Gunslinger Girl: Il Teatrino, The Complete Series – DVD Review

 

Review by: Ai Kano

Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $59.98 US
Running Time: 315 minutes
Genre: Action
Rating: TV MA
Release Date: Available Now

These girls are still cute, polite and considerably deadly.

At first glance, the diminutive and utterly adorable little girl named Henrietta could break your heart with her warm and innocent smile and – within seconds – pull out a heavy handgun and put a hole in your forehead before you can even smile back. You see, Henrietta is but one of a number of cyborg-human child assassins that make up the world of Gunslinger Girl, a series that will shock and entertain you. In the first half of the series we got to meet the girls and now – in Gunslinger Girl: Il Teatrino, The Complete Series – we watch these little girls go back to doing what they do best.

Il Teatrino finds Rome, Italy in turmoil once again as its citizens are not happy with the government and – on top of that – the Five Republic Factions (or the FRF) terrorist group is making threats against government officials as well as important city planners. When the Italian police isn’t enough there’s our favorite group that employs little girls that have been enhanced by cybornetic means that are trained to take down any threat. It doesn’t take long before the girls and their handlers are called back into duty.

In the opening episode, blonde cutie Triela and her handler Hirscher make it to the scene of a bombing during a protest. They are backed up by Henrietta and Rico who have their respective handlers joining them as backup. Before we know it, the streets are filled with the sound of gunfire as the girls take down a band of FRF terrorists. Yes, these girls are brutal and efficient and yeah do they look adorable firing their weapons.

On the other side of the city, one of the terrorist group’s big shots calls two professional bombers into active duty. Both Flanca and Franco have been making bombs and setting them off for years and while they aren’t members of the terrorist group they know the old man that hired them very well. They are also joined by a young killer who the old man had picked up when he was a child and raised him as killer and something of a son. He is called Pinocchio and, much like the little puppet made of wood that bears the same name, he might be the son the old man always wanted but it doesn’t seem like he cares for him at first.

As Flanca, Franco and Pinocchio make plans of their own to blow up an important bridge in the city, the terrorist group begins targeting government officials and their families. The girls must not only prepare for the oncoming missions to take down the terrorist organization but they try to come in terms with their growing feeling for their handlers. Henrietta, for instance, begins to try her to please her handler named Guise while Triela – the toughest girl – tries to deny her feeling for Hirscher (who still dresses her in a suit and tie).

Meanwhile, the girls take on the two bombers and Triela take on Pinocchio only to lose the fight and the three manage to escape. The defeat eats away at Triela as she trains to improve her fighting abilities and make Pinocchio pay for what he did. Joining them on missions again is Angelica who had suffered a major malfunction during her last mission and is still not quite right

We are also given a deeper look into the lives and the past of the handlers themselves like Marco whose ex-girlfriend discovers the truth behind what he really does as well as a look into Hirscher’s life as we find out an interesting fact about him and what lead him to become a handler for the organization known as the Social Welfare Agency. There’s even an episode about Claes who is the only girl who isn’t trained for combat but rather research.

While not as thrilling as the first season, this second half has plenty of action that is really quite dazzling thanks to the wonderful animation and the finale is among one of the most thrilling action moments in the series. It’s still quite a shocking sight to see little girls blowing away adults without any remorse, there’s something meaningful when even trained child assassins desperately long for affection and approval. Even Pinocchio is dying for Christiano – who raised him and helped turn him into an efficient killer – to show him some affection.

The Complete Series of Gunslinger Girl: Il Teatrino is unflinchingly explosive in its action scenes and storyline and, yes, it’s a still just as compelling as the first half of the series. Still, the first season really knocked some socks off anime fans and Il Teatrino is engaging but not on the same level as season one. Still, there’s just no denying the fact that this second season is still undeniably ultra cool and deeply compelling.

DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN

MOVIE/EPISODES: A
Rome is about to explode in a sea of violence by a terrorist organization that has hired two skilled explosive experts and a young assassin raised for the sole purpose of killing. Of course, the girls are back on the scene attempting to take down the organization and make sense of their growing feelings for their handlers. Meanwhile, we learn a lot more about the men who keep these little girls in line.

VIDEO QUALITY: A+
This is one of the more gorgeous-looking anime’s around that does the backgrounds wonderfully enough especially since the setting is Italy. The action is fluid and visually striking and is one of this series’ many highlights.

AUDIO QUALITY: A+
I almost always prefer the original Japanese voices but Il Teatrino is one of those cases that the English dub voices not only do an adequate job of keeping up with the excellent dialogue but it actually features top notch acting. The score by Sachi Otani is brilliant and beautiful and you just have to love the opening theme song by KOKIA and the closing theme song “Doll” performed by Aoi Tada.

EXTRAS: B
Sure there are trailers to view and textless songs to enjoy (mainly because the openings and closing in the Gunslinger Girl series are so awesome), but the real prize here are the original commercials for the series and the fun cast interview with the Japanese voices behind Angelica and Marco.

OVERALL: A
While not as powerful as the first part, Il Teatrino is still a gripping action series that will not fail to make you admire and be shocked by the sight of our favorite Gunslinger Girl assassins. If you loved the first part you will absolutely find a lot about this part of the series that doesn’t hold back the punches or bullets. This is really one of those series you have to see to believe.

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