|A character-driven and touchy look into young cyborg assassins.||5 out of 5 users found this review helpful.|
At some points, the series also dabbles into the morality surrounding the Social Welfare Agency’s activities and the darker side of the fratello relationships. On the moral end, the origins of each of the girls and the mindsets of a number of the Agency’s staff and handlers make you wonder what the least of two evils are regarding the girls’ present predicament: whether it was right to leave them hospitalized to make them live with the suffering faced by their tragic situations or to give them a second chance at life with the cyborg implants despite being brainwashed to be assassins for the agency. Some later episodes of the series also look into darker aspects of being a fratello shown through two pairings whose treatments of the cyborgs by their handlers show strained relationships from differing circumstances via the mentality of the handler. The story of Marco and Angelica’s relationship is a rather touching and painful one to look into when you see Gunslinger Girl’s second half.
The one major aspect to Gunslinger Girl that may be an issue for some, depending on what they are looking for in this series, would be plotting. The series is mostly a character-driven focus on the fratellos during missions and at the agency. And despite the nice amount of character chemistry and details revealed on the pasts of some of the girls and handlers, not every major character within the SWA has their past unveiled in this season of Gunslinger Girl. In addition, focus on crime syndicates like the Republican Faction and the Mafia, with exception of a couple minor characters, were limited to episodic antagonists who eventually wind up having their plans foiled by the agency’s intervention.
On my end, I do have a couple things to fuss over. My first issue would be the show’s first two episodes. Essentially, a good amount of episode two was a repeat of the events from the previous episode and both were shifting between past, present and future points in their focus on Henrietta and Giuse’s developments. This will make the perspective of time confusing for first-time viewers. My second issue is the choice of ending for the series. Besides not really providing much of a conclusion, the events involving one key character in the series are rather deceptive when you see them in the show’s second season, Il Teatrino.
On the visual side, Gunslinger Girl excels very well. There’s a great amount of detail put into the scenery and character designs of the series, especially with the great amount of detail on firearms. Vibrant colors do well at painting a seemingly natural appearance for each of the random Italian locales the agency visits and conveying the seemingly innocent appearances of the girls in contrast to the violence they normally inflict and are exposed to. Action scenes were quite fluid and well choreographed with chase scenes and fights with weapons or hand-to-hand being a treat to watch.
The show’s soundtrack consists of beautiful, somber and intense music tracks that do their part at painting the tensions and interactions between the characters when interacting with one another in missions and at the agency, as well as the show’s well-animated action scenes. The opening song of the series, “The Light Before We Land” from the Delgados, paints a good enough mood of what you can expect from the series with its melody and lyrics.
Overall, Gunslinger Girl is quite character-focused in its storytelling. It paints a believable focus on the interactions between those within the SWA and the darker aspects of the fratello relationships. While having some issues, the series is a worthwhile action-drama with well-animated action scenes and natural character chemistry.