Gunslinger Girl

Title:Gunslinger Girl
GS Girl
Gunslinger Girls
Keywords: , , , , , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - Madhouse
INOUE Norihiro
KIUCHI Hidenobu
NOTO Mamiko
R1 License - FUNimation
Welcome to the Social Welfare Department, also known as Section 2. On the surface, the workers of Section 2 travel from hospital to hospital looking for little girls that have been in serious accidents and are in danger of dying. The MUST not have any surviving family. They take the girls to their special hospital and cure them. Their TRUE purpose is much more sinister. Section 2 is the home of a bunch of Ex Intelligence and Military Personnel and the Gunslinger Girls. Little Girls who have been Altered by Technology to have faster reflexes, perfect hearing and eyesight, and nearly indestructible bodies. They are the assasins of the government, working in the shadows to ensure that the politicians are happy, and therefore no one knows of their existence. Each girl is paired with a handler to which they have sworn absolute loyalty, and are officially known as Fratellos. But technology has a price, and it's something that each little girl has to pay. And sometimes the price can be high.

The anime is mostly focused on Henrietta and her handler Jose but there are actually 10 Gunslinger Girls: Henrietta, Rico, Triela, Angelica, Claes, Elsa, and 4 unmentioned ones in the first series.

This is probably the only anime exclusively set in Italy.
[13 TV episodes. 23 Mins Each]
R1 license by Funimation.
2:07min Funimation Trailer - YouTube Video

Also see sequel - Gunslinger Girl -Il Teatrino-.
Episode Details 
1, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 99
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Buy 9 9 8 8 9 8 Dreamer [series:690#2279]
Here's another one I saw a while back but failed to review it here at Mikomi. So I re-watched it and still thought it was well worth it. One word..... awesome!

Art, Animation & Character Designs
The art was pretty good. The colors were rich and there were a good amount of details. Animation was smooth so the frame rate must be pretty high or at least higher than the norm. Character designs were well done too. Mostly a western feel to them.... even though they had european names.

The OP was pretty good. It was mature female vocals to some pianos, guitars and some wind instruments. Not too bad at all. Here and there throughout the anime, there would be some piano pieces... mostly light. At times, these piano pieces would give a sense of loneliness, or sorrow... which actualy worked well for the mostly "dark" undertones of the anime. The ED was great! It was an opera piece, slightly dark but done well and fit well to the overall anime.

Series and Episode Story
The concept of little girls slinging huge guns and being snipers and assassins might be disturbing to some "western" ideas. As for me, I found nothing wrong with it, since afterall, it's only an anime..... right? One of things that this anime has going for it was its detailed plot. Each girl had a unique background that was explored to some extent. The interwoven subplots were great and had me glued to the LCD at each episode. Henrietta (our protragonist), was both a sad and happy girl. I say this because in a way, I felt sorry for her situation..... as sometimes it appeared throughout the anime, yet she seems content in her "trade". All the little girls were so well developed, or at least their story is told enough that you feel sympathy for them, thus, you're emotionally drawn into their lives. By the way, if you get squeamish about blood, you might have to close your eyes often here.

Overall, this is great anime. It has a very involving and unique plot and the characters are developed enough to be emotional attached.

Last updated Friday, May 01 2009. Created Thursday, April 30 2009.
Buy 9 10 8 9 8 8 Ggultra2764 [series:690#1552]
Wow. This was all I could say during my first viewing of Gunslinger Girl, an action-drama with a refreshing twist on the "girls with guns" genre.

The thing that really makes the storyline for Gunslinger Girl memorable are the depth and storylines with the girls working for a government agency using questionable means to get assassins to hunt down terrorists. These girls suffered through tragic events in their lives which led them to being made into cyborg assassins. Despite these hardships, these girls are happy with the lives they live with the agency and their handlers. They can't comprehend the morality of their actions, but are being given a second chance at life. The line between right and wrong is blurred throughout this series as despite how dark the storyline seems, it doesn't get too depressing. Even with scenes of seeing these children being involved in assassinations, there are lighter moments shown with the girls interacting either with each other or their handlers.

The series does a solid job at exploring the relationships of the fratellos, especially in regards to the personalities of the handlers and girls. Each fratello view their relationships in different ways from the brother-sister relationship of Henrietta and Jose to the worst-case relationship involving Elsa and her handler.

However, some character and plot backgrounds are not explored such as the origins of the Social Welfare Agency and the pasts of Triela and Claes. I was even curious just what kind of life Jose had before being partnered up with Henrietta. In addition, the choice of ending didn't feel complete to me as it left some events open such as the conflict the Agency had with the Pandanian terrorist faction and the fate of one of the girls.

Visually, Gunslinger Girl's Italian settings were quite a sight with detailed artwork for Italian cities and famous historical settings. The character designs, while looking simple, were detailed and had plenty of color. The battle scenes were very fluid and smooth as there was plenty of movement from characters and detail put into the designs of firearms used by the characters.

