This series just continues to amaze me with its gorgeous artwork and compelling storyline. The fourth volume finally gives us a look into Elias past, how he came to know Lindel, and the conflicting emotions he has around Chise.
Chise also gets a good emotional boost from her dragon friend Nivel, who helps her deal with the circumstances of her past that gave her such low self-esteem. Both characters are starting to see the issues they have communicating with each other than the needs the other can fulfill, bringing them slowly closer to together.
I love that this series doesn’t just have their problems resolved quickly and with no back stepping. A of shojo romance features “big issues” in characters pasts, but many times once it’s talked about it’s like “okay, all fixed now” and that isn’t how such things usually work. The slower, halting healing of both Chise and Elias feels are more natural and realistic, which is part of what makes this story so great.
I’m not going to go into this one too much since I’m waiting for the final volume to arrive, then I’ll do a whole series review. Yu Aida’s Gunslinger Girl starts is set in Italy, with a secret government group called the Social Warfare Agency that is tasked with dealing with terrorists (and occasionally doing dirty work for the government) using pairings of adult males and young female cyborgs, with the pairings nicknamed fratello.
The girls are different, coming from different backgrounds (that they themselves don’t remember) with differing personalities and level of attachment to their handlers. Their handlers are given fairly wide reign in how they “raise” and train their cyborgs, resulting in each pairing having very different ways of relating and acting.
Things starts fairly calm, almost a slice-of-life type series as we are introduced to the initial fratello pairings, seeing the girls’ lives in the dorms, and see how they operate on missions both separately and together. However, it’s also made clear pretty early on that this is not a series that is likely to come to a happy ending. The drugs and techniques used on the girls is heavily damaging to their bodies and minds, not to mention their use constantly puts them in danger, especially as the terrorists begin to spread the rumor of the terrifying little girls with guns.
I highly recommend it, even if you’ve seen the two anime series as they only cover part of the material (and changed up/removed a few things).