"It is a fairy tale... at the very bottom of the universe."
On the planet Endless Illusion, a tall, lanky man in a tuxedo walks into a building. He sees a young girl with a gun fighting a group of thugs, up until one takes her down. The man grabs his belt, which turns into a sword as he removes it, and wipes the floor with the thugs one after the other.
And then he faints from hunger.
Thus begins Gun X Sword
, a Space Western
series produced by Goro Taniguchi (best known for Code Geass
), that uses a very different definition of the term - more of a Space Spaghetti Western
The man in the tuxedo is known as Van (just Van, although he has a long list of nicknames). Three years ago, a man with a claw for a right arm killed Van's bride on his wedding day, and ever since Van has hunted him down. His tools for the job are his collapsible sword and a Humongous Mecha
, Dann of Thursday, which comes down from space at his bidding.
The girl is Wendy Garret, and her older brother Michael was kidnapped by a gang at the Claw's behest. She promptly attaches herself to Van, much to his dismay, and accompanies him on his hunt for the Claw. She brings along her gun (given to her by Michael), her luggage, and a pink turtle named Kameo.
As it happens, they aren't alone for too long - an information broker named Carmen99 (real name Carul Mendoza, but don't call
her that) soon insinuates herself into the group, at first for profit but then because It's Personal
. Also latching onto their company is Joshua Lundgren, a mechanical prodigy with little in the way of social graces, whose older brother Ray also seeks to kill the Claw as vengeance for his wife's death.
Nothing is as simple as it seems, though, for The Claw has many allies and a great deal of power. And his plans reach into the very history and purpose of Endless Illusion itself.
While on first glance the series looks like (and is occasionally described as) "Trigun
with giant robots", this is a grievous oversimplification. The series takes a few episodes to get started, but is amazingly well-constructed (with almost nothing in the way of Filler
), and comes to an excellent conclusion. This is also one of the very, very few shows that the mecha
board of 4chan (where a large number of the Humongous Mecha
otaku gather) nearly unanimously have little to no complaints about.
The series was brought out by Geneon
in the US; unfortunately for American viewers, the company went out of business a couple of years later. While it was entirely released (unlike some of Geneon's other properties), anime fans had a hard time finding it for awhile. In 2010, Funimation
picked up the American rights to the series and re-released it as a box set. It is also currently available online via Netflix and Hulu.
Its name has absolutely nothing
to do with shipping
a Crack Pairing
- Absolute Cleavage: Fasalina, though usually her hair covers it.
- Carmen in her bathing suit also qualifies for this.
- A-Cup Angst: Wendy. Gets teased about it by Carmen in the Beach Episode.
- Action Girl: Priscilla and Carmen99, although the later is limited by her lack of an armor.
- Affably Fucked Up In The Head: Gadved. Fasalina also keeps this up longer than the rest. But none came close with the affableness of The Claw.
- Affectionate Parody: Van's ever-changing surname is a gentle poke at Vash the Stampede.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: This might explain why Van is such a Chick Magnet. Invoked by Wendy in the omake Gun X Sword-san, when she observes that "girls are more attracted to bad boys."
- All Men Are Perverts: Averted with Van, who doesn't even seem to notice when he's surrounded by extremely attractive and scantily clad women. Played straight with Joshua ("But what about the underwear?!").
- Though averted with Joshua as well on most occasions, as he didn't realize he was doing anything wrong when he went into girls bathrooms to search for Wendy or when he pulled the curtain away from Pricilla while she was showering.
- Alone with the Psycho: The Claw asks Wendy out on a "date." Though this isn't as tense as other examples considering, well, The Claw.
- Aloof Big Brother: Ray, oh so very much. He gets better though. Michael doesn't.
- A Man Is Not a Virgin: Averted - Van is, and is actually fairly set on maintaining his chastity; the only major characters to get any are on the villain's side... and surprisingly graphically.
- The announcer at one point even explicitly states the man who did have sex is a "boy" where Van is called a "man".
- A Mech by Any Other Name: Armors.
- An Axe to Grind: Diablo of Monday's special weapon is...an axe!
- Not only that, its sleep mode is a GIANT FREAKEN AXE!.
- Anti-Hero: Van, of course. He's a good guy, but his inborn apathy makes him something of a Pragmatic Hero.
- Ray, on the other hand, is little more than a Nominal Hero for most of the series.
- Both of these fellows fit the Byronic Hero archetype pretty well.
- Armor-Piercing Slap: Subverted when Yukiko gives Ray a Get a Hold of Yourself Man slap. Instead of appearing mollified, Ray pulls out his gun and would have shot her if Joshua hadn't stopped him.
- Attempted Rape: What Zakota seems to have planned for Wendy. Van arrives in time to prevent it. Leads to Falling into His Arms.
- Audible Sharpness: Whenever Van takes out his sword, it does a whip-crack "SHNICKT". Somewhat justified since it's normally pliable enough to be used as a belt and needs a charge run through it in order to become a functional weapon.
- Ax-Crazy: Van is a heroic version of this on a few occasions. For instance:
Van (to The Claw): You're a dead man You're a dead man You're a dead man YOU'RE DEAD!!!
