I just watched the first episode of Gunslinger Girl for the first time and, Wow. This show is over 15 years old now and it feels like a classic story told in an original way. It reminds me of American shows like Dollhouse or Luc Besson’s movie La Femme Nikita.
Young women brainwashed or forced against their will by a shady organization to become killers and hunters. In this episode, we really only meet one of the girls, Henrietta, who has just been inducted into program after being brainwashed and enhanced with cybernetic implants. One of the main adult characters, Jose, seems to be the only one troubled by this dark grey morality. All of the other adults we see seem to think that this shady government program is a well oiled machine and see no problem using these traumatized teens as assassins.
They do not give much away, other than the basic premise of the show, in this first episode. However, they do hint at a much larger world that I can only assume they will explore as the series continues. The music and imagery used in this tale really makes you feel the sense of tragedy and darkness of the soul that I think they are going for. There are a few moments of hope given to us when we get to see the girls interact.
Anime is almost always about youthful characters in extraordinary situations, but Gunslinger Girl feels grounded in a reality of bullets and bloodshed. If you like your anime with a bit of an edge, then I’d recommend you give this series a shot.