Gunsmith Cats: Bulletproof is a three episode anime OVA based on the manga created by Kenichi Sonoda (the talented chap responsible for designing the Knight Sabers from the eighties classic Bubblegum Crisis.) The series stars two lovely ladies named Rally Vincent and Minnie May Hopkins. Rally is a gunsmith by trade and her passion for arms comes in handy for her part time gig as a bounty hunter. She is assisted by the young looking May who is an explosive expert (something she picked up during her shady past.)
Bulletproof’s story deals with Rally investigating a gun smuggling operation. She is drafted into the job against her will by a sleazy ATF (bureau of alcohol, tobacco & firearms) agent named Bill Collins. For all intents and purposes the three episodes can be watched in one go as a ninety movie detailing how the investigation pans out. If you don’t fancy having a Gunsmith Cats marathon you can however watch one thirty minute episode per sitting and still get something from the viewing experience. Each act, although part of a bigger story, is a self contained mini-adventure.
It starts off with Rally accepting to help the ATF with a gun smuggling case by going undercover. She ends up in a warehouse pretending to be interested in buying weapons for her shop. Things go awry though when Bill gets captured by the smugglers forcing the pair to blast their way out of a sticky situation. The second episode introduces the main villain of the piece, an ex KGB agent named Natasha Radinov, who is hired by the smugglers to take out Rally. The two clash in an exciting car chase which concludes the episode. Episode three wraps things up by revealing the master mind behind the smuggling operation. An action packed close to the OVA sees Rally and May fight for their lives when Radinov ambushes them during an award ceremony hosted by a mayoral candidate.
Aside from the episodes you rather surprisingly, for an old ADV films DVD, get a good extra in the form of a forty minute documentary that shows how the Japanese animators researched the project by flying over to Chicago (where the series is set) to visit an actual gunsmith shop and shooting range. The documentary also features an interview with Sonoda and shows you the care that was taken in recreating the guns and cars used in the series (such as Rally’s Shellby Cobra.) Although the documentary is a little dry it is pretty interesting. Be aware that the extra is in Japanese so you will need to read subtitles to follow it.
Gunsmith Cats is a great underrated anime. It’s worth checking out even if you are normally put off by Japanese animation because of its over the top settings. There are no giant robots or supernatural beings to be seen. Heck this could work just as well as a live action series as it takes place in modern day America. The action comes in the form of gunfights and car chases which are no less realistic than what you get in your typical action blockbuster.
The action is entertaining because the enemies Rally faces aren’t the mindless buffoons you find in other shows and Rally herself, although skilled at what she does, isn’t an indestructible Rambo. It’s not only the action that carries the OVA though. The main characters and supporting cast are all likeable. I really enjoyed the witty banter between them as it was clever and funny. After the ending credits rolled I went online and ordered the Gunsmith Cats comic books as I was left wanting more. It’s that good. Fours stars!