- Bad Ass: Van and Ray, most obviously.
- Badass Bystander: The townspeople in the first episode. They're oppressed by a gang of heavily armed criminals who, during the course of the episode, bring in a mecha, but when the shooting starts, they pick up weapons and join the fight. While they can't do anything about the mecha, they hold their own against the villain of the week's goons.
- Badass Cape: Ray's Armour (Volkain) has one, in the 'shredded wraith-like' variety. See also Caped Mecha below for its functionality.
- Badass Crew: The good guys and bad guys form one of each, though the good guy team takes a little longer to form.
- Badass Longcoat: A swallowtail tuxedo, specifically.
- Badass Normal: Characters like Carmen99 who manage to kick ass without armors. Ray's Volkain is this compared to the armors of the Original Seven: it's a mining armor that's been modified to carry guns.
- Beach Episode: Episode 17, Follow the X-Spot, the women-only island Bokini/Misoughi where the only clothing worn is amazingly stretchy bathing suits.
- Bedmate Reveal: Played with. Although the scene in question clearly invokes the image of a "morning after" scene —with Van waking up apparently alone, then shown to be sleeping next to Wendy— it's subverted because they are in separate-but-adjacent beds, and it's clear that nothing sexual happened. The suggestiveness continues, though, because Van's waking up is followed up by a non-sexual version of Not Staying for Breakfast, complete with lingering/regretful farewell look.
- The Berserker: Carossa, who easily surpasses Shinn Asuka in anger and stupidity.
- And who is infinitely more justified, because he's a small child.
- Berserk Button: Be careful about mentioning the Claw within earshot of Van.
- Never mistreat women in front of Van, otherwise he will take time out to wreck your plans.
- BFG: Let's just say the Volkain packs some very heavy artillery...
- BFS: Some of Dann's swords probably qualify, and Dann itself is shaped like a giant version of Van's sword when it comes down from orbit.
- Or BF*Insert Weapon*. All of the Originals take the shape of a weapon when flying. They also brandish that sort weapon in mecha mode. Their pilots also use that sort of weapon to fight and to interface with the Armor.
- Big Breast Pride: Carmen 99 is very proud of her chest. The 99 in her name refers to her measurements.
- Big Damn Heroes: Van in the second-to-last episode. From orbit.
- Big Eater: Van, to the point he regularly faints from hunger.
- Not to mention that he apparently can't eat something unless it's buried under as many different condiments as possible.
- Blood-Splattered Wedding Dress: Elena.
- Book Ends: The end is a lot earlier than usual for a book end, but the first nickname Van goes by in the series is 'Van of the Dawn.' After going through a plethora of other nicknames, he finally settles on Van of the Dawn again at the end of episode 13, and it sticks.
- The last episode bookends the pilot as well, in several ways. First, there's the fact that both episodes begin with a scene in a church (in one case, it's a flashback.) Then there's the parting at dawn in the finale, which contrasts with Van's attempt to say goodbye to Wendy at the end of the pilot. If you listen to the Japanese, he even uses the same phrase for "see you later/goodbye" in both episodes, though it's translated differently in the dub. Finally, in the pilot, Van walked into the church looking for food and found Wendy, who bought him lunch; in the finale, he walks through the door looking for food and finds Wendy again, prepared to cook him a meal the way he likes it.
- Bottomless Magazines: Averted with Ray. His personal sidearm can fire so many bullets because it has a magazine as long as Van's sword, and all of the guns on Volkain are fed by massive ammo hoppers and drum-magazines. Volkain's transport vehicle even has a system which automatically switches out empty drums for new ones.
- Breather Episode: Episode 6 is notably lighter in tone than the others leading up to it. Justified in that Wendy deliberately brought Van to that particular town in an attempt to cheer him up, noticing that he had been on edge since meeting Ray.
- Broken Bird: Fasalina's backstory.
- Bullet Hole Door: Ray uses this almost exclusively when getting into his Armor. He shoots a hole in the floor (which also summons Volkain if it isn't already there) and then he drops into the waiting cockpit.
- Buxom Is Better: Carmen 99 and Fasalina prove this.
- By the Power of Grayskull!: "Wake up, * insert Original Seven name here* "
- Most other armor pilots also use a short catchphrase to activate their armor — for instance, Ray's "Sanction's Charge Awaken — Volkain."
- Cannot Spit It Out: The last few episodes see several declarations of love. However, there's one character who turns down what appears to be the last chance for a confession. However, Wendy's decision to let Van go rather than confessing her love or offering to keep traveling with him indicates how much she's matured since the first episode.
- Calling Your Attacks: Done to hell and back by the El Dorado team.
- Caped Mecha: Volkain/Vulcan has one, although it has a practical usage too: it can neutralise and absorb the lasers of the Original Seven's armour.
- Caretaker Reversal: In the first Sick Episode, Wendy cares for Van while he suffers a fever. At the end of the episode she collapses, and he (fully-healed by that time) has to carry her back to shelter and put her to bed.
- Cat Fight: Carmen and Fasalina have a few of these through the series.
