Gunslinger Girl

October 22, 2017

I wonder if it is considered child abuse sending little girls to do dirty jobs like murder and assassination. Wait. What’s that I said?! You heard that right. A certain government in Europe had this twisted idea to use little girls (albeit with cybernetic enhancements) to do their dirty work to eliminate people they don’t like or deemed as a threat. What kind of a sick story or joke is this? However despite this grim setting of Gunslinger Girl (no, it’s not some western spaghetti), the series does not focus so much on the assassinations they are required to do but rather their tragic story of how they cope with their emotions as they seek warmth and love just like any ordinary little girls amidst carrying out their ruthless missions from their higher ups as child assassins.

Episode 1
The Fratello, agents (Handlers) and their partners are trying to storm into a certain building to apprehend a key witness. One of them being Jose and Henrietta. They pose as a reporter trying to interview a certain person but the guy behind the door refuses them. Jose remains adamant so that guy goes out to get rough with him. Then it triggered Henrietta. She kills him! When his other comrades start to return fire, she takes out her machine gun and guns them all down with no emotions and no mercy! Flashback shows Jose was to be assigned to a young assassin girl. He asked why the agency used young girls. Something about physical modifications and brainwashing work better. So when Henrietta woke up from her slumber, she became his partner. She never rested and continued training to improve herself since he told her to become proficient quickly. After gunning everyone down and the remaining ones taken out by sniper fire, Jose calls mission control to say that mission has failed. Believing the witness is still in the building, another team is tasked to find the witness in which they eventually found hiding. Jose asks why Henrietta went berserk. It never happened before. She stood there visibly shaken. Her arm is wounded. He covers her with his coat and they go home. Later Jose talks to his higher ups. Jose doesn’t want to condition her too much since it will shorten her lifespan. Jose can get a new one once she is used up but he doesn’t want to. They think he is too emotionally attached to her. As Henrietta is an excellent assassin, it is a waste to dispose of her. They hope he can make her understand big mistakes are inexcusable. Jose remembers Henrietta was the only survivor as her family was massacred. The first time he saw her at the hospital, her mind and body were ragged. It could be out of pity that he felt he wanted to help her. After a while, looks like Henrietta finally answered Jose on why she went berserk. She just wanted to help him.

Episode 2
Jose narrates the Social Welfare Agency is a government sponsored lifesaving corporation. In actual fact it gives dying patients another chance at life with cybernetic implants and conditions them to handle their dirty work. Henrietta undergoes surgery but is warned being dependent on this would suffer from memory dysfunction. The doctor advises Jose to condition her more because trying to treat a cyborg girl like a normal girl would only result in unhappiness. Jose also tried to teach Henrietta social etiquette. But when a waiter was clearing the table, the way he picked up the utensils looked dangerous so Henrietta immediately pins him down and would have killed him had not Jose stopped her. Henrietta wakes up from a ‘bad dream’ whereby Jose in addition to teaching how to do long range sniping, lets her look up at the beautiful sky and Venus. After the surgery is done, Henrietta feels lost so she seeks advice from her comrades, Triela and Claes. They treat her to cake and tea and tell her not to worry about it. That night, Henrietta is surprised that Jose takes her to see stargazing. He isn’t mad at her. He lets her see Orion and tells of the tragic love story of Orion and Artemis.

Episode 3
Henrietta was always sick and thus never left hospital. Her parents were always arguing about this. So when she was fitted with cybernetic implants 2 years ago, she finally got to move freely. She loves her life at the agency and also plays the violin as Jose introduced her to it. She has Rico as her roommate. The girls are in their usual training when a call comes in. All training will be stopped for this next mission. The target is Mascart, a politician from the opposition party and his secretary. The assassination will take place in 1 week. Before each session, Mascart and is secretary will hole up in this hotel to scour over documents. The agency has booked the entire floor so they can carry out their mission smoothly. Rico is tasked to survey the place. As she tries to enter from the back, she meets this porter boy, Emilio. Love at first sight? Because this boy can’t stop talking and she actually listens to him! She had to cut short this meeting when her Handler, Jean calls for her. He notes her running late. Did she bump into anyone? She lies no. He reminds her to kill anybody who sees her during a job. Later Rico tells this to Henrietta. Because Emilio thought she was a musician, she hopes Henrietta could teach her how to play the violin. An amateur teaching a newbie how to play… As the mission begins, Rico enters the room as room service and immediately kills both men. When she leaves the room, she unexpectedly bumps into Emilio. He is shocked and confused to see her here in their hotel’s uniform. Rico is lost for words. How will she get out of this? Well, there is only one way. The same gun she used on the politicians will now be used on him. Sorry. Bye. In the aftermath, Rico narrates she wakes up every morning wonder if her body is still here. If it does, it is wonder to know her body still works. She loves her life at the agency.

Episode 4
Triela nudges Henrietta to summon her courage to ask Jose to spend time with her for Christmas. Triela apprehends a baddie as her Handler, Hilshire wants to ask him questions. Because he pulls out a gun, she shoots him. This doesn’t please Hilshire as he tells her not to shoot without his permission. She dares him to condition her more. Of course he doesn’t wish for that so he asks Jose for advice on how to get along with her. On a mission to Naples, the duo are supposed to search for a retired Mafia boss, Mario. He has been running around Europe but rumours have it he is back here. Their job is to bring him back to the agency for protection as he is a valuable witness to testify against the mafia organization, thus why the mafia are trying to hunt him down too. Hilshire and Mario were also ‘associates’ and know each other. They manage to get him and though Mario agrees to go with them, he needs to do something here now. As he is cuffed to Triela, she has to accompany him to toilet. He tells his story that he once trafficked kids in Amsterdam and that was when he met Hilshire working as Europol’s investigator. He let him escape for insider info. Hilshire was fired when found out and subsequently joined the agency. Slick Mario gives Triela the slip, chaining his end of the handcuff to the stall while escaping himself. Mario thought he has lost her when the mafia aides surround him to bring him to their boss. But Mario is confident as he knows someone dangerous will show up. True enough Triela comes rushing down and raining bullets on them. In the aftermath when she asks why he came to Naples, he wants to see his daughter. After the trafficking, he considered quitting and reflected on all the bad things he had done. He sent her Christmas presents every year but this year he vowed to give it to her in person. Triela lets him go and will report to Hilshire as she lost him. When Mario asks about her parents, she doesn’t remember except that she was found in the Amsterdam trafficking. Hilshire heard all that so Triela is surprised when he is nice to her when he asks what she wants for Christmas. He got her a teddy bear as per requested. Strangely, Mario also sent her a teddy bear present.

