Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Gunslinger Girl

So, this series has some of the most amazing examples of cause and effect psychology. That being said, you can’t analyze just one person at a time from this series. So, I’m analyzing them in pairs in this huge block.

Jose & Henrietta

Jose is probably the kindest of the fratellos in the series. His young female charge is with him all the time, so it’s often said that the two are brother and sister. Henrietta doesn’t seem to mind though, and Jose doesn’t let it effect the way he treats her. Unlike many of the other fratellos, Jose insists on expanding Henrietta’s horizons far beyond just weapon usage. This probably derives from the guilt he had at the very beginning, relating to the fact that the assassins who would be trained were children. Still, its also interesting to note, that as much care as he shows for Henrietta, he still keeps a professional relationship of master and apprentice while on a job or in weapons training. He keeps a gentle hand, catches her if she falls, but scolds her when she does something wrong. And then he’s done with it. His anger never remains.

Still, Jose’s wish to “help” Henrietta, and his tendency to spoil her has at times kept him from calling her out in a dangerous situation when she did something wrong.

In turn, Jose’s kindness is also a double-edged sword. It makes Henrietta fairly obedient, but it also makes her care for Jose more deeply than following the orders she’s given. On more than one occasion, she has lost control and killed or almost killed people, just because Jose was in a potentially dangerous situation, or someone was trying to hurt him. In fact, she almost got into a gunfight with a fellow girl in the organization because her fratello was yelling at Jose for not teaching Henrietta better.

While it appears painful at times for Jose to not be affectionate, he rewards her continually for her work. He also spends a lot of personal time with her. He once disrupted her sniper training to view the planet Venus during the daytime. He listens to her play the violin and teaches her how to view the stars. But he also instructs her how to hold a gun, what senses she should use in battle, and the way she should move while sweeping a building. And she soaks it in completely, convinced that he knows everything. Though Jose may seem innocent at times it is never more clear that he isn’t than when we find Henrietta using her advantage of being a ten year old girl, and turning on the tears to get close to a target. This is a tactic that no doubt, since she is the youngest of the assassins, Jose has taught her in order to stay ahead of the situation.

As a character, Jose probably isn’t the perfect fratello/handler. He probably cares a little too much for Henrietta, so he fights for her well-being. As a result he spoils her and often doesn’t scold her when he perhaps should. He also finds himself under constant criticism from the other fratellos (especially Jean). At times, Henrietta can become a loose cannon, especially when Jose is in possible danger. When she raises a weapon to someone who hasn’t really done anything wrong, though, is when he raises his voice to her. Henrietta recognizes only Jose as her friend, protector, and master. In result, she trusts and is obedient to him alone.

Victor Hilshire & Triela

Victor Hilshire is perhaps a man who feels a slight guilt for the situation he’s in and is putting Triela in. He often keeps Triela with him as Jose does. But even though they appear to get along quite well most of the time, and Triela is quite loyal, on a personal level, Triela and Hilshire don’t appear to be really that close. Hilshire instructs Triela to the best of his ability, but Triela is perhaps one of the most intelligent girls in the group, so she is mostly left alone. Even in training, she picks skills up quickly and hones them without much instruction. Her lack of contact with Hilshire because of her intelligence, though, often means that he isn’t entirely sure how to react to her, and she doesn’t know what she is to the man. Still, their odd relationship doesn’t appear to hinder their work at all. Triela even became a little rash when a man they were trying to get information on almost pulled a gun on Hilshire.

While Hilshire tries to refrain from using physical means to scold Triela, he won’t hesitate to scold her with words if she does something wrong. Even so, though he’s uncomfortable around Triela, he often finds himself confiding in Jose, rather than the other fratellos. He tries little by little to be kinder to her if he can.

As a character, Hilshire is probably one of the weaker fratellos. With some exceptions and mostly basic orders, he pretty much allows Triela to do what she wants, unless he sees that the situation needs something different. His easygoing nature is probably influenced by how intelligent she is, and his lack of knowledge when it comes to relating to her. That isn’t to say that he doesn’t try his best to be better about how he treats her though. To him, she’s kind of like a delinquent daughter that he never quite got the chance to know.

Rabello & Claes

Unlike the other fratellos who have either a sympathy for the girl they instruct, or a love the job or the power involved, Rabello doesn’t seem to care anything about the job or the girl he instructs. His main goal is to get back into the military police. As a result, his training for Claes is often long, inattentive, and grueling… filled with praise less remarks. To gain his approval, Claes does everything she’s asked. She even stays on the shooting range all through the night and into the next rainy day to try and please him. The only time he ever spoke personally to her about anything was when she and he went fishing together. Shortly after, when he was about to sell some information to the press (probably relating to the project), he gave Claes a key to his office so she could read his books. He was then killed in a hit and run, probably orchestrated by the organization. Claes has since becomes a test subject, permanently pulled off active duty.

