Gun X Sword Volume 7

At the start of this volume the moon continues to pour out the same fluid that animates the series Armours, Ray, Priscilla and the Eldora Folks try to hold off an army of unmanned vehicles, and the island rises up from the sea into the sky, as their enemies near the end of their goal.

The Claw, Michael and Fasalina continue in their pretensions of saving the world, contrasting this with the short-sightedness and personal vendettas of Ray, Van and the others. As morally questionable or indifferent as the Claw and his men remain, we’re never left in too much doubt over who the heroes and villains are in the series. This didn’t have to be the case, especially with Wendy’s brother following the Claw, but their moronic regurgitation of his ideology, without actually understanding it, leaves us with little to be sympathetic toward, as their claims to being right give way to frustration, when they’re inevitably unable to convince anyone else of the same. They’re too arrogant and foolish to be naive, but too naive and not menacing enough to be troubling, while they hide behind a wall of conviction which is only ever ill-expressed.

Roughly the same can be said of our heroes as well, however, with Van and Ray’s mirror pasts and vengeful motivations being infrequent enough to ignore at best. Many of the other protagonists are also driven by little more than a willingness to be in the proximity of friends or loved ones, and some by a fairly base will be heroic, which is no bad thing, but which here comes across as being dull, or not worth scrutiny. Almost throughout there is a lack of subtlety in the characters, or there emotions are absurd, like Carmen’s bitter and repeated conflicts with the extremely dangerous and more skilled Fasalina, which turn out to be rooted in jealousy, only because she can’t admit her love to Van, and Fasalina has no problems being open about her feelings because she used to be a prostitute.

There are exceptions, the characters do change before our eyes under the weight of these final battles, and it’s not always necessary that a series have emotionally subtle characters, but those of Gun Sword are too often flat, and when they change, only become just as flat in a different way. This isn’t to say that viewers won’t enjoy the characters, especially if they have done up until this point, but the cast isn’t as charismatic or subtle as those of other series, and Joshua proves himself unable to carry the baton of vengeance like his brother Ray could.

The final battle and last episodes are still engaging, but the road to them has been too uneven, and the Claw’s plans are ultimately little more or less than what we knew back at the end of the fourth volume – to improve the world by atomising his nature into everyone’s subconscious. The mechanics of the plan are revealed to be a combination of magic, science, and the unknown, given that they are in no way realistic, and never truly explained, just like the Claw’s and Michael’s reasoning.

So at the end of it, those who didn’t expect quite as much probably won’t be disappointed, but I don’t think I’m wrong in suggesting that Gun Sword built up these expectations itself, and only provided an action-led climax, as opposed to a real contest of values or any great sense of catharsis. The ideological oppositions within the series are fine enough, but the Claw was too weak a proponent of the counter-argument (as if the writers didn’t really believe or commit to developing it), while his beliefs aren’t established or arresting enough to feel resolute, beyond the heroes’ victory of the villains.

In Summary:

A good ending for anyone concerned primarily with action, but the philosophy and characters have shown themselves to be lacking, the narrative drawn out, and the rest unworthy of particular concern.

6 / 10