Gunslinger Girl

Classical music and firearms are oddly complimentary. Add in cyborg children and Gunslinger Girl almost pulls the ol’ heartstrings…almost.

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.

Gunslinger Girls

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.


  • The emotions this anime inspires is just too beautiful and too sad. I loved Gunslinger Girl (probably my favorite series ever!) I didn’t find too many flaws with it… I thought the characters were really really well developed, but yea…

    p.s. I enjoyed the second season a lot too.

    • I liked the premise of the anime. I am just used to longer series (52 eps+). I need to look into the second season.

  • This show was effectively the one that drew me back into the anime fandom after a short hiatus and whenever given the opportunity, I’ll gleefully fanboy on it since the artwork, the action, and the story go together so well to create some of the most compelling bits of drama I’ve ever laid eyes on.

    And lest I not live up to my shtick in talking about the music, Sahashi’s soundtrack for this series is absolutely stellar, featuring a mix of orchestral themes that went oh-so-well with the anime itself. Listening to the soundtrack was a treat.

    Too bad the second season was unable to live up to the quality of the first. That was probably the most disappointing show I’ve come across since I really loved Madhouse’s version so much.

    • I haven’t seen the second season yet. I’ve read mixed responses to it. The music is what I find most memorable about Gunslinger Girl. The final scenes with Beethoven’s 9th were well done.

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