Episode 5
Jean sees his former military police captain, Claudio Raballo to bring him out of retirement to the agency. He is given Claes to handle. As he trains her, he finds she isn’t a sharpshooter and has her shoot until she hits every target. So when she hasn’t returned in a day, Jean tells him about how each girl is different and how it takes time for implants to grow accustomed to implants. Raballo realizes Claes has been shooting since yesterday! He goes to get her. Back in his room, they talk about the books they love to read. Currently Raballo is reading on how to plant vegetables. In case of aliens invasion. Seriously? Then he takes her out fishing. She learns his limp is due from a gunshot during his days as a police. In the agency, they look like proper teacher-student. But outside, he takes her fishing and they bond closer. It’s their unspoken rule. One night on a mission, Claes is to handle a few subway punks. Unfortunately she killed them (though, permitted) but she herself got stabbed (pulled her gun too slow). During training, Raballo notices Henrietta inconsistent. When a bullet is stuck in her gun, he slaps it away from her. Because he scolds Jose, Henrietta gets ready to attack him. Similarly, Claes goes to defend him. All calms down when Jose tells Henrietta to stop. Once Jean learns about this, he thought the girls need to have several pages rewritten. A few days later, Claes heard Raballo is quitting the agency. He claims he just needs some time for himself. Though he has been training her to become stronger, he feels uneasy with it. He gives her his key to his room to read all the books she wants as well as glasses so that she will be gentle when she puts them on. Shortly, Jean comes in to tell Claes that Raballo is dead in a hit and run accident. She goes into shock. The higher ups deem her useless but the scientists have some use for her. Claes tells us she doesn’t leave the agency grounds nor participate in missions. Instead she is a guinea pig for whatever experiments the scientists have in mind. As she takes Henrietta to grow vegetables, the latter asks if she is lonely without a partner. She’ll die if Jose is not around. Claes with confidence tells her back that she will decide if she is lonely or not.

Episode 6
Jose talks to Enzo about the recent bomb disarmament in a subway and one near the national museum. Enzo feels odd because it was too easy. Like as though they are amateurs or a distraction for something else. Then they go spy on Enrico Perdini, an ultra-left terrorist in the Republican Faction (RF) responsible for last year’s bombing incidents. Henrietta eavesdrop on their talk. Something political. Something about funding. So there is an entire team tailing Enrico in hopes of catching him in the act of meeting up with the bomb makers. Enrico might have given Enzo’s men the slip but he didn’t realize men from the agency still tailing him. They are unsure of his intentions because he is walking around Rome like as though he is going sight-seeing. When Enrico returns to his hideout, he calls the bomb makers, Franca and Franco. They are not pleased their meeting is in Rome where it is the jurisdiction of the agency. He wanted to scout the place and believing their hands are full now focusing on the museum, he wants the bombs delivered at the appointed time tonight. Franca and Franco don’t really like to deal types like Enrico since he is a lost cause but since it is an order from the higher ups, they have to do it. They wonder if they should send him fake bombs. When Enrico’s men stake out for the appointed meeting, they notice something strange about the traffic. No cars are passing. A distance away there has been an accident. Could it be a cover up for a raid? Enrico has his men outside investigate but they are taken out by Henrietta and Triela. Then they storm into the place to take out the other men. Henrietta poses as a lost scared girl to get close to them and take them out. Enrico is finally cornered and gives up. In the aftermath as Jose treats Henrietta to gelato, they accidentally pass by Franca and Franco. They are relieved Enrico got arrested. Thinking that Henrietta belongs to a well to do family, it is girls like them that RF is supposed to protect.

Episode 7
Jean and Rico posing as a salesman and his sister on a business trip, meet Filippo Adani who is an accountant and also on vacation here in Firenze. Filippo seems knowledgeable in the arts and even accompanies them to an art museum. Jean notices a couple of men spying on Filippo and also making shady terrorism orders. On pretence to go make a phone call, Jean interrogates one of them in the toilet. It seems they are from RF and are following Filippo to eliminate him and recover Bigliazzi’s private ledger. When they leave the art museum, somewhere in the alley they are surrounded by those men. They threaten to kill innocent people if Filippo doesn’t hand over the ledger. Filippo is about to do it to spare Rico’s life but that isn’t necessary. Jean and Rico go into action and shoot them dead. They start running when more men come chasing. While they hide, Filippo explains why he is wanted. The ledger exposes Bigliazzi’s funding to RF. Also, he heard about their terrorist plot that they didn’t want it leaked. Filippo loved arts but his father wanted him to become an accountant like he wanted. So he gave up his dream of being one. But being an accountant he discovered his father dodged tax for 20 years and funding terrorist groups. He couldn’t take it anymore and ran away. Knowing Bigliazzi was in cahoots with the police, if he was going to be assassinated, he wanted to see Firenze one last time. They continue to make a run but Filippo gets shot in the hand. They manage to make it to Jose and Henrietta waiting for them. A car chase ensues. So as not to involve the tourists, they had to drive to somewhere deserted before the girls could return fire and stop the chase. Filippo thinks he is done for and is glad he visited those cities one last time. He is tired of living. Rico thinks it would be a waste if he dies. It would be better if he drew paintings in this world and besides, Firenze is such a beautiful place.

Episode 8
Dr Fernando Bianchi examines Henrietta. Despite saying she is okay, he wants her to control her emotions. Next he examines Angelica. First he lets her see pictures and see how many she recognizes. When asked about the pasta story, she doesn’t remember. Bianchi then talks to Jose and Marco Toni (Angelica’s Handler). He wants Jose to have more faith in Henrietta while Marco to renew his former interest in Angelica. However Marco is frustrated. He worked hard to teach Angelica a lot of stuffs but those conditioning doctors made her forget everything. Marco continues to treat Angelica indifferent and tells her to do more training. Flashback reveals Angelica was almost killed by her parents. Her father’s factory had gone bankrupt and prior to that he took out a life policy on his daughter. The worst, right? At that time, Marco was hired into the agency upon Bianchi’s recommendation after getting fired for his failing eyesight. He is introduced to Angelica whom the doctors just saved from death. As he accompanies her, he starts telling her the pasta story to divert her attention away from the pain. Didn’t work. But she would like to hear more of it. As Marco’s unit rarely sees any action, they spend more time trying to come up with that pasta story! Marco also had a girlfriend who is a children’s storybook writer, Patricia. Because of the secrecy of his job, he can’t tell her much except to care for a child and telling her stories. One day, his unit members got into a fight. Angelica tried to stop them and got slightly injured. At the same time, cybernetics were introduced and Marco’s unit was sent into action. After the successful mission, the unit members apologize to Angelica but she doesn’t remember them. Marco became devastated. Patricia broke up with him although she heard from Bianchi about the pasta story and turned it into a book. Now Marco doesn’t tell Angelica the story anymore. He doesn’t want to think his actions were in vain but she no longer remembers the story.

