“Gun X Sword” DVD Review

Take a spaghetti western like “Django”, toss in some “Trigun”, with shades of “Cowboy Bebop” and a dash of “Big O”, with an opening theme song that harkens back to the serials of the ’60’s and ’70’s of Japanese TV shows, and that starts to describe the tone of “Gun X Sword.” You might think all of those various things do not exactly work together, and yet somehow, they fit seamlessly together in this 26-episode series, which I got a hold of in Funimation’s SAVE edition.

Directed by Gorō Taniguchi, who is also known for his work on the Gundam series, Mai-HiME , and Code Geass to name a few, the main story of Gun X Sword revolves around Van, a mysterious tuxedo wearing outlaw/ hobo, who rescues a girl named Wendy Garrett from a gang of thugs. She brings him to meet the mayor of her town, who pleads with him to help protect their city from this group of evil hooligans, but Van (after pouring tons of condiments over his steak dinner) refuses to accept. As the town is overrun by an Armor (a giant mech), Van suddenly changes his mind and summons his own Armor named Dann of Thursday to defeat the baddies. As Van leaves the town, Wendy invites herself along, and thus begins their journey together.

As their adventures continue, they learn they are both searching for similar things while walking down the same path. Van seeks the man with the clawed arm, while Wendy is trying to find her brother. How are these two things the same? Why does Wendy carry a gun on her back loaded with a single bullet with her brother’s name on it? How did Van get this armor in the first place? So many questions – none of which I will answer here to ensure this review stays spoiler-free!

Needless to say, this pair runs into plenty of other characters as the show goes on, including the busty Carmen 99 and Ray Lundgren, who might just hate the claw man more than Van… maybe. The universe that these personalities live in unveils itself gradually as the series goes on, and what a unique place it is. If you thought Trigun was a strange land, Gun X Sword takes its own liberties into creating a place just as bizarre, except now with giant robots battling each other.

The animation style will remind you of a cross between Trigun and Cowboy Bebop, and if you can not help but see the constant parallel’s to those two series from this review, it won’t take you long after watching an episode or two to notice them. However, this is not rehash or copy – Gun X Sword is quite an original concept unto itself. The stories blossom as the episodes move forward, with little pieces of information revealed in the details.

The animation and visuals are smooth and colorful with their own stylish flair to them. The mecha designs are quite unique and original, while the backgrounds are vast and just as unique as the characters. We go from a barren desert to a city by the sea, to a small town, then back to the future in a modern metropolis. The locations are all different, along with the contrasting personalities that dot the series who all meet for their own reasons (which ultimately will end in the same place).

This special S.A.V.E. edition (Super Amazing Value Edition) consists of five discs, four containing the entire series in both english and Japanese, and a fifth disc loaded with special features, all for one conveniently low price since it is packaged in one DVD case, rather than five separate DVD cases.

The special features include Japanese TV commercials, commercials for the audio drama CD version of the show, a version of the opening credits without text, and Japanese language trailers for the series. You can also watch the TV version of episode 17 of the show, “Follow the X Spot”, which has differences from the other version of this on disc three.

You also get thirteen episodes of “Gun X Sword-San”, which is a cel-shaded CG cartoon with the characters as chibi-style hand puppets acting out random skits related to the characters and the world they live in. Can you survive an hour of this cuteness? Lastly, there is a special feature called “Dave Vincent’s Proposal”, which is the voice of Van in the show using a re-cut clip from the show to propose to his real-life girlfriend, which most certainly marks the first time a person used watching anime to get a wife.

Gun X Sword is a fun series that references a lot of anime classics that fans love, and while a boxed set of this series would normally be a ton of money, Funimation has made it incredibly easy for you to pick this up for one low price. You can buy Gun X Sword: Complete Box Set from Amazon.com for around $22, which is less than a dollar per episode – a bargain that can not be beat! I came into this series expecting a Trigun knock-off, and I got something much more enjoyable that truly stands on its own merits.

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