- Chekhov's Boomerang: Pretty much any character, plot element, or anything else you forget makes one more appearance. Captain Kaiji's reappearance probably falling closest to the "joke" variety.
- How about Chekhov's Turtle? Kameo kinda saved Wendy's life at the beginning of the series. He then spends most of the series hanging around Wendy's neck not doing anything, but he intervenes at significant moments (alerting Van to Wendy's poisoning in episode 9, earning money in a casino in episode 15, helping win a race in episode 17), and he saves her life again in the finale.
- Chick Magnet: Van, so very much. He manages to be engaged to Elena, gain Wendy's admiration enough to make her claim to be his fiancée, attract Carmen to fall in love with him even though he constantly forgets her name, and instantly attracts Pricilla into wanting to follow and marry him.
- Clean Cut: The Claw along with the cockpit he was in is cut in half horizontally (arms included) this way, and there wasn't even any visible blood.
- Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends: Joshua goes from harboring a crush on Wendy to being paired up with Yukiko in the space of a single battle.
- Close-Call Haircut: Carmen lops off one of Fasalina's prodigious sidelocks with her Killer Yo-Yo. She then immediately apologizes. Hair is Serious Business?
- Combining Mecha: The many forms of El Dorado.
- Can also be done by Sin and Sen.
- Comforting Comforter: Both Van and Ray reveal a softer side this way.
- Coming-of-Age Story: For Wendy.
- Conveniently an Orphan: Applies to many of the characters, as a surprisingly large number have lost their biological parents, and sometimes their surrogate parents, too. Examples include Wendy, Michael, Pricilla, Yukiko. Turns out that Van and Fasalina never had parents to begin with, which explains a lot.
- Cool Big Sis: Fasalina might be an evil version of this, what with her relationship with Michael. She's also the token Dark Action Girl.
- Cordon Bleugh Chef: No matter the quality of the original dish, Vann uses all the condiments available on his meals, emptying the containers. The result looks foul, but Vann tends to shout with joy upon eating these abominations of garnishing.
- Cue the Sun: Because one of the major themes of the series is hope dawning again in spite of the dark night of despair, sun-related symbolism is all over the series from beginning to end, but the best example is probably Van's epiphany in episode 16, when the sunlight hits the cross on his puzzle just as the bells begin to ring.
- Dance Battler: Priscilla.
- Fasalina's pole dancing moves count too.
- Dark Messiah: The Claw.
- Dashing Hispanic: The El Dora V old guys.
- Deadly Hug: The Claw kills a disobedient minion this way. First he cracks some bones with the strength of the hug and then he impales the guy through his back. It's not clear whether this was deliberate or accidental.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Played straight with Bucci from episode 3. Subverted in that this is what The Claws claims he wants in the final battle.
- Deliberate Injury Gambit: Van is not averse to letting Dann take a few flesh woundsnote if doing so opens up an opportunity to seize the upper hand.
- Desert Skull: In the opening scene, Van looks down at an animal skull in the desert and questions why the creature isn't still alive for him to eat.
- Distant Finale: Which only features Wendy and Kameo, as well as the Narrator, revealed to be a news reporter interviewing Wendy, with Van turning up at the very end. Also a Crowning Moment of Funny.
- Distracted by the Sexy: Justified. Fasalina was a prostitute before joining with The Claw, so it would make sense that everything she does would reference something. Appropriately, she's equipped with a pole, and she uses that pole as her method of controlling her armor (i.e., poledancing) and as a regular weapon. Lampshaded by Van during his battle with her, stating that he really isn't attracted to her, and he cannot figure out if Fasalina is even serious about their battle. On the other hand, her tactics are able to remove every other enemy's concentration in the heat of battle.
- Distressed Damsel: Wendy plays this role more than once at the beginning of the series. Lampshaded by Van in episode 2. (Ironically, she needs to be rescued not because she's passive but because she's foolhardy: the Councilman in ep. 2 would have returned her to safety if she hadn't insulted him.)
Van: What's wrong with you? Why do you keep getting caught?
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Everything Fasalina says in her fight with Van. Girl's got some crossed wires. Lampshaded by Van.
- The Dog Was the Mastermind: Who is The Claw? The old man talking to Wendy in the park.
- Do Not Call Me Paul: Wendy constantly calls Carmen by her real name (Carul), even though Carmen doesn't want her to.
- Does Not Like Shoes: An interesting use to the trope is some of the Armors of the Original Seven are barefooted.
- Drink Order: A subverted version, as Badass Van typically drinks milk and can't handle alcohol. Similarly, Ray only drinks water; but it's not specified as to whether he's also a teetoler or if he really just wants a clear head.
- Dulcinea Effect: Van might have a bone to pick with Lucky, but he explicitly states that he's going to defeat him for the sake of Wendy, whom he's only known a day.
- Dynamic Entry: The El Dora interrupts the Van vs. Fasalina fight. It actually allows her to escape.
- Dysfunction Junction: The new Original Seven - with the exception of Gadved.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Not a happy ending for all the characters, unfortunately. Van gets his revenge, and he and Wendy are eventually reunited, but they spend several years apart first. Meanwhile, Ray dies, but Joshua seems to get a happy ending with Yukiko. There's no word on what becomes of Carmen and Pricilla.
