Simulwatch - Bubblegum Crash [episode 2] - Gunsmith Cats/Riding Bean/Bubblegum Crisis [all complete]

WMD

Vampire Ninja
As theres been interest I've made this thread to organise and discuss the Gunsmith Cats Simulwatch. I've included BGC in the title as we can roll straight into it afterwards or at least also organise a timetable for both here (even if we end up using a new thread for the BGC discussion).

Gunsmith Cats is 3 episodes so
22nd Episode 1
23rd Episode 2
24th Episode 3

We can follow this with Riding Bean. I'll pencil in the 27th for now as many will be busy on Xmas and Boxing day.

Bubblegum Crisis can then start on the 1st Jan 2020 until the 8th.

We will start Bubblegum Crash on Friday 17th

AD police on Monday 20th

Parasite Dolls on Thursday 23rd
 
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Professor Irony

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Moderator
I don't mind starting tomorrow, given that Gunsmith Cats is only three 30 minute episodes, it's not a big commitment.

Although, as was mentioned in the planning thread, it might be worth including Riding Bean - it's just a one-shot, so it wouldn't change the schedule much.
 

WMD

Vampire Ninja
I don't mind starting tomorrow, given that Gunsmith Cats is only three 30 minute episodes, it's not a big commitment.

Although, as was mentioned in the planning thread, it might be worth including Riding Bean - it's just a one-shot, so it wouldn't change the schedule much.
Should Riding Bean be watched before or after GSC?
 

Professor Irony

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Moderator
Should Riding Bean be watched before or after GSC?
Personally, I'd tuck it in after GSC. Chronologically, Riding Bean was released first, but they're not really in the same continuity and I imagine people would be most keen to start on their new GSC sets right now.
 

WMD

Vampire Ninja
As there hasn't been much say either way about starting today. I'm assuming its OK for those who are joining in.

If it's an issue say today and we can postpone otherwise ull be watching ep 1 sometime this afternoon and posting my thoughts on it.
 

WMD

Vampire Ninja
Gunsmith Cats Episode 1

So much fun. I've always loved the manga and it's great to finally see the anime!

The sound design really stood out especially with the car sounds where it seems the makers have really tried to get it right.

The story was a fun little romp. The ep did a good job of me not knowing whether the ATF guy should be trusted and also not knowing whether Rally would trust him.

I assume Watanabe was a fan as its pretty apparent that the Cowboy Bebop theme song and animation style was directly lifted from here.
 

ayase

State Alchemist
Gunsmith Cats: Episode 1 - HOT BUTTS NET

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While I'm certain my Blu-ray box is sat at home waiting for me and I'm very much looking forward to seeing the show in HD, I can't get it right now so I'm watching some old DVD rips. Which has the added bonus of allowing me to take screenshots.
I assume Watanabe was a fan as its pretty apparent that the Cowboy Bebop theme song and animation style was directly lifted from here.
Immediately my first thought as well, I have seen the show before but not for quite some time, so I'd never noticed how similar the two openings are. Prefer GSC's opening tune significantly though. Much as I love Bebop, I have always hated that music.

So it's 1995 and despite the economic bubble having long since popped by now, OVAs are still quality. The attention to detail here really is fantastic. I mean just look at this stuff:

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Sonoda does love his cars and guns so I'm not surprised how good they all look, but what I hadn't noticed before was how many real life entities were thanked in the credits: Someone supplied a GT 500, they thank a race course, the Chicago Police Department (along with about half a dozen individual officers), the actual ATF... The amount of research that must have gone into this is insane. Who'd have thought Gunsmith Cats might possibly be the most realistic depiction of the US authorities in an anime?

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Story wise, it's also been quite a while since I read the manga but iirc the plots here are unique to the anime. Slightly embarrassing I can't remember, since I love the manga to bits. But this is really just a scene-setting episode, and as such it's well done. We get a sense of who everyone is, some well designed action scenes and get to see some beautifully rendered cars, firearms and most of Rally. What the original Kickstarter box art whiners will make of this when they actually watch it (because I'm, y'know, presuming they haven't if they're complaining about Kenichi Sonoda drawing sexualised images) I don't know.

GSC_0105.jpg
 

Professor Irony

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Moderator
Gunsmith Cats Ep 1

Really enjoyed coming back to this, probably even more than I expected to.

