Based on the manga of the same name, created by Tasuku Karasuma, No Guns Life is a sci-fi, action/adventure anime. The anime is animated by Madhouse Inc., directed by Naoyuki Itō, with Masanori Shino designing the characters, Yukie Sugawara handling series composition, and Kenji Kawai composing music. The anime is voiced in Japanese; however, English subtitles are available. “Reverberation” is the ninth episode in the planned 24-episode season.
In “Reverberation,” Cunningham, the seedy, fanatical security director for Berühren Corp, reports back to the Berühren Board of Directors that presents itself in the form of a metallic statue with multiple faceted faces. Cunningham reveals that Hayden’s escape from prison was actually engineered as a cover-up for the murder of a Tindalos member by the late Mega Armed. Now that Mega Armed is six feet under, Cunningham reports that there are no loose ends to tie up. Although this seems to be good news, the Board admonishes Cunningham’s lack of discreetness and gives him one last mission to redeem himself. Failure is not an option.
We also get names for the mysterious characters who appeared at the end of the last episode, a Gun Slave Unit known as Seven and his handler, Pepper. With the events in the previous episode, Pepper has a strange interest in learning more about Juzo despite Cunningham demanding that the two lay low. But what are her intentions for Juzo and who is this other Gun Slave Unit?
All the while, Juzo laments about the involvement of his friend, and EMS director, Olivier in his last debacle. While in a despondent mood, Mary and Tetsuro barge into Juzo’s office. Tetsuro demands to help Juzo with his investigations in order to repay Juzo for saving him while Mary states that since she helps Juzo so much, she’s moving in and moving her extended maintenance operations as well. Juzo likes to keep people at arm’s length so these two shouldering their way into his life is abrasive. Will Juzo survive these two?
The past few episodes were inundated with action scenes so with the finality of the last conflict, “Reverberation” takes things slowly and focuses on dialogue and the relationships between Juzo, Mary, and Tetsuro. Because of this, the episode feels short even though its length is congruent with previous episodes. However, the episode isn’t just filler; it brings together the thematic ideas introduced in earlier episodes quaintly and slyly.
Although not filled to the brim with much plot advancement, this episode feels very significant. We get a feeling for the true maliciousness of the leaders of Berühren. When people don’t prove their usefulness to the corporation’s goals, they’re either killed or turned into a tool by augmenting their bodies with technology. Berühren Corp literally owns people because they own their body parts. This also forces people to be dependent on these corporations for maintenance and replacement parts; the only other option is to buy off the black market and hope that your second-hand body parts are compatible. Extended were tools in the war and they have continued to be tools for the tainted capitalism of No Guns Life. It really consolidates the thematic idea that those in power will go to extreme lengths to stay in power, even going so far as to use and abuse the people beneath them until society itself crumbles.
Juzo has plenty of experience, as we’ve learned from flashbacks, with being a tool. It’s why he became so upset with Tetsuro for using Harmony to control his body in episode four. It’s also the reason why, even now in “Reverberation” with Tetsuro pleading to be helpful, Juzo is vehemently against accepting Tetsuro’s aid. The use of Harmony forces others to become tools; it takes away all self-autonomy. Juzo isn’t the only one in which the idea of being used against his will rubs wrong. Tetsuro has plenty of experience with this and it’s not a path Juzo wants the boy to go down.
There also seems to be something more that makes Juzo keep Tetsuro around; why Juzo saved Tetsuro in the first place without payment and why, even now, he’s lenient but unerringly truthful with the young man. Juzo sees himself in Tetsuro—the way he’s been turned into a tool and pursued by the very corporation that created him. Because of this, Juzo seems to be trying to teach the kid how to be independent and choose his battles smartly by being as straight-forward and truthful as possible. Honestly, gun dad is the best dad and you can’t convince me differently.
It also seems significant that the most human person in this series is the person who looks the least human: Juzo Inui. Juzo, although he tries to be distant, is one of the most caring characters in the anime. He aids people, often without expectations of reward, and worries about those around him. Although his involvement with others may lead to harm, he seems to appreciate, in his own way, Mary and Tetsuro’s unerring attempts to include him in their social lives, for example by inviting him to something as simplistic as dinner.
There’s some great worldbuilding being done in this anime. Although not high fantasy, the dystopian cyberpunk elements to this anime are wonderfully executed. Each episode adds a little more detail about the world that our protagonists live in and don’t overwhelm the audience with too much information or clashing elements. “Reverberation” is no different and continues the pattern of weaving a story about a capitalistic society dominated by corporations that modify people for their own benefit. Each episode reveals the horror that this society is not only built upon but in how it continues to function.
No Guns Life Episode 9—"Reverberation"
There’s some great worldbuilding being done in this anime. Although not high fantasy, the dystopian cyberpunk elements to this anime are wonderfully executed. Each episode adds a little more detail about the world that our protagonists live in and don’t overwhelm the audience with too much information or clashing elements.