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, featuring the likes of Yukari Oshima, Moon Lee, and Cynthia Khan. In the early 2000s, 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).
The "girls-with-guns" subgenre has also permeated the anime space. Some examples include Black Lagoon, Bubblegum Crisis, Dirty Pair, Gunsmith Cats, 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.
Following Noir and Madlax, this El Cazador will be the third installment in a series of what Director Koichi Mashimo has referred to as his girls-with-guns genre trilogy.