With a runtime of just two episodes it seems unusual that the Gunslinger Girl OVAs are being released as a standalone product and not included as extras on the series boxset but I’m sure Manga Entertainment have their reasons, the question is are these episodes worthy of being released at full retail price or is it a bargain bin job and are they any good?
OVA is an abbreviation of Original Video Animation and are animated films and series made specially for release in home-video formats or promotional use.
While the first episode is disposable the second episode makes up for many of these flaws. The focus is primarily on Jose and Jean and their past, the girls are by-standers this time around giving their handlers centre stage. Ever since the beginning of the series there has been enigmatic clues about the history of Jose and Jean their mysterious little sister and the murder of their entire family. Finally all is revealed of what happened and we discover how this has had an impact on the two brothers and how they are resolving their issues, this episode stands out as one of the few that successfully develop the characters and we learn a lot more about Jean than you would come to expect.
The second series of Gunslinger Girl was not exactly known for its high production values and this continues in these OVAs. While the animation can be flat and rough-looking it does manage to give it a clean modern feel that goes with the series, sometimes it seems that more effort has gone in to recreating the real world locations than animating the characters. That said the soundtrack is a subtle masterpiece, there are some lovely piano and harp scores that do an extremely good job of creating feeling and mood, especially during some of the more intimate scenes. Voice acting is not particularly exciting nor stand out but the cast is well suited to the characters.
The extras include a clean version of the end credits, which is not very exciting considering the first half of the end credits is just a blank screen, and the final part of the cast interviews that started in the boxset release of the second series, a strange feature suggesting this disc was meant to be an extra disc in the previous boxset.
At the end of the day the OVAs have the best and the worst points of what the series is well-known for and the second episode is the only thing of any substance on offer. I would say that this release is a failure as a standalone product and certainly not worthy of the asking price. If you are a die-hard fan of the series then there is some good content here, but apart from that it’s disposable entertainment.
Gunslinger Girl – II Teatrino OVA will be available on 24th October and is available to order now.
Gunslinger Girl: II Teatrino OVA [DVD] – £11.20 (£5.60/episode)