Episode 9
Once Lauro gives the okay sign, Elsa barges into the room and guns down everyone Rambo style! Wow. She also takes pictures of evidence as ordered. As Elsa is also one of those cyborg girls at the agency, she rarely mixes with the rest and always stays in her room by herself. She only sticks closely to Lauro. Lauro talks to Jose that they are working together for the next mission. It is to take out a local police chief. Lauro killed an officer of his as warning but he remained stubborn to back down and even threatened to reveal the agency’s existence. Thus the agency has approved his assassination. Henrietta goes to Elsa’s room to talk to her. However Elsa has nothing to say to her and warns if she gets in Lauro’s way, she’ll kill her. Asked why she is being a lone wolf, Elsa asks back if other cyborgs are your own partner is more important. As Lauro is most important to her, nothing else matters. She will use all his time for him. She claims the rest do not have love. Henrietta protests because she loves Jose too. In that case there is nothing more to talk. As they set up their sniping position, Lauro could see Elsa quite eager. They have one shot to pull this assassination. Elsa watches in envy how close Henrietta is to Jose. As the target pulls up, Lauro notices Elsa not focusing. Heck, her gun safety is still on. This forces Lauro to order Jose to switch with her. The target is perfectly taken out with Jose hitting the first time followed by Henrietta just to make sure. Time to escape. But Elsa only stood there in shock. Lauro calls her useless and leaves her there.

Episode 10
Henrietta is surprised Jose is taking her on a trip to Sicily. Did something happen? Elsa and Lauro were found murdered in the park. The murderers have not been found yet. Henrietta looks at it in a positive light since Elsa will now forever be with Lauro. Jean and Rico spearhead the investigation. He believes the culprits could be from RF, the southern mafia or another government agency. Pietro Fermi from Section 1 (another section of the agency) is told by his boss that this is the best time to put some pressure on Section 2 (Handlers and their cyborg girls) because he ultimately wants this section closed. So he and his assistant, Eleanora Gabrielli do their own investigation and mostly they ask Jean lots of questions regarding the agency and the Fratello. Fermi tries to test what Jean said is true about the cyborg girls so he throws a coin at him. Rico swiftly grabs it and points her gun at him all within a blink of an eye. Further investigations showed that Elsa fired 2 shots but the bullets are missing. Fermi and Gabrielli visit Elsa’s room which is drab and empty. Then they go talk with Triela. So far the cyborg girls aren’t really sad over Elsa’s death because she was a loner and how close she was to Lauro. Jean receives the results from the bullets that killed Elsa and Lauro. It hints that this is going to be troublesome. Jean suggests hiding the ballistics info and blame it on malfunction. That way the pressure on them would stop if they admit it is their own mistake. They will report it is Elsa fought and died for her master. Further investigations show the blood sample of the murderers found at the park belonged to suspects from RF. Fermi asks Rico if she would gladly die for her master. Jean interjects that it is only natural they do so. Thus Rico replies if he says so, then so be it.

Episode 11
Fermi and Gabrielli head to Sicily to visit Jose and Henrietta on holiday. They know where they are because Triela told them and also to learn better about the Handler and cyborg girls’ relationship. Jose has Henrietta cook dinner but since he hints it won’t taste tasty, Gabrielli supervises her. They have to buy ingredients so they go out shopping. Along the way, a snatch thief snatches Henrietta’s bag. She chases after him and when she catches up, grabs him by the neck. Gabrielli uses her police authority to stop what is happening. She lets the thief go if he returns the handbag otherwise she can arrest him as he reeks of marijuana. The handbag is important to Henrietta as Jose bought a camera for her. Meanwhile the guys talk things out. Jose explains about the conditioning of the girls and how Handlers are free to condition however they want as long as they get the job done. Though he doesn’t condition Henrietta much nor forces her to love him. Either way, Fermi finds it disgusting to have a partnership like that because even if it doesn’t look like much doesn’t make it acceptable. Jose agrees. Fermi is also suspicious that everything sounds too convenient. When Elsa and Lauro were found murdered, suddenly they knew who did it. As Jose explains about the cyborgs’ enhanced abilities, Fermi didn’t like how he was trying to paint the girls protected their master. It may be the truth but it isn’t right. In the end, these girls are just normal teens. Is Jose saying he would be okay if Henrietta dies for him? When Gabrielli tries to tell how Henrietta should act like a girl, she starts crying. Jose was trying to do the same to her. She knows she is strong enough to kill people. As a cyborg, she cannot be useful to Jose as a normal girl. She knows how Elsa died and has the rest gathered. First she asks if Elsa loved Lauro. Definitely. Did Lauro love her back? Not really. He was too busy focusing on work. Imagine having an unrequited love. It was too much to bear for Elsa after realizing he would never feel the same way. She shot him in the back before turning the gun on herself. Henrietta even demonstrates this! Jose and Fermi rush to grab her gun. Phew. What a scare. She assures she will never do this because he is so nice to her. Later Fermi says he won’t tell this to his boss because by now Section 2 must have destroyed all evidence. Flashback shows Elsa did that because Lauro didn’t remember named her here at this park. He didn’t really care about it.

Episode 12
Angelica sprains her ankle during training. The higher ups don’t really like since after Elsa’s incident and now this. Since they have been producing results, they are allowed to continue for now but can’t keep covering for Section 2 forever. Jean briefs the team of their next mission. RF plans to abduct Caterina Sanctis, the daughter of a powerful senator. It is suggested to use one of the cyborg girls as decoy in her place. This will lead them to their hideout and they will wipe them all out. It is risky but they need results. It is suggested Claes will be the decoy. The plan goes well as Claes is abducted and the terrorists have not figured out who she is as a ransom note to the senator is made shortly. Claes is calm and reading her book while being watched over. Franca talks to her and because of her mature answer, Franca hopes she can teach these idiots a lesson. One, she believes these blokes are planning not to let Claes leave because they are letting her see all their faces. The agency has tracked Claes being held in the mountains. They make their haste and preparations stealthily and give the terrorists the element of surprise by gunning all of them down! Claes isn’t going to be a damsel in distress. She overwhelms her watcher and then takes out the electricity. Angelica defied orders and runs to rescue Claes. At this point she isn’t in her room. A terrorist catches her. Although luckily Claes returned and killed the terrorist, the stray bullet injured Angelica. As she is stretchered away, Marco scolds her for being reckless. Angelica recovers and the girls wish her well. But she doesn’t look happy. Suddenly out of character she bursts that they’re all going to die without knowing the truth. If Marco is going to treat her coldly, she might as well die now. Claes slaps her. If she wants to die, then go ahead. She shouldn’t have saved her then.

Episode 13
What Angelica said still bothers Henrietta. Marco apparently overheard that so now he is on a personal mission to find Angelica’s old dog? On Jose’s advice, Henrietta pays Angelica another visit. It seems Angelica is reminiscing about Pedro, her old dog. Angelica might be losing her memories because shortly she says she didn’t realize Henrietta was here. And subsequently when Claes visits to apologize, Angelica doesn’t recognize who visited before her. Henrietta confronts Marco that Angelica is talking about Pedro. Can we help find it? Marco says don’t bother. He doesn’t know where her old dog is. Henrietta hopes Marco could go see Angelica even if he can’t do anything for her now. Just be with her. He then asks if she is afraid of dying. No. Not afraid fighting and dying for Jose. Does she resent being given a mechanical body, a gun and a short lifespan? If he pities them for that, he is mistaken. This may be conditioning but she is fine with it. Even so, she is still fine with it and believes Angelica feels the same way. While the girls go watch the meteor shower that night, Marco pays Angelica a visit. She is happy to see him. She wants him to read that pasta story and amidst Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Angelica closes her eyes and sleeps… Forever? :’(.

