This series is about a small group of young girls who are recruited by a government agency called the Public Corporation for Social Welfare. This agency, which supposedly serves the purpose of aiding those with physical disabilities, augments the girls and trains them as covert assassins, pairing each with a handler, and using them against various terrorist groups and criminal organizations throughout central and eastern Europe.
Being the SOCOM nut that I am, I originally decided to watch this series because I saw an image of the cover that had an FN P-90 and an AUG STG-77 on it. And what a pleasant surprise, there was a great series to go along with the guns.
Allrighty, first I'll touch on the animation quality. It's excellent, simple as that, with only one scene (in thirteen episodes) of running down a street featuring buildings that were obviously CGI, the rest were magnificent. All characters being drawn well, having relatively unique appearances (as uniquely as possible in a present-day series without giving someone random blue hair). And the locations, which are set in Europe, are both detailed and, as far as I can tell, VERY well researched. The animation is always fluid, and the combat comes of well, too, though some uses of the weapons seem odd to me; but I might not have known the particular type of gun in use, so I'll chalk it up to my own ignorance, since the rest of the show seems so well researched.
The story is somewhat lacking, though, if you are expecting loads of political intrigue, like I was. While the political side of the story is mostly ignored (though mentioned), the polt focuses instead on this small group of girls. This works just as well, bordering on what I suppose could be called "slice of life" (though I'm not too familiar with that genre, I think the moniker fits). The terrorist organization does have a couple of recurring characters who do seem important, but little besides their occupation is known. I assume they are from the manga, but I've read the first volume, so I know they haven't appeared as of yet.
I'll also mention that the series sticks very closely to the first volume of the manga, though some episodes focused on particular characters could be from later volumes.
The pairing between a young girl and an older handler might make some people nervous, but there is nothing objectionable (if there was, I would've stopped watching, and this is a complete review, so what does that tell you?). The physical and mental conditioning makes the girls loyal to, and protective of, their handlers, and there is some discussion of how this affects them.
The music is nice, lots of classical, though, so nothing really stands out(besides Beethoven's 9th Symphony, the use of which is quite nice). The acting is also nice, with no one's voice being so shrill as to drive one mad, or shrill at all, for that matter. The acting is good, is what I'm trying to say.
And now in finishing, this is a very enjoyable series, with my only complaint being that it was so short (the ending would allow for one, but even if they don't make a sequel, the current ending is suitable). This might not be for everyone, but it's well worth your time, so if you are so inclined, give it a watch.
I personally would give this a five, but I think it might be too episodic and lacking in a strong plot for most people, so I'll take it down one star. Add that star back if you like to see guns, or if you just want to watch something and enjoy it. — Samuel Arbogast
Recommended Audience: Due to some occasionally graphic violence, the dubious morality of the organization central to the plot, and some harsh language, THEM recommends this for teens and above.
Version(s) Viewed: Prerelease fansub
Review Status: Full (13/13)
Gunslinger Girl © 2003 Yu Aida / Marvelous Entertainment / Media Works / Gunslinger Girl Production Committee
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