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Manga Review: Gunsmith Cats: Revised Edition, Vol. 1

Posted by: on September 19, 2007 at 4:00 pm

Gunsmith Cats: Revised Edition, Vol. 1

By Kenichi Sonoda
Dark Horse, 464 pp.
Rating: Mature Readers

gunsmithcats.jpgCreated by Kenichi Sonoda, Gunsmith Cats is an action-adventure series that follows the exploits of two of Chicago’s finest female bounty hunters, Rally Vincent and Minnie-May Hopkins. Originally published in the early-to-mid 1990s, the series was previously available in the US in flipped and edited form. Dark Horse is now re-releasing Gunsmith Cats unflipped and uncut in four hefty omnibus editions.

The series is essentially an R-rated buddy action film on paper. Rally and May track down criminals, fend off escaped cons out for revenge, help friends out of sticky situations, etc., all with a healthy dose of gunplay, explosions, car chases, and the playful banter that’d you expect from movies like Lethal Weapon or Die Hard. (Well, maybe not quite as witty as either of those, but you get the idea.) Volume one can be boiled down into two main story arcs: the Bonnie and Clyde arc, which pits our two spunky gals against a brother-and-sister crime duo, and the Gray arc, which sees them going head-to-head with a powerful drug dealer. Sonoda also tosses a few overlapping, shorter stories into the mix.

Sonoda’s artwork is solid throughout the book. The characters are all instantly recognizable, and the action scenes have a wonderful, pre-Matrix vibe about them. No wall running or dancing around bullets here, though that doesn’t mean the action is understated. In my favorite scene, for example, Rally reloads her gun by kicking a cartridge up into the handle. Smoooooth. Sonoda doesn’t limit the action to gunplay. He manages to pull off a couple of nice car chases too, which is a surprisingly hard thing to do in comics and manga.

Any review of Gunsmith Cats would be remiss if it didn’t mention one of the most noticeable things about Sonoda’s artwork: the guns and cars. Sonoda loves his guns and cars, and wow does it ever show. He lavishes attention on both, making them all look authentic and working details about modifications and types of ammunition into the storylines, where they play crucial roles in certain scenes. These details further immerse you in the story and world of the series. They also make Rally seem like a credible marksman. She’s not someone who just picked up a 9 mm and started firing; she has training and a depth of knowledge that only comes with years of experience.

Sadly, there is one major flaw with the series, and that’s May. She’s too loli. She’s supposed to be a seventeen-year-old girl, but for whatever reason, she’s drawn to look like–and often acts like–a thirteen or fourteen-year-old. This wouldn’t be a problem, except Sonoda decided to make her a raging nympho who participates in some rather graphic sex scenes. Admittedly, these moments are few and far between and are usually limited to a page or two at most, but it’s still a bit… ick.

May’s fan-servicey aspect aside, this series is actually pretty good and should appeal to fans of action movies like Lethal Weapon or Die Hard.

Volumes 1-3 of Gunsmith Cats: Revised Edition are available now; volume four will be released on November 27th. Click here to view a short excerpt from volume one.

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5 Responses to "Manga Review: Gunsmith Cats: Revised Edition, Vol. 1"

1 | tollie01

September 20th, 2007 at 11:31 am

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May a nympho?! I have the anime (of course) and it souds a lot like the manga except for May. In the anime she loves her bombs and explosives and nothing else. She also looks a lot older in tha anime and at a guess i would say she would be in her early twenties. She does act like a 14 year old though.

2 | Ken Haley

September 20th, 2007 at 4:22 pm

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Yep, she’s a raging lil’ ball of sex in this. She still loves her bombs, but there’s this whole back story with her having been a prostitute for a while and being.. well.. insatiable.

The anime was fantastic! It tokk all the good elements from the manga, with the exception of Riding Bean, and puts it into animated form. Wish they had done more of it.

3 | tollie01

September 21st, 2007 at 1:02 pm

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Yeah, the anime was great. May is actually one of my favorite chracters and i’m glad they left the nympho part out.
Riding Bean is a seperate anime. I didn’t know that he was connected to the Gunsmith Cats. I didn’t like Riding Bean very much though.

4 | Ken Haley

September 21st, 2007 at 2:46 pm

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Yep. He’s a sometimes rival sometimes ally of Rally’s and May’s.

5 | Seratone

September 1st, 2008 at 2:49 am

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without giving too much away here, there is a backstory as to why she look a lot younger than she is and all of that.