Fri, 20 June 2008
Manga Review: Gunslinger Girl Volume 3 by Yu Aida. Translated by Amy Forsyth. Originally published by Media Works in Japan. Published by ADV Manga in US, $9.99, Rated 16+.
One of the Social Welfare Agency's agents has gone missing while on the trail of a mysterious new threat. I know it doesn't sound frightening, but the name of this threat is....Pinocchio! No, he's not the wooden puppet but seriously, his skills as a cold-blooded killer make him a match even for the Agency's cybernetically enhanced girls. He's been enlisted to help the terrorist forces of the Five Republics in their efforts to rebel against the government. The girls are sent into action against these forces and in an effort to protect an important political leader.
While action is never far away in Gunslinger Girl, since Volume 2 this series has taken a more quiet and less bloody route in its storytelling. This is a good thing. Here we get a focus on the forces that plot against the Agency and all sides of the conflict seem to get an even break in terms of motivation. It's very hard to see it in terms of bad guys and good guys (or gals). Since both sides are willing to do atrocious things to better their causes. Buy it for the action, the intrigue, and the poignant relationships. Highly recommended!
My Grade: A
Fri, 20 June 2008
Manga Review: Gunslinger Girl Volume 2 by Yu Aida. Translated by Eiko McGregor. Originally published in Japan by Media Works. Published in US by ADV Manga, $9.99, Rated 16+.
Volume 2 of Gunslinger Girl has less violence and more character development than the first installment. We start off with the backstory of Claes and end with the backstory of the first girl agent, Angelica. The most touching moments of the series are when the girls remember their humanity despite all the conditioning they receive to rid them of it. Even some of the adult handlers begin to question whether they are on the right side. The middle section of this volume deals with the Agency trying to stop mad bombers and rescuing the money man of an underground organization. But the plot is interspersed with quiet moments such as the girls going out in the dead of night to enjoy a meteor shower, and the tragic story of Angelica, whose own father tried to kill her for insurance money. The same Angelica whose memory is completely shot due to the massive amount of experimentation that was done on her.
The premise of Gunslinger Girl is quite disturbing but it does show how adults corrupt the world of children with no regard to their welfare at times. In a war against terrorists just how far would people be willing to go? What is the difference in sending 18 year olds to fight and die? Are they any less children than the girls we see here? Another poignant thing about it is that all the girls seem to have been unwanted, in some cases, even by their own parents. And that they cling to their handlers and to each other as the only family they have. Yu Aida never exploits the plot. I think the author is trying to show how a blank slate can be turned into a killer if properly trained. But there is something in the souls of the girls that is trying to fight its way out and reject this whole messed up situation. Thought provoking manga!
Check out Podcast Episode 90 for an audio review of Volume 1.My Grade: A