Saturday, September 10, 2005

The girls who sling guns

Subject: Noir
I got the last disc of "Gunslinger Girl" this week, and finished my 2nd trip through the series this evening.

After being in such a mood all week after finishing another trip through "Noir", I'm kind of surprised I wanted to put myself through that grinder. Maybe I was fooling myself; maybe I was thinking "it couldn't have been that heart-rending."

Well, maybe it wasn't all that heart-rending, but there's certainly some heart-wrenching going on. Like I said before in my first review: It's evil. It's a blatant attempt to manipulate you with an appeal-to-emotion in hopes that you'd turn out a blubbering wreck by the end. Skillfully, artfully done, but manipulative all-the-less.

Earlier this evening, I was invited to visit friends of mine who just had their first child, a three-week-old daughter. I've known them for nearly 20 years now, they were housemates of mine for quite a while, and watching them as inexperienced new parents was, well, amusing. They were marvelling at all the strange little changes in themselves as it related to how they now react and identify with their new, tiny creation. How millions of years of biological evolution all come focused to what they're experiencing right now.

In a way, though, all of us guys are primally wired to want to protect little girls. I'd like to say it was "little kids", but really, little girls tend to really invoke the "father" instinct in even the most stalwart, crusty bachelors like myself. The Japanese seem to know this, and are pretty damned successful at manipulating you with it. With "Gunslinger Girl", the empathy and protective instinct are brought to an obvious focal point with the fact that the girls are a "fratello" with their older (and stalwart, crusty bachelor) handlers. Who you find yourself either identifying with, or absolutely loathing. Or both.

Like I've said: manipulative. That's really the only major flaw to the show -- that it's that obvious about it. Otherwise, there's some fantastic use of detail, mood, music and texture, with some excellent writing and characterization, that really make this a worthwhile series.

Oh, and I happened to notice this time around that there were certain background-music moments that were very, very much a rip-off of "Noir". I mean, practically chord-for-chord, it seemed. Well, at least, it was really, really similar.

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