Direction: Right to Left
by: Kenichi Sonoda
Publisher: Dark Horse Manga
Genre: Action, Adventure, Seinen
Rally Vincent and Minnie May Hopkins are experts in their respective fields of marksmanship and explosives, but they’re so cute you’d never know. Neither would the perps unlucky enough to be their hunted. Presented for the first time in the authentic Japanese format, these giant-sized volumes are action-packed, un-retouched, and sure to please the gun-nuts, auto buffs, and manga maniacs!
First off we have our two heroines of the series, Rally Vincent and Minnie May Hopkins. The ultimate poster girls of women with power hehe.
Rally runâ€™s a gunsmith shop in Chicago, but makes her real money from bounty hunting. Sheâ€™s a total gun freak, who apparently gets a little bit more pleasure out of her guns than the average person. Sheâ€™s an excellent developed character right from the outset, with a strong personality. She doesn’t have the usual â€˜softerâ€™ aspect we usually see in these types of characters, but she does have a more normal feel to her.
Minnie is Rallyâ€™s partner, and like Rally she a bit of a freak. Though with Minnie itâ€™s things that go boom, anything explosive gets her a little hot and bothered. Like Rally she has a strong personality, which leads to a few clashes between them. Whatâ€™s unique about Minnie though is that sheâ€™s a minor, being only 17. So while she has this strong personality she can be strangely childish. Sheâ€™s perfectly matched with Rally.
Becky, our info gatherer. We donâ€™t get to see her much this volume, but the few times we get to see her really do put her personality into perspective. While she appears to be all about the money, she also doesn’t like it when her services are abused. I liked her character, but sheâ€™s not around enough in this volume to really judge her.
Bean Bandit, the hardest character to get a grip on. Like Becky he isnâ€™t around much, but itâ€™s pretty obvious heâ€™s going to be a central character. Heâ€™s an awesome character with a character design to match his personality. Heâ€™s a veritable walking wall, with a weird sense of right wrong. His personality is hard to judge due to the limited screen time he gets, but he has a unique presence that really made me like him from the outset.
I have some of the original releases, and while I did like them, I found the series a bit weak. Part of that was probably due to the fact I was missing bits, and the rest due to the way Dark Horse released it, heavily edited, in both text and art, and flipped.
So itâ€™s taken me a while to get around to picking up the Revised Editions, because I never saw the point. I gave in recently though and bought both series, and I am glad I have.
Dark Horse decided to release an omnibus of the volumes, so each volume has loads of pages, volume one alone has 464 pages, over double your average manga. Reading through it for the first time I really got into it, and found the bits I hadnâ€™t liked in the original release werenâ€™t so bad anymore.
The general story of two bounty hunting girls works really well. Sonoda does an excellent job of bring the Chicago setting to life, and mixing it with the mob, drugs, and general all round action scenes.
Truth be told the more I read the series the more it reminds me of classic 80â€™s shows, such as Cagney and Lacy, TJ Hooker and a slew of others. They all have the gritty feel to them and Sonoda manages to bring that to his manga.
Sonoda doesn’t hold back with Minnie May, sheâ€™s a total nymphomaniac and itâ€™s used several times throughout the volume. For some people this may be a bit off putting, but IMO if you can flow past it youâ€™ll find an interesting and griping series.
Many people (including myself) see this series as being genre setting, it sets the way series like this should be done, but sadly there arenâ€™t many other titles done as well as this one is.
The only thing I donâ€™t really like in this series is the art, itâ€™s got to much of a cartoony feel for me. This is especially true where Minnie May and Rally are concerned, they feel out of place when compared with some of the other characters in the series.
However I tend to see past the art because I find the story and characters themselves to be epic. This is one series I’d love to see done as a anime, the OVA we got years ago doesn’t do it any justice.
Dark Horse did an excellent job on this revised edition. They seem to have removed all the editing of the original releases, and put Minnie May back at her right age. The translation is okay, but thereâ€™s no honorificâ€™s. However given the setting (Chicago) they may not have been any in the original japanese. Good use of font variations for the special effects, leaving the original japanese with a smaller translated effect next to it. For the most part it actually worked well I thought. We do get some localisation in the way they talk, which while I donâ€™t really like I can live with. Iâ€™m guessing Sonoda used something similar in the original and they looked for an equivalent american version. Unfortunately it doesn’t always work.
I love that they decided to release it in a sort of omnibus edition, with the equivalent of two normal manga, and the price isnâ€™t to bad either, only costing a little more than the normal manga.
I liked the cover design, which I honestly find a bit odd since Iâ€™m not keen on Rallyâ€™s character design in the actual story lol. But then for me Rally and Minnie May are the ultimate in heroines, no super powers (though from the first volume Minnie comes close to super sex powers hehe), just two galâ€™s kicking (well, shooting and blowing up) arse.
It also has an 18+ Mature rating, which frankly I’m not so sure I agree with. On the one hand I understand why it has that rating, itâ€™d head off any complaints such as what weâ€™ve had here in the past. But I also think that Gunsmith Cats (this volume at least) is really more a 16+ rating, we see more sex and violence in the likes of James Bond.
All said and done though I donâ€™t regret buying this series, it was worth every penny.