Story & Art by Tasuku Karasuma
In No Guns Life, the rise of augmented individuals known as the Extended and the Berühren technology conglomerate has created new threats within society. When the gun slave Extended Juzo Inui encounters Berühren test subject Tetsuro Arahabaki, the two are forced to fight back against Berühren to keep their freedom and their lives. Having run in Shueisha’s Ultra Jump since 2014, No Guns Life has finally been brought over in English by Viz Media. Let’s take a look at what makes this series such an exciting new addition to the sci-fi action genre.
While No Guns Life takes place in a post-war setting, there is a continual sense of dread in its environments. The end of warfare has not lead to the end of conflict itself, and the world seems more lawless and corrupt than what you’d assume during peacetime. This is further supported by the overbearing presence of Berühren, who seemingly rules society from the shadows. Despite this, their control does not go unopposed, as a faction known as Spitzbergen actively fights against their power as well as their Extended technology. War has been replaced by turmoil, and impending doom is looming around the corner.
Even among his fellow Extended, Juzo stands out due to his large gun shaped face. As a veteran weapon of the last Great War, he has no memory of his life before his augmentation and now lives his life as a resolver for Extended issues. That being said, Juzo doesn’t use his strength for the sake of good. Rather, Juzo believes in self-preservation, wishing to live a life free from the shackles of other people as well as his Berühren creators. What makes Juzo sympathize with Tetsuro is his desire to his live a life beyond that of a tool. Above all else, Juzo wants people to be in control of their own fate, and will defy the power of Berühren if that is the cost.
Tetsuro has his fair share of intrigue as well. Like Juzo, he has no memories of his human life, but was once the eldest son of the Berühren CEO. Despite being physically mute and weak, he is able to use his augmentation Harmony to remotely take control of other Extended. Testuro wishes to free his fellow Extended test subjects from Berühren, but he lacks the strength to pull off such a feat alone. Tetsuro’s disposition and motives serve as solid contrast to Juzo’s, causing there to be an underlying conflict between the two while still sharing a common enemy.
Berühren is mostly shrouded in mystery during the course of the first volume. While assassins and representatives from the organization confront Juzo and Tetsuro, little is said of their underlying plans for the Harmony augmentation and the new generation of Extended that they are developing. Still, they are presented as a powerful threat, controlling the city that Juzo inhabits and many of the people within it.
No Guns Life’s artwork has a visually rough and rugged look, which helps establish the chaotic state of the world as well as the worn down appearance of Juzo himself. The characters in the series all look varied and the mechanical designs of the Extended are fantastic to see. The action sequences throughout the first volume hold a great sense of adrenaline as well, with each conflict being carefully detailed from one panel to the next. No Guns Life’s aesthetics pair perfectly to its narrative, continually keeping you invested in the series.
By the end of its first volume, No Guns Life succeeds in getting you invested in its world and the characters within it. Juzo serves as a compelling protagonist for the story, and the mysteries behind Berühren help establish a sense of intrigue in the narrative. No Guns Life is a solid start to a series filled to the brim with potential, and I have confidence that it will deliver on those expectations in the volumes to come.