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Gun X Sword: V.1 Endless Illusion (ep.1-4)
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Gun Sword: Endless Illusion includes the first four episodes of the mysterious anime series about a tuxedoed drifter named Van, whose world-weary manner, shape-shifting sword, amazing fighting skills, passion for condiments, and ability to disappear within an enormous "Armor" (a huge, robotic warrior) make him a complex and reluctant hero. Wandering the planet Endless Illusion in search of a clawed man who killed his bride, Van crosses paths with a girl, Wendy, who implores him to help save her besieged town from a gang of thieves and murderers. She later asks if she can tag along with him on his search, even offering herself as Van's new wife--a thought that shocks him. As much as Van would rather be alone, the pair team up, exploring futuristic and exotic locales for the clawed man, and finding trouble and weird, would-be despots everywhere. Van is an interesting hero: diffident, strangely naive (he'd never seen a bank until Wendy took him inside one in episode 2), and carrying with him a long and enigmatic history that gradually makes sense. The animation is strong and particularly appealing whenever one gets a kind of satellite view of the strange surface of Endless Illusion. --Tom Keogh
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I added this one to my line-up, and yesterday, I caught a little over half of the episodes in one sitting. Yep, that's like 5 hours of this in one go. I wouldn't have done that had I not been drawn in to the story of the black-clad, black-hatted, mecha-controlling loner on a revenge quest to get the Clawed Man who killed his bride. Not the most original plot, but it's definitely fitting for the west-meets-east-meets-a-little-steampunk sort of tale. It's got humor, action, family issues, and adventure. I like it.
Yes, it is a going from town to town chasing Claw-Man thing, helping people (no matter how initially reluctantly) along the way. Van may try to be aloof, but he ends up picking up sidekicks and aiding the oppresssed, all the same. And he has another "armored" fella out to kill the Claw competing with him. So, the race is on.
As I said, I'm over halfway done, and I found the 14 episodes engaging and the action fun and the humor not irritating (like some anime humor can get with the over-the-top cutesiness or dopeyness).
Obviously, other reviewers have a more broad anime perspective with which to judge/compare/find faults. As a newbie anime-watcher, I think this is a fun series and I want to see what happens to the characters. I even like the weird intro music that starts with taiko drumming and segues into a sort of Western-retro-theme updated for anime.
Mileages vary, right?
I can honestly say now that no, I didn't waste my money. What Gun Sword lacks in originality it makes up with everything else. The animation is smooth and unique, the action is solid and frequent, the comedy is enough to chuckle at, and the Americanized version was surprisingly well-done, with a wide-screen format and great voice-acting. Plus, the collector's box is beautiful and comes with a key-chain.
As for the story, it follows a tuxedo-sporting vagabond named Van (pronounced Vaughn) as he searches for a mysterious, clawed figure across the wasteland. With him is his belt, which he can manipulate into a sword at will; and always hovering in space above is his "Armor", a mech used for fighting other Armors. Eventually, he picks up a companion named Wendy, who is also searching for someone, but unlike Van she's highly inexperienced and carries with her a gun with only one bullet. Most of the episodes in this volume are your basic introductory ones, showcasing what is to be expected from Gun Sword in the future while introducing us to the main characters and the world of Gun Sword. By the end of this volume, though, it delves a little into the overall plot of the story, which should pick up again in the next volume.
Needless to say, if you liked Cowboy Bebop, Trigun, or are enjoying Eureka Seven right now, then this would be a great anime for you. Sure, it isn't the most original, but it definitely brings a lot to the table, enough to give it a little separation between it's two primary predecessors.
I'm almost entirely new to the world of anime, so I can't tell you all the ways in which this is like or unlike earlier works. All I can say is that as an anime outsider, I loved this show. I began watching it on Netflix when it was available for instant streaming. My first reaction to the pilot was something along the lines of "What the freak?" During the first volume, I reserved my judgment on the show. It was amusing at times, but strange. I didn't know what to make of it. The first few episodes were only just interesting enough to keep me watching.
Somewhere about the middle of the story, everything changed. I couldn't wait to see what happened next. I cared about the characters: Van and Wendy especially, but also others like Josh, Ray, Priscilla, etc. I laughed at the funny parts, frequently backing it up to watch particularly good bits of dialogue again. And I was sad to leave all the characters behind when I got to the end. I can't put it any other way except to say that this show drew me into its world and its story the way a really good fantasy novel used to draw me in as a child, leaving me to emerge blinking in surprise--and a little bit of disappointment--when I finally turned the last page. (I don't want to give anything away about the final episode, except that I had to watch it twice before I really got why it "worked," even though it wasn't the kind of ending I had wanted. So, if you are disappointed with the ending, I recommend watching it again.)
Maybe the best thing I can say about Gun X Sword is that it makes me want to watch more anime, in the hope of having that drawn-into-the-world experience again.
Pippi Longstockings meets the man with the prehensile sword. And a giant robot. And an insatiable lust for...condiments!
I borrowed this disc from the library and decided it was amusing enough to order the entire set. The English voice actor for Van is what sold it for me, his delivery is perfect. The villains can be a little too silly and over the top, but that doesn't hurt the show too much.