It’s girls with guns time. I’m a big fan of the genre in anime but I skipped over Gunslinger Girl entirely. I like girls with guns but there’s an unstated qualifier there – which is to say, I like attractive girls with guns, and the cast of Gunslinger Girl does not exactly drip with sex appeal. However, the boxy heads and rectangular eyes of the characters appear to be peculiar to the anime, and this figure features a more conventional face – a welcome decision that shifts the principal focus from the atypical facial proportions to the attractiveness of the character and in particular, the mood that she expresses.
Triela comes from the well-known manga and anime series Gunslinger Girl, where she is apparently one of the older members of the cast. Like the other main characters, she is a cyborg who works as an assassin and combatant. She’s holding a pump-action shotgun here, just one of numerous weapons depicted in the series; indeed, the show appears to be a gun junky’s dream, with the Wikipedia article listing the numerous weapons used by the cast. Along with a ton of spoilers – don’t say I didn’t warn you if you were planning on watching this show. Me, I bought a Shooter’s Bible when I was around ten years old, I got my rifle shooting merit badge when I was twelve, and then I grew out of my gun nut phase by the time I got to high school.
This figure is manufactured by Good Smile Company, and I was a bit surprised when they announced her, since they’ve been busy making Black Rock Shooter, Vocaloid, and Bakemonogatari stuff and Gunslinger Girl has sort of faded from the memory of the anime zeitgeist. It’s the kind of random figure that we used to see a lot more of; Alter in particular often made characters from eroge and series far from the mainstream but lately they’ve been eminently predictable as well.
Triela is a small figure; she’s sculpted in 1/8 scale and stands 17 centimeters tall to the top of her head, with her gun and base bringing her total height to about 19 centimeters. She’s ready for display right out of the box; all her new owner needs to do is pull off the protective plastic wrap and place her on her base. Speaking of which, her base comprises s small chunk of brick pavement, which looks quite classy and takes up little space on a shelf.
This figure is based off of an illustration that can be seen on the Gunslinger Girl wiki site. The artwork – which isn’t printed on the figure’s box – depicts Triela with narrowed eyes and a scowl. However, the figure doesn’t look quite so angry or sad; Triela certainly isn’t happy, but her expression seems to be closer to neutral. She appears more melancholic and contemplative; the illustration seems to depict her as being displeased and upset with her lot in life, but the figure looks simply resigned to her circumstances.
Another difference is that the illustration includes her handler standing behind her. In contrast, the figure conveys a sense of solitude. Triela is clutching her shotgun like a child would clutch a security blanket, and there’s a profound sense of loneliness in how tightly she hugs it. Indeed, the aura of vulnerability she projects is almost palpable. The subject of this figure is a young woman, but her thoughts and mood are just as perceptible, though much more difficult to discern with certainty.
Triela is dressed in a more feminine style than she is sometimes portrayed. I approve of anime girls in suits and neckties – I’m looking forward to seeing Saber in the Fate/zero anime adaptation – but this outfit works much better in the context of what is being suggested. Her sweater and short skirt are not uncommon among female anime characters, but her trenchcoat and high-heeled boots certainly are. The contrast in colors is also effective, drawing notice to her outfit’s disparate components. The skirt and sweater add a sense of youthful innocence to her look, while her coat adds unmistakable elements of menace, aggression, and mystery. Her boots add a touch of class and provocativeness that offsets the straightforward ubiquity of her skirt and sweater ensemble.
I’m not one to criticize anybody for including a castoff feature – unless it’s poorly handled – but Good Smile Company apparently could not leave well enough alone, and they went ahead and included one with Triela. She separates at her waist so that her skirt can be removed, leaving her standing in her panties. As if she hasn’t suffered enough in life. Now, on one hand, I have to think this is pretty cool, since while I like girls with guns, girls with guns in their panties sounds even cooler, and if somebody were to make a good figure of Lila from Najica Blitz Tactics, I’d order it without hesitation. On the other hand, the effect of removing Triela’s skirt is to destroy the mood and personality she expresses. While having the option of displaying Triela in her underwear is nice, it’s wholly incongruent with the way I like to view this figure, so she’ll be keeping her skirt on.
Given Triela’s distinctive sartorial sense, it would’ve been nice if she were, you know, wearing some racier underpants. Maybe something more colorful, maybe something more revealing.
Good Smile Company has made some great figures this year, and Triela is another fine product. Perhaps the only quibble I could have is that I wish she were a bit larger, but other than that, I think she looks fantastic. No, she’s not the most exciting or dynamic figure around, but her simplicity is a major reason that I like her. Their Saber Alter figure exudes power, and Rin Tohsaka evinces elegance, and Junko Hattori rocks a skimpy fundoshi. This figure of Triela, in contrast, is austere: just a girl, her gun, and her thoughts.
Funimation has uploaded both seasons of Gunslinger Girl to their Youtube channel, and I recently made an attempt at watching it. I did not hate it or even dislike it but I am not certain I want to continue watching it. I thought about describing my feelings here but I’ll save it for a future post.