Il Teatrino

Episode 1
A demonstration in Rome turns ugly and violent. Section 2 is monitoring the situation and predicts the Republicans may use this as an opportunity. The Fratello are sent in to observe. An explosion occurs near Jose and Henrietta. He is just slightly injured but no biggie. They notice one of the police officers backing out and running away into a van. They give chase by borrowing Priscilla’s Vespa. Too bad she won’t get it back in one piece… The van is guided into a small alley whereby the Fratello ambush them. Some are killed on the spot while some are injured and taken into custody. Back in the agency, Henrietta visits Jose’s room but he isn’t in. Creepily she starts hugging and smelling his shirt while lying on his bed. Then she sits in his chair. What is she? Goldilocks? Then she opens a present he supposedly bought for her from France on his table. It is a golden kaleidoscope but underneath it states it is for the person he loves the most, Louise Antoinette Rolle. Must be his girlfriend. Don’t feel too good now, eh? Henrietta tells Triela and Claes about it. Claes explains that person must be dead over a century ago. That name belongs to a French writer’s lover in which he based one of his stories on her. The name of that character was Henrietta. Thus the present is for her. Relieved Henrietta goes back to Jose’s room to apologise but he isn’t mad about somebody leaving a mess in his room and takes her to see the stars. Later it is revealed Claes lied about this story. She made it up because the kaleidoscope wasn’t invented then. That present is most probably fake too.

Episode 2
When Pinocchio was a young boy, he was tasked in assassinating someone. After a bit of a struggle he kills him but his daughter witnessed it. Hesitating initially, Pinocchio eventually kills her. Now all grown up, he continues his assassination ways. He meets up with his uncle, Cristiano who wants to send him to Montalcino to work with a few people in a new big mission. Later Cristiano talks to a few other guys to plan halting the construction of the Strait of Messina Bridge. Cristiano is drawing up plans to bomb it and will have Franca and Franco part of it. Franca and Franco meet up with Pinocchio. Franco knows his specialty is knives but still doesn’t trust him. He wants to test him as he pulls out a gun. Pinocchio is confident he can still take him down at this distance and use Franco’s old leg wound to his advantage. Still want to test him out? Pinocchio goes out shopping to make dinner. Aurora is a girl who is always following him and wants to help him out with whatever chores. This time Pinocchio tells her to stop following her around because she is annoying. Nothing good will come if she hangs around him because he is a naughty kid like Pinocchio. Franca tells Pinocchio about the job of blowing the bridge. As it is still under construction, there are only the pillar bases. If an amateur tries to blow it up, it wouldn’t take down a structure this size. Also, leaving jobs to other people will often get unnecessary people involved. Apparently Franca doesn’t consider herself like other terrorists. She only approves of necessary murder otherwise she is just an outlaw. Pinocchio feels sorry that her gentle ways in choosing who to kill will only be a hindrance. Just as Cristiano is everything to Pinocchio because he raised him, Franca is someone who gave Franco a goal. Good news we see Angelica alive and well recovering. But she still feels awkward with Marco. They will be heading to Milan for an operation soon.

Episode 3
Hilshire and Triela are tasked to head to Montalcino to look for a missing public safety member, Cohen who was on a mission looking for Pinocchio. They bribe the receptionist to book the same room Cohen stayed. They look around for clues as Triela spots a Pinocchio storybook in his suitcase and reads it. Aurora is outside Pinocchio’s place but nobody is in. Triela talks to her and learns indeed Pinocchio is renting this place. She drops a microphone in her basket. Triela returns to Hilshire and continue their stakeout across the place. Aurora lets herself into Pinocchio’s place. Nobody is in. She sees and picks up a gun on the table. Franca thinks she is one of those government’s assassins and tells her to drop it. She becomes scared as Franco disarms her. Aurora pleads to Pinocchio for help but he ties her up. Hilshire wants Triela to get ready and break in instead of waiting for back up and despite not knowing how many enemies are inside. Pinocchio is going to kill Aurora since she knows their identity. Franca disallows it. When Triela comes busting in, the guys split up to give her multiple targets. Eventually she and Pinocchio had a fist fight. He is faster than her and knocks her out! Pinocchio wanted to shoot Triela with her own gun but his past trauma prevented him so. Hilshire confronts Franca but she too gives him the slip. The trio ultimately slip away in their Alfa Romeo. Pinocchio realizes he dropped his pendant from Cristiano during the scuffle. Triela is awakened by Hilshire. Though he views everything as fine (Aurora is safe and they got away with minimal injuries – but Cohen’s body was found in the wine cellar), Triela is not happy that as a cyborg lost barehanded! She lost her cool. Hilshire sees the pendant and picks it up. Franca tells Pinocchio to forget about the pendant. No matter how memorable an item is, it can never replace the real thing. What is important is in the heart.

Episode 4
Bruno might look like a good husband and father but his job is disposing bodies of those killed under Cristiano’s orders. Since Marco and Angela will be on Pinocchio’s case, he drops by his old police department to meet an old friend to get some info. His hands are tied but he’ll try. Since Priscilla and Olga are here to watch over them, Marco might as well has them help him out. Marco wants Angelica to give her gun case to Priscilla and doesn’t want her to go into action. Because Marco is busting some punks’ ass in the alley for more information. Bruno sees Cristiano as they discuss about the government who has been illegally arresting them and then trying to pass a law to make their actions legal. At this rate, Italy will turn into a warzone. Cristiano hopes Bruno can meet with Pinocchio after his vacation. Marco continues his busting, this time taking down a few guys in a hideout. Angelica is acting strange. She grabs Priscilla’s wrist to the point she crushes it! It took Marco to snap her out of it. He realizes she needs her medicine. After he feeds her, he can’t understand why she is acting so as she has been taking the prescribed medication as instructed by the doctor. Priscilla hopes Marco won’t tell this to Jean because she thinks he’ll put Angelica back in hospital again. Later Olga tells Marco about Angelica’s strange behaviour. She believes he didn’t show her enough love. This is her first time in a while she is on a job so please show some consideration. The agency go into action to corner and take out Bruno. Luckily his car is bulletproof. For some dumb or desperate reason, his assistant winds down the window to fire back and gets shot. Could have stayed safe inside. Bruno crashes the car. The airbag saves him but he is unconscious. Rico is supposed to kill him but is interrupted by Angelica who happily tells her how Marco praised her for doing her best. Huh? The jobs not over, right?

