Striking The Right Note: Grenadier

Okay, I may have a hard time explaining this one. One thing I can promise you, though, it isn’t for the reasons you are gonna think. I actually really love this OP, and the show itself, for reasons unrelated to boobs.

Grenadier is a 12 episode, 2004 series from the now defunct Studio Live/ TAC Group. Back when, they made shows like Black Blood Brothers, Gilgamesh, and Grappler Baki. Then bankruptcy happened. As it tends to when people mismanage fiances.

The story of Grenadier follows the young gunslinger Rushuna Tendo, a practitioner of a gun kata martial arts style that makes her a senshi, or Enlightened One, as she meets a samurai named Yajiro Kojima. At first, Yajiro doesn’t care for Rushuna, as he feels guns are changing the world in the wrong way, and people should still rely on the strength of a sword. Slowly, as the two travel together, hounded by a mysterious man called The Jester, he begins to see the world through Rushuna’s eyes, and grows to understand her point of view.

It is not necessary to kill. It is only necessary to take away a person’s will to fight.

Rushuna never kills anyone. She disables them, but she never kills. Her skill with a firearm is almost supernatural, the result of years of training, and her ability to make snap decisions and analyze a battlefield are almost inhuman. With these skills, she seeks only to help people find a way other than violence, and earns the nickname The Smiling Senshi.

Oh, and yes, she’s absurdly buxom. I know. That’s beside the point, however, because it is Rushuna’s character that matters here. Her eternal optimism. Her unwillingness to take a life. Her compassion towards even her enemies. These are the things that make her a compelling protagonist, and the traits that draw out the best in Yajiro as the story progresses.

Now get your mind out of the gutter. That’s where mine sleeps, and I’m tired.

Part of what makes the OP for Grenadier work is that most of what makes Rushuna work as a character are right there in the visuals. She’s a traveler, always on the move, always seeking to help others. Her skill with a gun, her perpetual smile, her ease with herself as a human being. She never thinks of her own nudity, not because she’s naive, but because to her, it is irrelevant. Clothes don’t make her a good or bad person, so why would lack of them change anything?

It’s worth noting, the character is somewhat based on Rushana Buddha, and her last name means “Heavenly Path”. So, yeah, there’s a good bit of enlightenment going on with this gal. Personally, I found that engaging, as even the more fan servicey parts of the show were also an extension of her philosophical beliefs.

It’s weird, and I may have an interest in Buddhism, so you’ll just have to take my word on all this.

The other thing that makes the OP work is the music. “Kohaku”, from Mikuni Shimokawa, the same artist that brought us the theme music to Full Metal Panic!, Kino’s Journey, Hunter x Hunter, and even one from Fairy Tail, among her many others.

There’s an ethereal quality to it all, an otherworldly touch, the goes hand in hand with Rushuna as a character. A sense that there’s more to it all then what we are getting. It fits with the narrative, and with her character, to an amazing degree. Plus, it’s super soothing, which may be a big part of what I like about it.

As a series, Grenadier is an odd but memorable watch, and definitely a product of the early 2000’s. The music, though, is really something special, and as an OP, it sets a perfect tone for the series as a whole. You will know exactly what you’re getting into with this one.

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