Bringing the series past the midway point and with a greater emphasis on the story, volume five is probably the most informative and forward-moving so far.
Or, at least, that is the case after the first episode, which sees the crucial development of Van and Wendy joining the ranks of a floating base on its way to defeat the Claw, owned by Priscilla (the fighter in the Armour competition), and staffed by faces from throughout the series, including Joshua, Carmen 99 and the Eldora Folks (the old men who drove the mock Gundam). After this, however, the episode practically dedicates itself to comedy and fanservice, with their small armada arriving at a factory turned small country for women fleeing the abuses or evils of men. The male side of the crew is left behind, while Priscilla, Wendy, Carmen and Yukiko don the customary bikinis or swimsuits and compete in a Gladiator style race to earn their admission, with the real goal being to gain information from their queen.
From here, the rest is a series of confrontations between the newly formed group of heroes, the Original Seven (powerful Armour’s developed and mostly piloted by the the followers of the Claw himself) and Joshua’s brother Ray. In between these fights there is also an emphasis on the ideology and internal conflicts between those who are working for the Claw. Most have no idea, or a nondescript, ideological sense of what his beliefs and revolution entail, but Wendy’s brother remains in his grasp, while a coup is suppressed among them.
What becomes awkward is reconciling the more idyllic and natural touches of scenery with the prologues to each episode, which remind us that Van and Wendy are moving across a planet called ‘The Endless Illusion’, surely implying something surreal about the nature of the adventure and world they’re on. In a more general sense, this could be a problem for many with the series as a whole, which combines action, comedy, drama and romance in a world of various historical and science-fiction influences, and Western stylings, which aren’t always coherently or intricately juxtaposed.
Similar to this, the narrative and overall effect of the series lacks naturality or strength, curtailing the effect it has had on me at least. Overall, Gun Sword moves on and remains as characteristic as ever, but has yet to prove itself the equal of the more established comparable series.
Some swearing and sexual themes might make it inappropriate for younger fans, but it isn’t quite among the best of choices for most others, due to a long list of undeveloped features.