Gunsmith Cats: Bulletproof! (1995-96)

 

Format: 3 OVA episodes totaling 85 minutes on one DVD

Rating: PG-13 (AC, AL, GV)

Type: Action

American Production: A.D. Vision

English Dub Production: ADV Films

Japanese Production: Kodansha/VAP/TBS

 

Grading

 

Premise:

B

Story:

B

Writing:

B

Character Design:

B-

Animation:

B

Artistic Merits:

B+

English Dub:

B+

Musical Score:

B

Opener:

B

Closer:

C

 

 

Humor Content:

B

Action Content:

B

Drama Content:

B

 

 

DVD Presentation:

B

DVD Extras:

B

 

 

OVERALL:

B

 

Synopsis

      Two young women – the adult brunette Rally Vincent and the diminutive blond teenager May – live together in Chicago, where they tool around in a Shelby GT-500 and operate a gun sales/customizing shop called Gunsmith Cats. They also do bounty hunting on the side, but one such case mushrooms beyond their expectations as they get tangled up with gun smugglers, ATF agents (some manipulative, some corrupt), and a Russian assassin. And is that one ATF agent trying to hit on Rally?

  

The Long View

      Despite a serious plot and deadly violence, Gunsmith Cats is, on the whole, a more light-hearted action tale. The biggest source of comic relief is May, who is an expert (some would say a certifiable nut) when it comes to grenades, explosives, setting booby-traps, and teasing Rally about the fact she has yet to find a man “at her age” – really, grenades with cute hearts painted on them? And she carries all that stuff in her jacket? Rally herself is the sardonic gun expert and crack shot of the duo, and the one who does the most leg work. This is a woman who keeps enough guns and ammunition in her house to arm a small army, and the one who must contend with the slimy Agent Collins, who might not be such a bad guy if he wasn’t always trying to manipulate people and being condescending towards women (in the English dub he likes to refer to Rally as “pussycat” – which, of course, might have something to do with the name of her store). The chief threat to Rally and May is Radinov, an ex-KGB agent and current assassin who is originally hired to deal with one of Rally and May’s bounties but takes a personal interest in eliminating the pair when they not only get in her way but very nearly kill her. She does not come into the picture until the second episode, with the first episode being merely the set-up for the later two. In fact, nearly everything that happens in the series is tied in to the overall storyline, making it a remarkably tightly-plotted series for a three-episode OVA.

      The greatest strength of Gunsmith Cats lies in its attention to detail, at which it is one of the best anime series ever made. The rendition of the Chicago skyline is perfect (coming from one who normally visits/drives by Chicago a few times a year) and all the weaponry used is meticulously drawn, both in still shots and in execution. How often will you actually see a shot in anime of a character clicking the safety off on a gun before preparing to use it, for instance? (For that matter, how often do you see that in a live-action show involving gunplay?) Even the cars are rendered down to the finest detail, and the engine sound effects you hear for Rally’s GT-500 were recorded from a real-life version of the car in action. The “Making of” featurette for the series describes the degree of research the production team went through to prepare for this series, and it really shows. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for the character designs. While not bad, they’re much more cartoonish than the norm for anime. The animation and other technical merits are good, which results in many well-staged action sequences.

      The opener for Gunsmith Cats is a bit too long and repetitive but does a good job of capturing the spirit of a 70s cop show, which I suspect the creators were trying to emulate. The closer, which is just music set to a black screen, is wholly unremarkable. The soundtrack is purely composed of American music, and the English dub is solid, though it varies significantly from the literal translation in places. I can’t fault the script writer for this, though, because not being completely literal in the translation allows for the insertion of certain American slang and euphemisms, which probably would have been in the original script had it been written by someone in the States and certainly help to spice up the dialogue. (The literal translation is a little dull.)

      The graphic content of Gunsmith Cats is only slightly more severe than a typical prime-time cop show on network TV in the States: there’s some graphic violence (but not too much), a lot of people get shot, and a bit of fan services here and there as we get to see both Rally and May in lingerie on different occasions. The English dub also packs the occasional four-letter word, but they’re infrequent enough that the show would still probably pass muster for PG-13 in the States.

      Gunsmith Cats makes for a nice, light diversion for those looking for just a hint of fan service mixed in with action. Those old enough to remember ‘70s cop and detective shows will probably also appreciate the style.

 

DVD Extras

·  Company trailers

·  original series trailers

·  clean opener

·  The Making of Gunsmith Cats – An interesting but also self-aggrandizing 40-minute featurette which provide a detailed behind-the-scenes look at the making of the series, including descriptions of the research the artists and writers did to make sure the setting and artistic details were as authentic as possible. (The whole team actually traveled to Chicago and interviewed Chicago policemen, for instance.) Narrated in English by Amanda Winn (Lee).

 

Principle English Voice Actors

Role

Voice Actor

Rally Vincent

Amanda Winn (Lee)*

Minnie May Hopkins

Kimberly Yates

Agent Bill Collins

Rob Mungle

Becky Farrah

Tiffany Grant

Jonathan Washington

Brett Weaver

George Black

Rick Peeples

Natasha Radinov

Marcy Rae

Senator Haints, minor roles

Aaron Krohn

Cathy, newscaster, minor roles

Allison Keith

 

* - also the ADR director; she is credited here under her maiden name

 

 

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