“One hell of a ride” – Daulton Dickey
In the world of Samurai Gun wounds are as sacred and as honorable as one’s word of promise. Of all the wounds the show’s character carry, the internal scars appear to be most sacred. Like any good character based show, whether it’s The Sopranos, 24, or House, internal struggle is key to a successful television show—as important as it is to successful feature films.
Reading like a cross between Batman and a good Kurosawa movie, Samurai Gun’s premise is simple: in Japan during the beginning of what would become the industrial revolution, the Japanese countryside is being ravished by blood hungry Shogun intent on ruling the land with a blood-soaked iron fist. Brutal bandits roam the plains killing for sport and amusement; they employ terror tactics—murder, rape, and imprisonment—to solidify and preserve their rule.
Then a covert vigilante group known as Samurai Gun rose from the pools of blood to put an end to the government sanctioned terror that was destroying their villages. Cloaked in masks and equipped with modern weaponry, Samurai Gun embarks on a never-ending journey to battle the forces of evil and restore peace to feudal Japan.
Anime works best when it is dealing with foreign environments, and Samurai Gun, which spends its time roaming through feudal Japan in an age when East was warming up to West, shines in the light of ancient villages and customs. Here we are given a taste of ancient villages and traditions, formed in a time when honor was king and sacrifice was the highest form of nobility one could attain.
Led by Ichimatsu, a solemn man and member of Samurai Gun, who carries the burden of witnessing, as a child, the brutal rape and murder of his older sister. It is with these dark memories that he chooses to fight the tyrannical bandits, the characters are rich, deeply wounded souls who are portrayed with a melancholy tinge.
The villains, typical anime bad guys—loud, violent, whimsically dangerous—provide a nice contrast, and subtle comic relief, to the morose, oft conflicted heroes of the series.
The show’s violence is the most refreshing aspect of Samurai Gun. It pulls its punches at the right spots, spilling blood to get the story rolling or to further plot points; it serves to anchor the show in a strange way; as opposed to your average anime in which violence serves to sweeten the eye candy or to denigrate a traditionally subtle art form.
With sweeping action and characters designed for an epic character study larger than the show’s seemingly simple premise—vigilantes out to right wrongs—Samurai Gun has solidified itself as an unusually strong show that, had its creators focused more on violence or T&A, could have been a campy mess. Instead, the show focuses on its characters’ inner conflicts, delineating their motives, vilifying their antagonists, and as a result we are served a heaping helping of action, romance, comedy, and tragedy.
If the rest of the series can sustain the momentum built on these first episodes, Samurai Gun could turn out to be one hell of a ride.
Reviewer : Daulton Dickey
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