The Wild West, also known as The Gun Frontier, is a blighted land on American soil. The samurai Tochiro and his friend, famed pirate Captain Harlock, find themselves on this wicked place with little more than their friendship and weapons. Now they must find Tochiro’s lost tribe of Japanese immigrants at Samurai Creek… but can they make it past the bandits, beasts, evil organizations and women that keep gunning for them?
summary by Ender
Highs: Interesting take on the Harlock legend
Lows: Horrible animation; story that goes nowhere; boring action
I like westerns. The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly; Stagecoach; Unforgiven… I love them all. And I’m equally a big fan of Matsumoto Leiji titles. So, the combination of two things I like should equate to something good, right? If only it were that simple.
Gun Frontier, I have to say, is one of the more unusual takes on the Matsumoto universe (though to be fair, there is a world known as “Gun Frontier” in several of his other space-faring works). The idea of bringing two predominantly sci-fi characters like Harlock and Tochiro in a place like the American frontier is truly a daring idea. And it could have been a highly enjoyable one, too, had there been a real story attached to the setting. It is nice to see Harlock dressed as a cowboy, but when you have a story that spends its 13 episodes trying its hardest not to exploit this little convention, then you have a problem. The emphasis built on Tochiro wanting to find Samurai Creek and his long-lost sister and seeing it end just when everything becomes interesting is maddening, as well.
The other thing of note is that the production was handled by the same people in charge of Cosmowarrior Zero, so do not expect anything visually appealing. This studio needs to fully learn how to take advantage of art and animation so we don’t end up with Matsumoto-style character designs that are about as animated and lively as a pile of corpses… which makes the action sequences laughable and not nearly as fun as they are trying to be.
I tried my hardest to like this anime, but it came off to me as a heartless attempt to reproduce two very unique and entertaining styles. Unless you are a real big fan of Matsumoto, you’re probably better off wrasslin’ doggies.
Gun Frontier can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.