Gun X Sword: Revenge Saved the World

What’s wrong with revenge? A lot of anime preach it to be bad–revenge keeps humanity weighed down by gravity, creates an unending cycle of hatred, etc. However, I do admire the few that make it a source of human strength, and Gun X Sword is one of them.

Van Raepface

Gun X Sword is not a tale of morality. Revenge is a key part of Van’s character, and he’s simply nothing without it. It’s astounding–even terrifying–how Van’s passion for revenge allows him to surpass human limits and give him the power to destroy his foes.

But as the anime shows, Van is not omnipotent. In reality, he fights without science, relying on pure talent and the occasional bit of luck. At many times he encounters enemies far stronger than himself–be they more skilled, or their mechs more capable. In one battle, he is soundly defeated, until he gets a glimpse of his hated enemy. In the aftermath of another, he is down, demoralized and scared, ready to run away from it all. But then something clicks, and he remembers his dead wife, knowing that there is no life for him aside from avenging her. Realizing this, he goes back into the fray, his goals renewed.

“Suppose you get your revenge. And then what, afterward?” Van’s friends keep on asking throughout the show. Van replies that he doesn’t know, in all honesty. So much was his pain that he couldn’t even move on with his wife’s death, that he couldn’t think beyond the outcome of his quest. The end of the show leaves this question open, but the final scenes hint of hope.

And revenge saved the world, without the seeker knowing it. Van set out to kill The Claw, who had a plan so grand the whole world would be affected by it. Van, in his single-mindedness, in his idiocy, in his absurdly childish goal of getting even. Without the concept of revenge, would the world of Gun X Sword have survived?

From childhood, we’ve been told to let go of negative emotions, of our base instincts, but Gun X Sword shows us how fighting for the “wrong” reasons could bring out a good outcome.

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4 Responses to Gun X Sword: Revenge Saved the World

  1. Turambar says:

    There is definitely something to be said for the amazing quality of a well done single-minded character that only sees what’s in front of him. It offers a different type of excitement compared to those that are constantly looking at the bigger picture.

  2. I liked Gun X Sword a good bit, and I thought it had some great messages like what you said, but then it bothered me in too man ways. The biggest one being how all of the heroes took on practically the same personality as it got towards the end, it started to drag, and the ‘good guys’ were so self-righteous it hurt.

    But more than that, the others made Van loose screentime. I had always thought he was an interesting character, but then beyond episode 18, it becomes less about him and more about the group, none of whom were as interesting (Wendy I liked too, similar effect.)

    And honestly, I ended up rooting for the bad guys. I didn’t think their whole plan sounded all that negative to being with, and they were certainly more likeable than the self-righteous bastards.

    All in all, the show just went downhill for me around ep 18 and never got back up.

    • schneider says:

      There can never be enough Nero & co. for me. Also, Joshua’s pretty okay for his archetype.

      Instrumentality is always bad! The Claw does a good job of being nice, but his vague, general ideas are too suspicious to trust. I hated Michael since he ever showed up. I also thought he’s more self-righteous than the entire group of protagonists (having the Kira Yamato voice helps, too). Stupid brother. Except for him and Gadved, everyone else had some sort of lolpersonality defects that made me unable to care for them.

      And yeah, the Missoghi episode has got to be the best ever. It’s hard to top that kind of genius.

  3. sivyl says:

    I think its ok. and his a nice guy… he just needs to learn a little something from humanity.

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