Review

by Luke Carroll, Aug 23rd 2007

Gunsmith Cats Burst

Synopsis:
Gunsmith Cats Burst GN 1

Rally Vincent and Minnie-May Hopkins are two regular American girls. Regular American girls who own a gun shop, and might have dabbled in prostituion, respectively. And who happen to be a crack shot and an explosives expert, respectively.

They might be odd skills for American girls, but these two happen to be Chicago's top bounty hunters. Rally can shoot the trigger off a gun from a good distance, and May generally wreaks havoc with explosions and cuteness. And together, with some very useful friends and associates, they make up the Gunsmith Cats.

Burst finds our ladies back at work, back in action, and ... back in trouble. Now presented in the favoured Japanese, right-to-left format, Gunsmith Cats: Burst aims to please.

Review:

Girls, guns, and lots of action. These are the first three things that spring to mind when I think of the Gunsmith Cats, Chicago's hottest and likely most destructive bounty hunters. This first volume of Burst thankfully keeps the action packed tradition going with a number of small chapters as well as a large continuation story that makes up the majority of the book. These gun totting chapters provide alot of entertainment whilst giving us many brief appearances from the extended cast members including Minnie-May and the all mighty Bean Bandit. One thing is clear though, and that is the fact that enjoying this to its fullest will require past knowledge of the Gunsmith Cats world, but that does not of course stop this from being a mindless fun read for those who are new the series.

The initial three short chapters we are given act as a short introduction to the work the Gunsmith Cats do and the danger they put themselves in. The first story is a simple action plot about the protection of a testomonial witness who predictably is being hunted and killed by a group of hired goons. The second chapter derives from the action and gives us a short educational piece about modifying a gun with Rally and Minnie-May providing the information and dialogue. The third story brings us back to the action with Rally being snagged in a trap set up by the bounty she had just caught. One thing that can be said about these initial stories though is that they feel very much tacked on and are way too short in length. Although they act as a way for the reader to partially feel the styles and characters of the Gunsmith Cats universe, they really could have been expanded into something more.

The main story however is where the Gunsmith Cats get to shine, or should I say just Rally Vincient and the Road Buster, since the other characters that make up the cast are very much sidelined to a brief appearance every so often. The story is nothing special, but does its job to provide a reason for lots of action. After a gun fight in a warehouse, Rally and the Road Buster are left stranded in the desert with an injured criminal who is being hunted down by the mafia for laundering some of their money. The mafia threatens to blow Rally's precious car up near a crowd of children if the criminal is not handed back to them. It gets a little more complicated later on however as the Road Buster's money hungry pride gets the best of him when he agrees to protect the criminal from Rally for a large some of cash. The story does become quite interesting towards the end however before being cut short by the continuation page. It is also worth noting that there are a handful of some very funny scenes that help distract away from the simple plot.

The artwork in Gunsmith Cats Burst is quite well done by Kenichi Sonoda. The details on the weapons especially are impressive, with many small touches that only help to enhance the experience. The character drawings however are nothing really out of the ordinary but they do match in with the rest of the artwork well. Shading is also used quite extensively and efficiently in Burst, giving a nice realistic depth to the items on screen and the background. Speed lines also get their workout here during the many action segments that pop up during the stories. Although they are used in almost every frame when the action occurs, they don't often step over their mark and generally blend in with the frames relatively well, although there deffaintely are more than what is required. Overall however, Kenichi Sonoda has done a good job with the art, keeping a consistant look in detail that certainly captures the feel of the Gunsmith Cats world quite well.

Burst contains a surprising amount of conversations for an action title of its nature. Dark Horse has done a nice job with the translations, keeping a consistant flow of text that is easily followed. The sound effects are also nicely kept intact, with a translation of their meanings being placed beside each effect in a reasonably sized font. The production level of the novel is quite good with sharp images that rarely drop in quality, although it does feel like there is a slightly darker overall tone in many of the pages. A number of extra pages have also been included for character profiles and a few intriguing details about some of the weapons used.

This first installment of Gunsmith Cats Burst contains all the action and excitement that you would expect from chicago's best bounty hunters. There is alot of questions left unanswered and the potential for a very good ending is deffinately there, especially with so many underused characters yet to make their mark on the plot. Although this title is deffinately a must for any Gunsmith Cat fan, its plentiful gun fights and good overall design makes this a worthwhile look at for not only action fans, but for those wanting to see what the Gunsmith Cats world is all about.

Grade:
Production Info:
Overall : B
Story : B-
Art : A-

+ Lovely weapon details, plentiful action
Supporting cast underused, plot nothing too special

Story & Art:Kenichi Sonoda

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