Anime: Samurai Gun #1
In the shadows of the government, a malevolent force acts in the night, threatening the tranquility of all people. This mysterious force is acting on behalf of the shogun, the ultimate leader, and there is virtually no one capable of opposing them. No one, that is, except the forces of a dark justice that live in the light as peasants, but act in the night as Samurai Gun.
Samurai Gun is far from a children’s cartoon. An ominously dark world is created where tyrants rule, and the people are helpless. The best means of solving a problem is murder which is also the best means for revenge. The corrupt government is oppressing the people of Japan at a time when steam power is novel, and guns have first arrived in Japan. The Samurai Gun take orders from a higher organization, who provide them with the weapons needed to fight the evil of the government. They are armed better than most with pistols, revolvers, and even some repeaters. These guns are mostly loaded with fragmentation shells, capable of blowing the head off a body. With these resources, and a very morbid sense of justice, the Samurai Gun hunt the government hunters.
Episode 1: The Man With The Gun
There is a government hit squad on the loose. They are targeting women who are not full-blooded Japanese, hunting them down and killing them. Dozens, perhaps hundreds are dead, and those spared have been locked away in various dungeons. The Samurai Gun have been ordered by their commanding organization to end these murders, and bring the perpetrators to ‘justice.’ Enter Ichimatsu. He is the cool, quiet, vengeful type, with a serious distaste for the senseless violence committed by the government. He puts up a front as though he does not like the killing involved in his line of work, but he seems to be trying more to convince himself of this than anyone else. He has an unmistakable taste for blood.
Episode 2: Experimental Railroad
Despite his claims that he abhors the killing, Ichimatsu accepts another dangerous mission for Samurai Gun. He is tasked with infiltrating the secret steam engine government project, a reconnaissance mission by description, but de facto, a mercy killing. He learns all too late that he is actually charged with the killing of a captured compatriot, under constant torture, and likely to crack under such pressure.
Episode 3: The Sleeping Flower
Ichimatsu has but one person that he might call a friend, as a brothel worker, though, she is constantly endangered. When it turns up that one of her clients has been asking about Ichimatsu, The Samurai Gun take action and turn up more disturbing news. An old enemy has returned to claim a bounty on their heads. Using Ichimatsu’s companion as bait, this fierce hunter will exact his revenge however possible.
All around a thrilling series, Samurai Gun is one of the most realistically dark series I’ve come across. Typically, the darkest series are very mystical, fantastic, or otherwise not terribly believable. Samurai Gun, however, is morbid, brooding, sinister, and, best of all, entirely believable. Some things were far-fetched, but nothing in this series was impossible, which nets some definite bonus points for those who like to delude themselves into believing that their favorite cartoons are marginally historically accurate.
Although not quite living up to the Samurai Champloo comparison in the press release, Saumurai Gun is definitely a rock solid show with plenty of everything that you love about anime. A great show with fantastic art, assuming you like the dark, bloody kind of art, and not the rainbows and sunshine. The music isn’t outstanding, as at the time of this writing, I’ve mostly forgotten it. But you can rest assured if it was bad, I would remember. The story is, in my opinion, the best thing this series has to offer, whch is a rare feat. The vengeful half Japanese Samurai Gun with a gun on his hip, and a nightmarish memory on his mind, seeking revenge against the perpetrators of his memory in the only way he knows how. Sounds almost typical, but plays much better than it sounds.
For the lovers of humor, this is not a good choice for you, with the exception of the lady performer at the local bar. She sings every night, and the song is still subtitled in the preview version. She is also singing in English in the preview version. The words she sings and the subtitles are, to say the least, completely unrelated. It is one of the most amusing “Now where the hell did that come from?” translation moments ever.