Friday, February 13, 2009

Review | Anime | Gunslinger Girl: Il Teatrino

GUNSLINGER GIRL: IL TEATRINO : Artland picks up the story of
the Social Welfare fratelli in this sequel to the popular anime 'Gunslinger
Girl'. The Social Welfare Agency has picked up the trail of the ruthless
terrorist organization the Five Republics, and in reply sends their fratello
assassins to infiltrate the group. But when Triela is defeated in combat by a
Five Republics assassin named Pinocchio, the Agency has their work cut out f0r
them as they try to find a new approach to capture the man powerful enough to
overthrow the Agency's undefeated cyborgs.

Nearly 4 years later, the fratelli are back, with a new director, new networks and even a new studio with a very different art style. I was inspired to begin the Gunslinger Girl series, actually, after hearing the Il Teatrino series' theme song, which I discovered somewhat accidentally while exploring Gendou's music directory. Already a KOKIA fan, my curiousity and expectations lead me to the show's beautiful, spirited theme Tatta Hitotsu no Omoi and ultimately the Gunslinger Girl series. After listening to the song in repeat about ten times, I managed to turn off my player long enough to watch an episode, and I had since been hooked.

After taking less than a week to finish the first series, I began "Il Teatrino", which continues the story of the Social Welfare Agency's ongoing war with the Five Republics terrorist group. A new art style almost makes you believe it's a new anime (Wikipedia is even armed with the characters' appearance comparisions), and in many ways, it is. The gunslinging continues, as do the emotional struggles the girls have, but the story lies mostly on the shoulders of a new assassin named Pinocchio. His family is slaughtered by an enemy group, and upon discovering he is the only survivor, he is taken in by the group's leader, Christiano, who trains him to become a ruthless assassin beginning at age 10. Pinocchio eventually becomes a determined killer, even going so far as to kill the unarmed young daughter of an enemy fighter in his early years. Despite this event continuously haunting him, he strives to follow his father figure Christiano's orders at all costs.

After a raid by the Agency, Triela fights one-on-one with "Pino", and to the shock of Triela and the Agency, she is defeated. Triela does not handle this well, as this is the first time she has been defeated. She begins to train herself to exhaustion in order to become stronger for her next encounter with Christiano's assassin.

This series, despite picking up from the first season, is actually in many ways not connected to the first season at all. Everything is new, which you can see by watching it, because the pace Il Teatrino is a lot slower, and at times, annoyingly slow. A lot of focus is put in unnecessary things a lot of the time, and this series seems more centered around Pinocchio than the cyborgs and the Agency. Pinocchio's one of those characters that you can't really put your finger on; his nonchalant, cold, and overall bland personality makes him a hard pill to swallow.

Fans of Gunslinger Girl will definitely want to pick this one up, but I wouldn't get overly excited, because the series certainly doesn't. It's very serene in the long run, and you don't have to worry about whether or not you're receiving a bigger dose than you need. You'll either watch until you think you've watched enough or you'll watch until you get bored and stop. That's the reason it took me nearly a month to finally complete, unlike Gunslinger Girl, which I finished within the week. Definitely one for your to-watch list, but grab a seat.

Overall Rating:
/ 5


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