English: Gunslinger Girl
Synonyms: Gunslinger Girls
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Oct 8, 2003 to Feb 19, 2004
24 min. per episode
R - 17+ (violence & profanity)
L represents licensing company
Score: 7.661 (scored by 34220 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
action drama girls with guns guns
SynopsisIn the heart of Italy, the Social Welfare Agency rescues young girls from hospital beds and gives them a second chance at life using the latest in cybernetic advancements. With their artificially enhanced bodies, the girls are brainwashed and trained as assassins to carry out the dirty work of the Italian Government. Despite all the modifications, they are still just children at heart, struggling for recognition from those they love, even knowing the love they feel is manufactured. This tragic tale unfolds as these girls grapple with their emotions in an agency that treats them as nothing but ruthless killers.
[Written by MAL Rewrite]
Related AnimeAdaptation: Gunslinger Girl
Sequel: Gunslinger Girl: Il Teatrino
Characters & Voice Actors
What to make of this title? Cybernetically enhanced adolescent girls? Modern military grade small arms and light weaponry? Terrorists? Ah... I know! Girls with guns. Girls on guns. Plying with them. Playing with them. Toying with them. Touching them. Kicking ass. Showing some as well. Skirts so short flipped up from the gusts of grenades. Breasts scantily clad baring through the air as the rest of their curvaceous figures hit ground. Bodies, barrels, bullets highlighted to the finest set of orgasmic ecstasy. If these were your first impressions, slap yourself and get real. Or leave and never look back.
An anime adaptation of a manga of the same name by Yu Aida, Gunslinger Girl was directed by Morio Asaka and produced by Madhouse, the same studio responsible for animating such shows as Death Note, Chihayafuru, Casshern Sins, and Death Billiards. We enter Aida's fictional universe, an officially united, yet undoubtedly divided Italy under siege by extremist groups based off the real world discontent of a prosperous North having to provide for the indigent South. To combat the violent dissent, the Italian government established a secret armed group. Officially, it conducts medical research and provides prosthetic assistance to the public as the Social Welfare Agency. Its primary objective, however, is the eradication of terrorism via the use of cybernetically enhanced assassins. Studies conclude that adolescent female are the most pliable to being “conditioned” for the role, yet how does one find a supply of them without drawing unwanted publicity? Simple: take the poor ones, the broken ones, the ones dealt so cruel and wretched a fate that no one would notice or care if they disappeared. Victims of massacres, mutilations, poverty, and paralysis... of desperation, depravity, indifference, and avarice, they are fixed up, made to forget everything, and are soon after sent off to and for the slaughter. Yet, there's a bug to the brainwash. Mechanical as they are, these assassins aren't unthinking or unfeeling. They aren't devils.
One common criticism of this show revolves around the implementation of its action segments. Whenever action occurs, it ends too quickly to really savor. To this, I say it's unwarranted: it would be dumb for any professional assassin to take his or her sweet time when a confrontation gets hot. Success in that line of work is parts preparation and decisiveness. Realistically, the actual moment of take down is brief compared to the long periods of wait to make it happen. But there are many regardless who prefer the majority of their armed external conflicts consist glorified death matches, to which I say once more: This probably isn't the show for you. In fact, be glad most of the tedium of preparation is omitted. In their place is the show's gem: inner introspective conflicts. These conflicts are what the action has the most consequence. When we see characters enter and leave a shootout, the viewer isn't meant to feel a sense of adrenaline pumping elation over the fact you killed a bunch of generic baddies. Rather, you feel sobriety for the consequences and implications behind killing these baddies, who may not, in fact, be black and white baddies, or killing in general. If you haven't realized from the synopsis in the last paragraph, there's no definitive camp of good or evil. Both the separatists and the government fight for the causes they believe in are just, for reasons that are both consider legitimate and sympathetic. Both use dubious means to see them through, in particular, the Social Welfare Agency's use of what effectively are child soldiers. The handlers of each have own approaches to dealing with the specific one under their care, and their own misgivings (or lack thereof) toward the government's foremost stance on them as killing machines. Each of the child soldiers in turn have their own personal dynamic toward their specific handler, though common denominator between them is a form of love. Whether that love is artificial or natural, something genuine or an obsession, varies with each pairing, or fratello, as the show takes its sweet time meticulously mapping them. The slow and steady pacing is just right to cover this facet among others, when the girls are on the job and when they are off it in between. In a sense, it makes the atmosphere all the more melancholic, in a resplendent, yet somber sort of way.
