Gunsmith Cats (Essential Anime) - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 19.98
  • Running time: 90
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Gunsmith Cats

Gunsmith Cats (Essential Anime)

By Luis Cruz     August 30, 2004
Release Date: April 13, 2004


Gunsmith Cats (Essential Anime)
© ADV Films


What They Say
They're here! Chicago's most lethal ladies have finally made it to DVD. Join the pistol-packing Rally Vincent and her partner, grenade happy Minnie May Hopkins, as they infiltrate a gun running operation at the "suggestion" of the ATF.

Burn up the highway in Rally?s Shelby GT-500 as she chases a psychopathic Russian assassin who?s kidnapped Minnie. And then watch the bullets fly in a duel to the death with a cache of illegal weapons as the prize.

The Review!
If the names "Rally Vincent" and "Minnie May Hopkins" are not ringing any bells, go out and pick up Gunsmith Cats, a title definitely worthy of the "Essential Anime Collection" moniker.

Audio:
If it is an essential title, it has to be watched first with the original Japanese audio track. It was an impressive stereo track featuring some great directional effects and fantastic sound effects. There were no noticeable problems, as the audio remained at a consistent level through all three episodes. The sound of the gunfire and the sound of the Shelby Cobra's engine sounded quite realistic giving the show some great aural atmosphere.

The English dub was given a spot check; the voice actors played each part well making it bearable to listen to. The dialogue strayed a bit too far from the original script for my tastes; some profanity was added while some lines were completely altered giving the scene a different meaning.

What surprised me the most was the feeling of the remastered 5.1 soundtrack; while it contained more ambient sound surrounding the viewer, it just did not seem to have the punch of the Japanese stereo track. The gunfire sequences sounded too flat when compared against the original audio track. However, fans on both sides of the fence will be pleased with their audio selection.

Video:
Produced in the mid-1990s, the video for Gunsmith Cats has held up very well. There were no signs of print or digital defects and only a slight amount of grain visible in some of the darker sequences. As with any Sonoda Kenichi production, one can expect a lot of detail on everything from the cars to the guns to the buildings. Overall, it is a very sharp video production.

Packaging:
Rally Vincent dominates the front cover while Minnie May is relegated to half a face shot in the lower left corner. The "Essential Anime" and "Digitally Remastered" banners grace the top and bottom of the front cover respectively. The back cover contains the usual suspects of disc specifications, plot synopsis, and screenshots. Inside is a one-page insert containing an image on one side and the chapter listings and extras on the reverse.

Menu:
A simple GSC logo and the faces of our two heroines sit in the middle of the screen; a loop of music plays in the background. The menu items are spread out around the logo. The menus are quick and functional but nothing that blows one away.

Extras:
ADV has provided a nice set of extras; among the extras are a clean opening sequence and three trailers for the series. ADV has also provided a commentary track for the first episode; the track features Tiffany Grant and Matt Greenfield, a voice actress for the English dub and the English dub director. The track is a mix of insight into the history of the show's production in the US, insight into the history of the actual production, and some amusing anecdotes about the English production.

The final extra is a forty minute "Making of" featurette. This gives the viewer insight into Sonoda's thought process in creating Gunsmith Cats and how the production team worked. The most interesting part of this extra is watching the Japanese production team interact with actual firearms. While it is forty minutes long, it could have provided a bit more detail about the behind the scenes activities; there are plenty of production stills and other unique photographs, but I would have liked a few more interviews with the staff.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Gunsmith Cats is a three part OVA series revolving around two female bounty hunters. Rally Vincent is a master marksman and drives a very choice Shelby Cobra GT-500; her partner is Minnie May Hopkins, a cute woman who enjoys the soothing sound of exploding ordinance. Together, they run a gun and ammo store as a front for their bounty hunting activities.

Their first job is to capture Jonathan Washington, a suspected drug dealer that has fled custody. They easily capture him but soon learn that he is actually a gunrunner looking to unload his shipment to raise bail money. Little did they know that this one collar would turn into a tangled mess of police corruption, murder, and even a run-in with a member of the Russian special forces.

This is a great popcorn action film; one can switch off their brain for ninety minutes and just enjoy a great ride. The plot is well written making it a smooth ride as well; each event flows into the next naturally rather than resorting to contrived plot devices to move things along. What also stands out is the balance among the main and supporting characters.

Rally may be a crack shot, but she is not the invincible gunslinger that other characters, like Saeba Ryo, are. She has her weaknesses and requires a bit of help; that help comes in the form of ATF agent Bill Collins. While he mostly tries to manipulate Rally into helping his investigation, he manages to come to her aid at just the right times.

They are both human and vulnerable making the characters feel a bit more realistic than your average anime cast. The relationship between Rally and May is amusing; they act more like sisters than partners. There are some priceless exchanges between the pair providing a good dose of comedy to the show.

As with any Sonoda production, one can expect a copious amount of eye candy to also enjoy. The details on the guns and the GT-500 are simply beautiful, as are the sounds that accompany them. Sonoda's team did an amazing job capturing the sights and sounds of Chicago.

In Summary:
Why is Gunsmith Cats an "Essential" title? Because it is a good, old-fashioned action title. A decent plot, an amusing cast and detailed eye candy makes the ninety minutes fly right by. The only thing wrong with this title is that there is no more to watch, and that is the key to being an essential title. If you can get the audience to want more, you have done a great deal right; and Gunsmith Cats did a great deal right.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,The Making of Gunsmith Cats,Clean Open,Commentary by Matt Greenfield (Director) & Tiffany Grant (Becky Farrah)

Review Equipment
Mitsubishi 27" TV, Pioneer DVL-919, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Bose Acoustimass-6 speakers, generic S-Video and audio cable

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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jnager 3/13/2012 12:48:51 PM

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