While not as big a disappointment as Escaflowne (not by a long shot) Gun X Sword suffered something very similar.
Gun X Sword was not anything new or special, not well-written to any degree, and required next to zero brain-power to watch, which is exactly what I needed soon after watching Texhnolyze, lol. The show was pure fun and what’s more I really really liked it. The Rigun-esque rediculous villains, silly lilttle repeating gags and fun, kind-hearted characters all worked well enough together. The plot wasn’t too heavy and when it did appear, it added at least a superficial layer of depth to the show and made it that much more enthralling. The plot first really takes form around the mid-point and the plot episodes, while not as good as the random adventures, were sustaining. After episode 16 I was thinking that the fusion of plot episodes was getting really good and it became evident that plot would become more important.
And here’s where the show made it’s first big, fat, stupid mistake. A massive influx of shitty characters no one cares about. Okay, all of them had actually appeared in earlier episodes. At some point, rather than Van, Wendy, and Joshua (who I thought was a very nice addition to the party) wandering about; the recurring, mildly interesting Carmen 99, the stupid old dudes and their younger female friend (all of whom I’d found extremely annoying the first time they showed up in episode 3, the only ep I had disliked) and the pretty young Prisila (who I thought was cool in her first episode appearance but she completely wore on my nerves as the show progressed) all join up with the gang and they fly around in a massive battleship on their way to fight the big bad claw man. All that these fucking annoying bastards do is get in the way, repeating the same lines over and over, detracting from Van and Wendy’s airtime, and generally pissing me off.
Which all wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the fundamental problem with the plot. The villains were WAY more interesting than the good guys. And what’s more, the villains WERE the good guys! What we end up with is a bunch of bad guys who take themselves seriously, have interesting goals, interesting emotions etc., and put them against a bunch of good guys whom fight for no reason watsoever, are cardboard-thin, and act like they’re in the Powerpuff Girls. When it was Van fighting for revenge and Wendy and Josh fighting for their brothers, there seemed to be a purpose in all this. However, everyone else just claims to be ‘fighting for justice’ with no accounts to waht the fuck justice even is anyway!
The ‘bad guys’ were all about uniting everyone in happiness. The onlky arguement put up against them? ‘That kind of happiness just isn’t right!’ Okay. WHY?!?! What the hell is wrong with thatkind of happiness. What the hell are you talking about? It really doesn’t make any sense at all. just a troupe of complete dumbasses rallying together in the name of dumbassery, and none of whom realized that, as stated by the bad guys, Van’s goal is pretty much fundamentally evil but the good guys manage to completely ignore it alltogether. Joshua seems to be the only one opposed to letting his brother kill the bad guy, but yeah, no one cares if he actually does get killed. UGH.
As a viewer, i’s discouraging to demonize the cahracters who I like not to mention off them systematically while sparing all the stupid little assholes I want to die.
However, it’s not as if the series completely sucked after episode 18 so don’t get me wrong. There were still plenty of great scenes, the characters who I did like, including my favorite (which I didn’t see coming), did survive so that was nice. It was just very disheartening that the plot-driven part wasn’t as good. I think it’s pretty obvious that the creators intended to do what Trigun did, starting out mostly episodic and gradually deepening the plot until it drove the show, but the problem is that they tricked themselves into thinking that they had to keep the same lighthearted tone from the earlier episodes throughout. There have been plenty of shows with similar plots that take a dark turn and do it well – Mai-HiME for example that was the most rediculous, hilarious, thoroughly ‘typical anime’ show around at first then slowly became ‘OH MY GOD WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO MY EMOTIONS!?’ later on. Hell, even Trigun knew when to buckle down and get serious.
The trouble that really occured here was a number of good ideas that were combined poorly – we have what seems to be several good shows fused into one mediocre show. The plot involving the enemies was really good, but it didn’t fit in the same show as the one with the silly gang of do-gooders. The wanderer searching for revenge alongside the growing girl was good, but not in the same show as the plot-driven wannabe-epic. If certain things had just been tweaked ever-so-slightly then it really could have been a great successor to Trigun, but instead it was a little below-level.
In the end, I did enjoy the show enough, and it was certainly above average in a way. I mean, it was way fucking better than Escaflowne XD. However, like Tokyo Majin it had a lot of potential that wasn’t put to best use. Oh well, they can’t all be amazing, right?
Oh, and the ending was PERFECT XDDDD