Gunslinger Girl (TV Series 2003–2004) Poster

(2003–2004)

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It had me in tears at the end!
soulthiefs27 August 2005
Well the name is misleading, this series is more about relationships between people than Gunbunny action. It is however an awesome series, and when the actions shows up prepare to be made happy, for it is cool. The series is pretty messed up however, the whole concept of bringing girls back from the brink of death and then giving them cybernetic implants and making them fight brainwashed is quite sad.

As I said though, this series is more about relationships. Relationships between the girls and between their partners who they are made to think of as an older brother. The 'brothers' train the girls using conditioning, which is basically brainwashing and through discipline. Different 'brothers' use different amounts and approaches towards their girls, leaving them with radically different personalities. Jose treats Henrietta like a little sister for example, buying her presents, taking her places, and spending quality time with her, while his brother hit his Artificial girl.

Anyway I think that quote in the title, 'The Girl has a mechanical body. However, she is still an adolescent child.' Sums up the anime quite well, it is brutal yet beautiful. 10/10 It takes a lot to make me cry.
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10/10
Absolutely Fantastic! A must see.
Danjo214 April 2006
To the outside world, the Social Welfare Agency is a benevolent organization dedicated to helping children with life threatening injuries and severe disabilities. However a darker secret lies behind the compound walls. The young girls the Agency claims to save are in fact fitted with artificial body parts, chemically brain washed, and trained in the art of killing. They are the girls of Section Two. An elite squad of deadly assassins charged with doing the Italian Governments dirty work.

Each girl is paired up with a Handler – a male agent who is responsible for training and caring for his partner. The two together are called a fratello. The "conditioning" the girls are put through emotionally bonds them to their handler, making them fiercely loyal. The relationship within each fratello is different. Jose is very kind to Henrietta, treating her like a little sister. Hilshire and Triela seem to have a dysfunctional father daughter thing going on, while Jean treats Rico as nothing more then a tool to be used up and discarded.

Even though they kill without remorse, they still have all of the emotional ups and downs of normal adolescent girls and it's these internal conflicts that make this anime so fascinating. You truly feel for these girls as they struggle to hold on to their humanity under very inhumane circumstances.

If nonstop action is what you are looking for, then this is probably not for you. Yes there is plenty gunplay and copious amounts of blood and gore, but that is not the main focus of the series. What it concentrates on is the relationships between the girls and their handlers and each other.

I'll admit that at first I found the subject matter of this series disturbing; children being turned into ruthless killers in the name of Italian national security. However, the longer I watched, the deeper I was drawn in. It becomes a story of how the girls survive a situation that would break most adults. It becomes a story of their inner strength and perseverance.

Whether or not you are an anime fan, (I am not) you definitely should give this one a watch. I highly recommend it.
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Not an action show, but still great nonetheless.
pikashroom25 August 2005
A lot of people were misled by the anime entitled "Gunslinger Girl" mainly due to the fact that these girls are armed to the teeth. The show isn't so much about the fact that these girls ARE killers, but about how they deal with being given a new life, being trained to kill and still having to live vastly shortened lives as little girls. Henrietta has to deal with not being able to act as most little girls should. Rico just wants to please her abusive fratello "brother". Triela just wants to be respected as a person and not a tool. Claes suffers from the severe emotional trauma of losing her fratello "brother". And Angelica is losing her memory and usefulness fast from her "conditioning". Very well done and well written and acted in the sub AND dub. Overall kind of depressing, but it's worth the purchase and stands up to repeat viewing.
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10/10
I know it sounds wacky...
shadow-moses15 September 2006
Yeah, I thought the same thing when the opening started rolling: girls barely into their double digits kicking ass, killing indiscriminately with a vast array of powerful fire arms. God, it seems anime has gone to far…

But it's absolutely fantastic.

Give it half a chance and you will find it has amazing depth in its characters, beautiful and subtle production, and its not constant action. The majority is quite insights into the chaotic world of these girls. When it does give you action, it will raise the hairs on the back of your neck, it's breath taking.

If you're any kind of an anime fan, you will love this series.

Nick Anderson~
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9/10
The Care and Operation of the Lethal 10-year-old
Alan-406 January 2007
This outstandingly well drawn and beautifully set anime is centered on very peculiar fetish (or fantasy if you prefer) in the spirit of La Femme Nikita only ten years younger. In this variation, martially dominant men literally own very attractive young girls who have been altered with cyborg technology to be selfless, efficient fighting machines. They undergo "conditioning" that makes them totally dedicated and obedient to their handler, willing to defend them at any cost, and they will never grow old because their life spans are shortened to a few years. But they're working on that.

