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Anime / Grenadier

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"The ultimate battle strategy: To avoid battle by removing an enemy's will to fight."
Empress Tenshi

Grenadier is a manga series written and illustrated by Sōsuke Kaise, which ran in Monthly Shonen Ace from 2003 to 2006. It received an anime adaptation in 2004, produced by Studio Live and Group TAC and directed by Hiroshi Kojina.

Based in an alternate version of Japan's civil war period, this is the story of the travels of Rushuna Tendo, a buxom young woman possessing astonishing skill with a revolver. Known as a senshi, or firearms expert, Rushuna is on a personal journey to bring peace to the land. Uncomfortably aware that shooting people is not the best way to accomplish this, Rushuna is struggling to master the peaceful teachings of the Empress Tenshi. Accompanying her is Yajiro Kojima a.k.a. Yatchan, a skilled samurai who has grown weary of battle and sees value in Rushuna's goals. Also along for the ride is Mikan Kurenai, an orphaned balloon artist who has painful memories of her own to deal with.

Learning that there is a price on her head, Rushuna journeys back to the Capital to clear her name. Pursued and watched by a mysterious man in a clown mask, Rushuna must battle the Juttensen or Ten Heavenly Enlightened one by one, each armed with strange and deadly weapons. She gains allies as she travels, beating her enemies with her skills and winning them over with her purity, trying to learn more about the mysterious Jester and to understand the Empress' strange actions.

The original manga version has a plot far differing from that of the anime adaptation, with Rushuna trying to find her homeland, editing the backstories of some of the major characters (including turning her evil counterpart into an adoptive sister, and the Iron-Masked Baron into a nutjob capable of making Hitler look sane), and turning the world they live in into a post-apocalyptic scenario, except it's been so long after it that the ancient super weapons are buried deep and the world is somewhat flourishing.

This series provides examples of:

