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From ADV: Henrietta barely survived a brutal attack that killed her family. 'Rescued' by the Social Welfare Agency, her injuries were repaired with robotic components and she was brainwashed. Lost with the memory of her family's deaths was almost every trace of her own humanity. Now, she is an extraordinarily lethal cyborg assassin, obediently working with her handler Giuseppe to carry out her deadly tasks. Despite her conditioning and programming, Henrietta still has the heart of a young girl. She has not completely forgotten how to love, yet the very emotion is contrary to her training and programming. Can the Gunslinger Girl survive? Can she find peace in a struggle against her very nature?
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Leon meets Ender's Game
Although a character study first and foremost, Gunslinger Girl delivers on multiple levels. The thrills are exciting, and the plot is credible and intriguing. I suppose I don’t find the series overwhelmingly depressing or tragic because the girls’ feelings are not entirely unrequited, and their lives, though limited, are free of the responsibility and history that plague their handlers. Of course, the reader is forced to question whether such freedom is a blessing or a curse and the degree to which personality, memory, and emotions are subject to cognitive manipulation. Even so, the tone is contemplative and sympathetic rather than archly cynical. The characters are conflicted or lost but never truly cruel or naïve. For example, Jean’s apparent indifference occasionally resembles consideration, and Henrietta’s paradoxical innocence is punctuated by a chilling self-awareness. The manga’s emphasis on the supposedly fraternal bond between the handler and his cyborg is conspicuously absent from other reviews, but Gunslinger Girl is, in many respects, a study of love in its multiple filial, platonic, and romantic incarnations.
... Last updated on June 30th, 2009, 5:02pm
Good but be evere
If you are one easily depressed and have your own suicidal thoughts it's not for you The story itself is breathtaking the drownings are gorges at list and it's not only sadness here but also joy but in general the story just ... has no hope in it. I will continue reading because it's to great to stop but I am absolutely sure the ending will be the werst.
Uthred don't know squat about Gunslinger Girl
Don't listen to the Narutard below me. I've bought [yes bought, not downloaded] more than 500 mangas, and Gunslinger Girl easily one of the best, if not the BEST manga I have. Believe me, uthred doesn't have any clue what he's talking about. I even doubt he read anything other than the title.
There's no self-pity scene in Gunslinger Girl. The girls never use their life to justify their killings, I repeat, EVER! Instead, they accept their life with a smile, though they fully understand that their lifespan is short, plagued with severe memory loss, and eventually will be discarded like a used napkins by the Agency.
Aida Yu is smart enough not rush the story. Instead she builds the chemistry between the girls and their agent rather slow, in multiple chapters. It gives us, the reader, enough time to connect with the characters. The main reason why most Shonen -Naruto- fails, is because it spend 2 pages for character developments, and 2131209762 pages for mindless ego-fight, only to end with lame scene, like for friendship, or world peace, or I love you, or something nauseating like that.
If you like brainless manga with zero character exploration and self-righteous main leads, go read Naruto, or Flame of Recca, or something like that. If you like manga with deep character developments and genuinely tragic storyline, read Gunslinger Girl.
Update: LoL, Naruto is one of The *Big 3 Manga*. Oh wow, that is Gold. Narutard never fails to make me laugh. It proves Narutard only read exactly 3 mangas in their life. Look here. They actually have the nerve write comments about manga which they don't even read. Shows us how much credibility a Narutard have.
... Last updated on July 27th, 2011, 8:27pm
This is one of the most depressing manga i have read, and its worth reading, check it out.
Its a definitely nice manga. Some may see it as depressing others may feel that its heartwarming etc, i'd say its a mix of all the comments mentioned here. But the bottomline remains: Every character on Gunslinger Girls is literally a broken soul.
Tragic, moving, and fascinating. If you're reading this as an action manga, you've entirely missed the point. It's a story about human interaction, the ethics of experimentation for the sake of order, and ultimately questioning the meaning of emotions if their source is composed of falsehoods. Set against a background of politics and terrorism, it succeeds in conveying its mood through the art of juxtaposition, and pulls it off brilliantly. The struggle of the girls trying to be innocent, or perhaps believing that they are in the face of murder, is probably the most interesting point of the series.
Aside from the conceptual values, the storytelling is consistent and well-paced. The art is nothing particular special or unique, but it's perfectly aesthetically pleasing in a mainstream sort of way.
I have to say that chobits is really a god-awful recommendation here, it isn't about the relationship between man and technology at all, and it certainly isn't written in nearly as trivial a fashion. Look at this series if you either enjoy slice of life or slightly philosophical series like Eden. But again, if you're looking for action alone, you might want to start somewhere else.
this is ending
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
you know, the characters that the mangaka has painstakingly develop is being killed in recent chapters. my experience says, when the the thing which atmosphere being build upon is started to get killed, there is no hope for other to live on. i hope you understand my english (its syntax turns complicated recently)
gunslinger is drama. about children that has no other choice but to live as killing machine. the good thing is, the drama is built slowly, sometimes light-hearted, sometimes mellow. It made us enjoy the story development even more in following chapters. not just "oh, she now doing this."
honmono_no_saru, it is clear you hold grudge against simplistic approach naruto has taken. but they are intended to be read by children. not grown up. which make us, yes, you and me, who inclined to read challenging theme feel a bit disgusted with such unsophisticated development. but i, at least, don't throw flames against its fan. they might haven't taste the delight of well-built complication of storyline.
Such a bittersweet story. A tale filled with tragedy and hope. Yu-sensei is masterful with manipulating the emotions of his readers. One cannot be helped but be fascinated by the daily struggle that all the cyborgs face, the question of whether their emotions are truly their own.
The way Yu-sensei can portray them to be so normal, so much like an ordinary little girl, that one truly wonders whether they could really have been 'conditioned'. Their seeming innocence is captivating, as they regard the slaughter of others as merely part of life.
One wonders, when the cyborg protects its handler, is it because of their conditioning, or maybe, could genuine feelings really be there.
Will to live
Unlike other commenters here, I don't find Gunslinger Girl depressing. Yes, it's very sad in places, but what shines out through the story is the sheer will to live exhibited by the girls: they triumph over what's been done to them by enjoying the everyday things around them and simply by being human. I found Gunslinger Girls a very interesting exploration of human character in all it's good and (very) bad aspects, all wrapped up in a great action story and accompanied by some very fine artwork. So far (first 5 volumes) it's been an addicting read. Recommended.
As perhaps mentioned before, I don't find Gunslinger Girl as depressing. Yes there is a lot of sadness, but the true story comes from their struggle. Despite the fact that they know life is short for them, their outlook on life is intriguingly positive. Yu Aida does a great job on the storyline while complementing the series with a more modest and less-superficial work of artistry. The series is a great example of the exploration of human emotions and how others can influence how we live. The consequences of revenge and the interesting picture of human mortality.
I've read the series several times over and can't help but say I enjoy it even more with each new read. Sadly, though, ADV seems to be slacking a bit in that only 6 out of the 12 volumes have been translated into English, I hope they pick it up again for the readers' sake. Besides, coming from a die hard fan, it would just be cruel to leave them hanging.