What else contributes to this atmosphere? One is the cinematography. Every background and object, every sequence of animation is beautifully and fluidly rendered, respectively. Though look closely. The somewhat faded colors, off-color lighting, and carefully placed shadows... it all plays off wonderfully to the maturity of the character designs and the show's general tone.
Two is the immersion. An indicator of excellently executed immersion happens when one can honestly watch a show and feel that its universe can trump on in time regardless of whether or not there happens to be an audience watching. Combined with the fact that many of the tensions explored throughout the series are very real issues in real life and the meticulous attention to detail, not excluding the accurate design of each gun and the mention of each gun's specs, every plot-essential element, every plot-shot character, and every plot-important motivation is so seamlessly integrated, that if were one were to momentarily disregard that cyborgs exist in the capacity that is presented in the show and that separatist movement never historically became as terribly tumultuous as the show presents it as, the show can, in turn, become something of a real experience.
Three is the music. The OP “The Light Before We Land” is an English number sung by the Delgados. Combined with the crash of the drum set, the strum of the electric guitar, and the embellishments of the chorus, the female singer, complemented by a male vocalist in the background, has this harrowing air, reverberating with power yet, at the same time, calm. The ED “Dopo il Sogno ~ Yume no Ato ni” by Opus has as its title a mixture of Italian and Japanese: “After the Dream: There is no Dream After All.” Featuring the vocals of a female, complemented by the pipes of the organ, the reverberations of the marimba, the plucks of guitar strings, and brushes on cymbals, crooning Italian in an expressive, operatic style, the crooning broken into two parts by what sounds like some form of prose. It overshadows the OP's and ED's rather lackluster visuals, the former consisting of a rather plain set of introductions of the main girls, the latter simply an image of a spent handgun and casings laying about in the rain. The OSTs of worthy note throughout the show, at one time given its own seconds to cry out, come in various in different versions, I, an orchestra, II, a lone violin, III, a lone piano, IV, a piano, a choir, a string section, a wind section, yet carry a similar melody, a similar truth, a similar pain. A similar tone. TEMA
There's a couple of things about this show that I have to take from the show. A good portion of Episode 2 was more or less a differently angled retelling of the events of Episode 1, and while Episode 9 introduced some excellent characterization, it took some of the edge off what was supposed to be a bombshell revelation in Episode 10. Nitpicking aside, Gunslinger Girl's semi-major problem isn't what it has. It's what it doesn't. The show spends quite a bit of time towards the fleshing out the characters in how they fit with the universe. It's all well and good, but little goes out toward the development of these characters overtime, and what development occurs gives more credence what's going on in the background versus what's going on with them. This isn't to say each character doesn't feel whole and distinct, but I wished there was a little more to them that I could work with. But then again, I'd rather have the current product, pacing and all, over something rushed.
FN P90, Winchester Model 1897, SVD Dragonov, Steyer AUG A2, H&K VP70M. Henrietta, Triela, Rico, Angelica, Claes. In the end, they aren't quite just weapons themselves. In the end, they are still people, still children. In the end, and if you has the patience to see this show as it is through to the end, you may realize, in both your mind and your heart, your brain and your bowels, that they are still adolescent girls.
I give Gunslinger Girl a 9 out of 10. read more
“I’ve tried turning you into someone stronger,
but lately, I feel uneasy whenever I look at you.”
Simply put, Gunslinger Girl is about hopeless children who are granted another shot at life at the cost of their freedom and innocence. They are given cybernetic implants which enhance their combat capabilities and drugs which impose upon them unquestioning loyalty to their respective masters. Paired with their handlers, they are known as “fratello”, and they must face not only terrorists but the tragedies of the past and the uncertainty of the future as well.
Admittedly, the question “Does the end justify the means?” has been asked implicitly in many other anime and manga. However, GSG is more realistic in its delivery and, some might argue, more socially relevant in the light of the so-called “war against terrorism.” The series shows people on both sides often pursuing honorable goals through questionable means, and the viewers are left to resolve the ethical dilemma on their own.
Nonetheless, the battles against terrorists, corrupt officials, and the mafia serve only as plot devices in most cases. The series focuses instead on the intertwining personal stories and the effects of the conditioning on the girls.
If analyzed individually, the characters themselves are relatively plain. However, it is their complex web of relationships which makes the series shine. The bonds between fratello cover a wide range of roles such as those of parent and child, elder and younger siblings, mentor and student, master and tool, superiors and subordinates, colleagues, and accomplices; and each pair shows varying degrees of compassion and indifference. Several antagonists also retain a certain degree of dignity, further blurring the line that separates “the good guys” from “the bad guys.” Every character has a unique personality as well as a plausible backstory, and these make their interactions all the more interesting.