Episode 5
Flashback shows after Marco got injured, he was discharged from the police force. His then girlfriend Patricia was very concerned although he seems optimistic about his new posting at the agency. She would have preferred the gentle him when he was on the force but he wanted to see how far he can go. Now, if it seems awkward that a dumb assassin tries to go up close and assassinate a politician and then got taken down himself, it is all just a plot set up to rile up and flush our those terrorist with some fake news. One month after the Milan incident, Angelica is still clumsy undergoing training. Marco still isn’t as kind as before since he believes the Angelica he knew was gone forever. Triela continues to fret about her loss to Pinocchio. Hilshire buys her a new gun till she can get her old one back. Patricia meets up with a reporter, Leonardo Conti. He tells her about the agency is actually an intelligence agency run by the government and that Marco is part of it. Patricia knows that. Not because Marco told her as she can tell since he always had to work hard every day for special operations. Thus it was probably that broke them up. Though, Patricia blames herself for hurting him. However Patricia doesn’t know the agency is using child assassins. Leonardo suggests teaming up to uncover the truth. They go round interviewing various people but it feels like their answers are all premeditated and the same. Leonardo is seen making a call to some guy about some kidnapping stint to draw a certain party’s attention. Leonardo and Patricia bust into supposedly a hideout of the agency. The place is empty. Leonardo is ambushed by Marco who is shocked to realize Leonardo knows a lot about him. Even more shock when he sees Patricia with him (so is she). He tells her to get away from him as he is part of the terrorist group. Leonardo then takes Patricia hostage and says he was just using her. Leonardo mocks Marco for conspiring with the government to commit crimes to the point of dumping his girlfriend. At a deadlock, Angelica busts in to take him down. Patricia wants answers but all Marco can tell her is to stay out of this. It’s not like he ended up this way because he wanted to.

Episode 6
Franca, Franco and Pinocchio take refuge at Franca’s winery currently being looked after by an old couple. Franca calls Cristiano to update about their situation. He tells her they are going to go ahead with the kidnapping job of Isabella D’Angelo who is the chairwoman for the Messina bridge project. He wants her to contact Nino Feretti since they know each other. Henrietta puts up a violin play for Isabella. She is amazed despite being a cyborg, she is still human-like. However she cannot accept that she is used to do the government’s dirty work. She is explained that the cybernetics technology used on her will help save many lives in the future and perhaps find a way to cure Isabella who is paralyzed from waist down. Rico was a bit rough on the kaleidoscope and a part breaks. This makes Henrietta mad. Jose takes it to repair in hopes the girls will reconcile. The repairman is no other than Nino. He assures he can fix it in 3 days. Jose tells Isabella that her life is being targeted. He sounds harsh telling her to turn her eyes away if she doesn’t want to see dirty things (the girls were preparing their guns before her). Isabella thought Jose is a scary person since he lost a loved one. Henrietta disagrees and calls him the kindest person ever because he sent her kaleidoscope to be fixed. Asking if Isabella hates terrorists. She once did a long time ago. Now she has lost her conviction. She thought of following her late husband’s will to complete the bridge but now isn’t sure if it is worth the blood it has shed. Jose and Rico apprehend Isabella’s bodyguard who is a sleeper terrorist. They will use him in a sting operation.

Nino is met by Franca. She wants his help to make bombs for the bridge despite hearing rumours he has quit. However he isn’t interested. Not even avenging his brother. Franca gives her contacts in case he changes his mind. When Nino and Leone are scouting Isabella’s movements, Nino recognizes Henrietta coming out. After receiving word that some of their men got arrested, Nino knows the risks are too high and wants them to pull out of this operation. Some of their men are disgruntled. Leone explains he knew Nino from university days. Along with his brother they used to make bombs and blow up anything but one day his brother got killed by the police and Nino became a coward ever since. They decide to go ahead with the operation without him. They thought they could kidnap an old paralyzed woman but Henrietta and the agency gun them all down! Franca meets Nino at the train station. He is leaving. She doesn’t like it but he believes she’ll understand one day. He asks her what she is fighting against. When will she be satisfied? Even if she has avenged her father, who must she kill until she has reached her goal? Better to consider this now while she has the time before she turns into an old dog like him who has lost the ability to run. Henrietta is happy the kaleidoscope is fixed but is told Nino has already quit.

Episode 7
Flashback shows Franca (whose real name is Caterina) was in the same university as Patricia but she decided to drop out to sue to country to free her father. She was also the one who hooked up Patricia with Marco. Her father was wrongfully imprisoned for crimes he did not commit and he died in prison. Instead of searching for the truth, she decided to go for revenge. She then went to find Franco (as told by her uncle Angelo Marinov) to learn making bombs but Franco was in depression since his grandpa who taught him how to make bombs just passed away. She was adamant to be his disciple despite he told her to be a nun if she wanted to change the world (and she slapped him). Franco then introduced Franca to Nino and his brother. It is then he gave her this Franca nickname. In present time, Franca is spotted by some agents. They recognize her as a wanted terrorist. So they stage a car breakdown and pregnant woman going in labour act to get her to stop. She is sharp enough to fight back but is overwhelmed. She is taken to their hideout where one of them beats the crap out of her. It is his revenge because one of her bombs gravely injured his pregnant wife who still has shrapnel inside her tummy and lost a few body parts. She tells him everyone carries their own grudge. Don’t think he is special because of his own issues. More beat down. Franco realizes the tracker on Franca has stopped for a while. Time to go save her. So they barge into the hideout with Pinocchio slicing his enemies and Franco giving ‘special treatment’ to Franca’s basher by pumping lots of lead into his body. Subsequently the authorities have to clean up this mess. A bomb trap was placed underneath one of the bodies. Had not Henrietta reacted swiftly, a lot would have died. Though, some agents and Triela got injured. Pinocchio is glad Cristiano is here but soon becomes sad since he wants to see Franca. Even more frowning when Cristiano learns he hesitated to kill on a recent job. That means an assassin is already at the end of his job. However Cristiano puts back some smiles when he commends him for saving Franca.

Episode 8
Because Claes don’t get much screen time, this episode is dedicated to see her daily life. She wakes up crying after dreaming about her times with Raballo. She has been reading books about minerals so she is somewhat quite interested with some meteorite stone. Not sure if the girls have to buy their own food because at the cafeteria, Beatrice is looking hungry. Claes could offer her food but she’ll make her work for it. And that’s helping with her garden. Then she goes for her usual lab experiment. Because she has also read about Scarborough Fair, she ponders its lyrics’ meaning. Be prepared to be spammed hearing this song throughout this episode. Not a bad thing, though. Heck, Claes even plays this on the piano. Then Jean takes her to watch some nature documentary. She asks if one cannot cry even when sad. That’s how she is feeling now. She can’t cry watching this show but yet she shed tears while sleeping without knowing it. Claes then visits the shooting range and watch some practice there. Then she goes join Priscilla and Angelica on the former’s Vespa. I guess they’re small enough to fit all 3 of them. At night, Claes draws a painting as she ponders more about Scarborough Fair’s lyrics. Next day, she continues her gardening. She finds an odd mineral in the soil. Beatrice doesn’t understand why Claes finds doing this fun. She doesn’t even understand the concept of fun. She feels nothing. So how can Claes feel fun? She believes someone taught her a long time ago.

