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Gunslinger Girl ~Il Teatrino~ – The Complete Series (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

April 1, 2010 by  



The sequel to “Gunslinger Girl” is not more of a sequel but side missions featuring members of the Section 2.  If you thought the cyber-enhanced girls of Section 2 were deadly, “Gunslinger Girl ~Il Teatrino~” introduces us to a young male killer who has his sights in killing the cyber girls.  Plenty of action and story-wise, an improvement over the first season.

Image courtesy of © Yu Aida/ASCII MEDIA WORKS. Marvelous Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Gunslinger Girl ~Il Teatrino~ – The Complete Series

DURATION: 15 Episodes inc. OVA (360 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (16×9), Dolby TrueHD English and Japanese 5.1, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: TV MA

Release Date: March 16, 2010

Originally created by Yu Aida

Directed by Hiroshi Ishiodori

Series Composition by Yu Aida

Screenplay by Tatsuhiko Urahata, Yu Aida

Music by Ko Otani

Character Design by Noboru Sugmitsu

Art Director: Chikara Nishikura

Anime Production by Artland

Featuring the following voice talent:

Kana Akutsu/Lauria Bailey as Henrietta

Risa Mizuno/Alese Watson as Claes

Atsuko Enomoto/Caitlin Glass as Triela

Kana Hanazawa/Monica Rial as Angelica

Anri Shiono/Luci Christian as Rico

Masaya Matsukaze/Masashi Ebara as Hirscher (Hilshire)

Takehito Koyasu/Eric Vale as Jean

Kazuki Yao/Jim Foronda as Marco

Kozo Mito/John Burgmeier as Jose

The girls of the Social Welfare Agency are no ordinary children. They are the grisly remains of human wreckage pieced back together with cybernetic implants and trained to kill by the government.

The oldest, Triela, pursues her targets with a ferocious enthusiasm, unwilling to settle for less than total annihilation. Her mirror in this bloody stalemate is Pinocchio, a shell of a boy raised as an assassin by the FRF: a terrorist faction at war with the SWA. Cold and cruelly efficient, he wields sharpened steel as though it were an extension of his own hand.

Once human, these shattered souls have become murderous machines with only vague recollections of what it meant to be real – and a brutal compulsion to be the last killer standing.

In 2002, mangaka Yu Aida had her first manga “Gunslinger Girl” published in the monthly shonen magazine “Dengeki Daioh”. A year later, her manga series was adapted into a 13-episode anime television series airing on Fuji TV. The manga and anime series would continue with another 13-episode anime television series titled “Gunslinger Girl -Il Teatrino-” in 2008 and has also inspired video games for the Sony PlayStation 2.

“Gunslinger Girl ~Il Teatrino~” the sequel to the popular anime series would start anew in terms of animation by this time going with Artland for the anime production instead of  Madhouse Studios.  Hiroshi Ishiodori (“Peach Girl”, “Chrono Crusade”, “Bubblegum Crash”) would take the role as chief director,while Rei Mano (“Cardcaptor Sakura”, “Guardian Hearts”) would be the main director of the series.  Also, this time “Gunslinger Girl” mangaka Yu Aida would have a more hands on approach to the screenplay for the sequel.  Character design for the series would be by Noboru Sugimitsu (“Mushi-Shi”, “Infinite Ryvius”, “Turn A Gundam”), art direction is by Chikara Nishikura (“Fatal Fury: Legend of the Hungry Wolf”, “Koi Kaze”, “Story of Saiunkoku”) and music by “Mobile Suit Gundam Wing”, “Pumpkin Scissors”, “Blade of the Immortal”, “Eyeshield 21”).

The series has been released by FUNimation Entertainment on DVD but the series makes its High Definition on Blu-ray along with the original “Gunslinger Girl” which were both released on March 16, 2010.  Also, included on the “Gunslinger Girl ~Il Teatrino~” Blu-ray are the two “Gunslinger Girl ~Il Teatrino~” OVA’s which were released separately on DVD.

The concept of “Gunslinger Girl” revolves around the Social Welfare Agency which is a charitable institution sponsored by the Italian government. Known by the public to help those who are physically injured, the truth is that the agency is a a military organization that specializes in counter-intelligence and counter terrorism. Their soldiers, young orphan girls enhanced with cybernetic implants and are taught to kill and pare of the SWA’s “Section 2”.

