© 1995 Kenichi Sonoda / Kodansha
Being a big fan of the Gunsmith Cats manga, I was a little skeptical in watching this series. Why? Going by past experience (Ghost in the Shell, for example), anime made from manga usually aren't as good as the originals. Fortunately, this is one translation which is more or less faithful.
One of the reasons Gunsmith Cats is so easily turned into a decent anime is the basic concept of the manga. Face it, Kenichi Sonodo's stories aren't exactly brain-teasers. All the manga really has going for it are cool characters and lots of action (not that that's a bad thing, mind you). So all you really need for a Gunsmith Cats anime are those two elements. And that's exactly what you get.
The plot is relatively unimportant. Rally Vincent and Minnie May are tasked with solving a gun-running case in Chicago. This sets up the basic "good guys versus bad guys" scenario involving everyone from typical thugs to a deadly Russian assassin. Events generally occur for convenience, not logic, and nothing really needs any explanation. That's not to say it will insult your intelligence; it just doesn't require any to be enjoyed.
The main characters from the manga make the jump into animation untouched. Rally, Minnie-May and Becky are all here, but noticeably absent is my favorite character, Bean Bandit (you'll have to watch Riding Bean to see him in action). Rally is just as charming and likable as the manga version, and even spouts a few of her catch phrases for good measure. Minnie-May is also unchanged, but this is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, she can be kind of funny at times, but downright irritating during others (just like the manga ^_^). The cast of villains is new, which isn't surprising since the deadly duo usually make quick work of their opponents.
The action is what Gunsmith Cats is all about, and this anime is no exception. There's plenty of exciting car chases (complete with authentic cars) and blistering gun fights to be found here. Minnie-May even gets a few opportunities to show off her arsenal. This is one area where I think the anime actually exceeds the manga. While Sonoda is capable of rendering some wonderful action scenes in black and white, it just doesn't compare to watching the action racing along in full color complete with mucho sound effects.
On the technical side, this anime is fairly solid. The artwork is pretty good, and very faithful to Sonodo's style. Actually, the background art in the anime is far better than the manga. The English voice-acting was also decent. Rally was competently voiced, as were most of the other characters. Minnie-May, however, was far too whiny for my ears. I'm assuming this was meant to convey her, uh, "charming" personality, but they could've found someone a little less painful to play her part.
The bottom line is that Gunsmith Cats is a decent entry into the action genre. If you're a fan of the manga, then you've no reason not to enjoy this. On the other hand, if you're never read the manga, then this series is a perfect introduction. And since A.D. Vision re-released all three episodes on one convenient tape, there's no reason not to check it out.
The Verdict: * * * 1/2 (above average)
|last modified: 05-26-03||The Anime Critic and associated content © 1999-2003 Pete Harcoff. All rights reserved.|