Title: Gun X Sword
Genre: action, western, fantasy, mecha, comedy
Released date: July 4, 2005 – December 26, 2005
Director: Goro Taniguchi
Animated by: Studio AIC A.S.T.A
Comment: Gun X Sword sets in the planet called Endless Illusion which serves as a ‘prison planet’ for Earth. Van the armor rider travels the land searching for the man with clawed right hand who murdered his bride and severely injured him on their wedding day. Along the way, many people who also have unfinished business with the Claw join him. Their journey will lead them to uncovering the Claws’ evil plan and also the truth about their pasts.
New story is told in each episode; some are great fun, some are brilliant, and some are just bearable. But what I like the most is how The Claws is involved in all episodes and little by little, the viewers learn the contexts behind all the leading characters. Van is probably the best described character of the series. Early in the series, he seems to be just a man who is driven by grief and vengeance but as the series progresses and the viewers learn more about his past, Van’s other aspects starts to surface. He is not as strong and cold as he looks. Instead, he has been hiding his feelings, like his fear, grief and love, all along. He keeps his distance from others to avoid dealing with who he really is. Another thing I notice about Van is that he undeniably resembles Spike in Cowboy Bebop in several ways; they are both tall and had long, horse-like face; they always act casual, cool and sometimes ignorant; they both suffer from broken heart. The Claw and Michael are also very interesting. With his calm and friendly manners, The Claw almost convinces me to agree with his twisted logic about controlling people’s mind to prevent human basic instinct like hatred, anger or violence and creating the ever peaceful world. But after the show ends, it is clear that he is the worse kind of villain because he really thinks he is doing the right thing. He is too weak to face the hard part of life and instead tries to control the whole world so that he would not have to suffer.
Contrast to most anime which usually summarize the main plot and all the subplots hastily in the end, the climatic sequence of Gun X sword is exceptionally long, taking up the last 5-6 episodes. The advantage of the long ending sequence is that all the loose ends are neatly and smoothly tied up one by one. Each character has his/her moments to shine brightly. But the disadvantage is that the moment when the viewers experience a surge of emotion is lost. The fighting is long and exhaustive and in the final episode I secretly wished that Van would stop shouting and start cutting The Claw to pieces. To my surprise, the best quote that concludes the whole series comes from Wendy during her final encounter with her brother. The animation is well done and lively although I would have preferred darker color for the mecha. The music is just perfect and it makes the anime looks twice bigger than it really is. Conclusion: Gun X Sword is not perfect or especially unique but I had a great time watching it and I am sure you will too.