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.
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.