Although the title style has the phrase "… still an adolescent child" in fact it seems none of the girl-cyborgs except Triela has reached puberty. The rest of them seem to be 10 or less, and when Henrietta first sees that Triela is suffering from menstrual cramps, she un-resentfully explains that her own uterus had been removed during conditioning. Oy.

Disregarding any cases out there of full-blown misogyny, I suppose any male who has ever been even slightly frustrated by the female of the species should find something to like here in an ambivalent way.

Anyway, the point of all this is to create an urban combat force (you didn't think there was a peaceful reason did you) comprised of "fratellos" (or handler/girl-cyborg pair) to fight terrorism. To further shore up the shaky moral basis, supposedly all the altered girls were otherwise terminal patients if not fully willing participants in the process. It seems many of the missions they go on could have been carried out by the handlers themselves, and it would not be hard to argue that the "good guys" are a bigger societal problem than the bad guys are, but that doesn't matter because the fighting scenes are not the story.

What are interesting to watch is the differences between the handlers, the cyborg-girls, and the effect on their fratello relationships. In spite of the official line that the girls are now altered to the point where they are no longer human, and need no more human consideration than any other piece of combat equipment (well cared for, valuable, but expendable), some handlers subscribe to this and some do not. There is Jose, who dotes on his Henrietta and rewards her when she is not on mission, and at the other end there is Helsa's handler who is all business and is brutally dismissive of his charge. And there are steps in between.

Even more beguiling is how the girls act when they are together, which is usually hanging out around their dorm room. Aside from the weapons-maintenance tasks they do, they do normal things like laundry and hobbies and chat. Although they are supposed to be conditioned against having any emotions, they clearly do. Further, they discuss themselves and their conditioning in dispassionate but fully self-aware terms. They may suffer, but they do not resent. They may disagree, but they don't disobey. It is hard to describe.

One of the reasons to watch anime is that it can illustrate certain points of drama in ways that no other form of performance can. Gunslinger Girl manages to do this, and that makes it worth adding to any collection, and I hope there is interest in continuing the series.
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10/10
Simply Beautiful
Tweekums14 May 2008
The title might suggest that this will be just about girls with guns going on their various missions. While there is some of that it isn't what the programme is about. It follows the lives of a group of young girls who have all been the victims of some life threatening tragedy. As part of their cure their are given artificial body parts and brainwashed to forget their pasts and become assassins working for the Italian state.

Each of the girls is paired with an adult handler who they are programmed to protect, these handlers each treat their girls in different ways one treats his like a little sister regularly giving her gifts, another it abusive and hits his when she doesn't perform to his expectations. The girls live for their handlers and for their job, we aren't given any angst filled scenes where they question the morality of what they do.

It is impossible to comment on this without praising the visually appearance as it is utterly beautiful to look at, for the most part the colours are of warm sandy shades not garish colours popular in many anime shows. When there are action scenes they are exciting but they don't seem to play up the action, it is just what the girls do and is thus shown in a fairly matter of fact way. The over all feel is sad, by the end of the final episode I was in tears, but I don't think that is a bad thing. If you haven't seen it yet I whole-heartedly recommend you check it out, I doubt you'll be disappointed, I certainly wasn't.
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10/10
I was drawn in from the first episode I saw.
rracerjones14 February 2007
I came across the series flipping through channels late one night. I caught it in the middle of the 4th episode and the action immediately got my attention. Because of the times it was being aired I was unlikely to get to see the entire series on TV. I bought the entire series off ebay, paid top dollar but still less than retail. Watched it from beginning to end and I must say it was worth every penny I paid for it. The characters are easy to identify with and I soon found myself worried of what their outcome would be. The attention to detail in the backgrounds of Italy is awesome the story line is first rate. I recommend this highly to everyone.
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10/10
Haunting. Riveting. Touching.
imsonot23 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This review will echo much of what has already been written here. I saw an episode of Gunslinger Girl last year while on vacation, and was entranced. Sadly, only 13 episodes were ever made. Tonight, I just finished watching all 13 on hulu.com.

Wow. This series makes a real impression on me. It is at times touching, brutal, beautiful, poignant, thoughtful, graphic... this is no Powerpuff Girls here. Each of the girls -- Henrietta, Rico, Claes, Triela, Angelica -- is a distinct character, as is each of their "handlers." The premise, as already described by other reviewers, is that each of these girls is rescued from death's door, loaded with cybernetic implants to be superhuman, brainwashed to be emotionless, and teamed with a handler who trains them to be a ruthless assassin...