While a bit short, Gunslinger Girl makes for a great action-drama which explores the joys and tragic consequences of each of the fratello relationships mixed with great action scenes in the criminal underworld of Italy.

Last updated Friday, May 23 2008. Created Friday, May 23 2008.
Buy 9 9 8 9 9 Lordcloudstrife [series:690#2553]
Well Gunslinger Girl is a great show. Although I havn't seen many episodes I still got to say it is an awesome show, Basically it is about girls who are really androirds used for war. The story is like a lot of anime storys but it pulls it off better. Gunslinger girl has a good amount of actions and also has some good parts that will help people understand it a lot better. It aired on IFC in America but recently has not been airing. They have DVD's of it and I definatly reccomend them. Why did I give no 10's you may ask though? Well I'm a bit of a picky guy and I didn't find any part of this to really be considered "perfect", if I had to choose one thing to give a 10 it would have to be the art. The art is nearly perfect. It is beautiful and beats out other commonly aired animes of 2003. Although its not perfect, if you like sci fi animes, or just any animes you should check it out.

Last updated Thursday, April 19 2007. Created Thursday, April 19 2007.
Buy Stretch [series:690#628]
The thing that struck me about this show is the way I immediately "bonded" with Henrietta, feeling sorry for her and almost imploring God that this poor child enjoy a little peace and happiness somehow. Right from the first episode this show grabbed my heartstrings, and I could not wait to see how things would work out between her and her "handler", Guise. Nothing like these feelings came to me during Kite or Noir, two other anime about female assasins. Henrietta and her comrades, after all, are little more than children and did not volunteer to be assasins, which is a clever "spin" on the cute-girls-with-guns genre. They are fascinating in that they exhibit both childish innocence and indifference to the people they've been ordered to kill (due to the "conditioning" they've been given). They feel neither pride nor remorse over her work, they only want to please their handlers (whose attitudes towards them range from treating them as a beloved little sister to treating them as inhuman tools used only to get a job done). The whole set-up kind of reminds me of Gantz--persons who ought to be dead are given a second chance at life on the condition that they becomes expert killers. The Italian setting of the show is exotic and interesting--sometimes I find myself thinking that the characters really are talking in Italian, then I remember that it's Japanese with a few Italian words sprinkled in. Character designs seemed a touch simplistic to me, but it's not a serious problem. Gunslinger Girl gets pretty violent at times, but it doesn't seem all that dark to me, perhaps because the girls are so oblivious to the concept of right and wrong. The episodes seem to go by so fast! It's as if they were only 15 minutes long, which is a sure sign that I'm engrossed in the story. Perhaps one thing that contributes to this sensation of brief episodes is that several have ended suddenly without as much closure as I'd expected. When the final episode came to an end, I was left feeling that yes, this was a tragic series, but not a depressing one. In fact, I detected an encouraging resiliancy on the part of the girls--the hand they've been dealt in life is very poor, but they fully intend to make the best of it. There are a few strings left hanging--like who was that blonde terrorist woman who appeared several times, but had nothing to do with the conclusion? Still, I think the series ends in such a way that it is moving and complete by itself, yet additional episodes could be added on seamlessly (and one of the commentary extras hinted that a second season is possible). I'm not holding my breath waiting for more episodes, but I don't feel a need to know exactly what will become of the girls either. Such is the pleasingly subtle way Gunslinger Girl ends--it gets it's message across without cramming it down your throat.

The "Extras" on the Funimation DVDs are really neat, including profiles of the different girls, an interview with their English VAs (all five of them!), commentaries by the directors and technicians, and details of the firearms the girls employ (I'd like to know more about that P90 assault rifle that seems to ignore all the norms of weapons design). An especially unusual bonus is a set of three animations which demonstrate all the steps involved in drawing a single "cell" of one of the girls--the basic colors, shadows, highlights, fine details, etc. It certainly gives you an idea how much work goes into making a show like this.

In short, engaging characters, an intriguing storyline, exotic locales, and a healthy dose of shoot-em-up action makes this my favorite female-assasin anime, and one of the best girls-with-guns shows altogether. I began rewatching it rightaway, this time in dubbed mode. Maybe it's my imagination, but the colors seem distinctly brighter in this mode--I had assumed the drab, dreary palete of the subtitled version was intentional to set the mood for the show, but perhaps I'm mistaken. The voice of Guise (or is it now Jose?) works fine for me, but somehow Henrietta and several other girls have a bit too much helium in their voices.

I don't have a favorite line for this show (the characters don't talk all that much and joke even less) but my favorite scene would have to be in episode two when Henrietta thinks a restaraunt waiter might be trying to kill Guise.

Catch Henrietta's montage at the Cute Girls with Guns page!

