Gunslinger Girl
Volume 3

Starring (voice): Yuuka Nanri, Kanako Mituhashi and Eri Sendal
RRP: 19.99
Certificate: 15
Available 31 July 2006

The grizzly murder of a fratello gets Section One involved, with an investigator sent in to get to the bottom of the "cyborg problem." As the Agency scrambles to protect their girls, Henrietta and Jose find themselves on an impromptu vacation, having been sent away "for their own protection." What are they hiding? And what does Henrietta know about the deadly truth? Then the Agency uncovers a plot which could be used to wipe out the terrorists' stronghold once and for all. Things go terribly wrong, and in an all-or-nothing attack the girls find their lives on the line. Could this be the end of the girls and the Agency? Could their lives be over before they've really begun...?

Amare (To Love) - Elsa and Lauro are discovered dead - murdered by an unknown assailant. Section One investigates how one of their operatives and her handler where taken down without a fight. Meanwhile Henrietta and Jose have been sent away on a vacation until things are resolved. But Section One seems more interested in looking into how healthy the cyborg/handler relationship is. Do they know something that they are not telling?

This episode examines the ethical problems of taking young girls and turning them into killing machines. Henrietta eventually realises how Elsa and Lauro were killed - much to everyone's surprise.

Febbre Alta (High Fever) - The startling truth about Elsa and Lauro's murders are brought to light. Jose has taken Henrietta on a vacation to Sicily. Two members of Section One follow them there to ask them questions - trying to find out whether any of the other girls are capable of doing what Elsa did. They soon learn that the way the handler interact with his girl is as important as the training. The girls are conditioned to die for their handler, to unconditionally "love" them, but what happens if the girls realise that their handler will never "love" them back, no matter how much they please them?

This episode sees Section One investigating Section Two. Some of the girls, as well as members of the organisation, start to question whether this tragic scenario could happen again - or, more importantly, whether any of the other subjects show signs of cracking anytime soon.

Simbiosi (Symbiosis) - Section Two gets one last chance to convince the powers that be that the Elsa and Lauro incident was a one-off accident. Section Two are assigned to deal with a kidnapping threat. Claes takes the place of the victim, and is duly kidnapped as planned. But when Section Two storm the building, to rescue Claes and take out the kidnappers, Angelica acts erratically and winds up getting shot.

This episode examines the real relationship between the girls outside of their missions. While they hang around together, it soon becomes apparent that they don't actually interact like normal girls, despite outward appearances. Claes's reaction to Angelica getting shot is not what you'd expect from a team member. And when questioned about Elsa's death none of the girls really seem that bothered that she is gone.

Stella Cadente (Falling Star) - Angelica is in a critical condition and confined to a hospital bed. Marco, her handler, refuses to go and visit her, until Henrietta tells him that Angelica would probably like it if he just dropped by. Jose disappoints Henrietta, and the rest of the girls, when he informs them that he can't supervise them on a trip to see the comet shower that is due that evening. Triela promises that she will find a way to ensure they don't miss it.

Again, as in the majority of the episodes in this series, there's not a lot of laughs to be had. In fact, it's a very bleak and sad show. The characters are so likeable, that it is difficult not to feel for them. As you'd expect from a series this dark, the conclusion is not a happily-ever-after affair, but it does leave you wanting more.

Extras include Production Commentary for To Love with some of the American production staff; Voice Director Commentary for To Love with some of the American voice actors); Building Triela (which is another pointless "how to draw" segment. Also, this time they obviously messed up on the menus as it's Henrietta and not Triela - although they do try to and make it intentional with a textual explanation. We also get the usual textless opening and closing credits as well as trailers for other show.

It's such a shame that this series was so short lived, as there is plenty of mileage to be had out of the characters and situations. Another outstanding disc in this short but sweet series.

Darren Rea

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