by Punch Rockgroin
Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Accept Minnie May
Girls, guns and gasoline; if mixed properly, this tends to be a sure-fire recipe for success. And fortunately, Gunsmith Cats mixes this in a fashion that will keep you on the edge of your seat (or slammed back into it) for most of the duration of its eight volumes. Intense gun fights, car chases in slick muscle cars, and dealings with organized crime are the hallmarks of this work, so if you want an incredibly engaging story you’re not getting one. This manga is all about the action, and almost nothing gets in its way.
The manga follows Irene “Rally” Vincent, a woman of English and Indian descent who runs a gun shop in Chicago, and her partner “Minnie” May Hopkins on their real job: bounty hunting. This is certainly a dangerous job, but Rally and Minnie have the worst luck when it comes to having run-ins with organized crime. There’s also the friendly rivalry with a man named Bean Bandit, the top driver in Chicago. A few recurring villains are present, but for the most part each story in the series has its own set of villains that Rally and Minnie have to contend with.
If you’re reading this manga though, this is yet another case of “not here for the story.” If you’re like me, you read it because you wanted to see how many guns and cars you could identify before the manga tells you, the ridiculous shoot-outs where Rally does some over-the-top stunts to save her pretty butt, and… Rally’s pretty butt. Hell, maybe you don’t give two shits about the cars or the guns; you just want a lot of explosions and action. And ass. Lucky for you, all of that is here in spades. Still, the two main characters get some decent development as the manga progresses, since they actually do age by a few years by the time the manga ends. Other than that, it’s all about the action.
Despite all of these things that I love so much, I do have one main gripe with it: Minnie May and her relationship with Ken Takizaki. It would be one thing if Ken were merely 20 years older than she was. Except, this goes down the drain when we find out that May was 13 when she started a sexual relationship with him. Typical Japanese creepy I realize, but it’s made creepier by the fact that May was taking drugs in order to keep herself small, because she wanted to remain “Ken’s little girl.” Other than being creepy, it really doesn’t add much to the plot except making May more mature than she appears. One other gripe is that the ending is rather ambiguous, and is not much of an ending at all. Thankfully Kenichi Sonoda made a sequel for the manga, Gunsmith Cats BURST, which gives the series a much more definite ending.
For the overall product, these two dings against it are hardly any reason to not read the manga. It’s a great action-packed romp with lots of guns, sweet rides and plenty of crazy tricks straight out of Hollywood or Hong Kong blood operas. I don’t care if you’re not in the mood for this sort of thing, read it anyway!
FUCK YEAH look it up:
Gunsmith Cats manga series
Written and illustrated by Kenichi Sonoda
Published by Kodansha, Licenced by Dark Horse