What is a Girls with Guns Film?


Girls with guns is a subgenre of action films and animation – often Asian films and anime – that portray a female protagonist who makes use of firearms to defend against or attack a group of antagonists.

The genre typically involves gun-play, stunts and martial arts action.


The 1985 Hong Kong film Yes, Madam, directed by Corey Yuen and starring Michelle Yeoh and Cynthia Rothrock, has been described as the first ‘girls with guns’ film.

Other films of the subgenre were produced until 1994.

In the early 2000’s, films part of what has been called a ‘girls with guns revival’ cycle were produced. They included Martial Angels (2001), The Wesley’s Mysterious File (2002) and So Close (2002).

Anime and Manga

The “girls-with-guns” subgenre has also permeated the anime space. Some examples include Bubblegum Crisis, Gall Force, Dirty Pair, Gunsmith Cats, Angel Heart, Gunslinger Girl, Noir, Madlax, and El Cazador.

Other examples of “girls with guns” anime are Masamune Shirow’s and Mamoru Oshii’s Ghost in the Shell and its television adaptation Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex as well as Yasuomi Umetsu’s works Kite, Mezzo Forte, Mezzo DSA, and Kite: Liberator.

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