No Guns Life tells the story of Juzo Inui, a man whose head was replaced by a large gun. Though it was a story originally published in 2014, the manga has only recently been released elsewhere. No Guns Life is a unique tale, blending mystery and science-fiction in a strange futuristic world where the remnants of a past war linger. It is a way of teaching readers about humanity, even while the main character himself appears to be anything but!
Now that we at Honey’s Anime have had some time to think about this interesting novel, we wanted to talk about some of the ways that No Guns Life has used the concept of having a gun for a head to talk about wider themes. This is a truly enjoyable manga, and we’re here to show you a little bit about why that is!
Different Focus and Challenges
Juzo and the other Extended of the city have slightly different worries in life thanks to their enhanced body parts. Juzo especially struggles with his form, as he is one of the most unique Extended with a large modified head. From the beginning, we see the difficulties he has with his appearance. He cuts a menacing figure anywhere he goes, and everyone recognizes him immediately. At the same time, he cannot really use his head to fire at anyone without someone else to pull the trigger, and we see from the very first few scenes that he is against anyone touching that trigger. Juzo says he is looking for someone he can trust with his trigger, and it doesn’t seem as though trust comes easily in this world.
The Extended also have different challenges based on how their bodies are designed. Juzo is worried about getting his head wet and rusting, so many of the same rules that might apply to a normal gun seem to apply to him. Yet the main worry that comes from being an Extended is being used by another person. While Juzo works to help mitigate the Extended for payment, others are not so lucky. Throughout the story, we see many of the Extended abused for their enhancements. The same theme arises for them all – “I am not a tool.”
Desired Change or Added Discrimination?
Throughout No Guns Life, the characters exist in a sort of dichotomy around their abilities, where they simultaneously appreciate the changes that come with being an Extended while they also wish they could only be normal. Depending on which character we look at, we can see the differences in weight on either side of this contrast. For example, those who work in and around Beruhren tend to embrace their abilities more, since their entire focus is on creating better Extended. The children in their care mostly hate the gifts that have been forced upon them, though they often cannot change their path. As for Juzo, he stands in the middle ground between these two opposites, as he uses his abilities to help him make a living even while he hates the aspects that make him an “over-extended” being.
People of society also treat the Extended differently. In many ways, the Extended could be compared to veterans in our own society. These people went through great lengths to become powerful soldiers, but now that the war is over, they have been discharged to wander the world. Yet average people in the city seem to look down on them, treating them as lesser beings. Many of these Extended live up to these low standards. Of course, this is how Juzo has a job as a Resolver, working on cases involving the Extended. However, it is interesting to see the similarities between the discrimination seen within No Guns Life and minority groups in our own society.
Humanity Bleeding Through
Juzo and the rest of the Extended appear vastly different from the rest of humanity. At the same time, little moments throughout No Guns Life show how these characters are more linked to their humanity than we might expect. The Extended still feel, bleed and die, just the same as humans do. Despite Juzo’s deadly appearance, his vivid facial expressions show the person he used to be, and still truly is. It is actually amazing how realistic his emotions can be given that he really doesn’t have much of a face! This is true of every Extended being we meet along the way, even those who work for Beruhren.
Using people with such unique appearances, like the Extended, just highlights the unity that we all share on this earth. No matter how different someone might seem from you, there are some things that connect us all together—even if you’re someone with a gun for a head!
No Guns Life uses its strange sci-fi elements to highlight the themes for its readers. Whether it is in showcasing the similarities between all people or in making you consider the position that another person might be in, this series has important life lessons for us all. And for those who are not interested in reading the manga, the new anime adaptation will be released in just a few weeks!
Have you given No Guns Life a try? Let us know your thoughts on the themes we discussed from this series!