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A group of renegade samurai use forbidden firearms to fight an oppressive political system in the 1860s, masking up like ninja to take on the Shogun and his corrupt supporters. But you don't stay Shogun for long without a fair degree of low cunning, and the ruler creates his own force to take down the Samurai Guns by recruiting people with nothing to lose from the lowlife of the streets and taverns. Meanwhile, suspicions begin to arise about the true purpose of the Samurai Guns. The series focuses on one small Samurai Gun unit; half-blind half-breed Ichimatsu, Daimon, their liaison to their boss, and female performer Kurenai ("Scarlet"). Hard-drinking, low-living Ichimatsu's tragic past makes him hate violence, but his need to avenge his parents and sister explains why he's joined a group of assassins. He's also in love with a prostitute. All this goes to make up a suitably modern antihero-although readers might be forgiven for thinking this was a higher-tech variant on Ruroni Kenshin. A final episode was released as a "video exclusive."

As with so many other modern anime, from Sakura Wars to Peacemaker Kurogane, SG wants the best of both worlds-the freedom to do whatever it wants and the solid grounding that comes with historical references. The result, as ever, is a show that hopes its audience will know enough of its background to preempt its omissions, but still be ignorant enough to forgive its mistakes. Playing games with history is a difficult temptation, and simply piling in any interesting artifact makes a historical setting counterproductive. The gun was certainly known in Japan long before the 19th century, but other elements of SG's mise en scene, such as the submachine pistols on display, the zippers, and (although this is a churlish complaint considering other anime) even the Hollywood-implant breast sizes of female characters, come far later than the alleged time period in which this is set. The juxtaposition of Western and Eastern fight systems isn't as easy as Kung Fu and Terence Young's Red Sun made it look, and the fit here is sometimes awkward-as is the show's use of technology. The producers offer the spurious explanation that these are just "advances" on already existing technology that could theoretically have been carried this far by a secret organization with means and motivation. Based on a manga by Kazuhiko Kumagai in Young Jump magazine, and one of several productions in the early 21st century funded with a large injection of American money; ADV Films presumably hoping to find something that pleased audiences in both East and West. LNV
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Original US Poster Art

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Name Samurai Gun
Name: サムライガン
Romaji: Samurai Gan
Publisher ?
Start Year 2004
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