Even though it hasn’t officially ended yet, I’m pretty sure about my top-3 series for the winter-season: Wellber no Monogatari, Porfy no Nagai Tabi and Gunslinger Girl, though I’m not sure about the order yet. Everything is very close in terms of quality for this season, and Shigofumi, True Tears and Hakaba Kitarou have also been quite amazing as well. Who said that the winter-season sucked anyway?
In any case, this episode rocked in so many ways. There are two major fights, one of which gets continued in the final episode (oh, and there will be 2 DVD-only episodes after that). The camera still got shaken a bit, but the speed-lines were completely gone. In any case, the great thing about that fight was that I ACTUALLY SAW HENRIETTA AS A VILLAIN. I know that Pinocchio is with the bad side and all, and yet I couldn’t care less about Henrietta, and just hoped for Pinocchio, Franco and Franca to survive.
And this is exactly why there are so few good antagonists in anime. Very few series give these guys equal time in terms of not only development, but also fleshing out and screen-time. Pinocchio has received just as much, if not more development than all of the girls, which is a very rare occurrence. After that fight, the development only continues when Christiano is about to get captured and Pinocchio refuses to let him be. The talk that Christiano has afterwards, in which he tells his assistant how Pinocchio has told him that he loved him was such a simple but extremely effective scene.
Also, Pinocchio also failed to kill Henrietta, and that suddenly brought up the same feelings in him that Triela is currently experiencing. I never thought that the two would be so similar. Also note that Triela is still carrying Pinocchio’s necklace. I don’t think that “hate” really is the word to describe the feelings that she has for the guy, at the end of the episode when they finally stand against each other again. She more sees him as a strange kind of rival.
In any case, I’ve long since stopped caring about the bad animation. The choreography of the fights in this episode was more than enough to make up for it.