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Gunslinger Girl DVD 2: Life, Happiness, and the Gun
Violence: Medium
Sex/Nudity: None
Runtime Episodes: 13/25min
Overall Rating: A
Artwork: A
Story: A
Comments: This anime is based on a manga by Yu Aida that is still being written.
Voice Acting English: B
Voice Acting Japanese: A
Genre: Mafia, Drama
Extras: Building Rico (pretty cool to watch), voice interviews with the english voices, opening and closing songs, dossiers of the gunslinger girls, trailers for Lupin the 3rd, Dragon Ball Z movie, Tenchi Muyo! Ryo Ohki, Gunslinger Girl, and Kodocha.

Date Reviewed: 12/1/06 Last Updated: 11/30/09

Basic Premise: The Gunslinger Girls must fight to protect their country from terrorists, while each dealing with their own deep love for their partners.  Some with more success and som with less.  Henrietta and Jose are introduced to the Republican Faction in Italy in the first episode, which is one of the Welfare Agency's primary enemies.  In the second Episode Rico with her partner wok to protect an accountant of the Mafia.  In the third we see more of the tragic story of Angelica.  In the last episode we see a fratello where one of the gunslinger girls is perpetually unloved and treated as a nonentity, which must be particularly difficult since the girls are conditioned to be devoted to their handler in every way.
Review: As I started this DVD for the first time in a long time I was expecting there to be more of an ongoing storyline, but when I watched I was instead reminded of the almost lack of continuity from one episode to the next.  There is a form of continuity, but you have to know what to look for.  In this volume Henrietta is the star of the first episode and Rico of the second and Angelica the third and Elsa the fourth.  They are so central to the story that if you were to see each episode alone you would not know that there are any other characters in the show since each character truly takes center stage in their episodes.

The animation is still smooth and crisp and beautiful.  The colors and artwork were thoughtfully and painstakingly done.  There is even something of a tutorial on how to draw one of the gunslingers.  In this volume it is Rico.  To be honest it looks a bit too complicated for me to even attempt.  I almost wish the tutorial were longer. You can tell that a lot of money went into the production of this anime, but also of the DVD as well.  The DVD presentation is top notch.

One thing I have a harder time with is the voice acting.  The English Henrietta is near perfect, but she seems too timid throughout the second DVD and possibly the third, but I will have to wait and see.  Oog, Monica Rial plays Angelica and she is not unlistenable and that is a big compliment on my part.  I have a really hard time listening to her or any woman's ultra high pitched voice.  It just grates on my ears like fingernails on a blackboard.  When I listened to her interview she started on in that high pitched voice, but soon her voice normalized out and became much more pleasant to listen to.  The rest were good and didn't overact.  You can listen to both as long as you know the difference between the two.

I love the music.  It is all so haunting and sad with a hint of darkness as well.  Some of it is almost pure joy to listen to as well.  "The Light Before We Land" by The Delgados is one of them, which is sung in English.

With the theme and general feel of this DVD it should be known that despite the title this series is not one of action, but is a much slower paced anime and is aimed at adults.  This is not one for kids.  The story has an almost sad feel to it, but it just does not come across as being tragic to me.  I can't tell if that is the intent to come across as a tragic story or not.  What I see is the story of several girls being given a second chance at life working for the Italian anti-terrorist government.  Sure their job is risky, but they now have a purpose and an important one and are in a loving environment and well cared for.  The show is one that explores what it means to truly be human even when your body is mostly replaced by robotics and your will and memories are no longer quite your own and yet... and yet they are.  

Conclusion: This is a drama for adults and the content matter reflects this.  The selling point is the strong character development and your ability to feel strongly for the characters even and especially Elsa who is only in the last episode.  

The subject matter may be too strong for some.

Publisher: FUNimation
Related Website: http://www.funimation.com/f_index.cfm?page=props#gunslingergirl
Where Found: Amazon, Suncoast, still fairly new.
Copyright: 2003/2005
Author: Yu Aida
If you enjoyed this anime try: Noir, Armitage, Mermaid Forest


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