Gun Sword Vol. #1 (also w/box) (of 7) (

By:Justin Rich
Review Date: Thursday, May 18, 2006
Release Date: Tuesday, May 23, 2006

What They Say
On the planet of Endless Illusion, a lone man adorned in a tuxedo roams the wild and lawless frontier... Armed with a shape-shifting sword and a powerful Armor, Van's sole purpose in life is to find the mysterious clawed man who had murdered his bride. After saving a town from vicious outlaws, he reluctantly takes on a travel companion--the young Wendy Garrett. In exchange for his help in finding her brother, she offers herself to Van as a bride, but that's the least of his worries, as more deadly enemies await!

The Review!
Gun Sword is what happens when Spaghetti Western meets old fashion Mecha mayhem.

For this viewing session I listened to the show in New Generation's 5.1 DTS English track. The show's shonen nature has plenty of action and explosions coming at you from the rear speakers and the dialogue from the center, with no dropouts or distortions. I also took a look at episode 2 Funny Stream in the Japanese DTS after watching the entire disc already, for I wanted to make sure there was no apparent problems with this audio which was balanced and functioning properly

Gun Sword only aired last July so the transfer is 16:9 widescreen. Animation is sharp and crisp with beautiful combination intense fighting sends blended with an imaginative world which differed in each episode. There is no bleeding in the animation making the background scenery and the characters come out vibrant and lifelike.

The cover is Van about to draw his sword with a burnt sienna shadow on a mustard backdrop with Gun X Sword going vertical on the left-hand side, and the volume title Endless Illusion is on the bottom right corner. On the reverse side is the picture of Carmen 99 & Wendy from the back cover in a clear keep case. The insert has the episode chapters and a fold out of Van eating and Wendy staring at cloths through a shop window.

Begins with the animation of Van cutting an X onto the screen and a thirty second clip of the opening theme playing repeatedly in the background. There is an exact replica of the picture from the cover of Van on the right hand side of the screen with rotating scenes to the left of him. The volume title is on the top left and the options for play, setup, scenes and extras. The X from Gun X Sword as the curser, which responds quickly and is easy to use as the white on the red black ground is highly visible.

The highlight of the extras Gun X Swordsan one and two, which is Wendy on amphetamines insulting and shooting Kameo in both English and Japanese. There is an extremely repetitive series of tv commercials that build up to the initial airing of the series. There is also creditless opening and ending are on here unlike in the series which is laden with credits. A gorgeous 12 picture art gallery which is easily controlled with the left/right keys. This volume also has Geneon previews for Law Ueki, Jubei-Chan 2 & Gankutsuou.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers) The show begins with the meandering movements of a tuxedoed stranger as he makes his way into a church. Inside there is a shoot out where a young girl appears to take a bullet in the chest, sliding along the floor without movement. The men then turn their attention to the mysterious who had just entered; using his whip-like sword he takes care of the men before passing out from the blow to the back of his head. When Van wakes up he finds himself inside a safe house where the towns people are holding up to protect their bank and hide from the gang lurking outside.

The hooligan Lucky tells them that the town will be destroyed the next day when his armor arrives. Van doesn't want to get involved, yet finds himself in a card game with life and death on the line. Lucky feels that Van stole his luck and shoots him, yet he isn't dead and his body slowly ejects the bullets healing himself. Lucky then heads to destroy the town by using his armor, which with his power drunk mentality, causes him begin shooting everything friend and foe with his mecha armor. Van's arrival gives the town hope and Lucky is going to kill him for good when Van uses his sword to form a "v" in the air calling forth his own armor Dann from it's space station home. Van easily beats him proving that the sword in this case is mightier than the bullet. Van then goes to move on to the next town as he always does but Wendy continues to offer herself to be Van's wife and goes off into the sunset with him.

