Review by: Ai Kano
Publisher: Funimation Entertainment
Running Time: 35 minutes
Rating: TV MA
Release Date: Available Now
Even cyborgs deserve to go on vacation.
Having adored the first season of Gunslinger Girl and having really liked Gunslinger Girl: Il Teatrino, the Il Teatrino OVA is like the final encore of an amazing concert by your favorite band. Yes, we loved all the songs that were played in the first hour and the second encore was much appreciated and nearly just as memorable but we definitely love the final encore to close the set. The Il Teatrino OVA is that great final encore that closes the season and as short as it might be that doesn’t mean it’s short on content.
Taking place a few days after the final episode from the series, the two-episode OVA finds the girls and their handlers getting some much needed rest after having not only put a stop to the terrorist plot to blow up a bridge as well as eliminate those responsible such as the killer called Pinocchio. More importantly, it – like the second season’s episodes – touches on the lives of the handlers particularly Guise and Jean who are haunted by the ghosts of their past.
In the opening episode, for example, we find Jean (Rico’s handler) visiting the grave of a woman who was obviously important to him. At the grave, however, he encounters a man who recognizes immediately who also recognizes Jean. Within a few seconds, the man known as Fernando punches Jean and curses him for not truly avenging the death of this woman who meant the world to both of them. Despite having killed many members of the Padania terrorist movement, Fernando sees Jean’s lack of enthusiasm towards destroying Padania a slap on the face.
Obviously, Fernando has gone to the extremist side and in order to protect him it is Jean who sends the others in the Social Welfare Agency to place Fernando under arrest before he gets himself killed. We found out a little about Jean in Il Teatrino but this is the first time we really get to know part of what drives the man and what made him cold and distant.
Meanwhile, Rico has nightmares of her being useless to Jean. Like the other girls, she terribly wants to be important to her handler. Unlike Henrietta who is dying to be loved by her handler, Rico doesn’t only want to be useful to Jean but also wants to keep him from being hurt. On a mission to Venice, Italy, the pair attempt to flush out a Padania member hiding in the vicinity. It is in Venice that Rico realizes that her handler does care about her in his own way despite being a sad and lonely man.
In the second and final episode, Henrietta and Rico are on vacation with their handlers. Having left Triela to ponder her victory over Pinocchio back at home, the girls find it refreshing to be with their handlers on a mission that doesn’t require them to pull the trigger. Both Jean and Guise find themselves on a familiar vacation spot and a vacation home that haunts Jean. You see, it is here that Jean promised his kid sister a fun day at the beach but broke said promise to go on assignment. Sadly, he never got the chance to make it up to her because his sister was killed after that.
It is during this vacation that Jean faces the ghost of his past to move forward and not be so cold and distant with Rico. Just as Guise has come to be warmer and more affectionate towards Henrietta, Rico decides to make an effort in being less distant to the girl who wants nothing more than to be something special to him. Now if only Marco could learn from these two men and became kinder towards Angelica.
The Gunslinger Girl: Il Teatrino OVA may not be filled with action but there’s something meaningful and interesting about the way two men face their past to be better people to the girls that mean so much to them. These two episodes should have been a part of the Complete Series set of Gunslinger Girl: Il Teatrino but even still fans of the series will still want to buy this one either way. This is definitely the best encore to a really good series.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
A deeper focus on the male handlers of Henrietta and Rico, both episodes dive deeper into the personal lives and thoughts of Jean and Guise. Like the episodes straight from the series, the OVA finds both handlers and the girls growing a tad closer than before as the aftermath of the Pinocchio case becomes something of a distant memory.
VIDEO QUALITY: A+
Once again, the Gunslinger Girl contains some of the best animation when it comes to displaying action and the gorgeous backgrounds that wonderfully capture the Italian landscape.
AUDIO QUALITY: A+
Both language tracks are excellent whether you prefer the original Japanese voices or the equally good English dub voices. The soundtrack remains just as charming as the location and the girls.
Aside from a few trailers and the cleaning opening and closing songs (complete with translation of the lyrics to “Doll”) there’s the fun interview with special guest host Atsuko Enomoto (the Japanese voice actor for Triela) interviewing Masaya Matsukaze (who voices Hilshire).
A short but sweet afterthought of the events from the series, the OVA of Gunslinger Girl: Il Teatrino is not big on action but it is a meaningful character piece that fleshes out two characters that normally don’t get much screen time. If anything, the Il Teatrino OVA a wonderfully deep companion piece that Gunslinger Girl fans will certainly want to own.