The girls have synthesized muscle implants giving them super-human strength and reflexes, as well as the ability to be resilient to any damage. Each of these girls are partnered with a trainer/handler and together they are known as a “fratello”. Some handlers are caring for the girls they are partnered with but for the agency, they look at these girls as weapons and also as expendable.

“Gunslinger Girl” was more about episodic stories feature the female members of the group but “Gunslinger Girl ~Il Teatrino~” is more like side stories for certain members.  Considering the manga series is still ongoing, for those wanting to know if there is a conclusion to this series, the sequel is not a conclusion but more of extra adventures.  The main story arc of this sequel revolves around a young killer named Pinocchio who seems to have as much or even more skills than any of the cybergirls.

The main characters of “Gunslinger Girl ~Il Teatrino~” are:

  • Henrietta/Jose – Henrietta’s family were massacred and she was assaulted and left for dead. She has suffered from psychological trauma and had wanted to die. But since being brainwashed and conditioned for the agency, she is an assassin who feels a strong bond with Jose and cares deeply for him. As for Jose Croce, his counterparts think he has gotten to close emotionally with Henrietta.
  • Rico – Born with severe birth defects, she was signed over to the agency by her parents when she turned 11. But since joining and receiving a new body with the agency, she is happy. She is the only cyborg girl with memories of her past life.
  • Triela – Rebellious and masculine, she is one of the elder Cyborg girls that tries to help her counterparts. But for some reason, she is losing her memory.
  • Claes – A peaceful cyborg who is used more as a test subject since the death of her handler. Claes enjoys gardening and reading books more than engaging in violence.
  • Angelica – A girl that was nearly killed by her father trying to collect insurance, Angelica is the first cyborg of the agency.  Angelica has been hospitalized due to events fro the first season and now is eager to get back on a mission but will she ever be the same?

“Gunslinger Girl ~Il Teatrino~- The Complete First Season” consists of 13-episodes + two OAV’s on two Blu-ray discs. Here is a spoilerless summary of each episode:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 1 – Distance Between Two: Brother and Sister – Jose and Henrietta along with Jean and Rico join Hilshire and Triela to take on a group of bombers.
  • EPISODE 2 – Pinocchio – In this flashback episode, the storyline is about a young murdering child named “Pinocchio”.
  • EPISODE 3 – Simulacra – Hilshire and Triela are on a mission to find a missing Public Safety Division member and confront the young killer “Pinocchio”.
  • EPISODE 4 – Angelica’s Return – Angelica is on her first field mission since her hospitalization but when things don’t go as well, she starts to feel frustrated.
  • EPISODE 5 – Transcience and Reminiscence – Marco is worried that Angelica may not be able to be like her original self.
  • EPISODE 6 – Retiring Tibetan Terrier – Section 2 are asked to be on a mission to watch and protect the politician, Chairwoman Isabella d’Angelo.
  • EPISODE 7 – Katerina’s Annulus of Vengeance – Could their be a link between Franca and Pinnochio?
  • EPISODE 8 – A Day in the Life of Claes – Claes has these dreams of Raballo but she doesn’t know whey she has these dreams or who this Raballo is.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 9 – Wise Serpent, Pure Dove – Section 2 are on a mission to find out more about Giuseppe’s background.
  • EPISODE 10 – White Flowers – Triela is not doing too well and is frustrated that she was unable to beat Pinocchio.
  • EPISODE 11 – Budding Feelings – A flashback about Cristiano and the young boy who would become Pinocchio.
  • EPISODE 12 – Fighting Doll – The mission is now to find Franco, Franca and Pinocchio.
  • EPISODE 13 – And Pinocchio Became Human – The final battle between Triela and Pinocchio.  Who will become victorious?
  • OAV 1 – EPISODE 14 – The Light of Venice, the Darkness of the Heart – Jean and Rico are on a mission to take out a mafia boss supporting Roman terrorists.
  • OAV 2 – EPISODE 15 – Fantasma – A story that takes place around the time of ep. 10 and 11 of “Gunslinger Girl” during Rico, Henrietta, Jean and Giuseppe in Sicily and an episode that deals with Giuseppe dressing Henrietta in Enrika’s  (who is dead) clothing which causes some friction among the group.