As a character, Claes was the weakest of the assassin cyborg units. Though, she was loyal, Rabello wasn’t really that loyal to her. His sporadic sense of care was probably that of an uncle that would only visit on weekends. Still Claes probably got her love for idle time and book reading from him.

Jean & Rico

Unlike many of the other fratellos who at least have a slight sense of sympathy for the girl they train, Jean thinks of Rico as probably nothing more than a hunting machine, and he treats her as such. As a result, Rico spends most of her time confused emotionally, and bending to Jean’s every order when she’s fighting. Though Jean never really seems to reward Rico, she’s actually quite good at what she does… though probably not quite the hurricane that some of the other girls are (especially Henrietta). When it comes to sniper work, Rico never seems to miss her target. Even building sweeping isn’t too difficult for her. Her main difficulties appear to lie in protecting people, which means that Jean’s own tendency to fight and take action is probably a saving grace. But because Jean is so cold to her most of the time, she doesn’t really know how to react to people in the real world unless Jean is taking the lead. As Jean has ordered, she has even shot an innocent bystander once, just because he saw her and recognized her from a previous meeting.

She’s often fragile and submissive. Jean keeps a very tight leash on her, and often hits her if the results aren’t to his liking.

As a character, Jean is probably one of the more ruthless of the fratellos. He has little care for Rico, except that she does exactly what he wants her to and that she learns from his instruction. He spends his time giving other fratellos (especially Jose) a difficult time when their own charges act up, and refuses to let Rico have the time of day. Still she insists on trying to please him, and hasn’t said a bad thing about him. How she is treated, however, is very well known by all the other assassins. They accept it, under the idea that each man treats his female charge differently.

Marco & Angelica

Marco and Angelica are charter members in the idea of using young girls as assassins. Angelica was probably given the most time to adapt and to be train out of anyone, but because tests hadn't been completed yet, she has forgotten a major part of her training. Though Marco probably treats Angelica more kindly than some handlers treat their charge (especially in the beginning), his effort to be a supportive instructor and an almost father-like figure was lost when she started to lose her memories. All the training she had received, all the effort he had put in, slowly started to undo itself until there was nearly nothing left. As a result, she was taken off active duty and is simply put on training exercises for a while. Marco may be extremely frustrated with her inability to remember, but he continues to try.

The really interesting thing about each individual group, with the exception of Elsa, is that there is no jealousy between the girls based on how each is treated.
They all believe their treatment is fair, and encourage each other in their endeavors to be praised and accepted by their fratellos. On the other hand, the fratellos seem to always be fighting about how far to condition each girl, and how hard each should train them. Regardless, some of them are friends anyway, and each has seemingly come up with a method of training that makes each individual girl unique and effective in her skills.

Lauro & Elsa

Elsa is probably the most withdrawn of the girls. She puts every fiber of her being into pleasing her fratello, Lauro. He, however, is extremely cold to her, much like Jean is to Rico. His praises are usually short and accompanied by some sort of scolding or a casual comment. He doesn't care about how she or any of the other cyborg girls feel. It's a job to him, nothing more.

This team is probably perfect until they attempt to do a mission with Jose and Henrietta. Seeing Jose's constant instruction and ever-watchfulness, as well as his care for Henrietta, Elsa starts to feel lonely and jealous. Her focus is split and Lauro, unhappily, replaces her part in the mission with Jose. This was also after Jose asked Lauro about Elsa's well-being, and Lauro insisted that she was fine. Nothing had ever gotten in her way before. Jose, then stated that her behavior was something that was often displayed when the girls got careless. Perhaps, ten bonus points to Jose, and negative ten for Lauro, as it became exactly as Jose said.

The carelessness of Lauro and Elsa that day also seemed to be associated with their deaths shortly after.

In all, the fratellos/handlers all have different ways of viewing the young female cyborgs. Some view them like family, others as tool or machine, and others still have even more complex feelings and relationships to sort out as the years go on. It is quite possible that in the distant future, handlers like Jose may find it increasingly difficult not to become totally attached or even romantically involved. Still their ability to keep their distance while their charges attempt to get closer to them and gain their approval is remarkable. And there's only more to come...

1 comment:

  1. i just started reading the manga vol. 2 and i badly want them to be romantically involved in a different way lol !