...yet they remain firmly, utterly human little girls. And THAT'S where the largest conflict of this story unfolds, as these girls reconcile the humanity and the inhumanity within them, and come to grips with what their life has in store for them.

Layered into the series is the girls' relationship with their handlers -- their "conditioning" has programmed them with utter devotion and love for their handler...but their too-human handlers run the gamut from brother-like to slave-driver, with varying results.

Stylistically, the show features beautifully drawn backgrounds of Italy, and painstakingly accurate firearms. When the action sequences appear, they are almost lovingly created. I watched the dubbed version, and kudos go to the voice acting, as it was powerful and full of emotion.

I thought this was a powerful show. I really feel for these characters, and I admit that I teared up at the end of the final episode. It's one of the few TV shows that leaves me thinking after the end credits have rolled.
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9/10
The days in the lives of little girls . . . cyborg assassin girls.
dressi24 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
*Some people might consider this a spoiler. I don't agree with them. There's not really anything to give away.* OK, so girls who are cyborg assassins and part of a secret government agency. Yeah, this plot began forming in my head, something a little Witch Hunter Robin and a little Noir. The girls are kickassassins, wielding a large assortment of firearms, stronger than the average human, enhanced senses, deadly training . . . a I began to think that they were all great friend, involved in this secret agency that had a . . . *dramatic music* secret agenda (or some other secret). Either way it was a conspiracy and the girls would find out about it and have to fight for the truth and fight for their lives! It would proceed through a large discovery of who they really were and how they became to be . . . and for what devious purpose they were created before finally fighting to freedom and exposing the twisted agency director for what he really was!! Boy . . . that was wrong, but in the good way. This anime sounds SO typical, SO clichéd and SO pushing the line with prepubescent children shooting and killing (eh, there are far worse). But, this would not be a spoiler to say that none of the above happened. There is no plot to really spoil either. This is like a collection of "dear diary" entries. 13 episodes that introduce you to the characters and let you get to know them. Climax? Hah, we don't have time for a climax, you need to know exactly what Henrietta things of Jose. Plot twists? Nah, seeing Triela with a teddy bear is far more amusing. Unifying enemy/foe/force to fight against? Well . . . we could . . . but we'll just show you what Rico thinks of Italian art instead.

Sound absolutely dull so far? If someone told me THAT was what this anime was about . . . I probably wouldn't have watched it. IN fact I began watching it because I trying to get my action fix on very quickly after watching Now and Then, Here and There for the umpteenth time and following it up with Grave of Fireflies. I needed something with suspense, action, possibly even some envelope pushing. I thought this anime would have it all. But it didn't. It did have action, but you honestly could have done without it. AND when it did have the action, it was using the action to tell you something about the characters. That's all this anime was about. The characters, their interactions, their relationships with their handlers.

I absolutely love this anime. It is both heartbreaking and uplifting. And it's also great to see an anime like this out there. I'm not a purely avid anime fan, but of what I have seen, I've seen nothing like this. It's absolutely wonderful, and surprising that I could find so much enjoyment getting to know the day to day troubles that a young girl goes through . . . a young cyborg assassin girl, from cramps to taking pictures, to naming a teddy bear, to having tea, to growing a garden, to getting plenty of head shots with your assault rifle.
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10/10
Great anime/manga series
Tohdman621 December 2006
The anime is really good. I saw some episodes up on youtube and decided to buy the DVD set of the first three volumes. Its not exactly the most action packed anime but its still really good. The manga is great also, I recently started reading them and its very similar to the show. I would suggest the manga if you want to check it out you and can find it like at a Barnes and Noble or something. Unfourtinately I don't think we are going to be getting any more Gunslinger Girl here in America because the ADV manga company that published the book series went out of business and I know in Europe and Japan they already have almost 9 volumes. It makes me wish I could read French or Japanise. But if the anime show is still going on in Japan than I wouldn't doubt that funimation would make those available in America again in English.
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10/10
Rivals Joss Whedon in Character Development
earp26653 October 2013
Every episode of this series is painstakingly organized to perfection, every detail from the characters verbal and non-verbal gestures plays to their individual character pallet.

This is not your typical B rated anime of run em' up/ shoot em' up blood baths; the action in every episode is developed and is executed with purpose.

The art and music alone in the series is worth viewing. The Delgados "Light before we Land" is the perfect opening song to follow the visual sequencing. The art director for the first season made an amazing effort to include actual Italian style artistry in his anime. In episode one where Henrietta awakes in the bed, the diagonal light and dark separation is considered a prominent Italian art style.