  • Blasting It Out of Their Hands: This is Rushuna's primary method of disabling opponents, leaving them moaning and clutching their wounded hands. Of note is a time where she blasts out the axle of a gatling gun.
  • Body Double: Tenshi has one. Who has taken the real Tenshi prisoner and is ruling the Empire in her place. Rushuna had at one point been a candidate for the position.
  • Bottomless Magazines:
    • Mooks with assault rifles can fire them on fully automatic for several seconds at a time without having to reload.
    • Averted in principle for Rushuna, who can only fire six shots at a time without having to do her signature reload from the store in her seemingly bottomless cleavage. In one episode, even her cleavage runs out! And at the end of the last episode it is shown just how many rounds her cleavage can carry as they are spilled out in a staggering shower of bullets. That said, she also fires her six-chamber gun seven times without reloading twice in the very first episode.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Mikan has her moments of this.
  • Broke Episode: Rushuna and Yajiro have to resort to street performances in order to get money in one episode.
  • Bullet Time: Done completely in animation any time the action is too fast to humanly follow, such as when Rushuna creates a bullet cascade or stacks a half dozen bullets.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Nearly every episode someone will do this, complete with full-screen titles.
  • Can't Bathe Without a Weapon: Rushuna Tendō does this in the Title Sequence and in one episode, she's bathing and is attacked, but she has her gun where she can snag it with a towel that's at hand.
  • Casting Gag: As with One Piece, Kazuya Nakai voices a badass swordsman in the form of Yajiro Kojima.
  • Character Development: It's amazing how much exploring of each character is fit into twelve episodes without steering away from the plot.
  • Combat Parkour: Rushuna Tendo uses this to dodge attacks with cartwheels and back flips.
  • Double Entendre: Removing the enemies' armor. Some of those enemies would probably prefer that, in place of being shot in the hand.
  • Dramatic Wind: With Mikan's forgiveness, Rushuna's skirt is blown in the wind.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: Yajiro for Rushuna.
  • Evil Counterpart: Setsuna the Tenshi impersonator. This is reflected quite well visually, with her outfit, hair, and skin being stark contrasts to Rushuna's brighter colors.
  • Fanservice: One of the figurines actually came with two different detachable bosoms.
  • Firearms Are Cowardly: The sword-wielding Rōnin Yajiro initially stands by this trope. He believes that gun users are cowards, since they do not personally feel the weight of the lives they take with their weapons, like he and his fellow swordsmen do. Traveling with Rushuna, a master gunslinger, slowly changes his mind, however.
  • Gecko Ending: The anime and manga deviate quite a bit after the appearance of Suirou and Teppa.
  • Godiva Hair: Rushuna fashions a swimsuit out of her hair in one chapter of the manga, when her hydrophobic swimsuit melts.
  • Gorgeous Gaijin: Rushuna is implied to be from America, though she travels under a Japanese name. She has golden hair, a colossal bosom and a gentle and generous Nice Girl attitude, and she is a crack shot with firearms.
  • Gun Kata: While Rushuna is dodging bullets with improbable poses from the very first episode, Rushuna and Setsuna have a short range duel in episode 12.
  • Helium Speech: Happens after Rushuna has to fight underwater and Mikan passes her one of her compressed air canisters so Rushuna can breathe.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Touka Kurenai. After retiring, she became a pacifist who works to give both refuge to the victims of banditry and redemption to bandits who choose to reform themselves, as well as a provide a neutral zone where warriors can seek peaceful (and pleasurable) sanctuary from their violent lifestyle.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal:
    • Mikan manages to produce an inflatable boat, costumes, a glider, even fully colored doubles of herself on demand. And her 50 gallons of water balloons vanishes without a trace. Apparently Mikan is carrying an inflatable portable hole!
    • In a less serious example, Setsuna. Where in hell does she keep that chest when dressed as Tenshi?
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The senshi are often armed with machine guns, yet hardly ever seem to hit anything.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Rushuna is the queen of this, and is often considered to be The Stampede's Distaff Counterpart because of it.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Basically every member of the Elite Imperial Guard. Aizen Teppa uses a special, nigh-invincible cloth, another uses sound, and the Jester uses what appears to be Frickin' Laser Beams, but is actually soul-powered blasts of focused air that can punch through anything.
  • In a Single Bound: Rushuna can pull this off, but so can others.
  • Karma Houdini: After orchestrating the deaths of countless innocents and attempting to conquer the world, Setsuna ... goes for an ocean cruise.
  • Marshmallow Hell: Done humorously, but also practically and for emotional effect as well. Rushuna hides Yajiro from enemy troops in a hot spring with it, but also uses it on a couple of her defeated enemies in a form of the Cooldown Hug.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • Rushuna. Yes. If it weren't for Mai Shuranui, she'd be the queen of this.
    • Also Setsuna.
  • Never My Fault: Averted Yajiro went on a journey to make a name for himself, ensuring the safety of his village Sugana gave her life to save Yajiro's own. Yajiro fully blames himself for what happened, it if for this reason that the clan leader Midare Kojima decided to spare his life. If he had played this straight however he would have killed him.
  • Never Trust a Title: The series doesn't actually have any scenes where anyone uses a grenade.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Some of Rushuna's more oblivious remarks come off as rather snarky if you assume she's just pretending to be an idiot.
  • Odd Couple: Straight-headed gun-hater Yajiro with off-beat gunslinger Rushuna.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Rushuna shoots dozens of people but never kills anyone.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Yatchan, full name Yajiro Kojima.
  • Parrying Bullets: Yajiro uses his katana to fend off bullets, Jedi-style.
  • Playboy Bunny: Mikan has an inflatable outfit of this nature, which can somehow keep her warm on a mountaintop in a blizzard. Rushuna ends up wearing a more literal inflatable bunny outfit for the same reason, which gets closer to the standard concept after it gets ripped and deflates.
  • Power of Rock: One of the Jutensen-Imperial Guard-uses a specialized instrument to deflect bullets, and can probably liquify your innards with a riff.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: The two best marksmen in the show both use revolvers, and Rushuna's is not only a custom job, but also considered very outdated by the standards of the setting.
  • Samurai: Yatchan.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Though not very scary, when Aizen Teppa hides his emotions, his lenses go shiny.
  • Schizo Tech: A mecha, machine guns, and missiles, right next to swords and samurai armor.
  • Serious Business: Rushuna, on hearing a villain refuse her offer of peaceful surrender with no more bloodshed: "Well, in that case; You don't get a smile."
  • She Is All Grown Up: With the use of balloons, Mikan briefly appears to be older than she is, and even does Marshmallow Hell to Yajiro at one point.
  • Spin to Deflect Stuff: Rushuna's method of dodging bullets tends to involve a lot of spinning. In fact, it seems as though simply spinning in place can cause bullets to miraculously change their paths.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Rushuna vs. Suirou.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: It's astonishing how often people will stop and provide commentary on events which must elapse in seconds or less.
  • Talking with Signs: Suirou, one of the Juttensen, communicates underwater at great length with Rushuna, educating her in underwater combat through an extensive series of pre-prepared signs.
  • Technical Pacifist:
    • Yatchan believed that only with a sword could you feel the weight of a human life.
    • In an equivalent example, when Mikan tried to use Rushuna's gun by herself, the trigger pull is apparently very heavy. This is also done to symbolize the weight of a human life that it could take. note . Rushuna also tries to "miss" the vital organs and never goes for a lethal shot.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: Suirou, the underwater specialist member of the Ten Senshi.
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Yatchan versues the Jester.
  • Title Drop: The word "Grenadier" doesn't even come up until the 10th episode, when Rushina is given the title of "Grenadier" for having allegedly slaughtered all the Juttensen that went against her. In the finale, the title is bestowed on her, but repurposed as "Grenadier: The Smiling Senshi" for her mastery of removing an enemy's will to fight.
  • To Win Without Fighting: Rushuna's objective.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The Warrior Aristocrats, their head jealous of the popularity of the Jutensen decided to seek the aid of the Iron Masked Baron their adversary during the great battle of the imperial capital, going so far as to permit him entrance to the Inner Imperial Court. Is it any surprise that they first thing he did was kill them all.
  • Training from Hell: Touka seems to be found of this
  • Unorthodox Reload: Rushuna loads her gun by ejecting bullets from her cleavage. The most amazing part is that she then fetches them with her open revolver. It apparently was part of her training, since Setsuna pulls this off as well.
  • You Have Failed Me: Standard operating procedure for the Jester and part of his master plan.