I think anyone who enjoys anime with a good plot and great actors should be willing to check out this series. Gunslinger Girl is a gem that I think most people would overlook or just may not heard about. Its two seasons with about 24 episodes and I believe one OVA.
This anime follows a group of girls recruited by the Social Welfare Agency. Basically the Agency is responsible for saving terminally ill or dying girls and recondition their bodies and minds to make them assassins. Their bodies are basically improved and made into cyborg bodies while their memories are erased. The main characters are Henrietta and Josie her handler, and together they form a fratello which means siblings in Italian. The handlers’ responsibility is to condition their girl into the perfect killer by any means they see fit. This series did remind me of the movie “The Professional” with a young Natalie Portman which coincidentally is on tv right now in V for Vendetta.
What I found so enticing about the series is the relationship between the girls and their handlers. Each handler has his own method in training his girl and because of the conditioning of each girl; each girl wants to make their handler proud of them. This in it self can cause the girls to manifest emotions of love for their handler, some view their handler as perhaps a brother, or father, some a friend and others as a lover. The girls are young and are confused at times by their feelings and all they know is they want that person to accept them. On the other side the handlers themselves see them differently some view them as nothing more than tools to be used while others may treat them like human or adolescent girls. Suffice it to say is that every relationship is different and each handler must find a balance with the girls and their relationship to make them better killers and you get an in depth view of each girl and her relationship with her handler. This can make you feel for each of the girls because each one has had a hard life and now they are being used as assassins.
Enough with this emotion stuff, lets talk about the girls themselves. Well each girl is like I said a cyborg they are super strong and pretty resilient as long as they are not shot in the head and their bodies can be repaired. They have excellent hearing and reflexes but still they have to train to get use to their bodies, this is what their handlers help them with. The more conditioning they receive the less human they become until they are emotionless killing machines, this also can cause memory loss and eventually their bodies shutting down on them.
I think the pacing is brilliant in this anime and the action sequences are superb as well. It’s one of those anime series that make you keep watching. It is sometimes jarring seeing some of these sweet looking innocent little girls suddenly flip out and start killing people and just become a killing machine. I believe it’s during the second season where they start following one of the older girls more, Triela. She seems to be more emotionally free than the other girls, because she talks back to her handler I’m not sure if its because of the conditioning because it’s mentioned that the other girls have their reproductive organs removed while she has not, it also seems they are still trying to find a balance between the girls and their conditioning.
In the end this is an anime that I think most people will be satisfied with watching and will enjoy the excellent quality of this anime. I think I still make pick this up on blu ray or something. I also believe this is one of those anime series that would translate well into a live adaptation.