Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Gunslinger Girl 2 Il Teatrino--The Complete Series|
Actors: J. Michael Tatum, Laura Bailey, John Burgmeier, Caitlin Glass, Jim Foronda
Genres: Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television, Anime & Manga, Animation
Studio: Funimation Prod Inc Release Date: 08/18/2009 Run time: 320 minutes
Another masterpiece anime, and a nearly flawless sequel.
J. Ernst | St. Louis, MO | 08/04/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Finally, it's here. Several years after the original Gunslinger Girl blew me away with its stunning visuals and shocking premise, the much-awaited sequel, Il Teatrino, or simply Gunslinger Girl 2, has arrived. Based even more closely on the manga by Yu Aida (and with even more supervision from him), this series is a direct continuation of the events from the first show. Where the first series was less about action and more about the relationships between the characters, Il Teatrino zooms the focus in squarely on the action and plot. It assumes you are already familiar with the concept of the "fratello" and the cyborg girls, and as such only gives a brief overview of the premise in various episodes. That's not to say that there are no more emotional moments or shocking scenes. Far from it. In fact, GSG2 is probably even MORE shocking with some of its subject matter. The show is quite deserving of its TV-MA rating; there is more blood, much stronger language, and more horrible things done to children. I won't give a plot summary here, because it's on the back of the box, and since I hate knowing even minor plot details before watching a show, I will give the same courtesy to readers of this review. I will say that this series does a fantastic job of keeping continuity with the first GSG. There are many references back to events in that show, and even some cameos by characters you thought you'd seen the last of. We finally get to see Angelica in action, learn more about Triela's heartbreaking backstory, and are even introduced to a new fratello.
Now, about the somewhat controversial visual style... The first GSG, animated by Madhouse, had a massive budget, with somewhere around $130k devoted to each episode. Il Teatrino was less fortunate, and had a much more modest budget. While it is evident that it is not the same animation studio (Arthouse this time around) or budget level, do not let that put you off. Yes, the character designs have been changed somewhat, but the results actually end up being closer in resemblance to the original manga, so that should be a plus for all you purists out there. I personally was not put off by the visuals whatsoever. If you are willing to look past the negative things you may have heard, you will be quite pleasantly surprised, as I was. I had heard mostly doom and gloom about how awful Il Teatrino looked, but after actually watching it (what a novel concept, right?), I was quite pleased with how it turned out.
The English dub performance is another gem from the folks at Funimation. The entire original cast returns for the sequel, and hammers the ball right out of the park. Frankly, this show would not be the same without them. Laura Bailey onces again stands out and demonstrates her impressive range as Henrietta, and the rest of the cast picks up right where they left off in the original. Funimation gets a big round of applause for pulling the cast back together and establishing some continuity.
All in all, this is a can't miss, must have follow up for fans of Gunslinger Girl. Do not be put off by internet rumors or bad reviews elsewhere. This series, combined with the first GSG, is a masterpiece for those who appreciate sad, dark, morally gray anime. Bottom line: buy it."
Exceeded Expectations with Rich Storytelling
ONENEO | Buffalo, NY | 09/10/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I don't say this often, but I had the rare opportunity of going into Gunslinger Girl misinformed. It has been often said that the show's primary attribute is shock value in the idea of brainwashed children acting as cold-blooded assassins. Worse still is that previews, trailers, and other promotional material surrounding the property do little to dissuade this notion. However, I am pleased to report that judging the show based on that single aspect would be doing it a great disservice. But before I get ahead of myself, let's take a look at the cold hard facts, shall we?
Gunslinger Girl Il Teatrino The Complete Series comes in at a runtime of 315 minutes and contains 13 episodes spanning two discs. The discs come packaged in a pair of thin packs (with some very impressive label art) within a cardboard slipcase.
The show wears an appropriate TV MA (mature) rating due to some graphic violence sequences and themes of warring factions, civil unrest and of course assassinations.
Language options are typical sub and dub, which means the viewer has the choice of running either the original Japanese dialog track (stereo) or an English dub (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround) and the option of displaying English subtitles beneath either dialog choice.
Extras include an interview with the Japanese voice actor who plays Marco, original TV commercials, textless songs, and a host of upcoming Funimation anime previews.
