Gunslinger Girl follows the missions of Italy’s (yes Italy for a change) Social Welfare Agency. Sounds like a retirement home…only it puts down its guests. The Agency, as it is also called, specializes in counter-intellengence and counter-terrorism. Section 2 uses young girls with cybernetic implants along with her “brother” to assassinate threats to the government. Each cyborg girl (and they are only girls) is paired with a “handler” to train her and take care of her. Each of these “brothers” are allowed to use whatever methods he wants to train her…
No, there aren’t any creepy sexual things in this anime…not overt anyway.
These young girls were once fatally injured or ill in various ways. Once they are submit to the Agency and become cyborgs they are pretty much healthy…other than side effects of brainswashing and the implants anyway. The technology is miraculous. The paralyze walk. The blind see. Unfortunately there is a price. First, the girls forget their past and eventually develop a swiss cheese memory. Next, they have very short life spans compared to their handlers.
Gunslinger girl’s characters are interesting…but the short pace of the first season (only 13 episodes) keeps you from really growing attached to any one character. Even the main character Henrietta doesn’t see enough time to develop. Although her handler’s, Jose Croce, reservations about using young girls as murderers is interesting.
Why the Agency chooses teenage girls isn’t clear. Their youth makes it easier for them to adapt to the implants, but guys could do the same. The anime glosses over a lot of the manga’s story in favor of action.
The music of Gunslinger Girl is wonderful. It uses classical music including Beethoven’s 9th Symphony to excellent effect. The animation quality wavers between sharp detail and crisp motion to more standard fare. The character close ups are where this show shines…literally. There are a lot of wet shine in character’s hair and jackets. It does look good, however.
Gunslinger Girl is a decent show. It felt rushed with just 13 episodes in a season. The next season is supposed to focus more on the storyline and less on action. The anime is tragic and just…just…begins to tug at the heart strings by the end of the season. It has a lot of rather messed up ideas. Using a young girl as a weapon is just one of them. The anime has a lot of potential if they would just focus on the characters more.