- Eleventh Hour Superpower
- The El Dorado team see Carlos as this. Even exclaiming that he might give them the boost they need in the eleventh hour.
- turns out they are right.
- Dann's controls over the Planet Destroyer System.
- Overflow. Its not mentioned until near the end of the final episode, and all of a sudden, Dann gains a massive power boost, enough to outdo the Birthday, until Van is thrown outside.
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: The Original Seven contains two kids, a clinically insane man, a sane pastor with crazy philosophies, a former prostitute, and honestly, what kind of job experience does Michael have?
- It's justified in the fact that people like Woo and Michael, along with the others, have natural ability when piloting the Original Seven which are not ordinary armours. Van and Gadved needed upgrading to superhuman before they could pilot Dann and Diablo (respectively) properly, so they are exceptions
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Woo takes this a bit further...
- Evil Counterpart: Fasalina to Carmen 99.
- Evolving Credits: Before being introduced, characters are hidden by a violet silhouette. Upon death, they become black silhouettes. The second opening animation removes characters who died up to that point.
- Exactly What I Aimed At: Ray missing the Claw only for his bullet to jam part of his machine, right before he dies.
- Expy: Van is designed to look like Spike Siegel, complete with with badass tuxedo and hat. However, he also has a lot of similarities with Domon Kasshu: A Jerk with a Heart of Gold who is hell bent on revenge, thinks his allies are just nuisance, whose main partner (Wendy being the counterpart for Rain Mikamura) is mostly on the passive side (not fighting), and also has a Genki Action Girl who falls for him but eventually they don't hook up (Priscilla being the counterpart of Allenby Beardsley).
- The luck-obsessed guy from the first episode seems to be based on Simon Phoenix.
- Fade to White: In the finale, in conjunction with My Life Flashed Before My Eyes..
- The Faceless: Shino, Elena.
- Falling into His Arms: In episode 4, Wendy faints (either from fear or over-exertion) and Van catches her; significantly, it's after this that he finally learns her name. In episode 14, Pricilla tumbles into his arms. Van catching her is one of the early clues that Pricilla is a potential love interest.
- Fauxlosophic Narration: The voiceover at the start of every episode is a particularly fatuous example of this.
- Fancy Dinner: Aboard the zeppelin in episode 15. It plays out like a truly disastrous date, with Wendy smearing her makeup and Van displaying his rough table manners at their worst.
- Fanservice: The entirety of "Follow The X Spot", which was cleaned up a little for TV; it's not as bad as some, though. Also, Fasalina.....she controls her robot with a pole for chrissake!
- Technically, it's a tri-section staff. But, given Fasalina's background...
- Not to mention her quite intimate scene with Michael.
- Fanservice with a Smile: Pricilla and Fasalina both qualify for this.
- Fastball Special: El Dora Dann! Naturally, made it into Super Robot Wars K.
- Fastforward To Reunion: The Distant Finale ends with Van walking in the door and being reunited with Wendy.
- Fight Magnet: Van, at least at the beginning of the series.
- First Name Basis: Because Van can't remember names very well, when he DOES finally use someone's name rather than "Hey, You!", it's a significant moment.
- Foreshadowing Prior to meeting The Claw, Van talks with many people who have previously met him. They all speak highly of him being a good person who never caused anyone problems.
- Forgets to Eat: Van regularly passes out from hunger because he's so preoccupied with catching the Claw.
- Fragile Speedster: Priscilla's Brownie.
- Friend to All Living Things: The Claw
- Fun with Acronyms: In Japan, Armor is called Yoroi, which stand for Yieldingly Operatable Robotized Overbearing Infantry.
- Gag Series: Gun X Sword-San, which features Wendy and Kameo as CG puppets encountering the rest of the cast (rendered either as CG puppets or as pictures of themselves stuck to a Popsicle stick backing), with Wendy being both a Motor Mouth and Ax-Crazy (constantly killing Kameo when he annoys her, which happens at least Once an Episode)
- Gainax Ending: Episode 24 has congratulations written all over it. It does not help that it ends with Ray waking up from a dream.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Pretty much all of Joshua's and Van's dialogue at the end of ep 17.
- Go Through Me: Pulled by Ray, surprisingly. With Van incapacitated, Fasalina attacks the hoverbase with her army of robot mechas. Ray, without back up (for the moment) and without expecting any, explicitly tells Fasalina that they'll have to go through him when she gives the order to focus on the otherwise defenseless hoverbase.
- Godiva Hair: Fasalina's hair covers a good part of her cleavage and breasts.
- Good Eyes, Evil Eyes: Subverted - Van's eyes are damned narrow - and played straight - Ray's are narrower still; also, Wendy and Michael are very similar in appearance except that her eyes are a lot wider than his.
- Gratuitous English: A lot of it. Take a bow, Keiji.
- Greeneyed Monster: Wendy seems to think that Van belongs to her, and is highly jealous when other women show interest in him. Carmen is similarly jealous towards Wendy when they first meet.
