What is a Gun Frontier?

So The Rabbit Reich is scanlating this early Seventies manga from Leiji Matsumoto…What is it?  Why should you read it?


Well, the first thing to say about it is that it’s a standalone work within the Leijiverse.  If you’re looking to be enlightened as to the Arcadia or the Galaxy Express then you’re going to be disappointed.  If you want to enjoy something without worrying about backstories and complications, then you’ll be pleased.

The story revolves around two cowboys in the Wild West (Harlock and Tochiroh) and the adventures they meet while in the company of a beautiful blonde named Shinunora.  So are Harlock and Tochiroh related to the spacefaring pirates?  Are they simply the same characters in a different dimension?  Actually, both of the theories are somewhat true.

Matsumoto likes to relate all of his characters by blood, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that cowboy Harlock, for example, is a direct ancestor of Space Pirate Captain Harlock.  All it means is that both of these men descend from the famous Harlock Germanic clan of ancient times.  At the same time, it is clear that these cowboys have essentially the same personalities as the space pirates, except fot two points:

1) Harlock is happier, talks more and is way less “dark” all around.  In this sense,  the Harlock of Gun Frontier stands at the pole opposite of his counterpart in Endless Odyssey, which as pollywantsaharlock puts it so well, is practically suicidal.

eternal partnership, but not gay!!

eternal partnership, but not gay!!

2) Tochiroh is alive (this is a big, big point!  as he’s already dead in most Matsumoto tales) and he’s the protagonist of the series.  This means that we will see more easily and intimately into the heart of Matsumoto, as Tochiroh’s personality is closer to the Real Matsumoto whereas Harlock is his Ideal.  I’ve heard it stated, but can’t confirm, that this is the very first work in which a Tochiroh and a Harlock are together, so that in itself is a treat!

With regards to the plot, the only thing I will say is that there is one and that it’s quite elaborate although it takes time to figure that out.  At the same time, this is probably the most comedic of Leiji’s manga and one of his sexiest.  There are laughs and lustful scenes in every chapter.

One of the funniest things about the story (maybe unintentionally) is the treatment of the Old West.  The West here is almost impossibly lawless, and each town seems to be pretty much independent of all the rest.  In order to give flavor to the Westerners’ lingo, Matsumoto uses several variants of the Kansai dialect, which is appropriate if only because Kansai is in the West of Japan!  In the scanlation, of course, this has been translated into cowboy-slang-peppered English.  And the action is rude, very, very rude…

dangerous Shinunora

dangerous Shinunora

Gun Frontier is Matsumoto’s poetic name for the Old West itself, but Leiji fans will recall that other series like Galaxy Express 999 and Cosmo Warrior Zero include the name.  The notion behind it is of a romantic, sometimes ill-fated but always heroic independent lifestyle…

Interested?  [Here]

~ by Haloed Bane on October 7, 2009.

23 Responses to “What is a Gun Frontier?”

  1. I watched the first ep of Gun Frontier when it was up on ANN and it was a lot of fun. Very strange seeing Harlock as a smiley dude. But still badass. The bitches were gorgeous!

  2. Another thing to take into account is that is was THE first work Matsumoto did with Harlock and Tochiro in it together.

    But I must admit that I prefer the whole Shinunora being a prostitute because it gave her a REASON why she was so slutty. In the anime it was never explained why she a bright scientist was getting naked in every episode. Also she kills people. Thank heavens for that. Because that awesome factor was missing in the anime.

  3. […] introducing it to me. Read his post on the manga to learn how it connects to the lager Leijiverse: Click Here Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Madonna, queen of controversyWhat is a Gun […]

  4. You know, for some reason I find it very difficult to comment on your posts in the way I might do for others. But just letting you know that I am reading you, and I am now interested in seeing this Gun Frontier. Cheers.

    • Thanks. I get that with some blogs too. Read and comment at will 🙂 Also, do check out Gun Frontier, plus Acony if you have a chance (on Rabbit Reich)..

  5. AK this is urgent. Your ‘I am An Alien I Have A Quesiton’ translation over at rabbit reich is missing four goddamn pages. I know because I own it. I’ve taken pictures of the four pages to help you identify them (obv will be backward), but I will not be breaking my binding to scan for you – my copy is signed~

    • don’t break it!!! we found out about this about 2 weeks ago and are preparing the extra pages.. it’ll be out soon i’m sure!

      • good to know. I actually realized this when I was taking your translation and writing them on cut-up post-it notes and sticking them on the speech bubbles inside my copy. It wasn’t until I reached that page that I noticed, lol.

        Once you come out with the revised version, I’ll be sure to post on it over at SAD. MS700 and I basically running an artfag blog there with lots of stupidly complicated posting styles just for the hell of it, lol.

  6. Lavie and I were angling to make Harlock like Mr. Man With No Name……but Tochiro and Harlock talk and smile a lot so it looks like we’re going for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

  7. Along with a more cheerful Harlock, it was just hilarious to see him as Tochiro’s sidekick.
    I love how they both at times didn’t seem all that bright.

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