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 final part of the Retrospec series on Gunsmith Cats. In the previous part, we took a look at the second episode. For this portion we’ll be taking a look at the final episode.
The episode opens with Rally, May and Becky being invited to Senator Haints upcoming rally to be praised for their help in apprehending the gun runners from the first episode. Rally wants to use this as an opportunity to discuss the mess the ATF gun running investigation case has become with someone higher up in government. William, privy to the state of the investigation in his own way, shows up at Rally’s home begging her to help him lest the investigation be closed. Having been refused, William returns to the office and is informed by Cathy that she’s found entries in the ATF call records of George Black calling the supposedly decommissioned safe house #6. George has filed for vacation and is presumed long gone.
Unbeknownst to them George has already packed and headed to said safe house. Fearing that he will eventually raise suspicion, George begs Radinov to take him with her. Seemingly at the orders of her boss, she kills him instead. William and his partner, Jody, arrive to find George’s body. Radinov has booby trapped the body, so Will advises Jody not to touch anything. Much to his chagrin, Jody promptly redials the last number on the phone. It connects to Senator Haints’ office, allowing Will to piece together his partnership with Radinov and George. He also finds photos of Rally and May nearby tipping him off to the fact that they are now Radinov’s targets. He warns Jody again not to touch anything and rushes off to warn the two, but hardly escapes the house before Jody causes another one of Radinov’s traps to explode within the house.
Rally and May attend the rally the next day. Just as they are receiving the award onstage, Will warns them to run – only moments before Radinov steps out of the crowd and opens fire upon the stage. Having missed, Radinov takes off towards the nearby museum. The two load up and give chase. Unfortunately, it’s a trap and Radinov takes the chance to wound the two on the roof. Rally and May manage to get away and make their way back down through the museum. Radinov pursues the two, easily avoiding May’s traps. She makes her way into a bathroom, thinking she has successfully cornered the two (she’s half right), and is caught off-guard by one of May’s more unconventional traps.
Meanwhile, Haints gets some medical attention and returns to his office to find Radinov standing there. He confronts her, telling her that she hasn’t done a good job of what he’s hired her for and demands that she return the heroin he gave her. Fearing that he may have angered her, he takes advantage of the fact that she has had her back to him the entire conversation to change his tone and grab a gun that has been left on the table. It becomes evident that it’s all a clever ruse once he tries to fire the (empty) gun. Cathy removes her Radinov disguise and Becky comes out from behind a curtain with a video camera, revealing that the whole conversation has been broadcast to the rally attendees (and press) outside. Haints is promptly arrested.
Not to be outdone, the real Radinov charges out of the ambulance she’s been hauled into to try and axe Rally. William is able to shoot the axe and throw her aim off while Rally is able to drill her at close range despite her wounded arm. Rally refuses a nearby EMT’s help, commenting that she can stand on her own and that one needs to be tough to survive in this town. Cue relieved laughter and a pan ot the skyline.
Conservation of Detail – There are few red herrings, if any, in this OVA as any plot relevant details are expediently followed up on with little interruption. While there is something to be said for how such simplicity may compromise the depth of the story, it also fosters a cozy, speedy pace.
GUNSMITH CATS Lite – The OVA cuts the fat, so to speak, off of the Gunsmith Cats experience, removing unnecessary characterization and toning down the more extreme elements of the manga. This goes hand in hand with its conservation of detail to foster a smooth watching experience.
Gunsmith Cats LITE – Despite the smoothness of the watching experience, the OVA’s moderation was a double edged sword. You didn’t get some of the less relevant, extreme characterization and events, but you also didn’t get the more appetizing elements of the series that were couched among them – namely the car and gun porn.
This OVA was pretty straightforward. It didn’t push the limits of the medium. It’s a bit like vanilla birthday cake. It doesn’t disappoint, but it also doesn’t particularly wow you either. You’ll likely enjoy it, but the experience is not likely to be all that memorable outside of a few choice parts.