Anime World Order Show # 172 – It is NOT Jim Carrey or Cary Elwes Saying You’re SCARED of The Claw

As promised in Show 170, we’re fulfilling the latest donation marker met by once again are reviewing a listener suggestion as Daryl and gang talk about the 2005 sci-fi western series, Gun x Sword.

Introduction (0:00 – 28:38)
Daryl was a guest on the Blake and Spencer Get Jumped podcast (they’ll be Press at Anime Central this year!), where they asked him on to talk about 1998’s Spriggan: The Movie. He was also a guest on the latest episode of Ani-Gamers chipping in on their review of the 2019 live-action feature film Alita: Battle Angel, a movie which has been in development for about as long as Spriggan is old. On the subject of Jump-related things, we take this opportunity to hate on Jump Force (which due to developer ineptitude is accidentally open source; the mods to replace Vegeta with Ultra Instinct Shaggy are already out) and wish that City Hunter was more readily available in the US.  Whatever happened to those Chinese movie adaptations they said they were making like, three years ago, anyway?

On that note, in the emails we talk about the effect of Chinese government censorship on the entertainment which we consume. This is now extending over into anime, and people should probably give it far more weight and discussion than they currently do since it’s got a way bigger effect than a couple of people sending Tweets at light novel authors on your entertainment. Besides, if you want to talk about the real effect of Twitter on your anime/manga/light novel entertainment, it’d be the tweets the authors make themselves…

Promo: Right Stuf Anime (28:38 – 33:08)
The current sale is for FUNimation titles, which means it’s a gigantic one. Everything–including Gun x Sword–is on sale and everything beats the Amazon pricing, some much more so than others. We picked out a few titles you might be interested in; as always, if you visit their site through our affiliate links, we get a small commission.

Review: Gun x Sword (33:08 – 1:35:48)

This is the second half of our Twitch donation goal marker incentive. We contemplated leaving it at just Judge, but we elected to also take on a TV series closer to the 26 episode limit. Goro Taniguchi these days is best known for Code Geass, but this is the series he made just before that. At first glance, it’s easy to write this one off as a Trigun copycat, as most people did since the resemblance is not accidental, but is that all there is to it? Daryl had tried to conceal the fact that Gun x Sword is in fact a giant robot show–this detail is also concealed on practically all US promotional materials–but the prominent inclusion of Gun x Sword in the upcoming Super Robot Wars T ruined the surprise.

6 Replies to “Anime World Order Show # 172 – It is NOT Jim Carrey or Cary Elwes Saying You’re SCARED of The Claw”

  1. I’m surprised with the with the crew’s take on the first half/second half of the show. In my experience, I usually hear people say that, outside a few humorous episodes, the first half is much too slow and the second half is where the series picks up. [It depends on how one defines “slow.” Speaking in the general sense, some perceive effectively standalone episodes to not adequately drive the plot forward while others will perceive the more lore/expository episodes to not have as many character moments. –Daryl]

  2. Hey AWO, what’s up? Long time no see.

    If you can forgive my spontaneous reaction…called it! Once upon a time, I thought that you guys would be likely to enjoy Gun X Sword and, one way or another, someone among your Twitch donators must have shared this belief. Kudos to that person.

    I am sincerely glad you had fun with it. Back in the faraway year of 2005, I have a distinct memory of catching 1 or 2 eps of Gun X Sword, finding it to be alright, and then leaving the series aside for a long time. In that sense, I think the phenomenon you’ve described was rather commonplace. In fact, it wasn’t until randomly reading a blog post on episode 20 or something that my interest was suddenly reignited.

    I can see where you’re all coming from, honestly, in terms of the Claw not being a conventional villain. But I liked the contrast between his mannerisms and general attitude versus what implementing his plans actually required. Yes, it’s sort of a cult leader situation. I think his subordinates mainly admired how the whole scheme was presented as being selfless and well-meaning, at least as long as you leave aside the insanity of the underlying details.

    In a way, I think GXS can be very enjoyable as just a fun adventure series with a bunch of wacky and goofy characters, but I believe it also works as a love letter to many mecha shows of old and as a bit of a satire with respect to more recent productions. That’s part of why I’d reiterate the second half of the series, while the pacing does slow down at times, still has plenty of fairly entertaining events worth recommending.

    Daryl is probably not going to like me for saying some or all of this, but I want people to have a bit of extra info. I’d argue that if you want to track a change in Sunrise’s recent production methods…we’d need to focus on Gundam SEED as the main factor. Code Geass was big, no doubt about that, but never as big as SEED. In some ways, the company has had a strange relationship with that series (well, to be frank, with both of them, for a few complicated reasons), despite the fact it’s made a lot of money. It might get too “inside baseball” to drop those details down here though, so I apologize.

    Regarding Goro Taniguchi, even if the crew might not necessarily care about him as a creator now, he’s always been upfront about making each of his shows in a different style or taste. This guy has never liked to immediately repeat the same directorial approach over and over, at least not without taking a break.

