Studio/Creator: Madhouse/Yu Aida
Distributor: FUNimation. Also streams on their site, Youtube, and Hulu.
No. Of Episodes: 13
Suggested Age: 16+
My Rating: 8/10
Summary: This story is set in Italy and concerns five girls: Henrietta, Rico, Triele, Claes, and Angelica. Each girl has been given cybernetic enhancements by a government agency called the SWA. Each girl is condtioned and trained by a “handler” as an assassin for the agency.
Review: This was not an easy series for me to watch, mostly because it was so sad. What I found most interesting was how different each girl was. Henrietta is the focal character. She is quiet and very emotionally attached to her handler Guise (pronounced “Jose”) . My favorite girl was Triele. Don’t let her pigtails and stuffed animal collection fool you–this girl is someone you don’t mess with! The weak link in the group has to be Angelica, who is not only clumsy, but also a bad shot.
This has to be one of Madhouse’s best looking titles in terms of background art. In episode seven, the girls have a mission at a museum, and we get to see some very well-done depictions of Renaissance art. As a fan of this era of art, I thought this was neat. We also get some nice shots of Italy’s architecture.
The only flaw is that I really feel that the show was rushed and didn’t spend enough time on its story. It was nice to have all those character-centered episodes for the first half, but we need more plot for this kind of story too. Everything felt like a setup for the second season (which I will also review in two weeks). Even though I’m a character-oriented person, I think more story would’ve made it better. This really should have been 26 episodes.
Sub/Dub: An online friend of mine reviewed this series as well and watched the dub version. She told me that she thought the dub was very well done and had some great acting.
Music/Score: The music is very tragic. The opening theme was quite fitting, and I love the English lyrics. The closing theme, I didn’t like much. Maybe it’s because I don’t speak Italian.
Violence: (8/10) There’s a lot of gun-related violence, so much that I wondered if the girls would ever run out of ammo. The fact that these are children makes this even more disturbing. If you don’t like graphic violence, skip this series.
Sexuality: (3/10) SPOILER! In episode 4, we learn that as part of Henrietta’s conditioning, the SWA removed her uterus. (Interestingly enough, she’s the only one they did this to)
Related Media: There’s a sequel series called Gunslinger Girl: Il Teatrino, which was done by Artland Studio (makers of Mushi-shi) Both series are based on an ongoing manga in Japan. It was originally published in America by ADV, but when ADV changed to Sentai Filmworks, they folded their manga division. Then Seven Seas took over.