Everyone should see this anime even though it will not be to everyone's liking. You have to be willing to surrender yourself to the reality of these children to sympathize with them and their handlers. This anime will one day be included among the legends like Cowboy Bebop, Mobile Suit Gundam, Evangelion, Fullmetal Alchemist, and Dragon Ball Z.

*If the last episode does not make you cry, your not human....*
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8/10
Great Drama, the best if you can ignore little details...
samuel-low-8221 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
The concept of child assassins intrigued me and so I bought it to watch. It was worth every penny.

The story was engaging, the drama excellent and the conflicts really well orchestrated. I have to agree with a previous reviewer that this kind of approach to a story is totally fascinating where the plot revolves around the characters, not the incidents and events that happen to them. Forget conspiracy theories and power politics! Let's focus on Henrietta's crush on her handler and over protectiveness, Rico's resilience to abuse and harshness (THAT is scary), Triela's wit, her monthly "problems" and teddy bear collection, why Claes wears glasses and Angelica's constant drive for approval.

However, perfectionists might get annoyed by the little details, like the girl's Japanese body language, their choice of outfits and even the messy way some assignments were handled. It's like the writers had talent, did their research but didn't quite catch the spirit and professionalism of their setting and concept. It's a great story but some things would just be really incongruous in real life.

Still, a marvelous anime, all in all!
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9/10
Thought-provoking, moving, riveting.
ajrcvr16 June 2016
Wow. I wanted to see all the reviews before I wrote my own to see if others had the same inklings about it as I did - and most of them did. As I watched this series, I wasn't quite sure what I was watching or why I continued to watch it, but somehow this essentially plot-less, story-less, moderate action-filled epic drew me in and captivated me. When it was done, I knew I'd have to see it again.

First of all, the title is misleading if not outright terrible for this almost documentary style feature. The concept of prepubescent to pubescent young girls being "conditioned" to be ruthless assassins sounds kind of boring on the surface, but it's not when you see it. The girls are recovered from near-death experiences, being given artificial body parts and turned into cyborgs, but not quite! They work for the social welfare agency part of the government, but it is not about that. They are conditioned to be assassins who kill terrorists, but it is not about that. They have these powerful relationships with their fratello male partner, their handler, whom they essentially love, but it is not exactly about that either. There is enough action in the gory, bloody combat scenes we are privy to, where the girls coldly eliminate their targets, but it is not about that either. That was what flummoxed me.

What this series is about is a noir study in humanity, that humanity represented by these young girls who are part mechanical and part human. And both of these parts are explored and examined in detail, as we see them go through their everyday lives. These days and these lives are brutal, chilling, emotional, thought-provoking, and filled with pathos, as we see little girls battle their dual egos, human and conditioned machine, and find that ultimately their human side manages to have the stronger hold and is what keeps one riveted to watching everything that happens with rapt attention. I've never seen anything quite like it, but it was certainly an experience worth having.
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9/10
One of the Best Anime Series Ever - Truly a Must-Watch
swanmj6 April 2015
Gunslinger Girl is, hands down, one of the best anime ever - and, for that matter, one of the best television series of any kind. It has everything: action, drama, character build-up, just the right amount of emotion (without using too much), good music, and a good animation style. I have watched both seasons on DVD, and I loved them both. The characters are all memorable. The action is badass, especially when you consider that the main characters are actually adolescent girls. If you are looking for a good television series, even if you are not a bonafide anime fan, I full heartedly recommend Gunslinger Girl. I also recommend supporting this anime, so buy the DVDs!
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8/10
This series changed the way I view anime.
Eternlty26 August 2013
Let me start by saying this Anime has a great story I would recommend to everyone! Gunslinger Girl alone changed the way I view anime I'll admit I used to only want to watch anime I was told had great fight scenes cause I really only liked it for the fighting but after watching gunslinger girl I now view it in a totally different way and am now in it for the story and character development.

Gunslinger Girl starts off with an awesome opening immediately leading you to believe your in for an action packed ride but this is not the case, although the anime does have action scenes where these cyborg girls really show you what they can do (assassinating people) where the story really shines is these cyborg girls and their love for their handlers or "Fratello". Each girl and their Fratello counterpart have a unique relationship and you find yourself equally interested in each one and wanting to see more and more as the story progresses. The things these girls will go through just to please their Fratello and do the best they possibly can and the affection shown from girl to handler really shows you how much these girls love their Fratello and will go to extreme lengths even giving their own lives if needed to ensure the protection of their Fratello.

As you get deeper into the story you find you no longer care about seeing flashy fight scenes, you now only care about the story and seeing these girls characters develop into some of the most interesting characters I've ever seen.