Van and Wendy head to bridge city to search for the killer of Van's wife and the abductor of Wendy's brother the man with the claw hand. But, the city is closed for renovations and they are forced to find a hotel, where the run into information dealer Carmen 99 an old acquaintance of Van's. The mayor shows up to say that women could get tickets to move to the other side first. Wendy and Carmen get tickets while Van climbs up the wall and breaks into the Mayor's office. The women are being used as birthing machines for the moustached men's group, but their party is crashed by Van. Using their super armor they go to destroy the town but Van steps in and stops them.

In the next town Van and Wendy go into an old restaurant the Pink Amigo. The continuous patrons are a band of old washed up armor riders who are so far past their prime that only the sheriff actually knows that their stories are true. The recognize Van's reputation and take him under their wing, at least in their opinion. The town's outsider creates his own armor and attacks the town leaving nothing but ash and fire in his wake. As he comes to the Pink Amigo the old timers get back in action flying into battle to save the restaurant of their old teammate Chizaru. The four use old school united fusion to create their own armor to stop him, but the four could not bring out the full power of the Eldoro 5, so Van lends a little assistance by shot putting Chizaru's pink amigo to send the Eldoro 5 to it's ultimate form giving it enough power to save the town.

Wendy gets herself in trouble in the woods only to be saved by Van, but something is wrong with him. He goes into the river and almost falls over the waterfall. Wendy then drags him up the mountain into a cave so that she can tend to him and avoid the constant downpour. Over night a strange spider like scar shows up on Van's stomach and Wendy decides that she must go into town to find medicine. While she is gone Van wakes up and using what little energy he has calls Dann down to heal properly. Wendy winds up in the Denehee clinic run by an old, disabled doctor. He gives her the medicine for Van, but also is troubled by the drawing she makes of Van's scar. Wendy fights her way back to the cave only to find it vacant and the guys that Van disposed of earlier back with their bush league armors. Van quickly defeats them and uses the medicine on Wendy to take care of the fever she got while trying to help him. Back at the clinic a mysterious man with the same purpose of finding the man with the claw stands at his door in the rain leaving the volume with high intrigue for the next set of episodes.

The dub for the series is brought to us by New Generation Pictures which as always lives up to my high expectations. As of late, I have found myself listening to far less dubs than I used to but New Generation still can bring me back. The leads of David Vincent (Van) and Jennifer Sekiguchi (Wendy) are both strong with tremendous chemistry between the characters maintaining the balance well in this combination of a comedy and an action series. Jennifer pulls off the determined youth with a heavy laden naiveté that comes along with the promises she's making. David has a magnificent aloofness to Van that adds depth yet mystery. Michelle Ruff only shows up for one episode in this opening volume as the seductive Carmen 99, but she is fantastic and for fans of Michelle there the preview for episode five has Carmen front and center.

In Summary:
This series in the first four episodes gives you glimpses into the lives of Van and Wendy but doesn't reveal too much other than their goal to find the man with the claw hand is the same. At first Van starts out aloof and trying to just do his own thing, especially when it comes to eating. But, as Wendy and him bond over the next three episodes a sense of belonging starts to arise amongst the leads. The show does not move too far forward in this volume and makes a decent amount of questions for the viewer that need to be answered later: like what is the scar on Van's chest, who is Elena and why does he wear a tuxedo, just to name a few. Solid, action, music and comedy make this intriguing blend of western and mecha work well.

Japanese 2.0 Language,Japanese 5.1 DTS Language,English 2.0 Language,English 5.1 DTS Language,English Subtitles,"Gun X Sword-san" Episodes 1 & 2, TV Commercial Collection,Episode 1Creditless Opening and Ending,Art Gallery

Review Equipment
Sony SAVA D9000 Dual Stack DTS w/ 5 Disc Changer in stack 1 and subwoofer in stack 2 Tv is Sony 57" widescreen rear-projection HDTV Model #KPD 57WS550

Mania Grade: B
Audio Rating: A-
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: A-
Extras Rating: B+
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
MSRP: 29.98/39.98
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Gun Sword