Samurai Gun anime review

Samurai Gun anime review
It is the beginning of the industrial revolution, and feudal Japan is in turmoil. The ruling Shogun are wielding their abusive powers to instill fear and dominance over their oppressed subjects. Beatings, imprisonment, rape and even murder are the adopted tactics chosen to maintain their reign. The bloodshed must end. A group of Samurai have banded together, and, with the development of new weapons and new technology, they have both the will and the hardware to stand up and fight. Ichimatsu is one of these fighters. By day, he works incognito at a local tavern, in the evenings he frequents the brothels, and by the dark of night, he doles out some big-time, gun-barrel justice. He is here to help. He is Samurai Gun.

I love how ADV Films uses "Shogun" as a plural noun ("The ruling Shogun are wielding their abusive powers") as if there were a junta of Shoguns in a Shogunate, rather than it being a hereditary line of autocrats. Remember, only one Shogun at a time.

Grammatical considerations, unfortunately, are the least of our worries in this unlikely steampunk samurai / gun fu action show, where 19th century historical figures like Kaishu Katsu blaze off in rocket packs, and villains like the blatantly (hilariously) evil Watou Mitsumune brandish Uzis. At least you can't accuse the title of being misleading.

The problems are readily apparent from the get-go. Normally, the best animation in any television series is displayed in the opening sequence, but in the case of Samurai Gun, the opening seems to highlight the worst animation in the series, with appallingly poor, flat shading and very low art quality. Already, that's one strike, and we're not even a minute into the content -- and sadly, the animation never seems to rise above mediocrity. Honestly, Samurai Gun looks terrible, though at least the character designs are generally halfway decent for the "good guys".

What's worse is that in the first five minutes of this show, we're "treated" to footage of nubile, skimpily dressed women being brutally murdered by psychopaths. Sadly, this is one of the core running themes of the show -- put pretty anime chicks in danger, kill several of them (don't hold the red paint), and have Samurai Gun come in and save the survivors. Swell! Of course, this is supposed to highlight the idea that "the ruling Shogun are wielding their abusive powers" and all that. (Agh, ONLY ONE SHOGUN!) I'm more than willing to debate the necessity of skewering women onscreen to illustrate this point, though. Ugh. Yes, the antagonists are Really Bad Men, I got it already, geez!

Honestly, it's not like you can't tell by the hamfisted screenplay and blatant character designs that these are Really Bad Men, seeing as they're almost all ugly, scarred men with maniacal facial expressions.

Having read up to this point, you probably think I utterly hate this show. That isn't quite the truth -- while character development is fairly minimal and extremely unsubtle, there are occasional gleams of a far better show hidden in this one. Ichimatsu's scenes with his love interest, Ohana, are actually interesting, though I'm not sure whether the dub script really has much to do with the original dialogue (the song that Kurenai plays in the bar was dubbed over, but the subtitles reveal a completely, utterly different song). It's so irritating because, while Ichimatsu is constantly complaining about having to kill people "for justice", he could still be an interesting character, but there's just so little to work with here.

Frankly, I think Ichimatsu's relationship with Ohana could have made a far better anime than the overdone, too-serious action show we get.

Oh, yes, the action. In "true anime style", it involves the members of Samurai Gun (yes, there's more than just Ichimatsu) dancing around the screen and dodging bullets while occasionally firing at random, kinda like Drake of the 99 Dragons, except that they naturally hit their targets. The low frame rates and the poor art quality really take a hit during these scenes, and they come off more as laughable than exciting. It really, really doesn't help that the Samurai Gun's outfits seem to be inspired more by Gatchaman than actual practicality -- the antagonists said it best when they said Ichimatsu looked like "a fool in a clown suit".

Musically, Samurai Gun is a mixed bag. With the rap-sounding opening by ZZ and the gentle ending, it kinda almost sounds like some, other, better-animated show featuring anachronistic samurai. Hmm.

So, do you like seeing innocent women being skewered by spears and blown away with shotguns? Do you like seeing lots and lots of blood?

If so, you'll like this show, and hate the rating we're gonna hand it, because that's not what we're into this hobby for. With such classy shows as Rurouni Kenshin and Samurai Champloo to compete with, there's really no excuse for stuff like this.

Better than review, is a Trailer video of: Samurai Gun. Watch it now:
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