Last updated Wednesday, December 08 2010. Created Monday, July 17 2006.
Buy Forbin [series:690#1573]
Analysis : All R1 Disks watched.
  • Drama : High
  • Comedy : Low
  • Action : High
  • SciFi : Low
    • The girls are cyborgs but this is never really shown, just implied.
  • Ecchi : None

Wow who the hell got this approved. Little girls who battle terrorists in Italy? Damn what a strange plot. But what an awesome anime. Each girl has a life that just wants to make you cry.

OMG I loved this, and I'm so pissed. It's only 13 episodes and they only touch on a much larger story. The drama is incredible, and Funi did a great job.

Funimation shows that they have one of the most Superior dubbing studios. I hope Negima! will benefit from this.
  • Edit 8/2/06: Nope, Negima sucks ass.
GSG2!!!! Whee! GSG2 DOH!

Last updated Wednesday, September 19 2007. Created Sunday, July 17 2005.
Buy 10 10 8 8 8 8 AstroNerdBoy [series:690#436]

I put off watching this series for a while because of things I'd read. GSG is a depressing series and is certainly not for everyone. However, if you are willing to take a walk off the beaten path, this anime has a lot to offer, but does have some problems.

GSG is hard to watch because seeing innocent pre-pubecent girls turned into cold assassins is tough. The girls still have feelings and while their past may be gone and much of them may be artificial, they are still human. All of the girls love their handlers, some more so than others. For me, this made it even tougher to watch. Some of the handlers treat their girl like a tool and that sucked.

The core characters are Henrietta and her handler ("brother") Josè and they get more screentime than the others. However, this is needed since Josè is the kindest handler in the program. The series is so dark that seeing Josè and Henrietta working together provides the heart-warming stuff that eases the darkness. Each of the girls are given at least one focus episode so that we see them in action and their relationship with their handler. As such, the audience can connect to each of the girls and that makes what happens to them all the more heart-felt (whether good or bad). Getting passed the girls conditioning, seeing them in action was very cool. These girls kick major butt and are not only assassins but act as bodyguards for their keepers. I found this to be extremely facinating.

That said, 13-episodes weren't quite enough to bring everything to a resolution. I don't know that GSG could support a 26-episode season or even a 24-episode season. However, with 13-episodes, we don't find out what happens with all of the girls, the program they are in, and more importantly Josè. Sadly, we don't know why he got into the program and his background wasn't explored much. His older brother Jan is also in the program and the two are completely opposite when it comes to training their girl. Why? There are some other questions I had as well.

Bottom line: I give this a buy because I found it to be a powerful series, but it won't be for everyone. The concept of the series is unique and the stories are interesting. While action plays a part in this series, the story and characters are the focus thus taking it to the next level.

Last updated Thursday, July 15 2004. Created Monday, May 31 2004.

Buy 9 9 10 8 10 9 MADz [series:690#1223]
I bought the first nine epsiodes on VCD and was pleasantly suprised. The show has the same feel as the sadder episodes of Cowboy Bebop or the Ruroni Kenshin OVA. This series has a defined darkness to it. You really start to get into the girls' heads, but the fact that they are "conditioned" prevents predictability. The main characters Jose and Henrietta are so lovable. The only dissappointment was that i thought i had bought the complete series in that the 9th episode was going to be an ending, however i understand that they are still in production. So i am left here wanting more.
All in all its a smart touching anime with beautiful visuals and a cast of interesting complex characters. Well worth the money.

Last updated Monday, February 16 2004. Created Monday, February 16 2004.
Watch 10 10 9 9 9 9 Anonymous #1072 [series:690#1072]
I have seen episodes 1-5 in these series.
It's a heart-breaking story about five main girls: Henrietta, Rico, Claes, Triela, and Angelica; all of whom have no memories of their past. They are trained as assasins, their bodies are "conditioned", or mechanical. They don't think when they kill and have no conscience of it. The girls are part of a welfare organization that does the dirty work for the government.

Last updated Saturday, November 15 2003. Created Saturday, November 15 2003.
Rent 9 9 8 9 6 9 Zarathustra [series:690#1035]
Gunslinger Girls - a total of 13 Episodes
When I watched the first few episodes I thought - hey it will be among the best animes I have ever seen (and I think of myself as I had somewhat of a high standard).
However the series kept the suspense, the sad atmosphere, the great style and of course the catching music but it failed to keep the promises given at the beginning.
When it started to become interesting it was over. I mean - until now I thought Neon Genesis Evangelion had no real ending but this is just ridiculous - I could not believe it was over until I saw these 4 letters looming - FINE (no, this is Italian for "end").
The concept of 'conditioned' little girls hiding P90s in their violin cases was new to me and if you are interested in this kind of stories (set in modern Italy) - go ahead, take a look. Do not expect a real ending. Lots of conflicts remain open...
Altogether Gunslinger Girls fails to overcome its mediocrity and thus stays your average anime. A typical "rent" candidate.

Last updated Saturday, March 06 2004. Created Monday, November 10 2003.

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