Gunsmith Cats Purrs on Kickstarter!

17 Apr

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Just in case fans of older anime have not heard, Gunsmith Cats (GSC) is getting a video upgrade. No, we are not talking about 4K, but the Kickstarter crowd funding project for the ultimate Blu-ray edition started a few weeks ago, and it exceeded the goal, at the time of writing, by three times! My expectation is that it will hit a multiple of five by the campaign’s end.

This work was first published in Kodansha’s Afternoon (from 1991 to 1997), and translated by Studio Proteus for Dark Horse Comics for an international release. Its success meant omnibus collections. Following the sequel, Burst (2004 to 2008) continued the adventures. The anime was released in 1995. While it was not as verbose as the printed material, completists enjoyed this complementary work.

This series success is due to the passion put into this work by creator Kenichi Sonoda. When Rally, a bounty hunter-cum-weapon smith, is paired with May, a teenage explosive expert, the results are dangerous! The crime they are out to stop takes on a similar quality which I enjoy from Magnum P.I. Both series spotlight a fast car and sets them in a city where the landmarks too become a spotlight. The detective show visits Pearl Harbour quite often and the original video animation makes use of Chicago properly.

Sonada’s love for cars and the high octane chases defines this series. It’s also visible in Riding Bean, which predates Gunsmith Cats. However, this version is different from the GSC version. Rally is of mixed Indio-American descent. Sonada did not realize how popular GSC became, and he was not going to redo the past work for the sake of continuity.

The anime functions very well to introduce viewers to this franchise. Viewers can look into Dark Horse’s Revised (“omnibus”) collections afterward and as for what’s next, no new stories are likely going to be planned. Both leads eventually retire from the scene.

At least for avid fans, this crowdfunding campaign covers a bevvy of new goodies to enjoy on top of the video resolution upgrade. Various art/goodies include an art book, getting production credit, autographs (at higher levels) and free sketches. All backers have access to the online data archive, which includes high-resolution graphics and pre-production materials. Patches and keychains can be ordered too. When people ask what are the definitive titles from pre 2K are must own, my answer always begins with Akira. I say all of Sonoda’s works is a must; nobody can forget Bubblegum Crisis! AnimEgo was smart to make this title one of their early crowdfunding efforts. Sadly, the Bluray release is no longer available, but interested parties can still obtain the DVD.

Please visit the Kickstarter page to support or get further details.

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