Gunslinger Stratos from A-1 Pictures is a time travelling, dimension hopping adventure with non stop frantic action thrown in for good measure. The story revolves around two main protagaonists, Tohru Kazasumi and Kyōka Katagiri who live in AD. 2115. The island we know as Japan is now called the 17th Far East Imperial City Management District. Everyone lives in peace when all of a sudden, a mysterious disease begins to take effect on the citizens by crumbling them into dust in a process that’s come to be known as degradation.
Thrown into the mix are the aforementioned friends Tohru Kazasumi and Kyōka Katagiri who find themselves falling into a dimensional warp and reappearing in 2015 where they encounter versions of themselves that are both on the side of good and bad in a battle between parallel worlds. This parallel world is known as Frontier S (Stratos). The introduction of beings called the Timekeepers who control the flow of these battles and when they occur provide another element from the story as their intentions are not clear and their motives clouded.
The purpose of these battle are to obtain energy cubes which will give the successful side an advantage during these skirmishes as it allows them to upgrade their and evolve their weapons which is very cool and gives each side a battle advantage. The battles all take place under a time limit and are very dynamic with characters taking flight and awesome gunfights taking place above the ground and crashing through buildings and just generally causing mayhem.
The animation is nice and clear with great detail in the characters and battle scenes. Sometimes battle scenes can become a bit of blur but they hold up very nice here. There doesn’t appear to be much 3DCG either which actually suits the style of the anime, 3DCG is nice and looks dynamic but the use of it has to fit the aesthetic of the anime. The characters are all distinct and have personalities that you’ll find yourself drawn to, everyone will find their favourite.
It’s also great seeing how different the two worlds really are with the 17th Far East Imperial City Management District very much under strict control and not freedom of choice while Frontier S is full of freedom but also full of outlaws as a result. It makes you wonder in which world everyone would be better off as they have glaring pros and cons. As the story progresses, mysteries begin to solve themselves and the whole reasoning behind the degradation process becomes known. The Timekeepers also reveal their motives and what they stand to gain from all the confusion going on.
Gunslinger Stratos is a cracking ride with a deep, immersive storyline which will appeal to fans of action anime that has a thinking plot behind it. The violence is never gratuitous and everything comes together seamlessly as the story draws towards a climactic end.
*Thanks to Madman for the review copy*
Final score: 7.5/10