Ming Chao's grandfather has passed, so now she decides to travel through the the wild west to Hollywood to become a star. Not without her trusty Eto Gun of course! But wait! The Eto Gun is actually a gun that shoots bullets related to the zodiac animal it got the essence of! And the notorious bandit group, the Syndicate, want it! Along the way, she is joined by Baskerville
, and Alternate
created by Tow Nakazaki and distributed in America by Tokyopop
. It spanned 9 volumes.
Tropes used in this series:
- Action Girl: Benkate is the best combatants in the party despite being female, although Fino and Mingchao are not exactly incapable of fighting either, as they wield two of the rumoured "strongest guns in the West".
- All There in the Manual: Tow likes include sketches of how character concepts developed at the end of the books.
- Badass Adorable: Mingchao.
- Badass Preacher: Baskerville until it is revealed that it was just a cover.
- Barbie Doll Anatomy: Despite the number of shirtless scenes/characters, both male and female, no one in the series has nipples. Granted, this may be because it's geared towards a 10+ audience.
- Big Bad: Gothic, the leader of the a crime syndicate who traffics drug, and is responsible for the death of Baskerville/Razy's sister, driving the latter to meet Mingchao while searching for the Eto gun, thus setting up the whole story.
- Big Brother Instinct: Baskerville towards Mingchao, and Fino towards Yaghi.
- Big Ol' Eyebrows: Benkate's eyebrows are magnificent.
- Luriele and Chisel have them too, except they're not quite as remarkable as Benkate's.
- Cool Guns: Benkate. She has a collection of 99 exotic guns, including a gun that looks like a cat, a four-chambered revolver, and an extremely powerful, seven-foot long folding rifle that can blow the arm off a man.
- Darker and Edgier: Started out as a simple Villain of the Week Shōnen manga, but starting from the introduction of Fino and Yaghi and Baskerville's fake death and reveal to have been part of the Syndicate, the story started to get a bit more grim.
- Diminishing Villain Threat: Inverted with Cavanaugh. While her encounters with Ming-Chao and her friends leave her scarred and disfigured, her methods get increasingly desperate and deadly.
- Disney Villain Death: Cavanaugh gets killed this way. If having her neck pierced by a dagger didn't do it, then getting shot by Ming-Chao's Eto Gun and falling down a high floor certainly did.
- The Dragon: Cavanaugh is the highest-ranked member of the Syndicate after the leader, and is one of the few people among the group who has seen the leader face to face.
- Easily Forgiven: Ming Chao easily forgives Alternate for attempting to murder her in the gold mines, and very quickly accepts him to join the party. The group also very quickly forgets Baskerville's past as a former member of the Syndicate and allows him to continue travelling with them for the Final Battle despite his brief Face-Heel Turn.
- Eyepatch of Power: Cavanaugh gets one after being badly injured in a train accident.
- Face-Heel Turn: Baskerville/Razy is manipulated into serving the Syndicate again after he loses his memory. He gets better.
- Fanservice: Fino's occasional nude scenes.
- Fantastic Racism: When Fino is introduced, it's established she has an immense hatred of white people. This is because the first white man she befriended (Blush) killed her parents. She gets better, though.
- The Fool: Mingchao. She always manages to get out of life-threatening situations with barely a scrape. Benkate even lampshades this at one point.
- Foil: Blush and Baskerville/Razy. It's lampshaded by the former.
- Friend to All Living Things: Fino get along very well with animals, was once shown playing with a flock of forest critters, and almost successfully tamed an angry bear before the other tribesmen angered it by shooting arrows at it.
- Funny Background Event: In an early chapter you can see Baskerville getting an Accidental Kiss from the woman whose house he and Mingchao are staying at after the shock from a window breaking behind them knocks them into each other.
- Goggles Do Something Unusual: Cavanaugh's lets her see in the dark.
- Greed: Gordy's defining character trait, he loves treasure, especially gold.
- Heel-Face Turn: Alternate, who was first introduced as a wannabe Syndicate member who is after the Eto gun, but later joins the group after finding out that Blush, rather than Ming Chao, was the one who killed his father.
- Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Unfortunately for Ming-Chao who wants to be a singer, her singing sounds like a dying cat. She didn't know this for a while though, since she had only sung in front of her grandfather.
- I Just Want to Be Special: Ming-Chao wants to be a famous singer.
- Lethal Joke Weapon: The Eto Gun honestly looks like a toy. Many people throughout the series lampshades it.
- Logical Weakness:
- The Eto Gun and Zodiac use "essence" to form their bullets, and thus are unable to fire without the proper essences. If caught without any usable essence, their users are sitting ducks.
- The Pisces bullet is based off of a fish, and thus is only effective underwater. Unless that fish is a flying fish.
- Lolicon: Baskerville gets teased several times about how he might be this towards Ming Chao based on how much affection he shows towards her.
- Love Makes You Evil:
- Baskerville/Razy's love for his sister drove him to do some terrible things searching for rare guns in exchange for the narcotic the Syndicate told him was medicine.
- The Big Bad of the series turns out to be Mingchao's father, who had his Start of Darkness after racist doctors refused to treat his sick wife, leading to her death.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: The Big Bad Boss of the Syndicate is actually Ming Chao's long-lost father
- MacGuffin: The Eto Gun and the Zodiac.
- Made of Iron: Ming Chao is a minor example, but she once jumped off a cliff and did not get injured or even bruised from the fall.
- May-December Romance:
- A hinted one with Ming Chao and Baskerville. No one's ages in this series are exact but Mingchao is at least 10 and at best about 12, and Baskerville could easily be in his mid-twenties.
- Yaghi has a one-sided crush on Benkate. A bonus material states he actually would like for her to be his wife!
- Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: To sum it up, the heroes foiling Alternate's repeated attempts to steal the Eto Gun eventually leads to them uncovering a massive underground drug operation.
- Ms. Fanservice: Although the characters in the series are mostly dressed modestly, Fino has been most frequently drawn as naked while taking a bath or has her Clothing damaged.
- Official Couple:
- Implied with Baskerville and Mingchao, who still remain alone together at the end.
- Implied with Fino and Alternate, who return with Yaghi to Fino's hometown at the end.
- The Pollyanna: Ming Chao remains mostly cheerful and carefree throughout her journey despite having numerous people repeatedly try to kill her and her friends for her Eto gun and frequently getting injured because of it.
- The Reveal: Baskerville's real name is Razy and is a former member of the Syndicate.
- Start of Darkness: After his wife — Mingchao's mother — died because racist doctors refused to bother treating her, her husband — Mingchao's father — swore revenge against the U.S. by becoming its kingpin of crime.
- Stern Chase: For most of the series. Who is chasing who and for what reason changes, depending on the current situation.
- Thou Shall Not Kill: Ming-Chao will not kill others, nor will she allow her team mates to kill, no matter how evil the intended target is. She had stopped Fino from killing Goldy and Blush despite knowing that the latter two have murdered many others.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Subverted. Blush, the only major antagonist still unaccounted for by the end, is revealed in the Bonus Material omake after the main story, to already secretly have been killed during the Final Battle by the huge energy ball created by combined final attack of the Zodiac and Eto guns. However, no one else is aware of this at all, as he was in hiding from the protagonists when he was incinerated.