- Growling Gut: Most noticeable in the first episode, just before Van collapses from hunger.
- Half the Man He Used to Be: How Van finally kills the Claw
- Healing Factor: As a result of the symbiotic relationship with an Original Seven armor.
- Heavy Sleeper: Carlos wakes up exactly twice. He pilots a giant robot more than twice.
- Heroic Sacrifice: On the part of Melissa, a "villain". It doesn't help.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Ray, to the point that he didn't mind becoming a monster himself.
- Hey, You!: Van rarely remembers names (using "you," "kid" or "that person" instead); when he does address characters by name, he rarely uses honorifics.
- Hidden Agenda Villain: For most of the series, we have no idea what the Claw's plan would actually entail. May even qualify as a deconstruction; his agenda is so hidden that his own underlings get it wrong and try to organize a coup.
- I Have Many Names: Van, to the point where he has trouble keeping track of them all. But, when he does remember one of them, Van sticks with it until he receives a better one.
- Impossibly Cool Clothes: Ray, Joshua, Michael, Carmen, Pricilla...
- Incurable Cough of Death: The Claw.
- Improvised Weapon: Volkain, which was originally a mining Armor.
- Insistent Terminology: "Ms. Carul!" "Carmen 99!"
- Instrumentality: The Claw Man's ultimate objective.
- In the Name of the Moon: Done by the El Dorado team after the second time Carlos wakes up.
- Is It Something You Eat?: The crews question to when Joshua when he was trying to explain Space to them.
- Also Pricilla's question when trying to find out what a "virgin" was.
- It's Personal: Between Carmen and Fasalina, but also between Michael and Van.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Van.
- Karma Houdini: For trying to rape Wendy, Zakota gets off easy.
- Kiai: Van is a proud user of the yell "CHESTOOOOOO!!!!"
- Knight Templar: The Claw's Organization. Michael even exclaims he knows that the Claw might be seen as a dictator through his actions but still believe they are justified. Doesn't help that all of the evil seen in the show is always directly linked to his organization in someway.
- Lady Land: Missoghi (Bokini in the dub) note from episode 17. It is a silly place.
- Laughing Mad: Van gets this for a moment when he finally catches a glimpse of the Claw Man.
- Leave Your Quest Test: In Episode 7, Van and Wendy end up deserted on an island owned by a wonderful, kindly man who opens his luxurious mansion to them. He's an ally of the Claw who's trying to sink the two into complacency before they find him and Michael.
- Leeroy Jenkins: Carossa pulled this off.
- Letting the Air out of the Band: Happens with Dann's Theme during episode 6.
- Likes Older Women: Michael concerning Fasalina, although it's completely understandable given her appearance.
- Limited Wardrobe: Kind of makes you wonder just what Wendy has in that big trunk she's always lugging around. A dozen exact copies of the same three outfits?
- Carmen's Limited Wardrobe is an interesting use of this trope: while she always wears the same style of clothes, she clearly has at least three distinct outfits, distinguished by their color (red, blue, and brown)
- Love Confession: There's more than one, but Pricilla's confession to Van is either priceless comedy or so embarrassing it's painful, given his reaction.
- Love Epiphany: Wendy's narration at the end of episode 15 suggests that it was not until she was stranded with Van in the abandoned town that she realized that she genuinely loved him. (Unusual in that it comes long after she offered to marry him.) In episode 16, Van has an epiphany of his own about his continued love for Elena.
- Love Triangle (if not an outright Love Dodecahedron): Develops as the series progresses. Towards the end, it looks like this: Van is still in love with Elena, but he's also increasingly fond of Wendy. Wendy and Pricilla and Carmen love Van. Joshua has a crush on Wendy. Yukiko seems to be developing feelings for one or both of the Lundgren brothers. The El Dora V aren't in a love triangle, but they seem to carry a torch for Yukiko's grandmother.
- Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: El Dora Block.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: It's implied in the series and outright stated in Super Robot Wars K that the Claw is Woo's father Cuu Cline Clue.
- Luminescent Blush: Priscilla when the El Dora team suggest that Priscilla survive to marry Van.
- Macross Missile Massacre: One of Volkain's attacks. Ray uses it at a much closer range than is normal for the trope.
- Manipulative Bastard: The Claw, Joe Lutz.
- Maybe Ever After: The end of the romance arc is left ambiguous. It at first appears to be a case of Dump Them All Van walking away from his three potential love interests. However, the Distant Finale opens up another possibility, hinting that it's a case of First Girl Wins, with Van and Wendy becoming an item once she's older. Fans may disagree about how likely that possibility is.
- Meaningful Rename: Carmen 99 has the number in her name because it represents the measurement of her bust, 99cm. Her real name is Carul Mendoza, but don't call her that..
- Mind Screw: The Claw is the weirdest "villian" you will ever see, and his actions and kills (he does kill over the course of the anime) as described by the characters do not match up with how he's portrayed. Episode 12 is the weirdest Wham Episode, because it is entirely based around "Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?" while being right next to The Claw. In summary, a cold-blooded murderer is having tea with one of the main characters, and then casually asking that character to join him. It makes sense in written format, but the anime says completely otherwise.
