Anime: Gunslinger Girl #3: Il Silenzio Delle Stelle: The Silence of the Stars

Vandemar

imageIs that cute little girl on her way to school with her dad really packing a Steyr Aug to blast open some terrorist heads? This is the question asked in Gunslinger Girl, one of the best series I have ever seen, and a favorite around the office that routinely drags in the people who claim to hate anime. Its compelling character development, eloquent writing, powerful story, and cybernetic 10 year old girls with high-powered assault rifles combine to make a magnificent series. The girls are all under the care of a secret government agency pretending to be concerned for their welfare, but really training them to be, forgive the word choice, high-caliber assassins.

The first disc introduced the Girls and their Handlers. The second disc sent them through tragedy and loss and gunfights, and explored more of the lives of these little girls. Gunslinger Girl #3 brings the series to a sweet, sad ending, a healthy dose of the same bittersweetness that permeates the series.

imageEpisode 10: Amare (In Love)
One of the girls is murdered, but nothing is as simple as it seems when other secret agencies are involved. And the cyborgs may be in danger of being declared obsolete.

Episode 11: Febbre Alta (High Fever)
Giuse and Henrietta take a vacation to get away from the tense atmosphere after the murder in the previous episode, but Section 1 investigators drag them into the swirling intrigue around the murder case.

Episode 12: Simbiosi (Symbiosis)

The girls are in training for a new operation. The odd juxtaposition of them talking about relationships and normal girl stuff and then storming into a room blazing away with an assault rifle on full auto is just another of those odd scenes Gunslinger Girl loves. Something goes wrong with Angelica and she winds up in the hospital, much to her chagrin.

Episode 13: Stella Cadenta (Falling Star)
The girls are back at the dorm and planning to watch a meteor shower, while Angelica recovers from injuries suffered in the previous episode.

imageThe art, as usual, is always somewhere between very nice and almost-moving. There’s some stark and very beautiful work in this installment, and even the regular scenes seem to have an extra bit of care, a touch of one last push to make things awesome before the series closes out. The music is still very good, using everything from tense jazz to bits of rock to all out chorales to lend weight to a scene. Gunslinger Girl isn’t afraid to use stark silence to complete a scene, either, and I’ll count that as part of the technical score. The extras are really cool, as this outing adds commentary by some of the Production staff, and the usual dossiers and textless songs.

Explaining the series’ contrasting horrible violence and overwhelming gentleness, and the way it eases them both in side by side, is difficult. These two things should contrast, but Gunslinger Girl managed to make a story of five young cyborg assassins into a story with a sweet heart and some genuine tragedy. It’s an incredible work of storytelling and you should watch if you have any appreciation at all for fantastic writing and art.

Technical/Extras: 10.0
A beautiful art style with gorgeous music, supplemented with a very nice package of extras.

Entertainment: 9.5
A bittersweet ending to a bittersweet series.

Overall: 9.8

Episodes: 10: Amare (In Love), 11: Febbre Alta (High Fever), 12: Simbiosi (Symbiosis), 13: Stella Cadenta (Falling Star)

Extras: Production Commentary, Voice Director Commentary, Gunslinger Girl Dossiers, Building Triela, Textless Opening& Closing Songs, Trailers.

Shannon “Vandemar” Drake is the Community Development Manager for Warcry’s efforts in all things that aren’t games, though he still plays games and pontificates about them endlessly. He also serves as Site Manager for FMA Warcry and frequently contributes to the hubsite. He will talk about anime until you roll your eyes and walk away, which makes him sad. He’s currently watching Spiral: Notes of Truth.

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