A post in the Epic Journey.
I don’t get many chances to talk about Gunslinger Girl, and in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had a post centered on it. This is a travesty because Gunslinger Girl is my favorite franchise. I’d go so far as to say that I like the Gunslinger Girl manga more than any single anime. The first GG anime was very excellent, but only covered the first 2 volumes of the manga, which were mostly plot setup. When they decided to make a second season, some how Il Treano happened and PLEASE NEVER AGAIN. Anyway, I have a lot to say about the GG manga (understatement) and I want to do a chapter-by-chapter analysis. I’ve created a system to keep things organized.
Chapter Number: 1 (vol. 1) 38 pgs.
Chapter Title: Observing the Heavens
Focus Characters: Henrietta and Giuseppe
Short Summery: Starts off with a flashback of Giuseppe and Jean picking out Henrietta. Then we open up to the girls and handlers performing an operation. When the enemy attacks Giuseppe, Henrietta looses control and lights up the joint, killing all the targets and getting shot int the arm in the process. Giuseppe gives us some background on the plot and Henrietta, and we are introduced to the social welfare agency, some of the other girls, and the medication. Ends with Giuseppe forgiving Henrietta and being nice to her.
Awesome/Important Quotes: – “She was assaulted all night next to the bodies of her family. She says she wants to kill herself.” – Dr. Marge
– “She counts the bodies she creates for me…” – Giuseppe
– “Giuseppe, you know everything, don’t you…?” – Henrietta
– “Don’t you know that a slice of cake is like a little slice of happiness?” – Triela
Minor/Quick Notes: – In just the first 2 pages where we get a flashback of choosing Henrietta, we see some of Giuseppe’s softness and indecisiveness alongside Jean’s harshness and uncaring in how Jean is irritated at Giuseppe for taking too long to decide on his cyborg partner.
– I’ve found that the first scene is best read extremely fast the second time around. Being that this is the start of the story, you’ll likely read more carefully the first or second time, but there is a very tense and cinematic effect to reading it fast. I was also able to get a much better sense of the mission this way.
– Yu Aida is the best fucking action artist of all time, just saying.
– I have to admire all the detail that goes into every panel. Beyond the amazingly realistic display of Italy, there are interesting details such as the pizza truck used as a getaway van or the section 2 leader’s maid that only careful readers will notice. I honestly have read this manga like 6 times and still find new stuff.
– When Jean and Giuseppe are discussing treatment of Henrietta with the section 2 chief, it’s interesting how all three of them are interested in different means to one goal. Giuseppe is the most empathetic and perhaps pathetic, not wanting to overuse the medication for Henrietta’s sake. Jean doesn’t give a fuck as long as the cyborgs do what he says. The commander is interested in keeping balance as long as he gets results and confirms the importance of experience alongside the brainwashing.
– So, the scene with the rifle scope was like saying ‘yes, I was influenced by The Professional,” right?
– The fact that the girls always wake up crying is a remaining mystery in the series. However, it does always seem to happen after dreams about the girls’ past. How much the girls understand and connect to these dreams seems to vary and is mostly ambiguous. Considering that it shows up from chapter one, though, we can assume it is an important part of the story.
– Giuseppe tels the story of Orion and Artemis. Just tonal? Or Perhaps foreshadowing? Who knows.
– There was a panty shot in this chap >.> I’m guessing even Yu Aida thought it was too awkward to let it happen again.
Major Points: – So, in this chapter, we have alot of stress on Henrietta’s extreme devotion to Giuseppe and how it is unmistakably love. We first get it in the form of an explosion – Henrietta goes ballistic on the guy who puts his hands of Giuseppe and proceeds to ice every mofo in the room afterward. Afterward, Henrietta knows she’s in trouble and is in tears, not because she is afraid of her punishment, but because she believes she has failed Giuseppe by breaking his instructions. She has taken a shot to the arm, but is more worried about him.
She comes to big sis Triela scared that Giuseppe may hate her now. Triela is more mature, and of course knows this isn’t the case, inviting her for cake. Over cake, two more points come up which I will mention shortly. Later on, Henrietta is staring at her bloody shirt in despair. That’s when Giuseppe shows up, handing her a gift and telling her to meet him on the roof. When Henrietta sees the pretty jacket Giuseppe’s bought her, she smiles brightly and presses it to her chest in an undeniable display of love.
– We are told pretty much up front that this is an incredibly mortal tale and that we should by no means get our hopes up for a happy ending. Henrietta takes a wound that makes her need the medication. We learn that the medication shortens the girls lifespans, and that it can become a deadly addiction for the girls as well as make them loose their memories. It’s a way of saying ‘look, no matter what, we promise you these girls are fucked.’
We also get an off-hand remark from Henrietta that makes the situation more distressing. When she is making herself tea, Triela notices that she is putting in a lot more sugar than usual. Henrietta says that she hasn’t been able to taste much lately, which invokes a worried face from Claes. We can insinuate that this is one of the effects of the medication, which Claes would likely know best. Triela brushes it off though, giving Henrietta the nickname ‘sweetie’ which gets an adorably embarrassed reaction.
– Over tea and cake, Triela explains that Giuseppe probably won’t be mad because Henrietta just wanted to do a good deed and that they’d do anything for their handlers. However, Claes refutes that such is about all they can do, and that if she were Giuseppe she’d hate to be pressured like that. This is precisely one of the story’s driving factors – Giuseppe hates that the weight of this girl’s entire world in on him, and that he can make or brake her, but can’t push her away because she cares about and depends on him so much.
Stay tuned some time in the future for chapter 2!