Two episodes ago, No Guns Life entered its second arc. The show has been dropping hints for a while about the background nature of the world it takes place in. That all comes to a head here, as Juuzou is gang-pressed into doing dirty cleanup work for the local police department.
There’s more to it though, as you might expect from No Guns Life. The cop who presses Juuzou into service isn’t some faceless goon, it’s someone he has a long history (and no small amount of flirtatious tension) with. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill PD either, they’re the Extension Division. They deal, as you might guess, in crimes committed by Extendeds.
Juuzou is tasked with apprehending an escapee named Gondry from Wunder Bender, an amazingly-named maximum security prison for Extendeds. The description we’re given about the guy is pretty vague, but it’s clear he’s no pushover. That’s not all, though. We’re also introduced to Juuzou’s fully-human rival Kronen. A man who looks not unlike Dr. Ver from Symphogear and fights by throwing pressure-point needles.
We’re also introduced to the astoundingly-moniker’d Mega Arms. He looks like this.
Mega Arms is a veteran of the same war that started the Extended program in the first place. He’s a hero to the masses, and is perhaps best thought of–at least outwardly–as a cross between Captain America and All Might from My Hero Academia. He also seems to be the inventor of the “Funke Faust” technique that Juuzou used to punch a moving train to a halt in the first episode.
He’s also caught by Gondry, who we’re introduced to in episode 6’s closing moments where he’s revealed to be a shapeshifter. He pretended to be a lost little girl, you see, and in appealing to Mega’s better nature, has caught him in a trap.
Where all of these disparate plot elements and characters are going is kind of an open question at this point. No Guns Life has been confirmed for two 12-episode cours, so it’s got plenty of time to stretch its legs narratively. This is not really an issue (and it’s something possible-inspiration Ghost In The Shell: Standalone Complex also did).
There are, however, a couple of problems becoming apparent. Mostly, the way the show treats women other than Mary is kind of questionable. This reaches a head in episode 5 where we’re formally introduced to Juuzou’s landlady, who, while written with no obvious malice, is an uncritical deployment of a very old Japanese stereotype for transwomen; that of the boy-crazy older woman with a permanent 5 o’clock shadow who owns a sleazy business of some kind. Here, an apartment building.
These are, to be sure, issues, but it remains to be seen if No Guns Life will have the wherewithal to minimize or perhaps even deal with them or if they’ll end up running over the series as so often unfortunately happens with seinen.
This is not to downplay these very real problems, but what is unquestionable is that the show remains deftly entertaining and endlessly watchable in a direly dry season. That’s something to be thankful for, as both an anime critic and anime fan. We can only hope this coincides with a reconsidering of its more problematic elements.