Not sure if this is a fair assessment or not, but in my mind, Gunsmith Cats is kind of the last hurrah for the sort of boutique OVA productions the industry were putting out during the boom years. It just feels like they really spent the cash on this one - it's a great looking OVA that really showcases Sonoda's character art at its best. I might even argue that this is the best his designs ever looked on screen, which makes it all the more poignant that this was his last anime character credit, at least until the forthcoming Bean Bandit project. The animation is top-notch, with plenty of funny facial reactions and great choreography in the action scenes (even though I would argue it resembles a shooting-gallery style light-gun game in a couple of places) and it's telling that the production team took a research trip to get the location to look right, it really feels like a convincing recreation of Chicago at the time.

One thing I did differently this time through was that I watched the dub. I've seen a little bit of it before, but only a few minutes worth and I wasn't a big fan - it's very much a product of its time and place. Perhaps not suprisingly, it resembles the original dub for Eva in both its delivery and loose interpretation of the script. Without having seen the Japanese version for a long time though, I was able to watch it a little more objectively and I don't think it's too bad in its own right. I actually quite like Amanda Winn Lee as Rally, although I think Kimberley Yates comes over rather flatly as Minnie-May. What really turned me off the dub originally though is its radically different treatment of Bill Collins - the switch from Houchu Ohtsuka gravelly tones to Rob Mungle's nasal, screechy turn takes a bit of getting used to (fun fact: he's also the voice of the cat in the infamous gag dub for Ghost Stories). I suppose it kind of reflects his dubious character, but yeah, I dunno. I wasn't keen.

Something I'd never noticed before - an easter egg for the manga readers!

The weapons Washington holds up to show he means business while Rally is in his office, are Bonnie's prosthetic leg and Grey's prosthetic arm.


The sound design really stood out especially with the car sounds where it seems the makers have really tried to get it right.
I haven't revisited the making of featurette yet, but iirc, they actually recorded accurate car sounds for the different vehicles to use in the show.

Gunsmith Cats: Episode 1 - HOT BUTTS NET

What the original Kickstarter box art whiners will make of this when they actually watch it (because I'm, y'know, presuming they haven't if they're complaining about Kenichi Sonoda drawing sexualised images) I don't know.
Was that a thing? I didn't follow the Kickstarter that closely after it became apparent I had not won the fanart contest and been recognised as a god. If anything, it seems like they toned the smut right down for the anime.
 

ayase

State Alchemist
Was that a thing? I didn't follow the Kickstarter that closely after it became apparent I had not won the fanart contest and been recognised as a god. If anything, it seems like they toned the smut right down for the anime.
Bizarrely, yes. I tried my very best to respectfully contain my incredulity (mainly because Robert seems like such a nice guy and I didn’t want to start a flame war in his KS comments) that anyone who had backed a Gunsmith Cats kickstarter would be surprised or offended by an image showing Rally's bra and cleavage. I still can't wrap my head around that. But sadly capitulation in the face of offence seems to be the name of the game these days and AnimEigo decided to placate the people who, for whatever reason, backed a product from a man who writes pornographic doujins in his spare time but are offended by the tamest of fanservice.
 
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WMD

Vampire Ninja
I actually quite like Amanda Winn Lee as Rally, although I think Kimberley Yates comes over rather flatly as Minnie-May.
I havent watched the original yet. I'm watching the dub first (as it's easier for me) but I agree with this. Pretty much everyone other than May I enjoyed especially given when this was made.
 

ayase

State Alchemist
Gunsmith Cats: Episode 2 - Heeere's Natty

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A wild, wild Radinov appears. She's not quite Goldie (who is? We never got animated Goldie, did we? Shame) but still. You know what I like Sonoda, and it's an amazon with a winning smile evil grin who can slit a man's throat in a fraction of a second and fire a shotgun out of a moving vehicle while driving it. Miaow. 'cause cats, geddit? Never mind. It even sounds a bit like the one of the hype Gunbuster OST tracks is about to kick off when she opens her jacket to reveal her ample arsenal (actually not a euphemism).

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I'm not sure exactly how legal it would be for the ATF to endorse a candidate for political office, or how (un)popular said candidate would be in the midwestern USA if they were in favour of totally banning guns, but here we are. They're not banned yet however, and there's plenty of gunplay in this episode.

So just as Rally thought she was out, they drag her back in as she's gifted a mysterious silver watch with a number scratched into it by Washington, the perp she busted in the first episode. It turns out not to be anything to do with the date he and his brother started a quest to get their bodies back however, though Washington does soon get bodied by Natasha's slick home invasion.

