Cyberpunk is a genre very few anime dabble in. However, when they do, they typically turn out great. Madhouse’s anime adaptation of No Guns Life is no exception.
Adapted from Tasuku Karasuma’s manga of the same name, No Guns Life follows Juzo Inui, an Extended (cyborg) mercenary with a gun for a head. Nicknamed the “Resolver,” he solves problems caused by other Extended, who were former soldiers. After a great war, most Extended have turned to a life of crime due to society not accepting them.
Juzo’s life is soon turned upside down when a renegade Extended begs for him to protect a boy named Tetsuro Arahabaki, who has the unique ability to control the bodies of other Extended. However, Juzo is not alone in this endeavor, as he is joined by back-alley Extended mechanic Mary Steinberg.
Juzo is probably one of the more complex anime protagonists to come out of 2019. With no desire to recover from his amnesia, Juzo dives head-first into his work. A habitual chain smoker to his need to ease the pain caused by his extensions, Juzo smokes a rare brand of medicated cigarettes supplied to him by Mary. While he attempts to live by his motto “wipe your own ass,” it is hard for Juzo not to help others, especially other Extended, who are in need.
The human character designs seem to take heavy inspiration from Hirohiko Araki’s character designs in Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, with Karasuma’s art style being filled similarly with hyper detailed faces and stylization. However, what makes No Guns Life‘s art style unique are the designs of the Extended. Each Extended introduced within the show, with the exception of Seven, who is the same model as Juzo, has unique designs and extensions. This is topped off by the comical, cartoony designs during humorous moments, which reminded me of Alphonse Elric in Full Metal Alchemist.
Madhouse was the perfect studio to adapt No Guns Life. Being the studio behind Death Note and One Punch Man season 1, Madhouse has proven how great their animation team is. The action in No Guns Life is tight yet bombastic at the same time. One fight in particular that stood out to me was the one between Juzo and Mega-Armed Tokisada, a full-body Extended.
The English dub for No Guns Life is pretty good for the most part. Automated Dialogue Replacement (ADR) Director, Kyle Phillips, who also did the ADR direction for Fire Force and Overlord, did a great job with both casting and direction. The script, written by Clayton Browning, who also was the script writer for SSSS. Gridman and A Certain Scientific Accelerator, complemented the voice direction well. The particular standouts were Chris Ryan as Juzo, Kylie Stewart as Mary, and Christopher Sabat as Tokisada.
Cyberpunk is one of the more interesting subgenres of science fiction and No Guns Life manages to utilize this genre well, while also putting a unique spin on it. Juzo Inui is probably one of the most interesting characters in anime right now and I am excited to see what awaits for him in Part 2, which will debut April 2020.