What's Gunslinger Girl About...I'll do a brief summary for those of you who haven't seen Gunslinger Girl, the anime. It is a story about a secret agency within the Italian Government that masquerades as a charitable organization. The agency, called Section 2, takes in injured and abandoned female children, modifies their bodies turning them into cyborgs, and brainwashes them/wipes their memory with "conditioning," a combination of drugs and training. Once the process is complete they are trained as assassins. Each cyborg gets an adult male handler. The handler is responsible for their care and training, and must always accompany them on trips into the world outside the agency. Due to the cyborg's conditioning they protect the lives of their handlers above all else and feel a sense of devotion to them.
Now for the plot...After all the difficulty with using immature, emotionally-stunted, female children, the Italian Government decides to open a new department within Section 2. This new department uses seventeen-twenty year old males as cyborg assassins. Instead of pairing the cyborgs with opposite sex handlers they maintain the tradition of a male handler in the interest of preventing any romantic notions between cyborg and handler. Each handler renames their cyborg once its memory is wiped out. Conditioning is still used to keep the Cyborgs in check, eliminate guilt responses, and create a sense of devotion to the handler. However, because the subjects are not modified until they reach a more advanced age, the conditioning has more profound negative effects on the human subjects regarding memory loss, physical strain, and shortened lifespan. Still, the cyborgs are not exactly unhappy. They have a job and they strive to do it well. This roleplay would focus on one fratello (pair of cyborg and handler).
Why I find this captivating...I read an academic piece on cyborgs, feminism, and a post-gender world. I'd like to play with these concepts more and think it would be interesting to analyze masculinity through a similar lens. We can discuss it further if you're interested in taking a meta focus. Otherwise, I'm happy to take it at face value and have it be a straight forward scifi/adventure/romance.
The Fratello...Calogero, the handler:
Calogero named Donato as such because after losing his job in the Naval Police, Calogero felt that the new position within the agency was a gift. Like many of the cyborg handlers he treats Donato with sternness and sometimes impatience. Calogero trains him hard and has a sharp tongue at times. Calogero wants to train Donato as he was trained. Yet, sometimes he can see how deeply his disparaging remarks cut at his cyborg. When Donato performs admirably however, he offers rewards. At first Calogero brought Donato gifts. However, he soon realized that Donato did not get the same pleasure out of receiving the gifts that Calogero got from giving them. When he asked the Cyborg what he wanted as a reward for good service, Donato answered almost at once - he wanted Calogero to teach him to play basketball (depending on who's playing Calogero and their interests just about any other sport can be swapped in). He wanted his handler's time and attention, rather than trinkets. Calogero never had siblings and didn't know how exactly to handle the nineteen year old who followed him around like a lost duckling for the first few weeks. He trained Donato to be more independent than most of the other cyborgs. Sometimes this is a blessing, and sometimes it's a curse. Insubordination has been an occasional problem, however, he'd rather have his partner capable of some independent action. His commanding officers haven't required that he give Donato more conditioning, at least not yet, but some of the other handlers have loudly disagreed with Calogero's methods.
Donato, the cyborg:
Palmiro entered the military by conscription. He had no real family and was looking forward to a platoon full of brothers. However, after a near fatal wound on the front lines he was chosen as a candidate for Section 2. He was pronounced dead in all the military's official records, and his body was enhanced with cybernetics. His memory was wiped clean, and he was altered. The first thing that he saw when he woke up, disoriented and confused, was Calogero. Calogero named him Donato, and Donato knew at once that even if he nothing else was clear, he was sure he would protect Calogero with his life. The handler trained him hard, often resorting to disparaging him when he consistently failed at tasks, even new ones. He strove to be better, and within a month he was a fully trained assassin. He became friendly with some of the other cyborgs, two men around his own age, Savio and Walter. However, his closest companion became a young girl named Claus who reminded him terribly of a person he could almost remember, but slipped through his fingers every time he got close. It was made clear to the cyborg that Calogero expects him to exercise judgment of his own, and on the rare occasions Donato openly disagreed with Calogero on a mission, Donato thought he saw the handler look at him with something like respect. Donato is happy enough with his life at the agency. However, he wants more than he can reasonably ask of Calogero. There is a line of appropriateness not to be crossed between cyborg and handler. Donato would give anything to cross the line, but isn't willing to jeopardize Calogero's job, or his position as Donato's handler.
I'd like to play Donato, the cyborg, and wouldn't consider taking on the role of Calogero at this time.