Everything is Oll Korrect!

An eclectic bibliophile's journal…

Tag: Aida Yu

Gunslinger Girl – Finale

So, after a tumultuous, often uncertain journey of seven years, I’ve finished Gunslinger Girl. I’ve written a couple posts on Aida Yu’s series before, after its return from publishing limbo in North America, one enthusiastic (of volumes 7-8), one rather concerned about the direction the author had taken (of volumes 11-12). Though volumes 13-14 were fine, I’m afraid that this final (fifteenth) volume largely, though not completely, justified my concerns.

The climax to Gunslinger Girl‘s story is in the next-to-last omnibus (volumes 13-14). Aida gives us one more big shootout with the most prominent terrorists the Social Welfare Agency had been fighting, including the man behind the Croce Incident. These volumes are very action-heavy, which is good because that’s what Aida is best at. Many, if not most, of the main characters are dead by the end (which shouldn’t be a spoiler if you’ve read even one volume, since the girls’ short lifespans is emphasised constantly throughout the series), so the fifteenth volume shouldn’t have much to do besides tie up a few loose ends.

Honestly, I’m not sure what to make of the ending. Some parts I like, some I don’t, and some I’m just unsure of (note: if you care, I’m about to get into some legitimate spoilers).


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Is Gunslinger Girl Running Out of Steam?

Gunslinger Girl is one of the only stories I know where it does not constitute a spoiler to reveal that this or that character dies. Artist Aida Yu makes it clear very early that every cyborg-assassin girl is going to die, probably horribly. At its best, Gunslinger Girl uses the constant presence of death to its advantage, for example with Triela’s story and her relationship with Hilshire. Sometimes, though, Aida overplays his hand, and especially in Seven Seas’ most recent omnibus volume (volumes 11-12) his writing gets tiring and predictable.…

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Gunslinger Girl (GN) Vols. 7-8

Fully four years after ADV published volume six of Gunslinger Girl, I finally hold in my hands volumes seven and eight in omnibus, thanks to Seven Seas. The mere fact that this series, one of my top-five all-time favourites, is actually available in a form I can understand makes me giddy. I’d tried to fill in the gap between releases by buying some of the Japanese volumes, but the technical jargon and lack of furigana mostly rendered the books a reminder of my lousy literacy. There’s also the excellent first season of the anime adaptation, on glorious blu-ray, no less, but even that’s soured by the second season, which had a first episode so badly animated that I couldn’t bring myself to watch the rest.

In any case, author Aida Yu didn’t disappoint me. These volumes focus almost entirely on Alessandro and Petrushka, who’d been introduced in volume six, with the older characters appearing only in a handful of scenes, though those scenes do add significantly to their characterisation. This does mark a noticeable shift in narrative structure. Most previous volumes were episodic, with story arcs no more than a few chapters long, and each focusing on a specific fratello.

The relationship between the girls and their handlers has always been the main draw of the series for me, but Sandro and Petrushka may be the most interesting yet, because she is older and more lightly conditioned than the other girls. As a result, she is less predictable – she’s occasionally moody, more conscious of the relationship between her and her handler, and at one point even fights her conditioning to tell him how she feels about him.

So, I’m more enthusiastic about this series than I’ve ever been. Though Gunslinger Girl has always been solid, introducing a character with more room to grow and focusing on her long enough to gradually develop her as a character is probably the best decision Aida’s made for his comic, and I can hardly wait to see the next volume.…

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