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Sonoda says it's Larry, the text says it's Larry, will we ever learn? Probably not.

From there, everyone turns detective as Rally and Co. follow the clues and Natasha investigates who these meddling kids are. As we all know, the last in the holy trinity after girls and guns is cars, and the last full five minutes of this episode are taken up entirely by what I'm fairly confident is the most thrilling animated car chase ever. It takes serious talent to pull that kind of action and sense of speed off in animated form, it's so good it has me cringing for the damage to Rally's poor GT 500, even though it's not real (also, Natasha's little blush when she realises she's been outsmarted by May. Aww). Very solid episode indeed, the car chase might well make it my favourite.

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WMD

Vampire Ninja
Gunsmith Cats episode 2

Absolutely cracking episode. The car chase was incredibly well done! They managed to keep it so grounded and real feeling that it was chock full of tension throughout! For a moment I thought I'd been let down when the car exploded mid air for no apparent reason in a very cartoonish way but obviously that was May's handiwork.

Poor Becky, she isnt one for the action is she?

The new villain was really well realised. The way she reacted to her earring on the dashboard after being shot was really interesting. Given how cold she's otherwise been it hinted at a deeper more broken character. Not sure we will get a backstory but it made her more human when up until then she'd been almost terminator like.

I've really enjoyed that even though each episode is it's own story they are still chapters of one greater whole. Looking forward to how its rounded out.
 

Professor Irony

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Moderator
Gunsmith Cats Ep2

Not a whole lot more to add to that really. Having seen this originally when I was pretty young, I took for granted just how smooth and beautifully choreographed the whole thing is. This could easily go toe to toe with a lot of the great live-action car chase scenes, nevermind just anime. I don't believe I've seen a single frame so far that was off-model either. Was GSC really that popular at the time that they could afford to throw this much cash at a limited-run project? It's insane.

Again, there's great attention to small throwaway details too, like the sheer weight of Radinov's coat breaking the coat-peg or the sun getting in her eyes while she's driving. I do feel like May blowing up the ATF surveillance truck is maybe pushing my suspension of disbelief a little too far, but I suppose the anime has its tongue more firmly in cheek than the manga.

Such a shame the next episode is the last one.
 

WMD

Vampire Ninja
Gunsmith Cats episode 3

Wow what a finale. This OVA series has been exceptional. I'm actually kinda angry that theres never been a full length Gunsmith Cats series. The characters are so fun and interesting, the villains menacing, the stories full of mystery and intrigue and in this ova the art, colour, sound and music have been amazing!

After episode 1 was a fun intro to the world and characters and episode 2 raised the stakes and gave an amazing car chase episode 3 went into full thriller territory. We had political intrigue, plots, backstabbing, assassinations and big climatic showdown where the truth was finally revealed and villains get their comeuppance.

I loved every second of this and hope after the recent Bean Bandit project has been completed that a new Gunsmith Cats project is possible.

Aside: I've updated the first post to suggest we watch the Riding Bean on the 27th after Xmas. Is that OK with everyone?
 

Professor Irony

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Moderator
Gunsmith Cats Ep 3

You kind of almost forget how short this OVA is, they cram so much into it. Aside from boasting more excellent action choreography into the finale, it's crazily efficient in how it gets everything done with no waste and no filler. Unfortunately, once again I have not much else to say here that isn't just heaping praise upon the production. It's nice to see Roy making an appearance, even if his role isn't especially significant. I'll also need to check and see if the Japanese version specifically namechecks The Terminator (the dub certainly does), as the scene of Radinov cutting her hair in front of the mirror seems like a pretty clear reference. More tenuously, I think there's a hint of Blade Runner about the setting for the showdown, and a cheeky touch of Die Hard with Radinov's last attack.

I do feel like they missed a trick in not making Bill's last line something like "I was aiming for her head", though, given that he, in his injured state, manages to perfectly shoot the head off Radinov's axe from that distance, using his off-hand...

I'm actually kinda angry that theres never been a full length Gunsmith Cats series.

I loved every second of this and hope after the recent Bean Bandit project has been completed that a new Gunsmith Cats project is possible.
It's not something I ever really questioned much in the past, but yeah, it does seem deeply strange that there was never any more. Even if it wasn't what you'd call a boom, girls with guns series were pretty common in the 2000s. I always thought it would be too problematic to tone down the amount of sex in the manga to make a straight adaptation, but they managed it perfectly well here, so why not do more? Perhaps it was just the sobering realisation that they'd never be able to maintain this quality of animation on a TV budget

As for making more, I think stranger things have happened. I fear there'd be a lot of CGI involved for the vehicles and the weapons if they did it now, but the likes of Double Decker managed okay and hey, they brought City Hunter back without compromising the look of it. Maybe if we all go off and watch Black Lagoon on Netflix, they might start shopping around for similar IP.