- Mook-Face Turn: Done by The Claw's minions after they figured what Saudade of Sunday's functions were for.
- Subverted in that they mistook the Claw for an Omnicidal Maniac and thinking that he wanted to commit genocide, when what he was really planning was Instrumentality.
- Moral Myopia: The Claw's minions have no problem killing people for their goals, but go on revenge trips when any of their own are killed. They even go so far as to call Van a murderer for killing people who attacked him with no provocation. Not to mention that the only evils we see in the world are caused by these guys...
- More Dakka: Volkain was specifically modified to adhere to this philosophy. Ray, or Shino, turned a standard mining armor into a weapons platform that could level an entire town in minutes.
- Motion Capture Mecha
- Ms. Fanservice: Well there's Carmen and her 99 cm bust and her Impossibly Cool Clothes. Fasalina goes into the other territory. Then we have Priscilla, the Dance Battler.
- My Life Flashed Before My Eyes: Not so much a whole life as the events covered by the series. Wendy and Elena are the only people Van sees in full color, so this MAY be a hint about the depth of Van's affection for Wendy.
- Nice Hat: Van has one.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Van is about to deliver the killing blow to a stunned Dahlia of Wednesday, when the Eldora Soul comes in, and kicks her out of the way of Van's sword.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: If Michael hadn't destroyed Gadved's satellite (Who Dann/Van was using to heal himself), Van would never have been able to escape. He even thanks Michael for freeing him. Cue Michael's Oh, Crap moment.
- No Name Given: It's just "The Claw" or the "Comrade" the entire time.
- Unless you're Banpresto, in which case his name is revealed, at the very end of the Gun x Sword plotline in his pilot data, to be Cuu Cline Clue (a.k.a. Woo's father). It's sort of implied in Woo's comment that he abandoned his mother for his father's sake but it was never made explicit.
- Woo even announces himself as the son of Kyroo Krying Koo but is easily missed.
- Oedipus Rex: The entire backstory of Woo
- Omake: "Gun X Sword-san"
- One Bullet Left: Wendy's gun only has the one.
- Only One Name: Pretty much the entire Original Seven (except Woo and Michael), Priscilla, the El Dorado V crew... actually, last names are more the exception rather than the rule in this series.
- Opening Monologue: The specifics change, but it always refers to Endless Illusion as "at the bottom of the universe."
- Outlaw Couple: Bunny and Klatt of episode 6. Their life of crime is short-lived and unsuccessful.
- Penal Colony: The planet Endless Illusion.
- Piggyback Cute: At the end of episode 16. This moment of potential sentimentality is given a comic turn when Van announces that he doesn't like turtles.
- The Power of Love: Woo thinks he runs on this. It's not enough. Van, on the other hand, is running on this.
- Prehensile Hair: Baron Mayer Baron and his merry band of miscreants have some rather disturbing mustaches.
Baron: It's Mustache Time!
- Promotion to Parent: Michael Garret cared for Wendy since their parents' death some years before the series began. It's a little mind boggling if you consider how young he must have been when they died.
- Quirky Mini Boss Squad: Inverted with the guys from El Dorado. They be heroes, but they still qualify in spades for this.
- Quivering Eyes: Wendy, at emotional moments.
- Ramming Always Works: Justified. Dann is a giant sword in Sleep Mode Size.
- Redemption Equals Death: Ray, and it's poignant.
- Rescue Romance: Van rescues Wendy twice in the pilot, although the first rescue, which might also count as Meet Cute, appears to have been unintentional. He continues to rescue her from various perils throughout the first half of the series. She's pretty quickly smitten.
- Revenge:The motivation of most of the heroes; this is possibly the only anime where this isn't presented in an always-negative light. The treatment of revenge in GUN×SWORD is complicated: Ray's pursuit of revenge is depicted as destructive and self-destructive, since he does what he thinks he needs to regardless of the cost. This contrasts Ray with Van, who despite gunning for the same man for the same reason has some standards, such as not ruining properties or killing innocents. It's also worth noting that Joshua remains opposed to vengeance throughout the series, and he nevertheless plays a key role in putting an end to the Claw's plan—through nonviolent means—in the last battle.
- Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: Appears to be played straight with Michael and Fasalina in the last episode, but the radio drama released after the series ended has Michael and Fasalina subverting the trope though who knows if that's actually meant to be taken as canon.
- Running Gag: "...and all the condiments you have."; also, Van's ever-rotating nickname.
- Van breaking his deadpan voice and loudly exclaiming how good/bad said condiment-imbued food was.
- Second Love: The episode "For Whose Sake?" raises the question of which one of the girls pursuing Van—if any—will be this.
- Sex as Rite-of-Passage: Invoked by the narrator, who says "When no one was looking, a boy became a man." Interestingly enough, this is averted in a later narration; Michael (who at the very least had sex once) is referred to as a boy, while Van (still a virgin) is referred to as a man.
- Sexposition: Fasalina made love to Michael Garret as she explained The Claw's plans of world destruction to him.
