No Guns Life

Title:No Guns Life
Keywords: , , , ,
Notables: Animation - Madhouse
SUWABE Junichi
With no memory of his previous life—or who replaced his head with a giant gun—Juzo Inui now scratches out a living in the dark streets of the city as a Resolver.
(Summary Courtesy of Anime News Network)

TV anime that premiered on October 11, 2019.
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent 9 9 8 6 8 8 Ggultra2764 [series:3766#1552]
No Guns Life explores a near future where humans undergo cybernetic enhancements to become cyborgs called Extended and one of these Extended, Juzo Izui, is a Resolver who is hired to handle cases related to Extended. He finds himself having to protect a boy named Tetsuro Arahabaki who was forced into illegal experimentation where he has a device called "Harmony" stored in his throat that allows him to take over the bodies of other Extended.

As No Guns Life is confirmed to be a split-cour with its second half confirmed to be airing in the Spring 2020 season, I'll just be focusing on what has been explored thus far. This first season is mostly used to explore the near-future world of the series and dabble into mysteries concerning Juzo's past and the shady criminal underworld that dominates the city the series is set in, as many of the episodes have their relevance for further fleshing out the world of No Guns Life and dabbling into said mysteries. For the world building piece, No Guns Life does a solid job depicting the underworld that Juzo dabbles into as the city he lives in is rife with criminal syndicates fighting over territory and exploiting Extended technology for personal gain, while a powerful corporation has influence over the city's affairs as such to interfere in any investigations of the city's criminal elements. In addition, a major war that affected the world of the series has many Extended who fought in said world resorting to criminal activity in order to survive and much of the public has a negative perception of Extendeds as a result of said war.

As for the mysteries within the series, No Guns Life features a complicated web of questions concerning the seedy elements of the city and Juzo's origins. The former has several ongoing story elements connected to the corporation that influences the city's affairs within No Guns Life, including the experiments performed on Tetsuro and a pair of mercenaries trying to track down Juzo in the show's second half. The latter half involves Juzo seemingly being connected to events from the war in spite of having no memory of his past during that point. These mysteries remain largely unresolved by season's end (especially as the show's final episode focuses on a case Juzo takes on instead of dabbling more into its mysteries) and mostly serve as a hook to interest fans into seeing the second season of No Guns Life.

Whatever the series has to offer up with its mysteries in its second season will likely determine if I think it's worthwhile as a whole or not, but it has done well with its world building, mysteries, and gritty mood thus far to keep me engaged to it. So more than likely, I'll be revisiting the world of No Guns Life when it resumes its run in April of next year.

Last updated Friday, December 27 2019. Created Friday, December 27 2019.
Unevaluated Stretch [series:3766#628]
(Four episodes watched):

WTF--somebody whose head is a gun?! I had been wondering what in the world premise an anime with such a cryptic title might have, but I definitely wasn't expecting this. Suffice to say it made me sit up and take notice. Apparently during a major war people were augmented ('extended') by giving them cybernetic devices of all sorts to make them better soldiers. How turning a man's head into a giant revolver would be a good idea is hard to fathom, however. It's not even clear that Juuzo can fire the giant gun--the trigger is on the back side of his skull and he never does so during episode one, even though he finds himself in a deadly situation where someone else tries to shoot him. Several hints are dropped that when it comes to shooting, he is largely helpless. Surely his gun-shaped head must be either a sick joke or have some figurative meaning to it. As is often the case, some nefarious and powerful corporation is exploiting people. But I was largely intrigued and left wanting to know more. Episode one seemed to have a film noir feel to it, as it skillfully dabbled in the sleazy underside of society. The episode gave the impression that this would be a sophisticated story that was being told with skill rather than a stereotypical and simplistic one. It looks like Juuzo will team up with an Extended escapee from a corporate lab to expose the corruption. Even though Juuzo has no face, we get to know him. And there was at least one LOL joke. 'Bizarre' was the one word that most seemed to summarize episode one.

In episode two we meet the blond girl who will be the third character in the Juuzo's trio shown above. Again, as is often the case, she's a genius technician, a garage cybernetic expert to be exact. The central question seems to be, why is this boy so important and why will the corporation do anything to recapture him? The fact that he may be a close relative of a high ranking corporate executive is odd, since that's not exactly the sort of person who you would think would be used as a guinea pig. But, to my frustration, no answer to this central question seemed to be forthcoming. And then, in episodes three and four, something happened to my interest: it largely evaporated. Maybe the problem was that I had become confused about what the main thrust of the plot was. There was still little explanation why this boy was so important (why did the bad guys let him go in episode four when he was at their mercy?). Still no details about what exactly the corporation has done wrong. Are they just so selfish that they will use anybody for their own benefit? If so, that should be pretty obvious. Maybe the problem is that it's hard to feel sorry for victims and angry at villains that are pretty shallow. The obnoxious villain in episodes three and four annoyed me more than he pissed me off. The fact that the OP sequence indicates than numerous characters are forthcoming suggested that in terms of characters this would be a matter of quantity rather than quality. Maybe what I wanted was for this show to be mainly about Juuzo, not the boy. Why, exactly, is his head shaped like a gun? Early on this had been what grabbed my attention, but afterwards the show seemed to be sidestepping this question. I came to suspect that we would never get much of an answer--or at least that we would have to struggle through an unremarkable series in order to get there. Contrary to my early impressions, the message I was now getting was that this show was looking less sophisticated and more stereotypical. I became strongly inclined not to watch any more, and ultimately dropped the anime. My impression was of a show which could grab the viewer's attention, but couldn't hold onto it.

Last updated Saturday, December 28 2019. Created Monday, October 14 2019.

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