“Wild Wild West” – Angel Gunfighter (manga) – 7/10 Atoms

Boots, chaps and cowboy hats…. nothing else matters. ~Anonymous

Mangaka: Osamu Tezuka

Genre: Historical/Action/Comedy/Romance/Kids

Review Status: Complete (1 Volume/1 Voume)

Licensed: This manga is not licensed in the US

Art: Typica Tezuka, with lots of visual gags since this is partially a comedy

Summary:

In a small town of the border region between New Mexico and Arizona, a rogue cop called Ham Egg is conspiring with the mayor to dominate the town. But Ham Egg has an obstacle to his plot. It is “Monster,” an Indian youngster. Monster stands up to save the town from corruption and bring it back to normal, fighting against the Ham Egg group together with a boy named Jim and a female gun expert, Anna. (tezukaosamu.net)
 

Review: Angel Gunfighter is an unusal manga, taking place in the American West, which has been widely romanticized into a time when Native Americans and Cowboys were always at war and the laws were merely guidelines on how to live. This takes an unusal twist on the story, especially for when it was written. The “good guys”, aka the mayor and the sheriff, are scheming theives and liars, only out for themselves. They just want to rule the town, and Ham Egg would do it with Anna as his wife.

The Native Americans are the ones in the right, harried by the sherriff and the misguided townsmen. They’re trying to get those guys out of town – and it’s not until Anna and Jim get all the townspeople together that they have a chance at it!

This does play on certain tropes of the genre, such as Anna being a damsel in distress for some of the time, or having silly meodramatics like her nearly being crushed by a train. At the same time it manages to subvert other ones, which make it more interesting than how I’d normally feel about such a story. It’s very simple, very short, but really pretty cute. It’s definitely not one of Tezuka’s best pieces or well-known, but I’m glad I had a chance to read it.

Overall, this is definitely more for the kids, but I think anyone who can enjoy Wild West theatrics will enjoy this story.

Recommended: 10+. There is one scene of a death (dead bodies are lying around, the man says “I’m done for” and drops). There is no gore, and most death.violence is of the comedic/Looney Toons sort.

Other titles you might enjoy:

Trigun (anime)

El Cazador de la Bruja (anime)

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