There are two versions of the Gunslinger Girl anime. The first version was done by Madhouse, the makers of such great titles as Trigun, Monster, and Death Note. They tend to make anime on a grand style, and don’t really have a “typical” look to them. The second version, Gunslinger Girl Il Teatrino, was produced by Artland studio, which made Mushi-shi, Reborn, and Legend of the Galactic Heroes. Does the difference in studios really matter? Let’s find out. We’ll use the following criteria: Art/Animation, Story, Music, and Characters.
Art/Animation: I am a big fan of Madhouse and have found few titles that truly displeased me. They know how to make beautiful anime, and we see lots of that in episodes 7 and 13 of their version. Artland, however is a smaller studio on a smaller budget, and unfortunately, it shows. The first opening for Il Teatrino had boring still images and the character designs aren’t nearly as pronounced. (I wasn’t too fond of the changes in hair color and style. For example, I thought Angelica looked better with black hair, like she had in season 1. Overall, I’d say Madhouse wins this round. (original: 1, Il Teatrino: 0)
Story: My main problem with both seasons is that with only 13 episodes each, there isn’t much time to tell a story. The average anime series lasts 24-26 episodes. I really feel that both seasons would have been better if there was more time. The original spends a great deal of time on character development, while the Il Teatrino spends a good amount of time on plot development and assumes you already watched the original. I think the second season handles the plot better, but the first did a good job with the character development, allowing you to really get to know the girls. So, both get a point (original: 2, Il Teatrino: 1)
Music: I really like the opening theme for Season 1 (the fact that it’s in English helps : D) The second season’s opening isn’t all that great. A nice suprire, however is hearing “Scarborough Fair”, one of my all time favorite songs. For this reason, we have a tie point here. (original: 3, Il Teatrino: 2)
Characters: As I said in the story, the original really allowed you to get to know the characters. Il Teatrino didn’t let you get to know the heroes and spent a lot of time on the villains. I don’t like how it assumes you watched the original. Point goes to season 1 (original: 4, Il Teatrino: 2)
Final Tally: Original: 4, Il Teatrino: 2
So with our final tally, we have season 1, with 4 points, as the winner. This doesn’t mean I think Artland did a bad job. On the contrary, I think Artland did a good job with the resources they had. It’s not up to par with Mushi-shi, but Il Teatrino is pretty good.