    Now, I wouldn’t call him “artsy” or anything, but it’s clear he values diversification. Which is a way of taking risks and, naturally, doesn’t always work out. If we have to generalize or point out a common thread, I would say Taniguchi is a guy that is fairly anti-establishment (most of his heroes are outlaws, idiots or weirdos) and likes campiness as well as an over-the-top presentation, probably due to his Super Robot roots. Beyond that, a lot of stuff can vary and one person’s absolutely boring show can be another’s underrated favorite if it presses their buttons.

    Looking back, we can see Infinite Ryvius wasn’t much like Scryed, Scryed wasn’t like Planetes, etc. Even most of his post-2008 shows aren’t really like Code Geass at all. Which makes me chuckle whenever news sites mention that series in the same breath.

    Maria the Virgin Witch, curiously, was more like Planetes in terms of actual directorial style, the amount of research involved and the use of film techniques even if the contents are absolutely nothing alike. That sort of similarity includes introducing some pretty fun anime original material, rather than just being a strict adaptation (though people should still go read the Planetes manga too, because it’s also great and worth tracking down).

    Realistically speaking, I think Taniguchi has faced two big problems lately.

    One, he’s usually not working with very high profile studios these days (yes, the Code Geass movie at Sunrise is an exception, after waiting like 10 years). Why does that matter? Lower profile studios mean a restricted pool of resources, less running time and lower quality of supporting staff, including the writers. Heck, even good writer and director combos might need more than 12 or 13 eps to get the most out of certain premises without either rushing, compressing or cutting too much material. For instance, I felt like that about ID-0. I’m happy with how that concluded (Takehito Koyasu as a hammy anti-villain is amusing once he pops up, unless you just have no heart), but they could have spread out the specifics of the lore and fleshed out the supporting cast (pun not intended) before that point.

    Two, I think he’s probably become more tolerant or accepting of 3D animation than other creators, but that can be a stumbling block unless you really hit the right spot. Revisions looks visually better in the trailers than other 3DCG works, IMO, yet maybe still not smooth enough for a general audience.

    Back to Gun X Sword, where I suspect we have more common ground, I am also excited to see this bunch of misfits interact with the casts of Harlock, G Gundam, Cowboy Bebop and other series. If that game is properly translated, as expected, it should be fertile territory for a lot of cool nonsense and hilarious scenarios. CHESTO!

    PS: I think they did eventually make at least one Gun x Sword pachinko or pachislot machine at some point? Kinda sad to get that instead of a real spin-off, but maybe they just realized the IP was available.

    1. Look, I get that nobody reads Otaku USA despite my saying to do so in every episode. But, y’know, I have directly interviewed staff at Sunrise to straight up ask them about what brought about this current shift in production. So it’s not THAT “inside baseball.” What I’m saying isn’t like, baseless speculation on my part; I’m passing along what was told to me in those interviews you can go read. Or you can re-listen to the Gundam 00 review we did two years ago (two years ago…), because that and Code Geass were the first shows made in this new method that is now their default. Incidentally, I probably never answered your question from two years ago, but that’s because I generally didn’t watch most of the VOTOMS sequels.

      Anyway, on the subject of THIS show: I never talked about it in the review, but Van’s signature battle cry of “Chesuto” (as the official subtitles say it) is a bit of a curiosity. Google brings up a result or two saying that is “an exclamation swordsmen from a specific area make” but that’s about it. Early Super Robot Wars T promo videos had it subtitled as “Chest!” like he was calling out an area to strike kendo-style, which is just flat-out wrong since he is generally stabbing necks.

      As far as the enduring legacy of GxS in merchandise, there was a pricey Blu-Ray set for the series released about two years ago, but I believe it was an upscale and so there’s no release outside of Japan. And this decade there were some PVC Robot Tamashii figures of not just the sexy ladies of the cast, but the robots too! Maybe I should pick up that Volkein (Ray’s Black Getter-esque Armor)…

      1. Volkein is pretty awesome, I am liking the brief glimpses of the mecha in SRW T trailers, so that’s good to know. It’s a shame the new BD set you’re mentioning is likely to remain Japan only at this time, unless Funimation suddenly felt the urge to buy those rights for GXS as well.

        As a side note…that’s alright, watching the Votoms sequels is probably not a good idea, by and large. The side-stories and prequels are far more worthwhile. I’ll have to look up whatever else I was saying about that back then….and yes, probably search for the interview you’re talking about now.

        Believe it or not, I’ve read the digital version of the magazine from time to time. Just not continuously, so I might well have missed that Sunrise interview. I’m sorry, because this may not have properly come across in my reply above, but I wasn’t thinking you made anything up.

        Far from it. If you mean in terms of the production pipeline changing or the business model changing, which impacts how shows are made or how creative teams are assembled, something along those lines, then that’s entirely valid and I’d defer to you in that sense.

