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Gunslinger Girl ~Il Teatrino~ OVA PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 08 December 2010 00:00

Gunslinger Girl ~Il Teatrino~ OVA

Carrying on from where the Il Teatrino TV series left off, this short two-episode OVA steps back a little and gives us a look inside the head of Jean, Rico's handler, who it seems has a few demons of his own to deal with...

1 - The Light of Venice, the Darkness of the Heart
When Jean pays a visit to the grave of his fiancée Sofia, he unexpectedly runs into her brother Fernando, who isn't at all pleased to see him. Fernando has joined up with a left-wing group in the hopes of getting a chance to avenge Sofia's death - she was killed in a terrorist attack - but Jean recognises the colours of the group that Fernando is wearing, and orders him tailed. That turns out to be a good decision, as Fernando leads the Agency to the safe-house of a Padania member, who under interrogation identifies some members of the organisation's Venice faction. Jean and Rico are sent to Venice to investigate further - but during a raid on one of the Venice cells, Rico is wounded...

Going to talk?Rescue

2 - Fantasma
Henrietta and Rico are heading to Sicily for a break, and their ferry takes them past the Messina bridge and the temporary bridge that Franco & Franca had attacked. It reminds them that Triela hasn't been herself since her second encounter with Pinocchio - between the injuries she received and the hollowness of her victory over him, she's been almost lost in thought since then, and has remained at the Agency HQ. But that's a passing concern, as the girls soon arrive at their destination - where Jean is having problems dealing with ghost of his dead sister...

Lost in thoughtGhostly thoughts

These two episodes are probably best thought of as tagging on to the TV series proper, to be honest, and as such they come with most of the plusses and minuses that the TV series had - Yu Aida's control, moefied character designs etc. On the plus side, though, they're far more tightly focussed, with the two pairings of Jean & Rico and Giuse & Henrietta taking most of the screen time. The first episode here scored highly with me, but that's down to my own love for Venice, a city I've visited several times and would happily visit many times more - so the appeal of the story there comes down to a lot of virtual sightseeing and seeing just how accurately they're portrayed the city (answer: very well indeed). I accept that most people watching this won't be able to call on the same little obsession, though, and that will affect enjoyment, as otherwise the episode comes down to showing an Agency operative who's unfamiliar with the work of the girls just how they do their jobs - and Altmeyer, of the Venice branch, is suitably shocked by what he learns.

To a lesser extent it's also a look at the workmanlike relationship between Jean and Rico, which also comes into play in the second episode, along with the residual feelings of guilt and remorse that both Jean and Giuse have over the death of Jean's sister. This is probably one of the highlights of the series as a whole, as Jean's inner turmoil is very graphically portrayed, clearly showing that in some ways he's on the verge of losing it over her - and that it's only working with the girls that keeps him grounded. There's not a shot fired in the episode, either, with Rico and Henrietta used solely as props for the greater story that's centred on their handlers.

The inability to really stray from the point - two episodes doesn't give long enough for that to happen - and the tighter character focus combine to make the OVA really rather good, although I'm sure the Il Teatrino naysayers will still be able to pick holes. I enjoyed it, though, despite its failings - it's noticeably better than the TV series it follows, and within touching distance of the first TV season. The only real downside is that, because it touches on events of the second TV season, you really should watch it first - and that may be a step too far for some people.

Rating - ****

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