Gunslinger Girl

Gunslinger Girl

Gunslinger Girl anime cover art featuring Henrietta
Gunslinger Girl Cover Art

Overview

Gunslinger girl is a drama anime which takes place in Italy. It follows the Social Welfare Agency which is a front for a top-secret government agency which uses child cyborgs as assassins. Young girls who would have died from their injuries and have no living family are taken and given a second chance at life as cyborgs working for this agency.

These girls now possess superhuman strength and receive both weapons and tactics training. However, this is not without its drawbacks. Due to the trauma they sustained, the girls are forced to go through conditioning which makes them obedient to their “handlers,” adult agents who act as their superiors.

This conditioning makes the girls more obedient and efficient, but at the cost of their personality and memories. The level of conditioning received it decided by the handler of each girl so some girls have more extreme conditioning than others. The girls also form very strong, sometimes one-way bonds with their handlers because they are completely dependent on them.

Characters

While multiple of the girls are considered main characters, the one who is the primary character of the series is Henrietta. She is the girl with the most personality in the series, followed by Triela.

Henrietta has a fairly small amount of conditioning compared to some of the other girls because her handler sees her as a surrogate for his own sister. She also knows that she is treated better than the other girls because of this. However, her conditioning completely blocked out her memories from before joining the Social Welfare Agency because of how traumatic her circumstances were.

Triela is the oldest of the girls turned into cyborgs. She acts as a mentor to the other girls, but has issues of her own. Of all the girls, she’s the one who understands their situation the best and acts rebellious at times, even telling her handler to increase her conditioning if he doesn’t like her making her own choices.

In the second season of Gunslinger Girl, Triela becomes more of a main focus as she tries to make sense of whether or not her life has meaning anymore.

Rico is one of the girls who became a cyborg for the Social Welfare Agency without going through serious trauma. Instead, her cyborg body is a second chance at having a life she otherwise wouldn’t have had. Because of this, she does not have her memories erased. Even though she is treated harshly by her handler, she rarely shows any signs of being unhappy.

The final girl I’ll mention is Claes. She no longer goes on missions due to the death of her handler. Instead she lives in the dorms with the other girls, but helps with cyborg research rather than missions. New technologies are first tested on Claes before they are put into the field with the other girls.

Henrietta shooting her P90 out of a moving vehicle from the Gunslinger Girl anime
Henrietta shooting her P90

Conclusion

I watched the first season of Gunslinger Girl almost two years ago, but just watched the second season this past week because I decided it was finally time to finish it. Overall I think this series is a 4/10, but that doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable. It has some animation and voice acting which is awkward and not very good at times which are part of the reason for this low score.

One of the things I like least about Gunslinger Girl is that it’s an unfinished anime. While the manga continued on, the series didn’t get a season after the second and so the anime ends without getting all the way through the manga. I think if the anime was actually a complete version of the manga it would be a better series overall.

Seeing the conclusions for some of the character arcs would definitely make the series more enjoyable in my opinion. I’ll spoil some of the manga here to explain my point. During the series we see a lot of the relationship between Henrietta and her handler compared to the other girls and their handlers, but we don’t see the end of her story.

**Spoilers Ahead**

While the anime doesn’t get this far, Henrietta does eventually meet her end. Traumatic memories of her past cause her to accidentally shoot her handler. He knows he’s going to die due to his injuries and understands that Henrietta won’t be able to live without him, so they form a suicide pact and both kill each other.

The fact that Henrietta and her handler were able to die together by each other’s hands is the culmination of their relationship, but the anime never even got that far. If you’re familiar with some of my favorite anime, you’ll know that bittersweet endings such as that are my favorite which is why I’m so disappointed about this anime.

The second OP for the second season of Gunslinger Girl can be found here.

Loading Likes...

Leave a Comment

Bitnami