Episode 9
Many years ago when Jose was going to leave to join the military police, his younger sister, Enrica didn’t want to be left alone. Although their parents and Jean will be around, she didn’t really like them because they were always too busy about work and never cared for her. She too wanted to join the military police to be with him but he told her it is better she became a harpist. Jose goes to see an old friend from the military police, Marcantonio. They talk about the old days like how Jose and Jean quit over some incident and the broadcast went crazy about it. A car bomb outside rocks the place but aside from the initial shock, everything else is okay. Jean and Rico then track and hunt down the bomber. They force him to bring them to his hideout where they discover high grade military bombs. Somebody must be smuggling them out. Because he won’t talk further. Jean gives Rico permission to beat the crap out of him till he talks! Jean learns from his superior that Colonel Ganny, commander of the Morize commissariat might be smuggling those bombs out. It isn’t mere coincidence the terrorists are very well equipped recently. If only there is proof of that, the agency will mark him for assassination. Jose talks to Bianchi about all he ever does for Henrietta is talk about myths and stars. Presents he gave are out of obligation. It feels empty. Bianchi doesn’t think it is a bad thing since that child needs to be loved. It reminds Jose of Enrica’s case of loneliness. The agency set traps to ambush a military truck suspected of smuggling. When they fail to surrender as warned, they go all out and shoot back. Man, the girls really riddled the truck with holes! Overkill! Jose is shocked and sickened to see the driver is Marcantonio. Later it is discovered that Marcantonio has been smuggling weapons from Ganny. They now have permission to assassinate him. So what it looked like Jose and Jean being good Handlers dressing up their girls so they can enjoy the opera, they are actually on the job to assassinate Ganny and his subordinate who are also watching the opera which is also about revenge and murder. Italians love tragedies, they say? The mission is successful. Too bad the girls didn’t get to see much of the opera, though.

Episode 10
Flashback shows Victor Hartmann (Hilshire’s real name) wanted to do field work in Europol as he wanted to stop child trafficking. However his boss refused him and showed him a snuff movie. Movies that murder people for entertainment. While many are fake, some are real and it involved kidnapped children. He became disillusioned at how evil the world is. Similarly, Rachelle Belleut a doctor who is sick of seeing children corpses teamed up with Hartmann to take matters into their own hands. Triela isn’t pleased that she needs to babysit Mario’s daughter, Mimi. Seems she wants to do more training and her loss to Pinocchio has hit her hard. Eventually she can’t disobey orders and with other agents, they watch over her (it’s like she’s under house arrest) while Mario gives his testimony at a trial in Naples. Triela and Mimi get acquainted with the latter asking if she likes Hilshire. Shock at first, Triela dismisses of anything like that since they can’t have such a relationship. Hilshire visits Mario. The trial is going well and is expected to end without a hitch. When it ends, Mario plans to escape overseas. More flashback when Hartmann and Rachelle stormed into an Amsterdam trafficking. In a gunfight, Rachelle was seriously wounded. They stumbled upon a child victim, Triela. It made Hartmann sick but Rachelle refused to give up and did CPR on her. When Triela revived, Rachelle died. It’s like they transferred life force? Triela is in a training with some army commando who is Hilshire’s acquaintance. Because she is still bitter about her loss to Pinocchio, she can’t concentrate and gets easily beaten up. He promises to turn her into an unbeatable warrior in 2 weeks. Triela then undergoes her usual maintenance but this time will receive a new leg implant. It is 100% effective thanks to the experiments done on Claes. During the operation, Triela is seen to shed tears. When she wakes up, she tells how she dreamt of her mom. The way she describes her seems so much like Rachelle.

Episode 11
When Cristiano was still a hitman, he and his best henchman, John wiped out an entire family perfectly as ordered. Cristiano stumbled upon a hidden cellar in which a child was locked up there. He decided to adopt him. It has been a few months and Pinocchio has gotten used to being a grape farmer. If life was only this peaceful till the end. Pinocchio talks to Franco about getting used to this life because it dulls his skills. He then goes on to explain his story how John was his teacher and taught him assassination techniques. He loves drinking and was believed to be an ex-CIA operative. However one day he just suddenly died from a stray bullet. Pinocchio views Franca and Franco as good people and it would be a waste if they died like John. Franca gets a call from her uncle to update her that Cristiano has lost his position. Thanks to the halt in supply of bombs and the failed kidnapping, the higher ups wanted somebody to take the fall. He advises her if she still wants to continue what she is doing, cut ties with him. Talking to Franco, he knows they could be at a disadvantage if Cristiano goes missing because the Milan group will then cooperate with the government to hunt him down. But there is a way to reinstate Cristiano’s position. They need to blow up the bridge as soon as possible. Although it is still at an early stage, with the stock they have, it is enough to do some damage. Information gets leaked to the agency about Cristiano and the Fratello is mobilized. Franca and the men drive to the bridge. It is heavily guarded and the Fratello teams are there. Flashback shows Cristiano didn’t like the idea John taught him assassination skills. John thought he had a natural talent for it. He did it on a whim and Cristiano can’t be one to say since he adopted him on a whim too.

Episode 12
Henrietta spots something off at the base of the bridge. Franca and Franco are boring holes and planting their bomb supplies. She shoots at them but Pinocchio attacks her. He sticks a knife in her shoulder. Nothing happens. Though, I suppose she can’t shoot straight at him since he escapes with Franca and Franco via boat. Franco gets shot in the shoulder. Then he activates the bomb. It didn’t do any damage to the bridge although it gave out quite a lot of smoke. On the way back to the vineyard, Pinocchio apologizes to Franco for hesitating to shoot. He explains when he first killed, there was a girl who looked like Henrietta. He killed her. It made him scared to point a gun at a girl. They decide to tell him about Cristiano’s case so the early next morning, Pinocchio leaves for his uncle. Triela visits the house where she fought Pinocchio and lost. Why do this to yourself if you’re only going to have bitter memories? Cristiano is surprised Pinocchio is here. He heard Cristiano will be arrested by the police and wants him to leave. But Cristiano doesn’t intend to and wants Pinocchio to escape. Pinocchio is willing to fight here and die for him. He owes his life to him for saving him from that cellar and gave him a name. Since Cristiano remains stubborn, Pinocchio threatens to kill everyone here! WTF?! The Fratello begin their operation to take in Cristiano and kill everyone else. They barge into the place and gun down everyone. No chance to even let them fight back! Triela gets her rematch with Pinocchio when they come face to face.

Episode 13
As their fight gets underway, when Pinocchio hears Triela telling Hilshire to go find Cristiano, he ditches the fight to find his uncle. He finds his uncle and is appalled he still hasn’t left. Cristiano tells him that he has decided. He will hide for a while so Pinocchio should escape too. The mind boggling thing was why didn’t they go together? Because of that, Pinocchio returns to his fight with Triela and Cristiano tries to get away with his butler but he was killed by Rico. Rico shoots at his shoulder before taking him away into their car. As she is loading him, she is run over by another car! Not sure if this is a joke if women are terrible drivers with Franca behind the wheel. After they load Cristiano, they make a dash for it. This is where it gets super silly. Jean informs Marco the target is heading their way. So Marco has Angelica snipe them. She got a few bullets into Franca (although not her vitals) but Franca steps on the pedal and I don’t even know how the car ‘flew’ over them!!! Was there a ramp somewhere???!!! And they lose them???!!! Franca is fast passing out. You can’t take that corner at high speed. Off the rails. Off the cliff. Into the river. We return to the bloody and desperate dogfight between Triela and Pinocchio whereby anything now goes. He gets madder when he sees his pendant in her possession. He shoots her a few times with her own gun but she survives. But it’s her turn to be mad because of that. Is she going to lose again? In the end, they knock each other out. Or so it seems from this point of view. In the aftermath, Rico reports they ‘failed’ the mission. Cristiano’s mansion is searched all over but no evidence was found. They believed he deleted all and anticipated them to raid. Also, the car in the river, no bodies were found. Rico and Triela are heavily injured but not fatal. Triela sits next to Pinocchio’s dead body. She stabbed his heart with a broken knife. She finds comfort in Hilshire’s arms and hopes he would praise her for win. At what cost? The other girls also get their ‘praise’ from their Handlers.

