Gunslinger Girl by Ritalin

Also Known As: GSG
Genre: Action/Drama
Format: 13 Episodes
Allegiance: Madhouse Studios/Bandai Visual
Director: Asaka Morio
Vintage: 2003-2004
Intelligence Agency Report by: Ritalin
A non-profit welfare organization in Italy has picked up five very special young girls. What these girls have in common is they have all experienced a life-changing event before being taken to the organization. Brainwashed and given a mechanical body, Henrietta, Rico, Triela, Claes, and Angelica work for the organization as scientific experiments and assassins for the government with no mercy behind the seemingly cute and innocent disguise. These girls are so tuned, they won’t hesitate to kill an innocent face and not think of it again. However, this brainwashing is slowly destroying them on the inside and and not allowing them to grow.

Field Agent Report by: Ritalin
Overall 8.50

Fresh from Japan comes a new and slightly different style of the “girls-with-guns” anime genre. With an atmosphere like the anime Noir; an even closer psychological plot such as Serial Experiments: Lain, comes Gunslinger Girl. What you may expect is not what will be delivered. Heads up: this isn’t for action lovers.

This anime starts with a bang! Literally, it opens with Henrietta going berserk and blasting away at the government targets. During the action sequences the animation shines like a light in the dark. Undoubtly, the animation is nothing but the best that Madhouse has already lived up to in the past. Clean, smooth, and crisp cels all through-out the series keeps fans coming back for eye-candy. Along with it, the soundtrack is very enjoyable. The opening song “The Light Before We Land” performed by The Delgados is truly breath-taking. On several occasions I found myself repeating the track over again. The lyrics give a nice foreshadowing and actually match the anime. Furthermore, the relationships between characters is where the real juice of the anime lays. As previously stated, this anime isn’t meant for the action, but rather for the impact of each character to one another and how they look up to their “brothers.”

The plot, sadly, has to be what draws some anime fans away from this anime. It doesn’t seem to focus on one thing, it’s very underlying. While some find this as annoying, It’s been done before (FLCL anyone?). It can easily be taken as mindless action that serves no purpose but to look cool, but that is far from true. Rather, the focus lays on the relationship between all the characters, and characteristics. It focuses on the what’s and why’s of their persona. While this is a gold mine for some fans, this is also the downfall of the anime. It can’t hold the attention of an average viewer for very long, which will drive away many fans half-way through this series. I guarantee you though, if you stick to it you may have a pleasant suprise.

This anime is definitely a different take on the “girls-with-guns” genre, almost not even in that genre. Regardless of the structure of the plot, fans will all find something in this anime they can like. It gives fans something to talk about, and hell, even the action lovers will drool over the action sequences.