I have to admit, I’ve been uninspired by anime series as of late. I was going to review one series last week but just couldn’t finish it due to it being too boring. I then found Gunslinger Girl. What I got from Gunslinger Girl is great story telling, slick animation, characters you can really feel for, and a fantastic and yet touching soundtrack. Basically it follows assassins that are bred to be proficient and hard to spot. In addition to having cybernetic enhancements and mindwipes to keep them conditioned, they are also little girls. They assign each of them a “brother” to watch after their development, take only the worst cases and actually give them back life, and they work for the “betterment” of society. I sat down one day and watched the whole series all the way through, then say down again and watched it with others. As I did I caught little things that compounded in the stories, giving me a different perspective each time I watched. Anime fans, you need to watch this one. They may be the most lethal little ladies around, but they are still little girls. Their emotions and reactions are those of young girls.
This is what makes it so well-rounded. Let’s get the obvious out of the way; this is one shockingly grotesque show. Think about it, it’s about little girls, some maybe as young as ten, being transformed from cute little school children into coldly efficient killing machines. The art work gives a plain feel which fits to the story and helps draw you into the characters. It’s also fairly depressing so be prepared for that. The art is superb, the stories are always good and keep building the characters throughout the process, and each person in the show is different.
Season 2 is based even more closely on the manga by Yu Aida and is a direct continuation of the events from the first show. I personally was not put off by the visuals whatsoever. If you are willing to look past the negative things you may have heard, you will be quite pleasantly surprised, as I was. I had heard mostly doom and gloom about how awful Il Teatrino looked, but after actually watching it, I was quite pleased with how it turned out. It turns out that these girls are actually the grizzly remains of humans who by all facts and circumstances should be deceased. Only rather than resting in peace in a cemetery somewhere, these children have been reassembled with cybernetic implants that replace the damaged areas and act as memory suppressants. Okay, so my summary sounds an awful lot like the stuff I was described with the first series but rest assured, the simplified plot synopsis does little to demonstrate the show’s greatest strength.
If you have not seen the first series, I would say buy both, but I believe Gunslinger Girl 2 can stand alone. But, if you liked the first and are expecting more of the same, I think you might be disappointed. The action scenes which are primarily gun battles, are short-lived and brutal. The character designs are a bit more cutesy than before. Many episodes have little to no action at all. It is a bit of a shock given what has come previously and hopefully you won’t be off-set by this. I’m sitting here, as I’m writing this, watching it for the second time. I’m going to go ahead and close this out before I get too long-winded, but if you enjoyed the first season don’t listen to what you may have heard about this being a lesser offering.
This is a good continuation of the original series. The lower budget hurts, but the new animation studio did a good job of capturing the feel of the original series and they continued the storyline. If you dislike the idea of cyborg children running around Italy with guns attacking terrorists- then this is not the series for you. Once you get used to the slight character design changes, there is nothing else keeping you from enjoying this action-packed yet heart-warming anime series. Am I sounding like a broken record yet? I’m just really enthusiastic about this films plot and really want everyone to check this one out. We finally get to see Angelica in action, learn more about Triela’s heartbreaking backstory, and are even introduced to a new fratello. All in all, this is a can’t miss, as we have not one, but two solid season of a great anime.
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