- Shadow Archetype: Ray to Van. While they're both out for revenge, Van will follow certain standards while Ray will do whatever's necessary in order to achieve it.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: Wendy, to the point that Van doesn't recognize her without her normal Girlish Pigtails.
Van: I'm sorry, but that seat is...wait, we've met somewhere before, haven't we?
Wendy: Stop making fun of me.
- Shed Armor, Gain Speed: Priscilla does this in her introductory episode when she sheds her Humongous Mecha's armor to increase its speed and mobility in a battle with the protagonist.
- Shirtless Scene: Van has a few of them.
- Shout-Out: The series makes several to other Humongous Mecha series and Hollywood.
- El Dorado V is one big walking shout-out to past Super Robot series.
- In particular the Brave Series and GaoGaiGar. It uses the "G-Stone" sound effect during its transformation and strikes a pose from King K-Der's Mega Fusion. The "El Inferno Y Cielo" attack in Super Robot Wars K even looks like its namesake from GaoGaiGar. In the episode of their debut, the enemy pilot who says the robot is outdated? Voiced by Nobuyuki Hiyama.
- The ground vehicle forming its legs looks very close to Mammoth from Dancouga, the way the arms form is similar to Voltes V and Combattler V, and the pilots uniting in one large control room is usually how Sentai combiners work.
- Nero and Jose at one point reminisce on fighting the Zaurian empire, which sounds rather similar to Getter Robo's Dinosaur Empire.
- Nero's launching phrase is Scramble Advance!!
- Their dead female member is named Chizuru Stephens, who shares the same first name as the token female pilot in "Combattler V", Chizuru Nanbara.
- The Wendy/Van teamup itself reflects that of True Grit's Mattie Ross and Rooster Cogburn. Wendy and Mattie's revolvers are even proportioned and handled similarly.
- The series' premise is part Kill Bill, following The Groom chopping his way to revenge. The Claw turns out to be an old guy with slicked back, shoulder length, white hair.
- And that's small potatoes compared to the sixth episode, which starts with a tribute to the opening scene of Pulp Fiction, essentially repurposes Amanda Plummer and Tim Roth's characters from the film as guest stars for the episode, and features a mob boss who looks like Marlon Brando and is named Tony Montana.
- The first episode ("Tuxedo Blowing In the Wind") borrows elements from The Road Warrior. Compare Lucky's speeches to those of Lord Humungus and note the way a bus is used to block the entrance to the mall.
- At one point, Van finished an opponent with the V no Giri, Voltes V's finishing move.
- Van's design is basically Spike in a tuxedo.
- Let's just say it. Wendy makes you want to go grab a hamburger.
- Michael, with the voice of Kira Yamato and wearing what looks like a recolored ZAFT uniform, is the only one genetically talented enough to pilot the Saudade of Sunday with its branching blue wings. He was also seduced by a performer.
- This combined with the disregard for his little sister ends up coming up in  as Shinn (now part of the team) has some angry words for him.
- Shower Scene: There's a relatively modest one for Wendy in episode 2. Pricilla gets a more revealing one later in the series.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: Van's response to The Claw's (and previously Fasalina's) persuasions. His final 'shut up' takes form in one clean slice to The Claw's body
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Carossa and Melissa.
- Sick Episode: Two of them, actually. In ep. 4, Wendy tries to care for a fevered Van, demonstrating her ability to cope on her own. In ep.16, Wendy gets soaked with snow and overexerted dragging Van to shelter after he gets curb stomped by Woo. He wakes up just in time to see her fall over from fever. Both episodes contain significant relationship development.
- Sickeningly Sweethearts: Episode 6 features such a couple that tries to steal Dann of Thursday in order to purchase a five-minute wedding.
- Slasher Smile: Van when he finally sees The Claw. It's truly disturbing.
- The Claw has that effect on people: Ray gets a few while trying to kill him in Episodes 12-13.
- Space Is Noisy: Averted. The space sequences, save for some clips from within a satellite, are soundless.
- Spell My Name with an "S": How DO you spell the name of Ray's Armor? "Volkain"? "Volcain"? "Vulkain"? "Vulcan"? "Bolking?"
- Spoiler Opening: Sometimes the Evolving Credits don't quite work.
- Standard Hero Reward: Sort of. There's no kingdom involved, but Wendy offers Van her hand in marriage if he'll save the town of Evergreen.
- Stockholm Syndrome: Michael.
- Straw Feminist: the "queen" of Bokini apparently was driven Ax-Crazy when her husband/business partner insulted her designs for male underwear, so she took over Bokini and turned it into a Lady Land and refuge for women, where she can work on her plans to develop a stretchable bathing suit that can be worn at all times. Her husband wins her back by wearing a pair of the aforementioned male underpants—which is both horribly ugly and presumably incredibly inapproriate—the entire thing is covered by a mosaic
- Stripperiffic: The women in "Follow the X Spot" and Priscilla's piloting suit. And while Fasalina's clothes cover a good portion of her body... she uses a goddamn pole.
- Suggestive Collision: In episode 14, Pricilla ends up on top of Van in a very suggestive position.