OVA 1
Jean visits the grave of Sophia. He sees Fernando there but the latter isn’t happy Jean is here. He blames Jean for Sophia’s death in the sense that he didn’t avenge her. Jean apologizes but Fernando punches him. Jean notices his political affiliation with the opposition and warns him not to get involved. Fernando won’t listen. So what does Jean have anything to do with them? Jean was supposed to marry Sophia. After Fernando left, Jean calls Jose that he is acting strange and to tail him. Business as usual. This leads them to discover Fernando is trying to ambush a place that a terrorist is hiding out on his own. Luckily Marco busts him before the rest storm in to apprehend the terrorist for more details. Rico wakes up from a nightmare where Jean abandoned her when she became useless. Jean takes Rico to Venice for their next mission. He explains about the Republicans originally wanted to divide Italy into 5 parts: Milan in the North, Rome, Naples, Sardinia and Sicily. With the Milan faction trying to unite all north, there is a breakaway faction, the Venetian faction who wishes for autonomy. Arriving at Milan, they meet Alto Meyer who helps them out with some information. Night falls and they begin their mission. Rico does her usual, storming into some baddies’ place and killing all of them. They obtained easy data from their laptop about the organization. Seeing how calm they are and the bloody mess everywhere, Meyer is sick to his gut they can act normal after all this. Next day, Jean and Rico continue chasing and gunning down more terrorists. When Rico seems to get hit, she falls into the sea. Jean instantly dives into rescue her. During evening, Rico loves how beautiful the sunset is but for Jean, it always makes him sad.

OVA 2
Hilshire accompanies Henrietta and Rico on their vacation. They pass the Messina Bridge which is on schedule to be completed. Meanwhile Triela is depressed? After defeating Pinocchio, what else is left of her existence? Or maybe she didn’t get to be with Hilshire this time. Henrietta and Rico return to their respective Handlers once the trip is over. Jose gives Henrietta a nice dress to wear. When Jean sees it, he is in shock. Let me guess. It belongs to Enrica, right? Flashback shows Jean was about to leave for Rome for training but Enrica didn’t want him to go because of the promise they along with Jose to go on a boat ride. Too bad his training is more important than sister time. Then it gets creepy because while Jean is reminiscing about his past, the ghost of Enrica haunts him! OMG! Is this turning supernatural now?! I want to say Jean is seeing things but ghost girl did mention that she died. She blames Jean for being the bad brother while comparing to angelic Jose. Jean never thinks about her except avenging Sophia. However she now feels Jose is being cruel for giving her dress to another girl. She wonders if he has found someone to replace her. Jean ‘agrees’ because this is his way of always thinking of her. Had he not done that, he couldn’t have lived what would have transpired then. If she wants to hate somebody, hate him. Jean is snapped out when Rico calls him since she finds it odd he is like talking to somebody but nobody’s there. Next day, Jean tells Jose about that ghastly incident. Was it a ghost or a dream? He asks if Jose still remembers that boat promise. Of course. Jean hopes they could do it later with Henrietta and Rico. Can this be simply atoned like that?

Sending Girls To Do A Man’s Job
Oh dear… What a boring end to the series that started out as something interesting. Forgive me if you are going to hear a lot of comparison between both seasons because they are very different to each other in almost every aspect. So different that if you have watched the first season and have gotten somewhat used to its style, you will be in total shock to see the total change and revamp in Il Teatrino. Yes, very different. Although Il Teatrino didn’t match up to the first season, it still was passable. Barely. However the couple of OVAs really killed it. It was unnecessary and did nothing much to develop anything except bring forth more questions like what happened to Franca and Franco. Because if they have been simply killed off, that would have ended there as it is but now they are missing. So? Possible clash in the future. Too bad there aren’t any more seasons. And what is with this Enrica thingy in the end? It is not like it resolved anything. It’s like they had no more ideas for the OVAs and inserted something so random just to milk our moneys out of the BDs. But that’s not the point.

The first thing I will compare is the main story of both seasons. In the first season, we are mainly concentrated on the main girls of the Fratello. We see their past and flashback as well as how they currently cope with their current Handlers. Although the bulk is on Henrietta and Jose, the rest have their bit of fair share of screen time. Thus many of the episodes in between feel like standalone fillers and does not have a real proper plot. Come the second season, there now seems to be a ‘plot’. Although this ‘plot’ seems to be dragging out too long because if you think about it, it’s just mainly about the agency trying to track down Pinocchio’s team and preventing the bombing of a bridge. So much so this dragging out that they had to insert some fillers, detours and flashbacks halfway through the season before ending it all.

The next and perhaps the most shocking difference is the characters. One can obviously tell how ‘lively’ the girls are in Il Teatrino compared to the original. In the first season, the girls were like lifeless robots. Even if they show a bit of emotion or smile a little bit, it looked fake and sometimes forced. This is not a bad thing given the situation and setting of the story. It is a rather gloomy and grim world they are in after all. Then when Il Teatrino arrives, all of a sudden they are so lively! OMG! It’s like the doctors tweaked them to be livelier than ever. Take for instance Rico. I remember she was the taciturn sniper at first. But in the sequel, she is totally an active kid!!! WTF?! I noticed that when Henrietta or Rico answers or acknowledges their respective Handler, they have this boring and monotonous robotic tone to it. But now they have this lively feel in their voice like as though they are happy and looking forward to do their bidding!

Given that Henrietta had more focus in the first season, I suppose they try to give Triela a little more in Il Teatrino. Thus the reason why I felt why Triela had more presence in Il Teatrino due to her ‘grudge’ with Pinocchio than Henrietta especially towards the end since Henrietta was on ‘vacation’. Then it is Rico’s turn for the short OVAs albeit nothing really deep about her. I don’t know. It just feels so odd seeing the girls as cold killing machines during the mission but during off missions, they are like little sisters with brother complex trying to seek their Handler’s attention and blush each time they get praised or having something nice done to them (Henrietta and Angelica are the main offenders). Like as though everyone should have just retire and play house for the rest of their lives. You like little girls? Sure, pick one and ‘groom’ her the way you like. Spend more time with her. Treat her nice and good. She’ll love you back. Just mind a few cybernetic parts. If only reality was that easy.

