Gunsmith Cats
Directed by Takeshi Mori

Artistic & Entertainment Value
* * * ½

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When two female bounty hunters, Rally and Minnie May, who run a gun store in Chicago, are coerced by an ATF agent to help him in his investigation of a gun smuggling ring, the pair become involved in various adventures and political intrigues and are repeatedly threatened by a Russian assassin.

Takeshi Mori's three part animated series Gunsmith Cats is a fast paced and enjoyable program that resembles many non-animated police adventures, such as Mel Gibson's Lethal Weapon movies. I cannot say that the series is in most ways better those films, but it does avoid both the false attempts at moments of family drama that are often interwoven into the live action police adventures and the constant verbal assertions made by such films' female characters of their equality with men. On the other hand, many relationships and events depicted in the series are left unexplained, and several characters are pointlessly introduced.

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Despite such faults, Gunsmith Cats is entertaining. The action sequences, from gun battles to car chases, are well choreographed and exciting. The characters are amusing, and the animation style is attractive enough to raise the visual quality of the series above the very pedestrian appearance of the overwhelming majority of police adventures. The background animation is detailed and realistic in style, and the characters are rendered in a cartoonish fashion similar to that used in animated television programs aimed at children. The effect the director achieves with this approach is generally appealing.

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The enjoyableness of Gunsmith Cats is further enhanced by its honestly gleeful presentations of both its exhilarating action sequences and its naughty sexuality. The director, in fact, never feigns disgust with such content. Much of the violence is depicted relatively graphically, but such depictions render the program's fights far more exciting than they would have been had they been watered down. Furthermore, the numerous scenes in which Rally is shown in her underwear are all voyeuristic and clearly intended to titillate, but, while such content is invariably puerile, it also gives Gunsmith Cats a fun, innocent sensuality.

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Gunsmith Cats is not, by any means, a great work of art, but it is certainly entertaining and can provide a pleasant diversion for an afternoon.

Review by Keith Allen

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