Gunslinger Girl series by Yu Aida
Read by: Anna/Copley Teen Room
What’s in the violin case this little girl is carrying around the city is… NOT a violin. This is a series listed for ages 16+ and deals with children and political issues in Italy. This is the story of a group of young girls who were in need of a new life when their old one expired for various reasons. Many of them were on the brink of death until they were saved… by the government. They were given robotic components and brainwashed to become cyborg assassins in a secret program known as the Social Welfare Agency. They work together with their adult handlers to wipe out terrorists and anyone who wishes to do Italy harm. They do their work well, and don’t even remember a time when they didn’t have a gun in their hands. Yet, at the same time, normal human emotions do plague them. They have trouble figuring out their feelings for their handlers, and wonder what they should be doing, if it’s not killing for a living. All the while they’re busy training for their next job.
I’ve been reading this series for awhile now, and I’m absolutely enthralled with it! I love finding out what each character has been up to, who they meet when they do their jobs, everything. These are sweet, innocent girls who know how to kill. They also know how to apprehend without killing when the situation requires it. They get stuck in sticky situations and have to find their way out. Sometimes they are forced to face their past, be it their past within the Social Welfare Agency, or the past they’ve forgotten. And sometimes, it’s the past of their handlers that come back to haunt them. Two other reasons I like this manga are the fact that it’s set in Italy, which is a new and interesting place to imerse yourself, and that I can easily identify each character. Other mangas make it hard to determine who’s who because they all look alike and are wearing the same uniform. Not in this one.
The sad thing is, this manga is coming to the end very soon. The final two volumes are being released in an omnibus edition later this month. But, I suppose it’s for the best. Even good things must come to an end at some point. And it is definitely a talent for an author to know when to end a series and not drag it on into infinity. I have read up through volume 10, and am greatly looking forward to volume 11! Volume 9 and 10 had less action and fighting and more of an emotional journey than the previous volumes, but they were still just as important to the plot, and important/scary things are revealed about the cyborgs themselves. So don’t miss out on these volumes!
Volume Information: Each volume published in English has been published separately through volume 6 until now. New Omnibus collections have come out with the following volumes: Collection 1 -Vol.1-3; Collection 2 – Vol.4-6; Collection 3 – Vol. 7-8; Collection 4 – Vol. 9-10; Collection 5 – Vol. 11-12; Collection 6 – Vol. 13-14. Volume 14 is the final volume in this series and the omnibus collection 6 is due out in January 2013! As of this post date, the library owns up to collection 4. But rest assured collection 5 & 6 are on the way to the shelves as fast as we can order them and get them ready for you awesome readers.