With a blend of genres, Grenadier is an interesting series that provides plenty of fanservice and story to make it worth watching. It's an interesting mix of mysticism, spaghetti western and samurai swordplay that sets up the interesting time style and much of the plot here. There's quite a bit of humor and loads of action, although many viewers may be drawn in by the ridiculously disproportionate Rushuna who showcases ample amounts of cleavage and a penchant for bathing. But I know that's not you, right? I didn't think so.
The concept here is that senshi are feared throughout the land and are basically taking the place of the samurai for battle prowess. Senshi are essentially just people that know how to use guns well, and when it comes to a sword versus gun fight chances are you know who's going to win. With blonde locks and some "guns" of her own, Rushuna comes to the countryside trying to spread the message of peace and love. Needless to say she doesn't really practice what she preaches most of the time and finds herself using her trusty .38 a lot of the time when her smile doesn't do the trick.
Grenadier is one of those anime that doesn't take itself too seriously and given the set up here it works perfectly. The balance between humor and storytelling is always a fine line in many series, but so far this one seems to be walking it just fine. Thankfully the yucks are more tongue in cheek with only a few bits of slapstick tossed in so it's nothing too off the wall. There's also a great deal of action in each episode although a lot of it is a little far fetched. I have to raise an eyebrow every time Rushuna reloads her gun because she keeps her spare bullets wedged in between her breasts. Often times she'll spin about and heave her bosom just enough to load up that empty chamber again.
In the last volume we learn that Rushuna is affiliated with someone called Lady Tenshi and while she thinks that she is doing the world well by spreading peace across the land. There is more to her orders than meets the eye and her sidekick Yajiro seems to have a personal vendetta to settle with Tenshi. More mystery is piled on when Rushuna learns that her visage appears on wanted posters in towns across the region. Soon bandits pop out of the woodwork to pick up the reward money and the ending travels from the last installment lead up to the beginnings of the second volume.
This time around Rushuna and Yajiro find their way to a brothel that happens to be operated by a former member of the ten guardians of Tenshi (Juttensen) named Madam Touka. Our busty blonde hero and the Madam duke it out momentarily before a group of bandits comes looking for some loving. A young girl named Mikan joins the pair of main characters after Rushuna diminishes her will for revenge for her parent's death. A lot more action awaits the trio in the coming episodes though as more Juttensen pop out of the woodwork to carry out Tenshi's orders.
The second volume carries a lot more character development with it as Rushuna is "fleshed" out even more. We also get to learn a little bit about Yajiro's past and the world that Grenadier takes place in. This series started growing on me last volume and it has a lot of charm. I'm pleased to say that the second batch of episodes carries on the tradition with a lot of humor, action and eye candy. This is one of the most enjoyable "just for fun" series to come out in a while so if you're looking for something laid back with a bunch of entertainment, this one may be for you.
Grenadier Volume 2 is presented with a 1.85 anamorphic widescreen and features some great image quality. At no time did I notice any aliasing, grain or softness. There was a slight bit of pixilation at parts but it was very faint. Everything here is smooth sailing with crisp visuals that absolutely sizzle. I particularly enjoyed the art style for the show and couldn't get enough of it. The design and animation is top notch, although there were a couple of points that some repeat frames and still shots were used.
There are two audio options presented on this disc and those are the obvious English dubbed and original Japanese. Both are presented with or without English subtitles and come through your speakers with a 2.0 stereo sound. There is a slight bit of directional mix to the audio, but you can't expect an awful lot when it's mostly front channel. Both language tracks are equally good I felt and the dubbing offered similar sound quality to the Japanese selection.
While there aren't as many special features on the second volume as there was on the first, we are given a couple of treats other than some trailers and textless songs.
Bonus Scenes - There are two "cut" scenes that take place during other points of the episodes. In total they only last about 2 and a half minutes and one of them isn't all that great. I laughed continually through the other one though since it shows Yajiro's search for a pair of women's panties when Rushuna sends him to find some. The execution of the scene is perfect and it's too bad that it was cut from the episode. This is a definite must watch if you need to have your funny bone tickled.
Audio Commentary - An audio commentary is also included that features the original Japanese voice actors talking through all four episodes. I thought it was interesting because most commentaries that I've seen on anime are from the English dubbing crew and not the original voices. Some of their comments are pretty funny and it's worth re-watching all of the episodes again just for them. In total this gives us commentary that lasts for the entire series up to this point which is unheard of in the industry. Major props to the minds behind the show and the folks who pulled the FUNimation package together.
Sure the show is chock full of fan service, but Grenadier is a really fun watch. It has a lighthearted atmosphere with a lot of jokes and action, not to mention the gorgeous designs and image quality. Some of it may be a little silly what with the cleavage reloading and all, but the goofy bits are few and far between. My prayers for the show to pick up in pace and character development have been answered and the second volume provides even more entertainment than the first. Highly Recommended
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