Gun Sword Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: MVM Entertainment
  • MSRP: £19.99
  • 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 Bryan Morton     July 16, 2007
Release Date: May 14, 2007


Gun Sword Vol. #2
© MVM Entertainment


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!

Episodes Comprise
5 - Twin's Guards
6 - Light my Fire
7 - The Vengeance Within
8 - Bound by Blood

The Review!
Van & Wendy continue their search for the Claw, along the way meeting a potential new ally (if only he wasn't so obsessed with vengeance), carrying out some work on the side for Carmen99, and kicking back in a holiday resort. But now the Claw is almost within their grasp...

Audio:
Unusual set of audio options with this release, with Japanese 2.0, 5.1 DTS and English 5.1 Dolby Digital tracks provided. I went with the Japanese DTS option here for the best possible experience. There's a lot of action in Gun Sword, and the fight scenes make the most of the available soundstage to place dialog and effects pretty much where you'd expect them, and to give explosions that all-around feeling. Very nice indeed. Spot checks of the other tracks didn't turn up any problems, either.

Video:
Video is presented in its original 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen format, and is one of the best-looking releases I've seen in a while. The world of Endless Illusion is well-realised, with a lot of detail put into the background scenery helping to create the setting, while the quality of the animation and character designs is very good indeed. Good use of colour also helps bring the show to life. Add in that there were no obvious problems with the transfer, and you get one very happy reviewer.

Packaging:
No packaging was provided with our review copy.

Menu:
The menu on this release is a nice, simple affair - a static image of Ray in an action pose, with a background of gunsmoke. A snippet of the opening theme plays throughout. Direct access to the episodes is provided from the main screen, and submenus are provided for language setup & extras. There are no menu transitions, so it's all pleasingly quick & easy to use.

Extras:
There's another decent batch of extras here " an art gallery, sets of promotional TV spots for the show's soundtrack CD and related drama CD, and the highlight: two more episodes of the "Gun Sword-san" shorts, running for 7 minutes total. These are little comedy skits in SD-style, featuring Wendy and her pet turtle in a variety of situations that usually end up with the poor turtle being mistreated in a variety of violent & bloody ways. Good stuff.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
Van and Wendy have been travelling through a barren valley - for long enough now that Wendy's convinced they've made a mistake in coming that way, until they encounter what seems to be an underground city of some sort. No normal city, though, but a city where everyone has a twin. The city's population has split down the middle, one of each pair of twins on each side - and with the leaders of both sides being engaged in a long-running family feud, the two sides don't get along. Unfortunately for Van, Carmen99's volunteered Van's services as "bodyguard" for one of the sides - although it's more a fight to the death with the opposing side's bodyguard than a protective role. When he's promised information about the Claw as his payment, though, Van becomes willing to play along - but his opponent's no pushover.

Later, Van has his closest encounter with the Claw so far " but he doesn't realise this until it's too late, allowing the Claw the slip away. Van's determined not to let him get too far ahead, and makes use of a local boat owner who claims to know where the Claw went - but instead of taking them where they want to go, Wendy and Van find themselves abandoned on the private island of one Joe Lutz, and with the next boat due to visit the island not expected for another 10 days, they have an unexpected holiday on their hands - something that Van's not happy about. While their host appears to be as helpful as he could possibly be, though, there's something not quite right about the situation...

Let's get the fun stuff out of the way first. Gun Sword does have a sense of humour, and it gets put to good use again in episode 6, courtesy of Honey Cherry and Muscat. The tone of the episode is similar to the sentai episode on the previous volume " you can't really take it seriously, as it's so over-the-top " but it's great fun to watch. The last few moments of the episode also provide Van with what may be his closest encounter with the Claw so far, although he doesn't realise that until it's too late and his arch-nemesis makes a clean getaway.

We may not get to see the Claw in person, but his handiwork is strewn around the disc. Episode 6 introduces Ray Lundgren, who like Van is determined to track down the Claw and avenge the death of his wife. He's become quite the twisted one and has allowed his desire to vengeance to completely take over his life, to an even greater extent than Van has, and the result is an instant rivalry between the two " Ray is determined to be the one to kill the Claw, and he's quite prepared to kill Van to make sure he gets his wish, despite Van's suggestion that they should really be working together. The two seem destined to meet many more times along the way, especially after Ray's little brother Joshua joins up with Van and Wendy towards the end of episode 8. Joshua has seen his brother turn from a kind and caring person into something completely different, and is looking for a way to persuade Ray to come home and return to normal life. He's not having much luck, but tags along with Van and Wendy as he knows he'll have an easier time keeping track of Ray that way. There's also a certain amount of chemistry going on between Joshua and Wendy that could maybe lead to a little love interest down the line, which could be curious to see.

Episode 7 is probably the best on the disc, though. Joe Lutz is a reclusive eccentric, but comes across as being the ideal host, but it's no real surprise when it turns out there's more to him than meets the eye. He does a good job of trying to split Van and Wendy up, persuading Wendy that maybe she'd be best off at home, and speaking to Van about how the desire for vengeance can change a person " sowing the seeds of doubt in both of them that they're doing the right thing.

It's nice to see that Gun Sword doesn't just concentrate on the Armor action (although there's plenty of that here too, in every episode) " Joe's efforts are a subtle attempt at psychological warfare, and an indication that the Claw is well aware that he's being followed and is doing his best to make sure he stays ahead and puts as many obstacles in his pursuers paths as possible. Depending on how that plays out, it could get a little frustrating (see Inu Yasha's Naraku for an example of how frustrating the uncatchable villain can be). Based on what I've seen so far, though, I'd be hopeful that Gun Sword won't make that mistake.

In summary:
This volume brings the Claw (or at least the ripples caused by his passing) a little bit closer to Van and Wendy, and introduces a few more characters that will have an impact on their search. The stories themselves are all enjoyable, with the action, comedy and character development bases all covered, while the show's presentation maintains its high standards. Still not the most original of shows, but definitely enjoyable.

Features
Japanese Language 2.0,Japanese Language 5.1 DTS,English Language 5.1 DD,English Subtitles,GunĂSword-san Episodes 3 & 4,OST CD Commercials,Drama CD Commercials,Art Gallery

Review Equipment
Panasonic TX-W28R30P 28" widescreen TV; Pioneer DV-626D player; Acoustic Solutions DS-222 5.1 speaker system.

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