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No Guns Life Episode #03 Anime Review

5 min read
This kid knows how to pick a discreet disguise.
© Tasuku Karasuma/Shueisha,NGL PROJECT

This kid knows how to pick a discreet disguise.

What They Say:
Tetsuro is now awake and Mary works on his rehabilitation. A man named Huang comes to visit Juuzo and offers him a job to resolve a certain Extended case. Children in the Kyusei Pit are being attacked and each time, a message is left…

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The “three-episode rule” of anime ties in neatly with the three protagonists of No Guns Life, as each of the first three episodes gives each of the three characters, in the order that they’re always presented, a chance in the spotlight. Unlike Mary, Tetsuro has been around in previous episodes, but he actually takes the lead this time, and although the early parts of the episode do feature him interacting in his normal body for the first time, he spends most of it in Juuzo’s body, ironically making it appear to be another episode focused on Juuzo like we’ve gotten so far, though one could argue there’s no sense of the show’s identity if he has to cover up that giant gun that is his head. Tetsuro uses this to disguise himself from those who want to get their hands on rare Extended parts, but its primary purpose is likely to give the impression of a different character from Juuzo. With Tetsuro in Juuzo’s body, complete with the former’s voice, this reminded me a great deal of Alphonse Elric, especially during the one time that the gun-head was exposed and reverted to the chibi blob.

Aside from that amusing juxtaposition, though, this solo Tetsuro adventure didn’t do much for me. Juuzo is a bizarre character in a multitude of ways, but I’ve found him more entertaining to watch thus far, even if Tetsuro is at his core a far more sympathetic character. From what we’ve seen of Mary so far, I’m relatively fond of her character, but she’s hardly received more than the bare minimum introduction while Tetsuro, who is always listed after her, has not only been around basically the whole time but becomes the star of the show and will continue to do so as this little arc continues into at least the next episode. There’s enough potential to his character that it’s unfortunate to feel so little investment in an arc focusing on him, but even when it directly relates to the trauma he’s suffered, it doesn’t land effectively. While he needs to spend time in stronger bodies to accomplish most things, the fact that he’s not only in a big, buff body without a face but with that not-face covered up as well detracts from the emotional connection that could’ve been achieved, although stronger writing could’ve made up for that.

The immediate antagonists of this arc are similarly victims in their own right, but the imagery used to convey their threat feels like something that wouldn’t have been considered for the past decade or two, and for good reason. The noir aesthetic ostensibly at the center of the series but effectively little more than window-dressing has an inherent appeal even if it’s too trite to take seriously. On the contrary, this very ephemeral fad that was briefly thought cool (in that outdated way that leetspeak or a more superficial view of “anime” itself were considered “cool”) is clearly better left forgotten. This series is plenty silly and feels at odds with what it’s trying to convey at times, but even that is entertaining camp if nothing else. With this, I was starting to cringe, which is a much more damning reaction.

It’s not that this series is extraordinarily bad by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, I don’t think I’d call it “bad” at all. But I already didn’t know what to make of it and was struggling to find much to say about it, so with my view of it starting to trend demonstrably more negative, it feels like a waste to continue spending my time on it each week. If anything, being egregiously bad would give me a lot more interesting content to talk about, but for me to get this far into something of that nature, it probably would’ve meant that I already had some investment in the title for some reason. With absolutely no connection to this beyond the adaptation being one of the several concurrent series from the very prolific Madhouse, I feel that this is a good chance to clear out room in my schedule to something I’d enjoy going through a bit more.

In Summary:
No Guns Life still hasn’t found its footing, and taking the two established characters out of the picture to focus on Tetsuro in several layers of disguise seems like a poor choice at this point. The antagonists he comes across are similarly uninteresting despite their pleas to the contrary. Overall, it’s hard for me to justify spending much more time on the series.

Grade: C+

Streamed By: Funimation

Review Equipment:
LG Electronics OLED65C7P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

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