While the girls seem sweet and innocent (Which they are) the thought of knowing they could snap anyone's neck in a heart beat just adds to the enjoyment as you watch them and their Fratello go on missions together and in their everyday lives you cant help but wish someone would maker one of these girls angry so you can see them do what they've been trained to do, although there aren't a whole lot of action scenes the ones they do show are tastefully done and leave you feeling satisfied.

Keep in mind there are only 13 episodes and for the 13 episodes they had they did very well and with only those 13 this series made it into my top 5 favorite anime if that gives you any idea as to how good this series is you will not be disappointed after watching this anime.
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8/10
Great Anime. A must watch
kaundamabuya8 August 2013
This anime is very realistic and does not shy away from bloody violence. It has a balance between action and drama. A must see. Soon as you are done with one episode you immediately want to see the next one. I am currently on episode 6 and just can not get enough. The title is a bit misleading. The series focuses on 5 girls and the handler/ brothers. A processes called conditioning can make the girls more cybernetic than human but the more the girls are conditioned the less time they have to live. Each girl's relationship with the handler / brother is shown how they treated by their brother. Some of them are treated as lap dogs, some as a job and some are treated well as a sister. The series has some very interesting characters and story lines.
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9/10
Don't miss Il Teatrino
a_sad_cow16 March 2016
What if little girls defended good men with the same intensity good men currently defend little girls? This series is absolutely fantastic on so many levels: writing, animation, directing, English dubs, supporting cast, antagonists...

The only complaint I've had, showing this to other anime fans, is that it's a bit of a slow start, focusing on relationships. True, but it's worth it. If you still think it's too slow, Il Teatrino is faster and really can stand alone if need be. You could do the original as a prequel after the fact, if you so choose.

For context, my other favorite animes are Darker than Black, Cowboy Bebop, Code Geass, and Deathnote. If you like any of those, you should love this.
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8/10
An odd mix
sentharia-0919017 May 2019
As with many good animes, the writer does not shy away from jarring contrasts. Consistently disturbing, frequently sweet. The show has action but is not ABOUT the action. It's main themes are just how human are the girls they are training as assassin? And how should their handlers treat them? The answers to the second question which the individual handlers come up with is invariably influenced by their different opinions on the first.
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3/10
Boring and slow af
Irishchatter3 May 2019
The anime didnt age well with its art and all characters were pretty dull even if they are meant to be the "badasses" with guns. I honestly did not feel the hype in which I've felt with Gunsmith Cats, V for Venus and El Cazador de la Bruja.

Seriously, I thought this anime was going to be good but a rather waste of time instead.......
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4/10
It's like Neon Genesis Evangelion without the robots!
pinkarray29 January 2016
The problem with Gunslinger Girl is that it's trying to be Neon Genesis Evangelion but in a much different way. It takes the clichés anime would have and turns it into a typical deep and intense anime. After my cousin showed me the trailer many years ago, I assumed this wouldn't have been a very good anime but as I got older, I decided to try it since little girls with guns sounds cool, but something didn't seem right. It took some time to figure out what was going on.

Henrietta is a shy and quiet little girl who has been tasked with the job of assassinating. In the episode I saw, she somehow turned crazy and started shooting on a rampage, which she doesn't seem to understand. The characters around her are thin. Artistically, the emotions that it conveys and the way the characters were created were okay.

Henrietta's dub voice actor did an okay job in voicing the character. The antic that the character did when she hit the guy with the case was cartoonish and she also came off as too violent.

Story: 5.0 Art: 5.0 Sound: 6.9 Character: 4.5
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1/10
one of the worst animes i've ever seen
nickom-5130824 December 2015
the plot is incredibly boring there is nothing special about it hands down the whole thing is so poorly done i cant believe why anyone would waste their time on this don't even bother to do so whats so special abunch of girls with guns these things aren't the best genres available nowdays with popularity of other types of animes growing i would recommend for anyone not to waste their time with it just skip on to the next available anime on the list which would by far be a more appealing than the current one. So overall my score for this is awful cause it indeed deserves it.. So just please don't even try to read it go to the next one i would recommend from my watch list there are afew better animes than the current one.
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4/10
not recommended
jesseysnipenl15 December 2014
I don't recommend this show. Because it was boring and hard to watch and a challenge to not fall asleep. Did not much happen in the show and the things that happened where OK. But still not enough to make it a good show. And not enough making me excited to watch more of the show. I was deeply disappointed after the good review it got. And i'm not planning to watch the second season of the show. as it would be more of the same show and so it would not be fun to watch. Especially after it took me so long to finish the first season. And rewinding parts after I lost interest. Because it was boring and hard to watch for longer periods of time. And it was easy to loose interest in the show and in the characters.
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