- Submarine Pirates: "Thank You Ocean"
- Super Prototype: Volkain (Ray's armour) was a testbed for the energy weapons mounted on Original Seven Armors under The Claw. As such, Volkain has countermeasures that make it functionally immune to the energy weapons.
- Super Robot Wars: Appears in K. It even goes as far as giving El Dorado V a Hell And Heaven Shout-Out original attack.
- The attack was used in the same episode that introduced the El Dora V, but it looked different due to the El Dora losing an arm during the fight.
- Surprisingly Good English: The closing theme was written by a native speaker.
- Also, most of the English text, on computer screens or otherwise, is grammatically correct.
- Except for "Execution", where "Execute" would've been expected.
- Death Become's Him
- Swiss Army Weapon: Subverted with Ray's weapon, which looks like it might be a katana with a pistol built into the hilt, but in fact is never used as anything other than a firearm. Perhaps the "sheath" is actually just a really big magazine?
- It would explain why there's a second "sheath" in his belt.
- Symbolic Blood: The blue fluid would be High-Pressure Blood in any other setting.
- Synchronization: Anyone reconstructed so that they can use an Original Seven mecha has this problem.
- Talking in Your Sleep: In episode 4: "Elena . . . Elena . . ."
- Team Mom: Yukiko fulfills this for the El Dora team, and continues when they all make a team with Van, Wendy and Carmen.
- Teens Are Short: Joshua and Michael seem to be in their mid-to-late teens, but are both depicted as much shorter than the adult men around them, though they ought to be nearing their adult height. This is particularly obvious when Joshua stands next to Ray.
- That's No Moon!: Endless Illusion's 'moon' is actually a huge satellite which is revealed to be the ship The Claw and his comrades used to escape Earth before it was destroyed.
- Theme Music Power-Up: It happens pretty rarely, but if you hear the title theme playing during the show, you know something epic is about to go down.
- Also Niji no Kanata. The first time it is played, its not as apparent because the El Dora team did not dominate the fight until they are fully combined, which resulted in a Curbstomp Battle. During the second to last episode, it is played right after Carlos woke up, activating El Dora Five's Eleventh Hour Superpower.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Why Van and Ray never really get along — they both consider it their personal right to be the one to kill the Claw Man.
- Through His Stomach: How Wendy attempts to woo Van. It's not very successful the first time she tries it but the still shot after the credits of the finale suggests it might work better later.
- Title Drop: The name of Dann's and Volkain's combination attack in Super Robot Wars K.
- Together in Death: Ray and Shino.
- Also Melissa and Carossa.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Van loves his milk. And condiments. All of them.
- Utopia Justifies the Means: The Claw's reasoning for his Instrumentality plan. Then again, what other reasoning does anyone ever have for such a plan?
- Vengeance Feels Empty: Played with. The protagonist is obsessed with taking revenge on the Claw to the detriment of personal connections, but when he finally does take revenge, the somewhat Family-Unfriendly Aesop is "revenge feels great". However, he walks off while everyone else is celebrating, displaying some uncertainty about what's next. Having solved his quest does seem to leave him directionless, and we never see him express joy over the deed after it is done. It's like the show is taking the middle ground: vengeance is great and all, but like anything, if you fixate on it to the exclusion of all else, you won't have a purpose once you achieve it.
- The Aesop there, if there is one, might actually be closer to 'closure is important if you want to move on with your life'. While Van does wander off to be an aimless drifter, that's also what he was doing before the chain of events that led to the show's plot. And he does end up meeting a more mature Wendy again some time later.
- Villain Episode
- Villainous Breakdown: Being a member of the Claw's team contractually requires you to have one of these, but the most striking is the Claw's own; after 14 episodes of unflappable (though also batshit insane) beatitude, he finally loses his cool when Ray, and then Van, get the better of him. And it is sweet.
- Wendy Garret Is About To Shoot You: The opening.
- Wham Episode: Episodes 12 and 13.
- Episode 24, big time. Ray gets Killed Off for Real, Van is nowhere to be found the whole episode, and our last view of Priscilla and the El Dora guys is them lying unconscious or maybe dead, their armors buried under rocks and offline mook armors, respectively. Just to ratchet up the tension a bit, it averts Trailers Always Spoil, since there isn't one.
- Where Were You Last Night?? What Wendy wants to know after Van stays out drinking (against his will) with the El Dora V. (At least he didn't end up in jail.)
- A World Half Full: Wendy, at least, concludes that the Endless Illusion is this.
- X Meets Y: And no, not just for the title, as fitting a title as it may be; often called "Trigun with giant robots" as noted in the main article.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Carmen 99 has dark blue hair.
- You Need to Get Laid: Michael's response to Van when he explains why he chose to stay with Fasalina and help the Claw.
- Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: The Claw's organization itself, as well as group within the organization which is horrified by the Claw's end goals and kidnap Michael in order to stop them
- You Were Trying Too Hard: Van and the little puzzle. It was only when he faced the idea of giving up that he understood what he'd really lose in the process, and thus could solve it.
- Zeppelins from Another World: Well, it's the future not an alternate universe, but Van and Wendy ride on one in episode 15.
- Zettai Ryouiki: Priscilla's piloting suit.