Gunslinger Girl – Il Teatrino OVA Review Online.
I was like the proverbial fish out of water on this one. Having not seen the original Gunslinger Girl series or the second season, I had no idea what I was getting myself into — although I was really hoping it wasn’t something like Kite Liberation after reading the blurb on the back of the case. To me, though, the OVA appeared to be a bit of a tack-on presumably to the second season and that was basically the overall impression I got of it. So if you haven’t seen Gunslinger Girl or the Il Teatrino second season, watch those first. What I was able to get the gist of from the episode is that the girls have been augmented with cybernetic implants to enable them to function as weapons of assassination. To that end they appear to do their job admirably as they look like anything but a weapon or an assassin. They each have a supervisor or handler to keep them out of too much trouble, but they ultimately end up doing all the dirty work. Go figure… What we have on this OVA are two episodes of 25 minutes each that actually has very little to do with the description on the case. In the first: Jean and Rico are sent to Venice to take out a Mafia boss and do so. In the second: Jean, Rico, and another pair, Giuse and Henrietta go and have a holiday at a holiday house. The End. In short, no engagement with a new audience. There is little or no character development – but we do get to see a back-story to Jean – when he encounters his little sister as a ghost (after having several strong drinks). There is plenty of mood and atmosphere, though, and that did appeal – sort of – as the dialogue and interaction between the characters appears to be the mainstay for this OVA. The lack of background made this one hard to appeal to me, although admittedly if I had seen the series, it might have actually made some sense.
Visually, the settings were pleasant enough and looked fairly authentic for Venice and somewhere in the south of Italy. Things like town locations, the sunsets and ocean settings were nicely detailed with plenty of colour and atmosphere. Character designs were stock standard with the young girls looking quite cute and the older guys looking fairly handsome – even if they are more-or-less permanently wearing sunglasses – but nothing outstanding. The show is presented in widescreen 16:9 format and plays nicely on a large 46″ screen with no obvious issues of blocking, colour bleeding or other issues in the overall presentation.
Audio contains a 5.1 Dolby Digital English track and a 2.0 Dolby Digital Japanese track. Main listening was with the original Japanese dialogue. Nothing to complain about here as the characters’ voices were as one would expect. Music, what there was of it, wasn’t memorable or evocative of the situation. With much of the show revolving around the dialogue and interaction between the characters – handler and girl – there appeared to be sufficient relationships between each of them.
Extras had an interview with one of the Japanese voice actors (which I didn’t bother watching), clean closing sequences for both episodes and other Madman trailers for related (girls with guns) titles.
Bottom line: probably one only for those who have already seen Gunslinger Girl (both seasons) and want something to add a couple of extra episodes that may have a bit of a side-story. While there was plenty of mood and atmosphere and the visual presentation was pleasant enough; but the OVA could not stand on its own merits (which is not entirely surprising). Borderline bottom end of three stars for a nice visual presentation, attention to detail, atmosphere and mood that has some action but isn’t overwhelming, but not much else.