Just for god's sake, get the Sayo Yamamoto / Takeshi Koike tag team to do it, okay guys?
 

WMD

Vampire Ninja
Riding Bean

Even though both franchises can deal with some pretty ludicrous ideas and situations GSC always manages to feel somewhat grounded. Riding Bean however is very happy to just go balls to the wall insane: A guy picking up a car and flipping it? Sure why not? Mission Impossible 2 levels of fake identities? Absolutely. What voice should Bean have in the dub? Oh I know Johnny Bravo.

What a weird 45mins that was. I mostly enjoyed it. As an action romp it's a lot of fun. The characters are almost entirely two dimensional which is fine as they are mostly just serving the action. I did enjoy obsessed cop. It was well animated and sounded great in an very 80s kind of way.

I wasnt particularly fond of this version of Rally. I'm so used to the GSC version from the manga and, now, anime that it just seems weird that this completely different character has the same name for no reason.
 

Anime1977

Great Teacher
Bizarrely, yes. I tried my very best to respectfully contain my incredulity (mainly because Robert seems like such a nice guy and I didn’t want to start a flame war in his KS comments) that anyone who had backed a Gunsmith Cats kickstarter would be surprised or offended by an image showing Rally's bra and cleavage. I still can't wrap my head around that. But sadly capitulation in the face of offence seems to be the name of the game these days and AnimEigo decided to placate the people who, for whatever reason, backed a product from a man who writes pornographic doujins in his spare time but are offended by the tamest of fanservice.
Gaaa people should never give in to those Mary WhiteHouse clones specialy people who make entertainment for others to enjoy so do not give in to the morality police who like censorship.
 

Professor Irony

Cursed Image
Moderator
Riding Bean

Rally1.png

It was fun coming back to Riding Bean again, but maybe it would have been better to watch this one first after all. It's interesting to wonder what things might have been like if Riding Bean had continued, but looking at it immediately after watching Gunsmith Cats, it's hard not to see it as a dry run for what came later. It is absolutely a romp and it sounds great, but even if all the elements are here, they’re just not quite so polished.

There are still some real standout cuts in the animation though, particularly during the chase scenes as the Roadbuster glides through the traffic and Quincy briefly seems to be recreating the iconic train pursuit from The French Connection as he barrels along under the railway. It’s also interesting to see how much Sonoda’s art has changed between the two productions - Riding Bean still has the kind of angular, elongated character designs we see in Gall Force or Bubblegum Crisis, whereas Gunsmith Cats has the squatter, rounder look he moved into latterly. The mechanical artwork is as great as ever in any case; it really makes you appreciate the effort that must have gone into rendering out all the car and weapon detail in the days before CGI.

Perhaps it’s an indicator of the changing times too that this shies away less from sleazy sexual overtones and graphic violence than the GSC anime did, although strangely I think’s more indicative of what the GSC manga is like, especially as it’s very hard not to see Semmerling as an early blueprint for Goldie. Presumably Sonoda still has some affection for her; she’s in the new cover art even though Chelsea and Carrie aren’t.

I also gave the dub a shot for this one, but yeah... it ain’t great, is it? It’s just flat as a pancake compared to the Japanese VA work. I’d also never realised before that Carrie was an early outing for Megumi Hayashibara.

The preview clips that they’ve shown thus far didn’t inspire a huge amount of confidence, if I’m totally honest, but I’ll still be eagerly awaiting the new Bean Bandit anime, whenever that drops.
 

WMD

Vampire Ninja
Bubblegum Crisis episode 1

Ok Boomer!

Strong start to this series. I really enjoyed how the intro was able to pull off a lot of visual exposition, without having to do a dialogue dump, and show us what this world is like before out heroines jump into action. It really has this Bladerunner, Appleseed, Akira vibe running through the whole show.

The way the ending went completely off the rails was great too. And definitely help set a mysterious feel to the proceedings.

The animation seemed to improve as the episode went along. There was some pretty janky movement in the first 5 mins but it all seemed a lot more fluid later on. I actually really liked the waves and water animation.

As an aside I found it pretty amusing that this world's problems were being caused by boomers.
 
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