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This is a "Wild Mass Guess" entry, where we pull out all the sanity stops on theorizing. The regular entry on this topic is elsewhere. Please see this programme note.
Gunslinger Girl
Ah, so THIS is how The Emperor of Man got the prototype concept of his cybernetically and genetically enchanced Space Marine army!!

Maybe, just maybe, Jose still loves Henrietta in spite of the fact she is no longer that little girl he came to care for post memory-wipe.

Upon getting fragged in Turin, Jose realized just how hopeless he really was but still realized that Henrietta still had some hope and decided to send her to a better place, finally realizing that the battlefield is no place for a little girl but also knowing deep down inside that he can't force his superiors to stop her from fighting. Before killing her, though, Jose has her euthanize him before his chest wound can do him in.

Henrietta is, somehow, actually Enrica

This one seems a little too obvious in some regards, but it's basically impossible to ignore. Let's see:

  • Their facial structures are virtually identical (as Phantasma demonstrates)
  • Henrietta looks so similar to Enrica when in Enrica's clothes that even Jean has trouble telling the difference for a moment
    • More to the point, Henrietta fits into Enrica's clothes without any problems whatsoever
  • From what we've seen of her in flashbacks (that don't involve Jean tripping out about Enrica encouraging revenge), Enrica and Henrietta have fairly similar mild, good-natured, laid-back personalities and don't really like violence; Henrietta's conditioning erased her memory, but didn't rewire her base personality well, until her second reconditioning anyway, and even then a large part of the point lies in how much of her still remains even without her "new" memories
  • When we see "Henrietta" for the very first time at the start of the manga, she has long, flowing waist-length hair... just like Enrica is shown as having in the flashbacks, if not even longer

The only holes in this are that while we're not really given dates re: how long ago Enrica supposedly died, it seems like Enrica should probably be a little older than Henrietta is, and that it seems odd that the brothers wouldn't recognize their sister immediately on seeing "Henrietta" in the hospital. The latter is somewhat explicable, though, if they're for some reason certain she's already dead - they'd simply think she looks a bit similar but isn't really Enrica.

Why would Enrica be alive and living with another family (before seeing a theoretical foster family brutally murdered and then getting "assaulted" all night) without the brothers knowing? Well, all we know is that Enrica supposedly "died" in a bomb attack. We've never been told conclusively that a body was found, and it's possible there was something in Father's will wanting to get Enrica put into witness protection if he was killed (and he didn't tell the brothers so they couldn't be followed etc) or she did survive but just wandered off in a daze before being found by a caring family who took her in. (This would make her memory being removed again hilariously redundant and tragic.)

It's still speculation, but it would basically be the perfect, final You Suck moment for Jose; all this time he's been forcing his beloved sister into combat. It would be the perfect catalyst for a final showdown with the Agency itself, jive very well with Triela and Hilshire's recent mutinous thoughts and provide an excellent hook for the climax of the series' main narrative thrust.

They don't need to be young girls
These modifications can be used on anyone, but whoever runs the agency is just creepy
  • Nope. Well, for the physical transformation its anyone but the memory wiping is safer for young girls.
  • What's wrong with young boys? They could be stronger than the girls if given the same modifications and if they're the same age.
    • The tech is shown to work on boys. In a more recent manga chapter, a boy is shown with a prosthetic that was developed from the cyborg technology. But males are automatically more threatening than females, and they're running black ops. The cybernetics already put them as stronger and faster than normal humans, so the extra strength probably isn't considered worth losing the extra level of disarming charm that comes from using girls.
    • Since they'd be using the same synthetic muscles and bones for the boys, it's likely there wouldn't even be strength or durability advantages remaining after the substantial component replacement Agency cyborgs undergo. As they have the most experience working with the brain chemistry of girls, at some point they probably decided to concentrate on making the conditioning they have even better rather than try to get it working on boys, too.
    • Is it also possible that girls in that age range are less likely to feel defiance toward close male authority figures than boys would be, and therefore take to the conditioning more easily?
  • There's also the possibility that the Agency wants to reduce the chance that their cyborgs enjoy being violent, since that could possibly lead to the cyborgs behaving with less control in the field. (And heaven forfend that the cyborgs feel tempted to use their weapons outside of work.)
  • Personally, as an Italian, I can see the answer as a bit of Fridge Logic, and say it's a mix of three reasons: cultural conditioning makes whoever runs the agency see the young girls as easier to condition and, using an older male, control, and the same cultural conditioning actually makes the control part true (at least for now); young boys are automatically seen as a possible threat, and sometimes could actually try and attack older people to make a quick buck or prove they could, so the targets would be on their guard if they spot young boys but are likely to ignore a young decently-dressed girl with a violin case until she pulls out the P90; and if the girl gets killed in the mission, there's the propaganda value of making it look like the terrorists are murdering young girls for no reason, that the Italian media would quickly spin up in some horrific tale of kidnappings, rapes and murders.

