Here’s the deal, reader; I had no idea this Anime had been based on a video game of the same name and, for those of you who’ve watched the first episode, it honestly doesn’t seem like it right? I quickly glanced at this Anime on Crunchyroll and, on a whim, I decided that maybe I should give it a try. Fact is; I knew absolutely nothing about it. Judging by the previously released promotional image, this Anime seems like a neo-fantasy war series about a bunch of technicolored characters going head-to-head for some sort of undisclosed reason. I don’t know. I didn’t do any research on this Anime before watching, I just decided to watch. As it turns out…it’s pretty damn good!
From what I’ve read about the video game, it’s an arcade shooter that has, as of right now, only been released across Japan. I was in an arcade just the other day and there was nothing but “Time Crisis 1”, “2”, “3”, “4”, and something called “Raging Storm”. Nothing there that looked as interesting as “Gunslinger Stratos”. How you take an arcade game and turn it into an Anime series I don’t know. What I do know is that series’ like “Street Fighter” and “Tekken”, two other arcade staples, have gone through similar adaptations and have NOT come out well. My hope is that “Gunslinger Stratos” DOESN’T turn out like them. “The Legend Of Chun-Li”…Ugh!
Here’s the problem with me writing about this series after only watching the first episode; it didn’t actually explain the whole story to the audience. Now I know that no first episode should explain the WHOLE story but, as far as the first episode goes, I really have nothing to tell you. What we, the viewers, know is that this series revolves around a young boy and his friend who get teleported into some odd alternate reality where everybody has guns and the ability to use them to their full potential. That’s about it.
In fact, the episode ends on a huge cliffhanger that, if it were any other series, would have come just before the ad break. Instead, well…it just ends the episode. There wasn’t a great deal of dialogue in the first episode but by looks alone you can tell who else will be coming to this alternate, gun-loving reality. After glancing at the promotional image once again it makes it even more obvious who the main cast will be…even though one of them seemingly dies in the first half of the episode.
What we know of the world is that it is indeed the same one we all live in but many years in the future. Our main character is a young man who looks as though he lives alone in this fictional Japanese city. He has a weird dream, goes to school, attends the regulation fight class that apparently exists in the schooling system and then gets teleported, alongside his female friend, into what looks to be a semi-realistic version of Tokyo’s Shibuya…bar all the firearms and giant Bancho men fighting mech suits. Though if real Shibuya WAS like that, I’d definitely already be living there.
Once the two find their feet in this familiar environment they instantly get to gun fighting. Well, it’s not so much their choice. It seems as though the citizens of this world only really think about killing. Whatever the case, it seems as though this place is the video game “Gunslinger Stratos”. Not that the arcade shooter exists in the world of the Anime. Actually, it may exist, we just havn’t been told about it yet.
For a first episode of an Anime series, “Gunslinger Stratos” has a LOT of action. Well-animated action too! It kind of blew me away to see so much awesomeness in the first twenty two minutes of an Anime series but it has really hooked me in for the ride. It ended in such a cliffhanger, as mentioned, that I almost have to watch the next episode just to fully understand what it is that I’m watching. Because it is a series based on virtual gunfighting, I am getting some series “Sword Art Online II” vibes.
The only difference between the two is that “Gunslinger Stratos” hasn’t gotten a chance to make up some unnecessary world rules or introduce a definitely romantic storyline that is sure to go nowhere. Probably a benefit of the episode ending short of a usual Anime’s first episode. Backing up the awesome gun-on-gun action is a seriously bad-arse soundtrack full of electric guitar riffs that pair up very nicely with the firing of a gun or the clashing of a Bancho and a robot. I know, I’ve brought that up twice now. You don’t understand just how damn cool it was!
Fact is: “Gunslinger Stratos” has got me. It’s locked me in and I doubt I’ll stop watching it anytime soon UNLESS it turns out to be another failure like “Sword Art Online”. There are a couple of these types of series’ floating around nowadays, you know what I’m talking about; the ones about people who get stuck in video games.
I just hope this one doesn’t turn out to be the same as the rest of them. If it’s a little like “Log Horizon” I can deal with it. If it’s anything like “Sword Art Online”…I’m dropping it. Yeah, I’ll drop it off of the tallest building I can find. Into spikes. Yeah, heaps of spikes. I hope I don’t have to do that though!
You can watch “Gunslinger Stratos” On Crunchyroll: Click Here