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Gunslinger Girl Vol 1 (1 - 4)
(Item No Longer Available

   Gunslinger Girl is a sad tale about young girls who, due to their past, have lost their future. This story consists of five orphaned girls who have been taken in by the government program, Social Welfare Program, and brainwashed to become emotionless killers. With the aid of technology, Henrietta, Triela, Rico, Claes, and Angelica have been transformed into half human/half cyborg assassins who kill without mercy. They are under the control of the government and their appointed guardian. Although they appear cold hearted on the surface, inside their heart is in pain.

   This DVD came in the typical, single case. A picture of Henrietta, crouching and firing her weapon is on the front of the case. Below her is the title of the show as well as the volume number in English. As you turn the case onto its side, the front picture wraps around and the title of the show and volume number, in English, are displayed.
   When you flip it over to the back, there is a synopsis of the show, in Japanese, as well as an enlarged picture of Claes and Henrietta. Below that, there is a character biography of four of the five main girls. The name of the character is in English, but the text is in Japanese. The only girl not featured is Angelica. Finally, the same picture that was on the front is also on the DVD label. Once again the title of show is also on the label as well as the disc number, both in English.

      As you watch the four episodes, you will notice some problems with the picture. The most obvious are thin, horizontal lines in the background that are there for the entire episode. There is also a horizontal distortion bar that appears on the left side quite frequently. You can see this bar in many of the screenshots that I have posted!
   The other video glitch I noticed was the ghosting of the image on the screen. This was most noticeable when the character was in the middle of the screen. If you look to the right of them, you will see a much lighter version of the character that is on the screen at the time. You really have to look hard to notice this, but there were some scenes where the background color showed the reflection more clearly. Other than that, the picture came through quite clear with no other problems.

   As I watched these four episodes, I did not notice any unusual audio problems. This is a very good thing because the amazing English opening or the beautiful Italian closing would not have had such a great impact if the audio had had any irregularities.

   Everyone rejoice! The subtitles, with VERY few grammatical errors, were near flawless. All of the character names were spelled correctly, with the exception of Henrietta’s guardian, Jose (it appears as Giose). There was some minor Engrish, but nothing confusing. Also, the only punctuation that was used was the question mark [when it was needed]. There were no commas, exclamation marks, periods, etc. The biggest problem I saw happened during the opening credits of episode 2. At around 23m58s, the only subtitles that were displayed were, “before we land”. This stayed on the screen until 24m11s, but the subtitles were behind a sentence until the beginning of the actual episode. This did not occur again at any other point.
   The opening theme song was in English and was subtitled correctly. However, I believe that the ending theme song was not subtitled because it was sung in Italian. And since there were no episode previews or episode recaps, there were no subtitles for these either! All in all, these were very good subtitles for an anime that you need to be able to understand.

Chapter Breaks:
   The DVD contained four episodes and had one chapter break for each one. The chapter was at the very beginning of each episode. I personally feel that they could have at least added a break halfway through the episode, so you would not have to fast forward from the very beginning of whichever episode you were on.

   As you put volume one in your DVD player, a quick :10s introduction is shown and then the contents are displayed. The opening theme song is playing in the background for :29s, after that time it loops back to the beginning of the song. Here is what you are given:

Main MenuPlay and Chapter
SubtitleChinese and English

The Subtitle choices are selectable right on the main page, but there is a separate page for the Chapter menu.
   The Chapter menu consists of four boxes, each with the episode number, the title [in Japanese], and a :29s clip for each episode. The opening theme song is also playing in the background and at the end of the :29s, the first episode automatically begins. There is a main menu button if you wish to go back, but you only have :29s to click it!

   Make sure you have some tissues handy as you are watching these first four episodes. Ok, maybe the tissues are unnecessary, but the show is quite sad. The first four episodes are a way to introduce each character, although only Henrietta, Rico, and Triela have been focused on so far. The storyline has not gone into much depth about the Social Welfare Program, but begins to dive into its origin and true purpose. While the show does not center on action as the main theme, there are some amazing gunfights and hand-to-hand action as each girl does their job.
   The video quality, while not horrible, does have some problems, but luckily the subtitles were very well done. The dialogue was very easy to understand and this helps because the show has a very serious tone to it. If you are into this type of show or are just looking for an escape from all the ninja fighting or superhero animes, then pick up a copy of Gunslinger Girl Volume 1 today. The storyline is well done and keeps you interested and wanting more. When I was finished with the volume, I felt pity and sadness for the heroine’s of this tragic tale and am eagerly looking forward to seeing the characters grow, not only with each other, but with the emotions that are trapped within their own body.

Email me at if you have any problems, concerns, or comments.

Publisher: MAC
Discs: 1
Episodes: 4
Price: $8.00

Reviewer: Polanator
Reviewed On: 05/14/2004
Click on Image for Full Size

The main menu is standard, simple, and easy to use. Yay!

The chapter menu has a nice layout to it and the little clips are a nice bonus.

Here is a shot of the five main girls, although only four of them are mentioned so far.

Awwww, doesn't Henrietta look so cute and innocent?

And i bet you're one of the people who thought she was innocent. Tsk tsk on you.

Meet Jose. He's Henrietta's "brother". If you'd like to learn more about Jose, please pick up a copy of Gunslinger Girl volume 1 today.

Seeing Rico so emotionless just brings tears to my eyes. She doesn't even care that she is about to kill someone.

Triela sure knows how to pack a punch. Ouch. Just ouch.

Video problems: If you look towards the left side of the screen, you can see where the distortion is. Also look for the lines in the background.

Please note that the episodes are presented in widescreen format and that this is the extent to the subtitle errors! Woohoo for good subtitles!

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