Gunsmith Cats

Kenichi Sonoda is somewhat legendary in anime circles for his character designs. The original Bubblegum Crisis, as well as the first Gall Force movie, featured his work, and they made him famous not only in Japan but also in America. However, Sonoda is not only an artist but a writer as well, and his personal creations first took flight in the manga and one-shot OVA known as Riding Bean. That show, with its unstoppable hero and incredible stunts, became a "cult" favorite. There was a six year gap between that show and its followup, but the time was worth it--Gunsmith Cats has lots of the same trademark action and humor, and is simple entertainment at its best.

Over the course of 3 OVAs, we follow the exploits of Rally Vincent and her cohort Minnie May. They own a gun shop and do bounty hunting work on the side in the ever-bustling metropolis of Chicago. Not all their licenses are in order, however, and the ATF essentially blackmails them into helping out with a sting operation to take down an illegal gunrunning ring. As the series progresses, Rally and Minnie find themselves embroiled in affairs far deeper than what they originally assumed, leading them to find that the ring leads far beyond your typical thugs. As if that weren't enough, Rally gets on the wrong side of a beautiful but deadly Russian assassin...and chaos ensues.

Gunsmith Cats is fun to watch for a variety of reasons. The animation level is high, certainly typical for modern OVAs but without a lot of the cost-cutting tricks you tend to see in lower budget shows. The action and humor are mixed well, and the show doesn't stop for very long at any one time. Although it's important to see the OVAs in order, they stand well alone--if you stop after the first or second one, you're missing part of the story but can still feel quite satisifed in your enjoyment level. (After watching countless OVAs with cliffhanger endings, this was a nice surprise.) The violence level, along with language and some risque situations, would put this around the PG-13 level. I cannot deny that the show is really fluff--there's no point, no exercising the brain or figuring out what's going to happen to whom next--but fine fluff it is. If action/adventure is not your thing, I'd steer clear, but fans who like an quick adrenaline rush should get in line.

Gunsmith Cats -- violence (some mildly graphic), profanity, adult situations -- A-