The story follows the innocent and borderline adorable girls of the SWA (Social Welfare Agency) who, despite their kind hearts, seem a little bit eschew right from the get go. It turns out that these girls are actually the grizzly remains of humans who by all facts and circumstances should be deceased. Only rather than resting in peace in a cemetery somewhere, these children have been reassembled with cybernetic implants that replace the damaged areas and act as memory suppressants.
With all past knowledge of their existence wiped away, these girls are trained in the ways of combat, assassination, weapons use; in other words they are killers with loyalty to the government that built them.
Okay so my summary sounds an awful lot like the malarkey I was dealing with coming into the series but rest assured, the simplified plot synopsis does little to demonstrate the show's greatest strength: Character development.
The pacing is spot on throughout with a deliberately slow and intriguing beginning that doesn't fully answer all of the viewer's questions. The plot structure is such that answers come swiftly just like the action and by the third or fourth episode; it feels like a masterwork of storytelling and visual delights.
Set in Italy of all places, the core of the tale centers on a political conflict between a governmental body and a terrorist faction called the FRF. Their primary target are the members of the SWA which basically boils down to cybernetic assassins squaring off with supposed normal children with personality disorders deluxe.
The political segments, like the rest of the show, are quite well done and go a long way in setting up a believable backdrop for the action in the foreground. Especially noteworthy is the fact that the show's creative team goes the extra mile to convey the conflict from both viewpoints so that a black & white/ right and wrong, good guy/ bad guy perspective is never a factor.
The music score is exemplary with excellent use of tension and building that coincides beautifully with the on-screen situations.
Voice work is also quite commendable with the English dub squeaking in as the overall superior choice in my opinion. There was a time when I advocated the idea that the only way to enjoy anime was to crank up the original Japanese dialog and follow along with the subtitles but Funimation has been raising the bar so steadily that there is little reason to cling to my old ideology. Don't get me wrong, the Japanese dialog is spectacular here but American voice actors (especially those in the employ of Funimation) have proven time and time again that they are very capable of nailing the emotion and grit of a dark story like this. Gunslinger Girl is no exception to the trend.
Like you may have surmised, the very deepest levels of this tale strike a chord of fear within all of us as to what it actually means to be a human. Swirled within a life of confusion, control, conditioning and killer instinct, the will to be free, the will to love and be loved still manages to resurface. When it does, the assassins are treated medicinally so as to remain complacent but there is an element of just how much oppression the human heart can take all throughout this tale that manages to inspire.
Sure the element of gun-touting, seven-year-old-girl super killers is a bit unsettling, the true strength of this anime lies in its strong character development, expert pacing, and gritty atmosphere. The human condition, though never quite in the foreground of the prose, acts as a constant motivator of the lead characters. This coupled to the fact that the Italian scenery, political conflict, and voice acting are all spot on results in a show that's best not to be missed."
Gunslinger Girl 2
J. Foley | 09/06/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I finally finished watching GG2. I must say it was very good. For you who have seen the first series, the anime is different than the original but most of the main voices are the same. The story line was good. I haven't read the manga in a while but the show seemed to follow what I did remember. Action and violence mixed with the emotional complications between the girls and their handlers... I found it difficult not to watch the whole series in one sitting.
The only complaint would be that only thirteen episodes are presented. Two other episodes, 14 & 15, were not included, though they were in the Japan release. Other than that, I would recommend buying this box set. If you have not seen the first series, I would say buy both, but I believe Gunslinger Girl 2 can stand alone."
Even Better Than Season One...
Randall | 09/24/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Despite being a bit disappointed when I first heard the animation would be different I was excited for a second season. I finally purchased this last week and it did not disappoint. At all. Yes the visuals are different. Not better. Not worse. Different. If you are a true fan of the series, and not just watching it for the action sequences, then it's the characters themselves that you love. Il Teatrino does an even better job than the first run at exploring the characters and their relationships with each other. I'm really picky when it comes to spoilers, and not wanting to know much of anything about a series before watching it, so I won't get into details about the who's and what's. Character development is top priority. I'm sitting here, as I'm writing this, watching it for the second time. I'm going to go ahead and close this out before I get too long-winded, but if you enjoyed the first season don't listen to what you may have heard about this being a lesser offering. Fans of Gunslinger Girl MUST own this..."