Episode 2 of No Guns Life, begins with Juzo knocking the train off the rails. Karen sends Beruhren guards to stop him. However, Juzo easily dispatched them. Karen refuses to call for back up because it would be “too humiliating.” Juzo tears open the steel door. Karen shoots Juzo with “anti-extended bullets.” They don’t work. Juzo calls to Tetsuro. He activate his harmony ability, asking Juzo to save him. Juzo knocks Karen out and takes Tetsuro. Juzo’s rescue of Tetsuro is covered up. Instead a terrorist group called Spitzbergen is blamed. Tetsuro is the son of Beruhren CEO, Souichiro Arahabaki. The news report states that he went missing over a year ago. Juzo is skeptical.
Underground extension mechanic, Mary Steinberg
Juzo takes Tetsuro to Mary Steinberg. She’s a mechanic that specializes in the extended. She doesn’t mind keeping Tetsuro with her. Extensions were originally developed to strengthen soldiers during war. Sub-brains are given to support all “metahuman functionality.” This is done to limit the strain on the human brain. As a result, Extended are able to move extensions that follow programmed movements without much effort. Harmony takes over the sub-brain of the Extended. However, this isn’t a normal way to access the sub-brain. Three authentication keys are needed. One from the user, one from the manufacturer and one from the EMS. However, a master key may exists. Mary questions why Beruhren would make harmony in the first place.
Juzo meets Cunningham
Juzo leaves Tetsuro in Mary’s care. While trying to get his favorite brand of cigarettes, Juzo is lured into a trap. He meets with a representative from the Beruhren corporation. Cunningham confirms that Tetsuro is the son of Arahabaki. If Juzo returns Tetsuro to them he will give him his favorite brand of cigarettes, Tanegashima. These cigarettes are created to ease nerve strain. By altering them with chemicals, the cigarettes can help reduce the pain in the nervous system of an Extended. Without them Juzo has difficulty controlling his body. Cunningham threatens to ruin the supply of Tanegashima. If Juzo doesn’t give them Tetsuro, he will destroy everything Juzo loves. However, Cunningham was wrong. Juzo only smokes those cigarettes because of the taste. With the help of Mary, Juzo is able to defeat Cunningham’s men. Mary helps Juzo back to her shop, where Tetsuro has awakened.
In many ways, No Guns Life is predictable. Silent, emotionless tough protagonists that doesn’t remember his past, protects the weak. Meanwhile, an evil corporation is abusing the innocent and poor. With Juzo signaling that he doesn’t want to someone to partner with in order to pull his trigger, it’s clear that Tetsuro will become that. Juzo flashes back to the war, when a mysterious person (maybe his old partner) tells him that “he’s not a tool.” Which brings us to the likely theme of this series. Refusal to be a tool.
Based on the manga series from Tasuku Karasuma, No Guns Life is set in a near future. In this future, cyborgs called “Extended” who are forced to resort to criminality after the end of a great war. Our main protagonist, Juzo Inui, is a “Resolver,” an Extended that solves problems for other Extended. Basically, he’s detective/private investigator for the Extended community. His duties can range from “babysitting runaways to negotiating peace between rival gangs.” Inui lives in a nameless city that is controlled by a massive corporation called Beruhren. After the war, undergoing “physical function extension,” became common. These extensions are developed and provided by the Beruhren Corp. Juzo makes it clear that he doesn’t trust anyone. While walking home he notices a nun at a crime scene.
When he gets there his landlady tells she heard a “racket” in his office. Juzo finds a renegade Extended is hiding there. The Extended has been running from the Security Bureau, accused of kidnapping a boy named Tetsuro Arahabaki. The Bureau’s agents arrive and kick the office door open. Juzo tells them he hasn’t seen the culprit. They threaten Juzo with the removal of his “license.” Juzo takes the job to protect Tetsuro. While taking the boy to Mary, but encounters the “nun” again. She turns out to be from the orphanage that Tetsuro is from. Juzo isn’t fooled by her act. If the Extended that “kidnapped” Tetsuro is so dangerous why would they send a nun?
Furthermore, Tetsuro has been severely abused. His tendons had been cut multiple times, preventing him from running away. She attacks Juzo, nothing that she on really needs Tetsuro’s head so it doesn’t matter if she accidentally hits him. Having extended her eyesight, Karen is a sharpshooter. She notes that “she’s heard” of Jizo the “Over-Extended that served in the Guns Slave Unit,” during the war. Ironically, Juzo is “triggered” when Karen calls him an “old relic.” The renegade Extended from earlier interferes, but is shot in the head by Karen. As Juzo tries to prevent the fall of the renegade, Karen takes advantage a aims her gun at Juzo head. Seeing that he’s at a serious disadvantage he puts Tetsuro down, leaving Karen to take him.
The renegade Extended reveals that the Beruhren Corp uses the orphans as guinea pigs for experiments. He had a “remote-control device” called Harmony installed. He can control Extended. The renegade Extended is actually Tetsuro. He’s considered to be a threat to the existence of the Beruhren Corporation. In order to control him they removed his vocal cords and cut the tendons of his hands and feet. Tetsuro returns to his body. Juzo finds the train he’s being transported on, knocking it of the rails with his Funke Faust attack. Juzo Inui is clearly a anti-hero with a heart of gold. Hardened by war, the chain smoking hero seems humorless. I predict that this won’t remain so. The plight of Tetsuro is definitely likely to be the catalyst for change in Juzo.
Devilman Crybaby, is a 10 episode series based on the 1970’s manga of the same name. Directed by Masaaki Yuasa, the series is the first anime to be Japanese produced by Netflix. The original series was written by Go Nagai in 1972. Devilman was suppose to be a sequel of sorts to a previous series, Demon Lord Dante. That anime followed the protagonists, Akira and his childhood friend Ryo. After they investigates Akira’s father’s death they find an ancient mask and Akira puts it on becoming possessed by a demon. Devilman Crybaby is similar, but is presented in the present.
However, Akira is possessed by the demon Amon at an orgy. While there Ryo uses a broken bottle to cut up the teens at the party, summoning the demon with blood. Akira is possessed by Amon, but not completely, resulting in a “devilman,” half man, half demon. The series is full of bright colors, nudity, sex (not hentai levels), violence and blood. However, this debauchery is why Ryo believes that humanity isn’t worth saving. Masaaki Yuasa (Space Dandy, Ping Pong: The Animation, and Adventure time), provides his trademark fluid and vivid animation.
If you enjoy the Neon Genesis Evangelion series or Berserk, much of some of the content of this series will not phase you. Akira is an interesting character and while he was more so prior to being possessed. Ryo is a sociopath and unsurprisingly unlikable, if you watch the entire series it will make perfect sense why that is. The overall tone of the show while entertaining is ultimately dark and a bit nihilistic. The series doesn’t end in a predictable manner and that was refreshing. I would recommend this series but consider your willingness to watch sex and violence.