Project Otaku Powerlevelling Part 19

Occasionally, stuff like this happens. As an anime fan, there are a few OVA releases every year, and it's a guarantee ONE of them is something you'd love as a television series.

Early Reins is one of those OVAs. It's a simple set-up, but very cool. It's a story of a train hijacking in the 1800's. Admittedly, if this were the plot of a Gunsmoke episode...well, I probably forgot about it because I'm sure it IS the plot of a Gunsmoke episode, but as an anime, there's something about it that makes it...not necessarily cooler, but...more attention-grabbing?

It also contains something ELSE I'm a fairly big fan of: Gender-swapping. Often times a cliched idea or story can be made more interesting by flipping the gender that's normally involved with that cliche. Here, the main characters are all female, and the story was cooler for it. Unlike Melty Lancer, where the girls were shown-up by everyone from their boss to their "THIS guy again?" villain, the cast of Early Reins are all legit Action Girls, taking out the hijackers with shocking efficiency.

The other thing that caught my attention while watching this one episode OVA, is how the series refused to glaze over violence, but didn't overdo it. Less than ten minutes into the series, a background character catches a bullet to the head. No cutaways, no unnecessary flashes to miss what happens--there's just a hole in the guy's head. It's realistic, and it's that realism that makes it so shocking.

Of course, what gives the OVA it's hook to be a potential series, is it's main character, Margaret. A crackshot marksman with a desire for justice, she's the example of how gender-swapping a cliche can allow you to see what was once thought overdone with new eyes. Her squeaky-clean, honest character and the fact that she was being made a sheriff in a new city had my mind full of cool Western stories with her as the central character, in awesome anime-esque gunfights (Grenadier but with less boobs) and the other characters dropping in occasionally for guest spots.

All we ended up getting was this OVA, but it's still worth checking out.


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