Gunslinger Girl takes place in the same universe as Black Lagoon.
  • That would explain Hansel and Gretel—-the background we're given was wrong or mistaken; they were survivors of a Romanian government attempt to counter the Italians with a similar force of juvenile cyborg assassins. That would explain their incredible skill with weapons, and the strength that allows "Gretel" to easily handle a 20-lb. Browning Automatic Rifle with perfect aplomb.
    • The BAR isn't really that tough to handle. Bonnie Parker (of Bonnie and Clyde fame) carried a cut-down one much of the time and she was 90 pounds soaking wet.
      • Carrying a BAR is one thing...firing it from the shoulder while standing is another, and a very tough thing for even a full-grown trained soldier to do.
    • That explains why they're insane — they got the cheap communist brainwashing instead of the advanced Western conditioning.

Gunslinger Girl takes place in the same universe as Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.
All the cyberization technology available in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex might stem from the prototypes developed by the Social Welfare Agency.

It makes so much sense. After all, the show has little girls kicking ass, secret organizations exploiting the little girls, and loads of angst.
The climax seems to be setting up for a possible final three-way confrontation between Jose/Henrietta, Jean/Rico and Hillshire/Triela, possibly with other parties outside of the Agency involved
  • Ok, so let's look at a few things. The tension between Jose and Jean is pretty obvious. Though Jose seems to be growing distant with Henrietta since she's showing signs of memory loss and was just as much obsessed with revenge as Jean was during the assault on the tower, his core personality still hasn't changed. It's quite possible he blames Henrietta's worsening condition on Jean. Now let's look at Triela and Hillshire - after the end of Return to the Birdcage, the two of them seem like they feel pretty betrayed by the Agency and sickened by what they're doing, especially since it's revealed that Hillshire is working for the Agency only because they're essentially holding him and Triela hostage. It's quite possible that Triela and Hillshire might even decide to be the instigators, turning their guns against the Agency in order to "liberate" the girls, perhaps even with no intentions on surviving. The series seems to really want to have a cyborg-on-cyborg battle, and given the Cain and Abel set-up between Jean and Jose, and Hillshire's and Triela's angstiness, this seems like a very likely set-up. Now also recall that the ringleader of the terrorists is still at large, and the comments the Prime Minister made about cleaning up the Agency once it's gone, and it's possible you could see a full-out invasion of the Agency in the middle of this. It might result in a little bit of action scene overload, but you can't deny it's potential epicness.
    • A much more likely 3-corner set-to has the Croce brothers out to get Giacomo, who basically wants to watch the world burn. In the third corner are the heads of the two factions (who are interested in there still being an Italy when this vendetta is over). Then there's Triela.. She's told Hartman to his face that she expects him to survive and get free of the agency (not his likely original plan, he's sent Roberta out of Naples to get her clear). Basically, Triela will be emulating Pino, hopefully with better results (though not for her). She knows the girls are doomed, she just wants "daddy" to survive. Her most likely cyborg opponent if it comes down to it, Henrietta (who is looking positively scary since they re-programmed her).

Search your feelings. You know it to be true. I am not talking about the girls all dropping down from Medicine overdose in a few years, I am talking about a tear jerking death in battle for just about every girl and handler. It's the only way such a story can end. Plus, it would be really awesome.
  • Well, what'd you expect in an opera? A happy ending?
  • This already seems to have been set in motion during the latest story arcs.
  • Well no kidding, Vol 13 (and about half the chapters included) is titled "Occaso" (sunset).

Gunslinger Girl takes place in the same universe as RoboCop
As it turns out, the Robocop program was expanded and improved upon in Europe, and modified for young girls. Perhaps OCP is one of the sponsers?

Gunslinger Girl is the attempt of the Italian Governement to hide the fact they've already did it once
Between the sixties and the eighties there was a lot of political terrorism in Italy. Then, in the early eighties, it ceased. If the Italian government really did deploy cybernetically enhanced tyke bombs against terrorist, the average citizen would be surprised by the technology involved, not by the act.

Sperenza's biological father?
Candidates:
  • Hillshire, via preserved sperm
  • Mario
  • None, by now they perfected the technology to use two eggs to make a child, and they just used two of Triela's.
  • Roberta, much like the previous.
  • None: they took the nucleus of a stem cell and implanted it into an egg that could have come from anywhere, as part of a program to try and end the reliance on luck to find girls suitable for the implants.

GunnmWMG/Anime & MangaGuyver

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