Even their Handlers feel different. The most drastic one is Hilshire. I remember this dude as a taciturn guy who doesn’t show much of his emotions. But in Il Teatrino he is like more open and showing obvious concern for Triela. It’s really a big change. Even Jose who seems like he is ‘forcefully’ trying to be nice to Henrietta in the first season, in Il Teatrino he feels like her big brother! I think it is a bit annoying that in the second season whenever we get the chance to see Henrietta being treated nicely by Jose or something nice happens to them, you can see her nice little girl smile and relief like as though she’s a dog getting her reward. So while it seems more and more like Jose is genuinely getting used to treating Henrietta nice, it could hint that he might have been trying to use her as Enrica’s replacement. Either he has gotten over her or sees Enrica in Henrietta but calls her by a different name so as not to evoke whatever that painful incident. Like as though trying to make amends by spending time with the little sister that should have been. And Jean seems like a no nonsense guy with no emotions dedicated to his job. So they try to give him some guilt trip with Enrica just to show something. Something. Whatever that is. And since when did Marco sound more like a talkative young uncle?

The rest of the supporting casts don’t really matter because they’ll either be relegated to the background which is unimportant or if they are the bad guys, there is a high chance that they will be assassinated. Yeah, saves so much money and time compared to sending them to prison and awaiting trial because you have got to feed and house them and the likes. Whoops… Also, it saves brain power to think whatever happened to them. Unlike Franco and Franca… Just kill them off. Hence for the rest of the members at the agency, they aren’t really memorable. If so, perhaps for weird reasons like Priscilla who seems to be a lolicon (though not very obviously) and it is only okay because she is a woman. If she was a guy, imagine the backlash… Even a few other girls at the agency aren’t that memorable. I read there were a few that appeared in the manga but made only a small cameo in the anime. So like Beatrice, her brief introduction, a few missions here and there before being totally forgotten, I now only remember her as Claes’ garden lackey… Somebody should feed this girl enough. But really, lots of characters in this series do come and go. You hear them in one episode and then never to appear or be heard of again. Mostly getting killed off.

The most jarring and obvious difference that you will notice if you start watching Il Teatrino is the art style and visual. No doubt that both seasons are animated by different studios with the first season being animated by Madhouse (Death Note, One Punch Man, Black Lagoon) and the second by Artland (Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn, Senran Kagura, Mushishi). As we have gotten used to the first season’s style, Il Teatrino comes as a big shocker. The first season was so dull and gloomy in its colour that you could actually feel that the whole atmosphere was just dreary. It really fits the theme and mood of the series. Then comes Il Teatrino and it makes you go, “Why the heck is everything so much more colourful?!”. In fact, everything is so much brighter that it doesn’t reflect the grim assassination world that the girls live in. I have a hunch that it is supposed to match the ‘lively’ characters because had either one aspect be dull and the other be lively, it would be so contrasting that it would be confusing.

Heck, even the characters are looking a bit slightly different. They look so much more like your anime character. Okay, I might sound a bit confusing here but in the first season with the characters looking lacklustre and lifeless, suddenly they have this anime-like ‘life’ infused into their looks. Get what I mean? Okay, let me give you an example. Jose might not look like a typical Italian and a Japanese big brother in the first season, but in the second season, he looks even more like a Japanese big brother than ever. Get it? Okay, how about this. Henrietta looks more like an anime girl in Il Teatrino than in the first. Because the first season, the characters’ eyes are so lifeless and like zombies unlike in the second. Yes, the girls had those dead eyes and it really gives an impact when they respond even with emotions, they still feel lifeless. Though, I think the girls in the first season looks a bit ‘fat’. At least their faces. In conclusion, having such a lively and bright art style and colour doesn’t really suit and fit well to what it was already established. Besides, doesn’t the second season poor animation quality feel like it sucks?

Another major overhaul is the voice acting. In fact, the entire main and supporting casts are replaced in Il Teatrino. It is no wonder why the usual girls and their Handlers sound so off and different. And so much livelier. It really makes them out of their character from the ones we are used to from the first. I wanted to note how happy I was hearing Mamiko Noto’s voice as Elsa even if she was just cameo. And then… The horror… THEY KILLED OFF HER CHARACTER!!! OMFG!!! DID THIS ‘CURSE’ EVEN GO BACK AS FAR AS THIS ANIME???!!! WHAT THE F*CK IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE???!!! That was my true despair… Then like as though to make it up for my despair, they reinstated Mamiko Noto not as Elsa but as Patricia. They tried to troll me when they took her character as hostage because I really thought her Patricia character was going to die too. Phew… I believe Mamiko Noto is the only cast from the original season to be somewhat recalled for another role in the second. I forgive you for making such amends (even if it’s not intended).

The opening theme for the first season, The Light Before We Land by The Delgados is strange by itself. Totally sung in English, this slow rock has its overall pace remind me of The Beatles’ A Day In Life. The weird slow lazy-cum-dreamy voice the singer sings and drags her voice somewhat reminds me of John Lennon singing that song too. Even the way the electric guitar is played strikes a familiar chord. Even though this song is strange, at least it beats Il Teatrino’s opener, Tatta Hitotsu No Omoi by Kokia. Too much like anime pop that it doesn’t fit with the theme of the series. At least the first season’s ending theme, Dopo Il Sogno by Opus has this Italian soprano lady singing this dramatic and tragically- sounding piece. Not bad actually. Il Teatrino’s main ending theme, Doll by Lia is a slow ballad although I somehow feel this song is much suited for an anime produced by Key like Air, Kanon and Clannad. Seriously. There is also a version sung by Aoi Tada but they sound so close that I couldn’t hear the difference. She also sings a special ending theme, Scarborough Fair. The special ending for Il Teatrino’s final episode is also very Air-like too, Human by Lia.

The action bits are not the series’ strong point nor is it its main focus. What it does is just to complement and show us the gruesome things the girls have to put up. So expect lots of bullet holes and dead bodies to pile up. As I have mentioned in the poor animation style in Il Teatrino, hence some of the action scenes feel a bit cartoonish and poor quality. Thus the grimmer and darker first season has better looking gunfights that complement the overall mood.

Instead of sending in the army, they should just send these girls to do the job in taking out a dictator ruling his country with an iron fist or the drug cartel running their huge fields of marijuana. And if the world complains about them, I guess the girls can be sent to silence them either. No difference than being the villains themselves. So it goes to show how controversial the use of such young girls can be and how deadly it would be if they fall into the wrong hands.

Overall, the first season has set the pace and tone of the series and only for the second one to someone diminish and ruin the enjoyment. Not to say that Il Teatrino sucks but it sure could have done better than what has been seen. Like as though it downgraded itself and made it worse. Thanks a bunch, OVAs. But the thought of giving young girls a second chance in life but doing dirty jobs is something that will make you think hard if such life is worth living or they would be better off left for dead in the first place. Whatever your stance or standards, at least these girls have a chance in life no matter how small or minute it is. That is all that they need. Oh, and lots of love too. Because aside from all the cybernetic implants and enhancements, they still have the heart and soul of a human. And the irony is that it makes them more human than us who are completely of flesh and blood. Maybe it is that imperfection that makes us human.