I’ll admit that despite being a member of the 90s anime generation, who grew up when anime was still on television at decent hours, I never watched Cowboy Bebop. I know, I know, the series that is considered a landmark for the genre, to many the Firefly of the anime world. I know that one day I’ll get around to watching it, but I won’t deny it’s legacy.
A legacy that shows up a bit in the series I’m talking about today. Join me after the cut as I dive into the series No Guns Life.
I mentioned last year in my review into Magical Girl Spec Ops Asuka that the series felt like it was out of place in this age of isekai, slice of life and so forth. Asuka very much felt like an late 90s, early 2000s anime that had somehow stumbled into this era. It just didn’t fit into what people expected anime to be in this decade, and frankly didn’t put in enough effort to make it stand out.
No Guns Life however doesn’t fall into that trap, and while the series does feel like something out of that same era as Asuka, it is a very well done series, a noir-type thriller set in a world of that is slowly becoming more and more mechanized as people replace body parts with extensions, becoming “extended” in the process. Series lead Juzo Inui, the titular man with a gun for this head (and it’s so awesome) spends his days after the war working as a ‘resolver’ making sure those extended who have resorted to crime after the war are brought to justice. Along the way he comes across friends, allies, and enemies, including one Tetsuro Arahabaki who has the ability to control other extended.
And that about it. The series is quite simple, and with a second cour coming later this year, the story so far is mostly focused on setting up the characters as they go through a bunch of episodic adventures, something that is common for many shows. While others will want to discuss at length at the themes of mechanization and lose of identity, which are present in this series, I was just entertained by the neo-noir atmosphere, fun characters and premise that has just enough humor to not take itself too seriously. The very fact that this show stars a man with a gun for a head is one of those outrageous wonderful things that only anime can produce, and like I said before, the anime doesn’t try be something it isn’t.
No Guns Life is a fun series, a good series and feels like a bit of fresh air in the anime artform that seems dominated so much by one or two specific genres. Unlike Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka, it doesn’t try to hard and that means it doesn’t fall flat on its face. Yet like Cardcaptor Sakura Clear Card, it felt at times like I was once again eating a cake: It was nice and tasty, but left me feeling hollow afterwards. I’m sure that will change in the second cour as things heat up, and the show has banked enough goodwill to keep me going. I look forward to what this series will bring in the future, and I’m sure many others will be locked and loaded for it.