In the Retrospec series, I take a retrospective look at my favorite animes. I’ll be going through a work, episode by episode, pointing out composition and plot elements that I think contribute to its brilliance – all in the name of better understanding the work and what aspects of its craftsmanship we can appreciate and recognize in other works.
NOTE: While I’m a firm believer that first impressions don’t have to be lasting ones, and they most certainly don’t have to be exclusive, I am a believer that they are important. As such, I’m not going to focus on elements that don’t enrich the first viewing if I can help it.
Welcome back for the thirdpart of the Retrospec series on Gunsmith Cats. In the previous part, we took a look at the first episode. For this portion we’ll be taking a look at the second.
The episode opens to a bunch of men checking a crab shipment that’s actually a front for illegal guns. A canadian guard at the docks notices and attempts to investigate, but is promptly intercepted and killed by Radinov. She’s paid for her services in heroin and given new orders. Meanwhile Washington, the bail runner from last episode, pleads Rally and May to help him as he is in danger despite being at an ATF safehouse. The two refuse, but Washington slips them a watch and an address to deliver it to anyway.
On their way home, the two are almost run off the road by Radinov herself, who proceeds to drive off to the safehouse and kill everyone there. Since she was able to check into the house as William, he’s chewed out by his boss, George Black, and told he’s off of the case due to leaks (something William complained about himself last episode). Rally, May and Becky try to investigate what the watch and address really refer to, settling upon using the info like a web address. They get a list of weapon shipments as a result and stakeout one that’s happening that evening. Unbeknownst to the three, though they may have caught and flounced William for bugging their house again, they missed the bug on their computer, allowing William to get his hands on the list and stakeout the same shipment.
Rally and May find the weapons, but are caught since the weapons were being used as a trap for them. Not the kind to let a little ambush ruin their day, Rally and May put their tools to use to make short work of the perps. Radinov appears, having the drop of Rally, but is shot by William before she can tag Rally with her ballistic knife. She opts to settle for grabbing Minnie May and making a run for it by car. Rally chases Radinov through the highway exchanging a small bit of gunfire with each other. May takes the chance to set up some explosives in the car, first to free herself and then to put Radinov’s car out of commission – forcing Radinov to drive a flaming wreck off of a bridge and into a river.
The big set piece for this episode is the car chase between Rally and Radinov. It starts after Radinov nabs May while her and Rally are checking on the weapons shipment. Clocking in at roughly four minutes, it’s a fun little game of cat and mouse. Radinov has the weapons advantage (no, seriously, she’s a walking armory) and hostage advantage, while Rally has the drivers advantage, I presume, in both car and skill. She also has one other important advantage…
You see, Rally and May have made a couple passing references to a “dance” that they’ve been rehearsing and having “perfect rhythm”. This is where we get to see all of their hard work. Rally pops in a tape, providing the background music for the duo to perform their “dance” to. So while Radinov and Becky may think that this is just a desperate chase with no rhyme or reason (which it arguably is for Radinov) it’s readily apparent to the viewer that some synchronized teamwork is occurring between May and Rally.
I’m pleased to say that I have very few, if any, complaints about this part of the OVA. The “expose the heroine at the most inopportune time” thing hasn’t occurred (being in your undies while chilling at home gets a pass). If anything, characters seem a bit too self-assured (some more than others). Rally refuses to give Williams any bit of credit despite him proving himself the best (albeit, benevolently opportunistic) ally she has outside of Roy, Misty and Becky. It’s comedic, so it doesn’t bother me much, but it gets a little tiresome when he saves your life.
True Strength – True strength is knowing one’s weaknesses and planning accordingly. Rally and Minnie are formidable foes because they expect to be in a pinch and leverage their talents to turn the odds. Radinov muscles her way through challenges with brute force. There’s something to be said for raw power, but the ideologies the two demonstrate have differing results. When someone gets the drop on Rally and Co., they literally drop bombs and start shooting. Radinov, on the other hand has to run off. She isn’t even emotionally prepared to deal with being behind. Radinov doesn’t go full tilt until next episode, but you can see the early signs of it in the car chase and how she reacts to a bullet clipping her ear.
Next time we’ll be moving on to third and final episode.