Full Series Review: Gunslinger Girl

Updated on August 17, 2016

When I first heard of Gunslinger Girl, I was expecting a much different anime. The title in English uses two slang terms, so I assumed it would be a playful anime about 'girls' as in 'sexually appealing young women', being 'gunslingers' as in 'carefree gun-loving outlaws'. So I was expecting something basically like Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040 set in the Wild West, or like Trigun but with a mostly female cast. That's not what this is at all, and I have to say, I think the title is a poor choice, arising from a poor understanding of the connotation those English words have.

This anime is a serious dramatic work set in Italy, where a government organization "helps" abandoned or traumatized little girls by making them into cyborgs and training them as assassins. It makes sense from a tactical standpoint, because as long as the organization is secret, most people don't suspect a little girl as a potential threat.

The girls are paired with handlers, men who are responsible for their training. Sometimes, the girls develop affection for them, sometimes, it's all business. Often, we see the handlers try to do nice things for the girls. This is usually out of pity, since the girls all have traumatic pasts and a difficult job. The anime is not really "slice of life" in the usual sense but it has that feel. Many episodes are just "a day in the life of _____", wherein a different girl is given the spotlight. But the anime focuses primarily on Henrietta, the girl with short brown hair.

Source Material:
Manga by Yu Aida

The Ending Song is Beautiful


While Gunslinger Girl isn't what I expected from the title, it was very good anyway. A lot of times, there are shows about cute girls fighting to save the world, and because it's all done with goofy recycled animation magic effects, the suffering and damage they dish out feels removed from reality. But in Gunslinger Girl, real-seeming little girls are forced to fight terrorists and the mafia, and because it's realistic, it has more emotional gravity to it.

Gunslinger Girl raises many important moral questions too. The girls are basically owned by the government, and their "welfare" is not for benevolent reasons, but for what the kids can do in return. Similarly, it has parallels in criticism of the welfare state, where it could be argued that the welfare is not for the good of humanity (as some claim) but rather as a political tool to buy public loyalty, approval ratings, and votes. In the same fashion, the girls are being helped, but only to be made into tools to be used by others.

I would recommend Gunslinger Girl. It's similar to Puella Magi Madoka Magica, but it doesn't have such an over-the-top melodramatic feel, it's just about the girls trying to make a good life for themselves, making the best out of their bad situation. It's sad, but it hits more hopeful notes sometimes, especially when you see how much all the girls in this situation work together and become sort of family to each other.

Rating for Gunslinger Girl: 8/10

Questions & Answers


    Submit a Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)