Monday, May 14, 2007

Gunslinging My Way through Puberty

When gunfire ruptures throughout a building, the last thing a person thinks is that a preadolescent girl is holding the gun. But if you live in the corrupt Italy of Gunslinger Girl, you would be surprised to find that your assassin isn’t even old enough to go to an R-rated movie. But then, what isn’t more impressive than a ten year old asking you if you feel lucky…

Gunslinger Girl is a 13-episode anime made by Madhouse and Bandai, in which 5 girls are brainwashed, implanted with cybernetic augmentations, and trained to be the most elite soldiers that exist in all the world. And these teenage killing squads are not only efficient, but they are loyal enough to be trusted in any circumstance.

Based on an anime series by Yu Aida, we find out about the world of counter-terrorism primarily from following Henrietta, one of the girls, and her handler, Jose. In this world, the Social Welfare Agency, also known as the Agency, collects girls like Henrietta and trains them for counter-intelligence and counter-terrorism. But Henrietta is special: she was left for dead after her family was brutally murdered. This being the case, she has no family to oppose the Agency, nor does she have any other place to go. Therefore, Jose feels compassion for his charge, the newest member of the team, and tries his best to keep her from falling too far to either side of the line, balancing a killer’s instinct with compassion.

Now, I must say, I’m a sucker for any anime involving girl assassins; in fact, I’m a sucker for any tail involving a female who can dish out more destruction that most guys. Maybe that’s why I got into Point of No Return and Le Femme Nakita. But this Anime, much like Noir, has a kind of feminine bonding tale along with all the violence and destruction. Many of these girls are reaching the age when they start to wonder about themselves and the world around them, when they begin to develop a point of view that expressions their femininity, and their handlers, in all cases ex-military black-op kind of guys, don’t quite have what it takes to round out these poor brainwashed girls. Like Point of No Return, the handler just doesn’t cut it, and I was hoping that one of the girls would escape and become a rogue agent.

Alas, that never happened, and I found myself poised as the series ended, wondering to myself what had happened. There was no resolution to the current situation beyond the fact that all the girls were back together after some tough experiences, and the girls had finally gotten as developed as a relationship as they could with their handlers. Be that as it may, it was no way to end the series and I hope that like the ongoing manga, there is more to come from this anime.

I did like Gunslinger Girl, and even the roughest of guys out there can overcome the gag-me-now scenes with the ass-kicking action that never disappoints. If you want a new series to sit down and watch, and you want to see people get shot to hell, I suggest Gunslinger Girl. Watch it, like it, buy it. And if you don’t like it, you can always write an angry comment here on my blog.
Happy Viewing.