VIDEO:

“Gunslinger Girl ~Il Teatrino~ – The Complete Series” is an anime television series presented in 1080p High Definition (16×9) and was a series that came out in 2008.   Fans of the series have been critical because of their preference of the Madhouse Studios anime production of “Gunslinger Girl” back in 2007.  Personally, I felt the character designs were much more better in the first series, while the second series features more focus on shading and lighting of the backgrounds.

As for video, there is noticeable use of edge enhancement on the series.  One must be wondering that if this is a 2008 release anime series, we are going to get great visuals.  Unfortunately, this is where Japanese anime TV series are a mixed bag.  There are series where production companies have enough time and manpower to making a television series look great via the backgrounds and its colors, but with “Gunslinger Girl ~Il Teatrino~”, the series was good but not great wen it comes to animation.  There are some scenes such as the focus on weapons which are nicely detailed but for the most part, animation was OK and some episodes looked good on HD I have to agree that the animation and production for the first series was much better than the sequel (but the storyline is much better in the sequel than the first series).

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

Fortunately with FUNimation Entertainment Blu-ray releases in 2010, we are getting lossless Japanese soundtracks and sure enough, “Gunslinger Girl ~Il Teatrino~ – The Complete Series” features audio sporting both an English and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack.  The English dub soundtrack seems to be much more louder than its Japanese counterpart in terms of dialogue and special effects.  Certain scenes do feature good use of lossless through the surrounds during the gun battle scenes but it’s not as immersive as I would like.  But at the same time, the fact that we get a lossless Japanese soundtrack is a big step and will sure to please fans who have been wanting lossless Japanese soundtrack with their anime series.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Gunslinger Girl ~Il Teatrino~ – The Complete Series” contains the textless songs and trailers.  Unfortunately, special features from the DVD release such as the “Japanese Cast Interview: Voice of Marco”, original TV commercials and from the OAV DVD release, “Japanese Cast Interview: Voice of Hilshire” are not included on this Blu-ray release.

EXTRAS:

“Gunslinger Girl ~Il Teatrino~ The Complete Series” comes with a slipcase (note: The first season did not come with a slipcase).

“Gunslinger Girl ~Il Teatrino~ – The Complete Series” was an enjoyable series but at the same time, you kind of hoped there was some conclusions but knowing that the manga series is still ongoing, the “Gunslinger Girl” series continues and one may wonder when or if there will be another season.

As mentioned earlier, this sequel is not a series that features anything significant that will affect the series in the near future.  If anything, you can look at these episodes as “side stories” with Triela dealing with failure, Angelica being frustrated of not being the same before she was hospitalized and as for Henrietta who was prominently featured in the first series, this sequel tries to feature as many people as they can but also showing us the other perspective of the young killer Pinocchio who is featured in several episodes.

But I will say that I did enjoy this series more than the first.  Mainly because we see certain characters being shown with faults and then trying to overcome those faults. Also, it was interesting to see a boy who was just as deadly and even more deadly as the girls.  Granted, because of the introduction of Pinocchio, makes you wonder if we are going to see some major wars between cyber boys vs. cyber girls if a series is created in the near future.  Personally, I was expecting something tragic with maybe one of the primary characters getting killed.  But for the most part, the series plays off as not a sequel but “Gunslinger Girl” missions.

As for the animation, its clearly up to preference.  I preferred the first series in terms of animation but preferred the second in terms of storyline.  But that’s just me.  As for the Blu-ray release, the fact that you get two lossless soundtrack is great but video quality, was good.   It’s great that FUNimation included both OAV’s on this Blu-ray release but wished the special features from the DVD’s were included.  Not sure if it was due to space limitation but being spoiled by series such as “Claymore” and even “Witchblade” on Blu-ray with plenty of special features, I was hoping that what is on the DVD for special features would make it onto the Blu-ray release as well.

Overall, “Gunslinger Girl ~Il Teatrino~” is a series worth owning if you have the previous series on Blu-ray.  But it’s important to note that for those expecting some type of conclusion, will probably have to wait until the manga series is over or another season of “Gunslinger Girl” is released.  Nevertheless, a series worth having in your collection.






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