The first episode of No Guns Life indicates that it is a cross-breed of two genres which rarely cross over even though their tones can be remarkably similar: dystopian cyborg stories and hard-boiled detective stories. Whether it is trying to be a mild parody of, or homage to, the latter is a more difficult call. The whole notion of a cyborg whose head is designed as a functional revolver, down to a spinning cylinder and even a trigger in back, is patently ridiculous, though folk who don’t know Juuzo tend to regard it more as unsettling than silly. (Indeed, some of the sharpest individual shots in the episode involve Juuzo taking on an intimidating pose with that gun head, and they are plenty effective enough to understand why people would react to him like that.) However, beyond that gimmick the story takes itself almost completely seriously, with the only light-hearted moments being the alternate animation of Juuzo when he’s reacting to women doing something sexy. But I’ll get back to that.
The noir flavor comes in the way Juuzo fills the role of a hard-boiled detective/handyman, down even to constantly smoking cigarettes. The latter raises the question of whether obvious puns about a “smoking gun” were intentional or not, but Juuzo’s behavior involving everything but the ladies hearkens back to genre mainstays like Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe: he’s a cool customer with a strong personal sense of justice and the experience necessary to handle himself in any situation. The artistic choices made by Studio Madhouse and director Naoyuki Itou (Overlord) promote this through heavy use of shadows and/or dimly-lit settings and a heavy, tense musical score also furthers the impression. Mixed into that are cyborg elements which probably most resemble Solty Rei but could probably just as well claim almost any other significant cyborg title as an influence. The subject matter here is also pretty dark; cutting someone’s tendons so they can’t escape is straying into some extreme territory.
For all the darkness the series has, it still doesn’t take itself totally seriously. The skimpy outfit that the “nun” is wearing when she disrobes is over-the-top, and the opener suggests that buxom female characters in inappropriate outfits is going to be a regular feature. Hence a certain degree of fan service can probably be expected, but as an enhancement rather than a focal point.
Overall, what the series is doing so far mostly works, though it’s going to have to do a bit more on the story front to fully establish itself as more than just a derivative work. The prominence of the featured boy in the opener suggests that he’s going to get rescued and become a cast regular, and that would be a step in the right direction. You can also No Guns Life anime watch online and free download.
I don't really get it why uninnovative cyberdunk dystopian stories always get the flak of it being unimaginative and impromptu of its massive storytelling coupled with world-building, but I'd can say that while No Guns Life is one of the more uninspired stories out there in a sea of mech stories both old and new, it's slow-burn and the entire plot universe around it is what keeps me glued to this show of infinite proportions of its many directions it could head towards, and it's sad that not as many people are as intrigued to the settings and such, and heck, this show still has a 2nd cour (or more appropriately the 2nd half) to go!
Always been wondering about the editorial remarks on No Guns Life's cover? It says here: “SF hard boiled the gun smoke drifts muzzle talks” (just like that, without commas). To quote someone who knows the source well, it’s surprisingly accurate: Protagonist "Resolver" Inui Juzou, is a rogue private detective part of the "Gun Slave Unit" assigned to eradicate Extendeds, who's always smoking cigarettes, is smoking hot, smokes with gun smoke, because he is an (Over-Extended) cyborg made of revolvers, his head for a gun (revolver), and being the the spirit of the noire revolver embodied: bitter, badass, with a dark history, seeking to break away from the hands that try to subdue him, actually a weapon. And due in part of Juzou being half-human and half-weapon/tool, he always tries not to force a bad hand in situations that call for it in the best possible way he could, and his motto is to "wipe your own ass" i.e. clear your own shit the way you know how.
And in this post-apocalyptic world, the seemingly formed relationships are barely legal depending on which side of the case it leans on: the "righteous" side of Juzou and his workhorse people, or the retro-futuristic cyberpunk setting, which in turn is also a proper one – with an evil cybernetic corporation, a brutal police force tasked with keeping the modified Extendeds in check, with questions of transhumanism and alienation, along with the punk part – bodies being spliced and spruced up in backdoor-alleyway undercity clinics, body horror and brain hacking. So the world in No Guns Life literally has not both start and end lines, but rather, everything is a process in and of its end onto itself. To sweeten the deal, the anime's background of a war does best to interlink both sides, where due to the war happened before the world ever came into a consensus, humans and mech Extendeds are like owners and tools before all rules and regulation broke down.
In essence, it's the interesting characters that both make or break the series in accordance with the many issues at hand, and here's where Juzou's life gets more exacerbated from Tetsuro Arahabaki, the son of the CEO of the evil Berühren Corporation, who is heavily wanted for experimentation for a device that is heavily implanted within him that could control and take over Extendeds in range to amass their reach beyond areas of influence. Add in Tetsuro's annoying and bratty behaviour, along with company associate-cum-mechanic Mary Steinburg and the EMS agency which regulates Extended and Over-Extended beings like Juzou and keeping them under check that they don't flout the law, all this becomes one massive problem that Juzou just couldn't afford to shrug under the rug.
To commend this show on the storytelling and the over-arching plot, it is pretty much a perfect 100% 1-to-1 adaptation of the manga into the anime, which says a lot about fans not wanting to lose out on anything even remotely minor, and No Guns Life definitely benefitted from series composer Yukie Sugawara taking no liberties and adapting the manga's entirety to good use. And sure, the story will not win any awards with some of its cheeziness, but for pretty much creating hidden crannies and hooks that'll intrigue us to dive even deeper, I'd say that it has done its job well. Not great mind you, but not bad for a valiant effort.
And who to bring that classic 90's stylized feels and visuals other than Madhouse, I truly love it when such works like this call back the old aesthetics that give seasoned studios to stretch on their legs for visuals that have been long gone in time past. The modern world, made old with the entire cyberpunk. scrapyard setting really gives it a feel for some of the older classics that we've come to know and love (i.e. Trigun, made by the same studio). Coupled with the great animation, I'd say that Madhouse has done a good job in replicating the entire world to its core. Factor in the great music with the background music and especially the OST, which was a complete surprise that the entire ED is done in Unreal Engine 4 by Cyclone Graphics to aid that gamer-futuristic look. That's superb and unheard of by any standards, with the cool jazzy OP and ED that made up the experience overall.
This show's truly boring you say, and I'd agree to an extent, but take a deep dive under the rabbit hole and you'll see that No Guns Life truly is a fascinating show with as many of its layers waiting to be delved into a story that is initially hard to pick up but even harder to drop. Can't wait for the 2nd half to drop in Spring 2020, and if you need a binge, do pick this up before the 2nd half commences if your interest hasn't waned yet.