        I just don’t think it’s strictly the case in a purely creative sense, once the team is together. Which is a related but distinct issue. Not Goro Taniguchi coming in to show Sunrise how to do things with Code Geass and changing everything by himself. That implication doesn’t fit with other interviews I’ve read and, well, how the guy has operated since or the way Sunrise has actually treated said property. As much as the new Geass movie is making money, they could have made so much more by releasing it five years ago (instead they made one set of OVAs that was very different and very delayed, but that’s another story).

        Creatively, I think the roots date back even earlier than the production shift you’re alluding to. We can see some specific elements or methods of recent storytelling in Gundam SEED that have continued to be reflected in newer Sunrise shows to this day. That’s closer to what I meant, but since neither of us is going into specifics, all of us might be right and are just thinking and/or talking past each other.

        Ironically, there is another guy called Kojirou Taniguchi who works at Sunrise as a producer and does have a role in making big decisions about what stuff gets made and how, but he’s apparently not related to Goro.

  3. I enjoyed the little detour into the demise of Hong Kong film: something I am very passionate about.

    A few weeks ago, I watched Stephen Chow’s “kind of” follow-up to, “The King of Comedy” titled, “The New King of Comedy” in a pretty packed Hong Kong theatre.

    It was, in no way, a Hong Kong film. It was filmed in China, starring Mandarin-speaking mainland Chinese actors and dubbed into Cantonese for a Hong Kong audience. It was a thoroughly decent

    The original made about $30 million Hong Kong dollars (just under 4 million USD) when it debuted in Hong Kong; less than normal for a Stephen Chow film due to competition from “The Ring”.

    This one has already made around $100 million USD in the Mainland.

    Originally, the Beijing government treated Hong Kong films as, “foreign” so Hong Kong films had to compete with foreign blockbusters for one of the coveted 20-foreign-films-per-year slots. Big hits like “Infernal Affairs” could just slap on a different ending for the Mainland market so as to get classification there (can’t show films where the bad guys win).

    Eventually Beijing said that if any Hong Kong film slapped on a different ending for the Mainland, they’d automatically be refused classification ; Shaolin Soccer eventually was refused a release in the mainland due to similar classification issues.
    Thus the great age of self-censorship began.

    There’s barely any films that are truly “Hong Kong” still being made, sadly. Usually if a film contains content they know won’t fly in the mainland, then they double down on the HK-ness. (Imprisoned: Survival Guide for Rich and Prodigal, comes to mind)

    “Sex and Zen 3D” was a notable Hong-Kong focused phenomenon, but even that had bigger box office due to the mainland because package tours were actually arranged in the mainland where people could come to Hong Kong to specifically see that film, which would definitely not see the light of day in China.

  4. [The person who left this post went on Facebook and accused us of supporting institutionalized racism. We had no idea what he was talking about, but apparently this comment–which is Zelterian in how incredibly off-topic a derail it is on the “justification” of one aside sentence–sat in moderation for 5 days, which is somehow proof that we don’t want the truth exposed. Upon investigation, it seems that Gmail automatically redirects all of the new WordPress’s notification emails into Spam, so we never even saw it was awaiting approval. We have installed a plugin that will supposedly counteract this. Yet another reason why the new WordPress ABSOLUTELY SUCKS. –Daryl]

    Now, I’m not saying that you’re wrong about Chinese influence on various country’s film industries, the way no one wants to depict them overtly negatively anymore seems to be evidence enough of that. However, I feel that you are wrong as to the casting in Doctor Strange. [Here is but one article detailing how stupendously popular Benedict Cumberbatch is in China, written before his MCU casting announcement, that would account for why they actually shifted the production schedule of those films to when he would be available rather than go with another candidate. –Daryl] Yes, making it somewhere generically in India/Sri Lanka, probably WAS to avoid the whole uncomfortable situation of Tibet. I think, though, that Benedict Cumberbatch was cast simply because he was the person they believed to be best for the role, as with everyone else in the MCU. Tilda Swinton’s casting, I believe, had absolutely nothing to do with China, but the bizarre, almost systemic racism against Asians in Hollywood.(Though I’m not sure why they decided to change The Ancient One’s gender, but that’s neither here no there.) There are, sadly, many examples of Hollywood’s unwillingness to cast Asians. Here are a few: [LIST DELETED BECAUSE I AM A RACIST WHO WANTS TO SUPPRESS THE TRUTH~! actually it’s because you can go literally to any place on the Internet to talk about these movies, as I’d much rather be talking about Gun x Sword in the Gun x Sword episode comments –Daryl]. THAT is why an Asian wasn’t cast, it had nothing to do with China. Even Asian countries know this, that’s WHY they felt they “needed” white actors(they have at least two) for The Great Wall. That shouldn’t be ignored. Rant over. Also, on a completely unrelated note, Warcraft is an excellent movie, which I’ve watched several times now and is, hands down, the single best video game adaptation ever made.

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