Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Gunslinger Girl -Il Teatrino-

Under the guise of a "Social Welfare Agency," the Italian government gives young, terminally ill girls a new lease on life by turning them into combat cyborgs and using them to quietly dispose of dissidents and terrorists. They're kept under heaving conditioning, losing their memory and identity before the operation. Each has a handler that they are given an overwhelming attachment to, one which manifests differently from girl to girl. The pair could seem like father and daughter, brother and sister, or even lovers. Queue lots of girls brutally killing dudes and waxing about the transience of life.

I'm a big fan of the original series. It managed to combine slick animation with a completely fan-service, pandering concept and somehow turn it into a rather compelling tragedy. Both the manga and the original anime had a wonderful atmosphere. The juxtaposition of delicate young girls toting around assault weapons and remorseless murdering anyone they were ordered to was honed even further with the razor-thin line they all walked between following orders and losing all control in their mad obsession with their handler. The characters were all given surprising depth, despite clearly being from a checklist of "character traits to include in successful anime production."

All that the sequel manages to retain of that comes from direct references to its predecessor. It clearly had no budget for animation, substituting shaky still images and speed lines for quality production. Nor does it have any solid writing, either, feeling the need to state the obvious that was left simply understood before. There are no tactics, no questionable morality, no smiling children murdering each other, no real attention to detail or subtle charm. Just schoolgirls with guns and mental problems shooting totally eeeeeevil Italian terrorists.

Gunslinger Girl -Il Teatrino- is, bluntly, just about everything the original was criticized for being without any of the redeeming elements I found in it. Not recommended for anyone, unless poorly-animated middle schoolers with machine guns is really enough to get you going.

Kinda makes me want to go back and re-watch the original to actually lay out a good defense for it...
based on 5 episodes : ANN : Wikipedia : YouTube

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