. It's loaded with violence, adult situations and swearing... Oh, the swearing. This show covers all seven words that George Carlin says you can't say on TV. Out of all of the anime that I've seen, the first three episodes alone of Samurai Gun takes the cake for swearing. A few swears donít bother me, but sometimes it just seems like overkill. Additionally, it seems that the women are certainly taking most of the abuse, and this could turn away quite a few people from this show.

Even with all of this out of the way, the show still has a pretty interesting concept behind it. As I stated in the beginning, I was drawn to this show after hearing about it, since it seemed like a fresh and fun idea. If Samurai Gun were to get a more solid direction, delve more into Ichimatsu's past, as well as flesh out the other main characters, and step up the animation, then you could have a show that would be interesting. The opening of Samurai Gun is a really stylistic catchy opening that draws you into the series, however, I only wish that the entire show was able to have as much style.

What could perhaps be the most disappointing aspect of Samurai Gun is the bad animation. This seems like a show that would really benefit from some top quality production, but instead, it looks like the animation crew was told a week before broadcasting that they had to do this show. The characters look like cardboard figures on dated backgrounds half of the time. To top it off, the effects are just plain bad, whether itís blood spurting, fire or flags blowing in the wind. It seems as if the entire budget was used on the bullet animation, and even that doesn't look good.

The sound effects and most of the music are pretty bad as well. I guess the opening and ending themes being average was the best part. Unlike many of the other parts of this show, the voice acting is actually pretty good, and it doesnít bringing the show down at all.

When all is said and done, I was just disappointed. It was one of the new series that I was really looking forward to picking up, and now after the first volume, I'm wondering if I even want to continue. I am still slightly interested in seeing what direction the show will go in, and whether or not it will just be the job per episode formula that they have been doing up to now. If Samurai Gun taught me anything, it would be to not get your hopes up too much for a brand new series.

About This Item

  • Samurai Gun Vol. 1

  • Format:
    Bilingual DVD / 100 min.
  • Production:
    ADV Films
  • Rating:

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