The anime adaptation closely follows the events of the manga and is faithful to its spirit even with the introduction of new content in the later episodes. However, this may be one of those few instances wherein the anime adaptation is actually more successful in bringing out the full potential of the story. The pacing works better on the screen than on paper, and the quality of the audio and visuals give it the impression of a cinematic experience.
The animation is fluid, consistent, and brimming with fine details. The firearms are shown accurately to the point that it is touted by some as the gun enthusiast’s anime. Prominent brands, landmarks, and works of art are regularly featured, and these contribute to the distinct European ambience of the series. The animators also seem to have deliberately emphasized and blurred light and shadow, giving the show a certain haziness as if to reflect the moral ambiguity which permeates the story.
The soundtrack is composed primarily of intricate orchestral music and unusually devoid of typical J-pop, which seems rather fitting since the events take place in Italy. The Japanese voice actors did well in portraying their respective characters while the English dub is tolerable though stiff sounding in comparison.
As for the opening song, The Light Before We Land by The Delgados sounded odd the first time I listened to it but I later came to appreciate its significance. It’s hard to imagine that the song wasn’t written specifically for this series since its melancholy lyrics and melody fit the show like a glove.
Gunslinger Girl is sober both in content and execution, using a level of subtlety and realism that separates it from other tragic dramas such as Elfen Lied and SaiKano. The series refuses to deal in absolutes, painting everything in shades of gray rather than plain black and white. It shows tragedy and injustice but it also presents a moral dilemma which encourages the viewers to question if the sacrifices have been worth it and if the alternatives would have been any better.
Its open-ended nature would undoubtedly irritate/frustrate some viewers but I think it’s rather fitting for a series that emphasizes hope amidst uncertainty and misery. As Dr. Bianchi might put it, what the audience needs is not proof but faith that the girls would find happiness, even if the facts and metaphors suggest otherwise.
Both deal with powerful organizations, using assassins, to do their dirty work. Dark psychological themes throughout.
Gunslinger girl also deals with girls packing heat in a secret organization of assassins.
Both animes describe a story of top-class assasins who were previously ordinary people... They were forced to forget their past and go through hard training so as to do all the dirty work of the goverment (gunslinger girl) and the inferno(requiem for the phantom)... Also in both animes pure girls are used to make assasins... Finally the dark and serious way the events are described as well as the almost no-existing music is included in both Gunslinger girl and Phantom
Born to kill and trained as assassins, both these series contain the mental and physical action that give the viewers a mind twist ride better than Disneyland; guns involved of course.
Both have awesome assassins and great violence and blood.
Both have a interesting story that will keep you hooked!
1. The basic idea: erasing someone's past and training them into assassins.
2. A lot of gun action.
(Note: Phantom is darker and twisted while G.G. is lighter and somewhat more predictable.)
1) Both have the idea of being brainwashed and then trained as assassins
2) Both have involves the world of guns
In my opinion, Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom has a more psychological, darker, emotional and real life theme to it. Gunslinger girl has slightly less of that but still remains that very same atmosphere.
Both are stories about Top assasins.
Girls and guns; both about assassin girls doing their job perfectly.
Both feature kick-ass girls who are assassins as the main characters. If you liked one, you are probably going to like the other just as much.
Both are dark "girls-with-guns" series. They both also take place in a foreign country other than Japan (France in Noir and Italy in Gunslinger Girl).
Although this anime is quite different it could also be considered quite similar as well. Gunslinger Girl begins with the same premise. Girls with highly refined gun skills working as assassins. I believe both revolve around the pacing of the action sequences and if you enjoyed Noir's actions sequences Gunslinger Girl will definitely be a step up due to the detail taken to animate shooting, recoil, bullet casings, gun powder smoke, etc. If you enjoyed the action sequences in Noir, you likely enjoyed it partly because the pure insanely-cold expressions and ease they dispatched their enemies and in Gunslinger Girls you will definitely find that element still there. Lastly if you simply just enjoy watching girls shoot the crap outta guys against overwhelming odds, Gunslinger Girl is definitely your cup of tea. The main character likes hers with lots of sugar. =P
Both series feature lush European settings, powerful music, and their stories offer a more dramatic spin on the "girls with guns" cliche, emphasizing the heroines' struggles to unlock dark pasts and understand "who" they really are.
Opening Theme"The Light Before We Land" by The Delgados
Ending Theme"Dopo il Sogno ~Yume no Ato ni~" by op.
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Baka-br [Baka BR] (Brazilian Portuguese)
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