Gun Blaze West was a short series that was abruptly ended before it could get past 3 volumes. It was a reasonably fun series so that’s too bad, but it didn’t really do anything to separate itself from the pack. The series probably should have also started with the post time skip plot and then had a flashback for Viu’s origin once the series had gotten popular. That’s the safer method I’d say. We don’t have a whole lot of Wild West manga titles so this does still help to fill that need. (Is it really a need though?
Viu has always wanted to be an awesome gunman. Unfortunately, he simply didn’t have the skills for it as a kid. A wanderer named Marcus showed up one day and said that he’d train Viu if he could run to a mountain and back before the sun set. It was the only way to prove that Viu could physically handle the rigors of being such a fighter. After all, having great aim is good, but it’s not enough to win tournaments if that’s all that he has. Unfortunately, Marcus is then seemingly murdered by a villain named William and Viu’s life is changed forever. After avenging Marcus, Viu trained for several years until he could pull off the run. Now it was time to go enter the legendary Gun Blaze West and prove that he is the greatest gunman in the world.
The actual plot is rather generic, but we’ve seen many great action titles come out of a standard plot. Viu’s mentor dying and the long time skip are rather reminiscent of Beet, but the latter also had 5 star fights and writing to back it up. Not to mention that Beet also had superior art. I was a little worried at first because if Viu had not grown up there was no way that I could accept him beating professional fighters. After the time skip, it was at least a little believable.
Viu is a reasonably good character. He likes engaging in fair fights and never backs down from a challenge. He’s pretty noble and will defend others if they aren’t strong enough to do so. He doesn’t overthink the situation like his partner Will does and that helps him a lot. He’s a good character and hits all of the right notes, but that was where the buck stopped. He did have a good rage mode though so the author squeezed that in before the series ended. Will is the main partner during the series and he’s usually more annoying than helpful. He’s the kind of guy who sees a villain pick a fight with the heroes and then call both parties out for being disruptive when it’s obvious who is at fault in the moment. He hesitates a lot and doesn’t really like fighting all that much at first. He does get better at that, but I still don’t think he’ll last too long using a rope in a gun fight. It’s just not going to work.
Colice is the final member of the trio, but ironically she doesn’t get to appear all that much since she was introduced so late. She was clearly meant to be a main character in the long run. She’s fairly skilled and is confident of her skills. Luckily Colice got to have her own fight before the series ended so she was able to back up her tough talk. She probably has the most personality out of the three main characters and I believe she would have helped the series out quite a bit. I was a little surprised when Marcus died so early on, but apparently the author was going to bring him back anyway. There’s a lot of hinting for it at the end of the series so much that they basically say it in the final page. Honestly, I don’t see how he would be all that relevant later on since he wasn’t very strong, but maybe he was going to turn evil for that added emotional value.
The Baron is the final boss of the series even though you never would have guessed it at first. It was just the series getting cancelled that suddenly made him the big boss. He’s fairly powerful and should have easily beaten Viu. The good thing about this is that he probably would have appeared again later on and this way he would still be relevant as far as his power level is concerned. He was the final boss, but acted as an instructor and can’t be counted as one of the villains. Those guys are coming up.
I feel like the author completely didn’t care about the villains and just added them because he felt that he had too. The first major villain was William and that’s not a name that will strike fear into your heart. William is not event that tough since Viu in his kid days was able to take him on. Next is Kevin. Wait…Kevin? Yes, I’m serious and the less said about this guy the better. He’s simply not that interesting and is another generic gun fighter. Honestly, this is what would have been a tricky part for the series. With so many gun villains running around, the author has to put a lot of effort into them so that they don’t all end up being the same. Giving them generic names like William and Kevin sure isn’t helping.
The only villain in the series that I actually liked was Thunderarm. He’s a cool Android/Cyborg who wants to obtain Gun Blaze West and will do anything that he can towards this goal. He has a pretty good fight with the Baron and it’s probably the best fight scene in the series. His electrical attacks were very potent and he was a nice change of pace from the other fighters. It’s a shame that he probably would not have appeared again, but it was nice while it lasted.
This series was cancelled so fast that the plot had barely started. The first two volumes are mainly pre arc shenanigans and then the 3rd was for explaining how things would work. We only got to wrap up the very first challenge and then the series ends with the heroes heading off for the next mission. It was probably pretty sad for the author to see it all end like this without a proper conclusion. I suppose the author probably could have tried to rush it all into that last chapter, but felt like the ending would have been cheaper than having them just get ready to roll out. At the very least, the ending that was chosen does leave room for a sequel series if the author ever wants another attempt at this.
Gun Blaze West’s artwork was pretty decent. It’s not amazing, but it’s not quite as rough as you would expect. You can follow the fight scenes just fine and the character models don’t get all crazy during the fight scenes. It’s not exactly Bleach, but it’ll work well enough. At most, some of the characters do look unintentionally silly, but that would have likely corrected itself over time. The Wild West setting is hardly my favorite though so I can’t say that the scenery is all that fun to look at. I like to think that a gun series in NYC would have done a little better and could have had a grander scale.
Overall, I had fun reading this series. It’s nothing great, but it’s not bad either. It didn’t really make any mistakes and while the specifics of the series can be forgettable, I doubt you’ll forget the premise or the main characters. It’s a shame that the series was cancelled, but I suppose if they never cancelled any titles, we would have missed out on a lot of great ones over the years right? I’d recommend checking it out and since the series is only 3 volumes, it’s not as if it’s a great time commitment. Just watch for volume 3 and you’ll be able to tell that the series was cancelled. It just abruptly ends. At least the author still has Kenshin and its spinoffs.