Gun Sword Vol. #2 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B+

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  • 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
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Gun Sword

Gun Sword Vol. #2

By Justin Rich     August 08, 2006
Release Date: July 11, 2006

Gun Sword Vol. #2
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.

What They Say
The search for the elusive man with the claw takes a turn for the worse, as Van, Wendy and Carmen99 become embroiled in a deadly dispute over a buried secret between the inhabitants of a strange town, leading them to a fateful encounter with another drifter. Ruthless and cold-blooded, Ray will stop at nothing to find the Claw and will not let anyone can stand in the way of his vengeance... not even his younger brother, Joshua.

Ready to kill each other at any moment, Van and Ray must team up to bring down a destructive Armor to uncover answers they seek, but their truce is about to end!

The Review!
Wendy and Van come so close to the Claw but can they ever catch the man of their vengeance?

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 5 Twin's Guard 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 Ray front in center with his gun pointing forward back to back with Van having his sword erect with a teal shadow on a mustard backdrop with Gun X Sword going vertical on the left-hand side, and the volume title Abandoned Past is on the bottom right corner. On the reverse side is the picture of Joshua running with Wendy looking over her shoulder behind her in a clear keep case. The insert has the episode chapters and a fold out of Van eating and Wendy sitting on a bench in the rain.

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 Ray & 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 Sword-san three and four, which is Wendy on amphetamines insulting and shooting Kameo in both English and Japanese, but this time we get help in the insanity from Carmen 99 and Van. There is a pair of tv commercials that build up to the initial DVD release of the series as well as for the soundtrack releases. A gorgeous 12 picture art slide show and Geneon trailers for Trigun, X Remix & Kamichu!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The volume opens with Wendy and Van come to a city located inside the bottom of a ravine, where for the past two decades twin sisters have been fighting for their father's affections and later his estate. Carmen 99 has offered Van, without his knowledge, as one bodyguard and Ray Lundgren as the other. Ray is the character standing at the doctor's door at the end of the first volume. They have similar objectives, kill the Claw because of their wives death, but highly different methods on why and how this should be accomplished. Ray's hatred fuels him to chase his goal with no concern for whom gets trapped within the crossfire, while Van stands with his odd, yet firm convictions on how this should be done. After Ray, shoots the one sister the gate to which they were fighting over is opened; yet it turns out to be an armor and the history of a science project by the Claw. The twins use the armor to attack Van who calls forth DANN, but Ray too is a rider with his own armor Volcain. The two fight each other and the twins, with only Ray and Van standing at the end. Are these two parallel beings friends or foes, or some blurry gray area in between?

The second episode of the volume really pulls you back from the high that the disc began with. This fluff filler episode about a pair of love crossed idiots who keep trying to bully Van into giving them DANN is boring and extremely clichéd, so much so that the mobster's name is Tony Montana. I suggest to make the most out of the disc when Lit the Heart with Fire comes on you simply click fast forward on the DVD remote and move on to episode 7. Although, in the last minute of the episode there is a great scene with Van's anguish pouring out of him when he releases that the Claw and Wendy's brother was sitting right behind him, and that his pursuit was just a tad too slow.

In pursuit of the Claw, Wendy and Van take to the sea, only to have themselves get robbed and marooned on an island resort. The owner Joe, is a kind and stoic man on the surface, but Van notices that something is not adding up with his keen observational skills yet young, naive Wendy takes his generosity at face value. Joe uses the method of dived and conquer as he tries to break down their will individually while each other spread out amongst his giant resort. Joe had achieved in convincing Wendy in returning home, but Van's unyielding will to avenge his wife allowed him to escape the mental grip of Joe's trap. He finally reveals that he is another subordinate of the Claw and Van and DANN defeat him, but before he can extract any information Joe self-destructs taking his secrets about his boss to the grave.

Wendy and Van move on and into the mountains far from the island trap of the claw to only run into a strange young boy and a Dragon armor that attacks anything that moves. The boy is Joshua Lundgren, kid brother to Ray, an intelligent armor mechanic who is following his lost sibling and studying the mystery of the Dragon armor that attacks the local villagers. He joins up with Van and Wendy so that he can convince Ray to give up his quest. Wendy and Joshua go to get to know each other better as Van decides he is hungry. When he enters the restaurant there is only one seat available, and that is at Ray's table and as uncomfortable as the conversation is there come to a cease-fire understanding to eliminate the Dragon. DANN and Volcain, along with some heads up info from Joshua defeat the Dragon and go to interrogate the rider; only to find out that the rider had been dead for a long time leaving it's maddened armor to go on autopilot. Ray and Van find no more answers in the journey, but it does show that the Claw has no concern for his underlings and his pursuit of knowledge far outweighs the cost of human life. Ray takes off in Volcain giving Joshua a final warning to not follow, but Joshua decides to accompany Wendy and Van as his similar goal to Wendy brings him into the group.

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. This volume has the arrival of Ray Lundgren an intense character hell-bent on destroying anything or anyone in his way of killing the Claw, who is portrayed by Liam O'Brien with an icy coldness that can prick up the hairs on the back of your neck. O'Brien, who is also directing the show, makes episodes 5 & 8 far better with his stand out performance that is sorely missed in the middle two episodes.

In Summary:
The addition of Ray Lundgren to the series has added an new wrinkle of enjoyment, for Ray and Van seem to be opposite sides of the same coin of revenge. Van represents the light with his morality, shaky, but still mostly in tact; while Ray has lost sight of nothing be avenging his wife no matter what gets obliterated in the process. You also get to see how powerfully connected the Claw really is, and just how far his tentacles reach, as Van has to not only fight his minions but deal with the fallout of his previous underhanded dealings. Minus, one fluff episodes that I'm not sure why was made, the series is moving along at a great pace with tension between characters building as the hunt for the devious Claw continues. Ray and Van's "cooperation" will definitely be a thing that will be repeated, and most likely by the foreshadowing of the Claw's strength will be needed to bring him down. Yet, can these two extremely hard headed heroes actually put aside their own personal agendas? A great closing episode leaves you eager awaiting volume three in September.

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 3 & 4,CD Commercial Collection,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


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