Title: Saikano , short for Saishu Heiki Kanojo (My Girlfriend, The Ultimate Weapon)
Manga, Movie, Anime: Saikano was originally a manga authored by Shin Takahashi, and ran in the Shogakukan publication Big Comic Spirits from May 30th, 2000 to December 25th, 2001. It totals at seven collected volumes. It has been released Stateside by Viz, and the final volume was released January 3rd, 2006.
A live-action movie was released January 28th, 2006, and has yet to be licensed Stateside. I'll be covering this later in the review.
The anime itself was produced by Gonzo (famous for Gankutsuou and Red Garden), and directed by Mitsuo Kase
(famous for directing the first seven episodes of Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory), and ran on Japanese TV from July 2nd, 2002 to September 24th, 2002. Saikano has been licensed Stateside by Viz, and the fourth and final volume was released November 9th, 2004.
Story: So, there's this couple, Shuji and Chise, who've just started going out, and they're so amazingly awkward with each other, the way you first are when you're just starting to go out with someone. There's a war going on, but they're somewhere near Sapporo on Hokkaido, the northernmost island in Japan, so it doesn't really affect them, up until the day that Sapporo gets bombed. There's this gleam of light that absolutely decimates the enemy bombers, and Shuji ends up following it when it crashes and it turns out that it's Chise, who's more or less been turned into a cyborg.
The rest of the series focuses on their relationship, and how Chise's being turned into a weapon affects that, juxtaposed with the war that's going on.
I am going to warn you straight off the bat; this is probably one of the most depressing anime in existence. You're going to want to keep anything you can hurt yourself with far away from you as you go through the series. There is a lot of death. You get to watch Chise lose her humanity bit by bit. You get to watch Shuji utterly unable to do anything about the former. You watch them trying to keep their relationship together while all of this is happening.
And it's everything that makes it depressing that makes a good story, really.
To be honest, I'm not really sure what happened in the last half of the last episode. This may be just me. But it is a bit confusing that way.
Art: The art style for this is a bit simpler than most of Gonzo's productions that I've seen; it seems closer to the style of a manga, in terms of the way characters are rendered. In fact, when I took a look at the manga covers the other day, it seems almost exactly the same. So that's a nice touch.
Gonzo uses a lot of reds, blacks, grays and dark colors, for the war zones, and brighter colors for Hokkaido, though that ends up turning more sinister as the story goes on.
Also, the CG is excellent, as expected from Gonzo. And luckily, it blends very well with the general style.
Music: The OP is amazing; I didn't like the song all that much, but it grew on me, and the segment itself is black and white, with the occasional highlight of bright color, and has random bits of French text throughout. The ED is also made of awesome; didn't pay too much attention to the segment here, but the song itself is done by the same artist who did the OP (Yuria Yato), which is a rare thing in an anime, because the contrast between the two really shows her range.
The background music is mostly variations on the OP and ED, but seeing as they're both so good, it's nice to hear. There's also an insert song that Shuji always hums, and when you finally hear it sung in the last few episodes, it's really a nice song, even if it ends up being a terrible thing for Chise.
Seiyuu: Chise's seiyuu also was Firiel in Nishi no Yoki Majo, which was a nice touch. As ever, the seiyuu did an excellent job; no issues here.
Length: Perfect, because it allows for just the right amount of depression, but stops before you actually consider killing yourself. Any more and I wouldn't have been able to take it, any less and it wouldn't have seemed right.
Movie: Saikano was turned into a live-action movie in 2006 by Toei. Aki Maeda, younger sister of Ai Maeda (who was Kino's seiyuu in Kino no Tabi, which she also did the OP/ED for) and also played Noriko in the live-action adaptation of Battle Royale, was cast as Chise.
I didn't like the movie as much. It was basically a digest version of the series (which was to be expected, as there was no way they could put all the material in a two-hour movie), but the thing was that some of the most emotional scenes from the anime ended up having little to no impact in the movie itself. Maybe it's because the build-up was missing; maybe it was becasue of the acting. I can't really tell you what went wrong here. And even though it went about things differently, it still had the same ending as the anime, which made even less sense, really.
Overall: It's depressing as all hell, but it's good.
Saikano has all of the best intentions for a tragic romance, and it sets its story up really well. And that, dear readers, is where all of my positive remarks end for this emotion-milker.
I do not fault those of you who call this one of the most moving anime out there. Far from it, it's full of emotion. But there is such a thing as pacing and this is where the anime conks out. Saikano's story is so diligent in making sure it's viewers never forget that unspeakable tragedy is inevitably nearing, even from the very first few episodes. The world being at war and
countries falling daily, it's only a matter of time before the hellfire reaches our two young lovers. The problem is that matter of time takes forever to get here. The series does its best to retain a sense of tragedy throughout, but the results are hardly worth the excruciating wait. By the time tragedy did strike, I just didn't care anymore.
This is not made any easier by the cast. The focus of the story is Chise and Shuji. Chise, being a walking weapon of mass destruction, has the weakest of personalities. Her primary habits include being slow, dull, and average except that she can sprout metal wings. This girl's positively transparent, and Shuji is not much better. His indecisive attitude only fuels the series into dragging on and on. Though he finally grows past it, it just seems futile afterward in context to what is happening in the world around him. Akemi, the only relatively interesting character in the series, is otherwise squandered as the show demands so much focus on Chise.
The art is definitely the highlight of the show. It's impossibly delicate which surprises me because this is from the blatant CG glutton GONZO, yet there's practically nothing in the series that looks as such. It flows nicely and always looks beautiful. Definitely a plus.
The BGM was forgettable as it was mostly renditions of the forgettable OP and ED. Not bad, but not good, and certainly not enough to warrant further attention.
Overall, I feel Saikano had the potential to be great, but ended up overstaying its welcome. It's got a great start and a somewhat decent finish, but a neverending middle that sucked my emotions dry before it could make a difference. If your eyes are bottomless wells for tears, then have at it. You'll probably enjoy it a heck of a lot more than I did.
Saikano is awkward. Extremely awkward. And not even in a good way. I watched this series basically over the course of two days, and I have to say if I hadn't just kept watching it, I probably would not have bothered to finish it (unfortunately, I did.) Let me explain why.
☢CAUTION!!☢ SPOILERS AHEAD ☢CAUTION!!☢
If I was able to make any recommendation across media, I would definitely say this show reminded me a lot of Nitro+'s visual novel Saya no Uta. For those of you not familiar with it, it's a somewhat gory and sexually explicit short story
following one male protagonist, who through what can probably be excused as fate, sees the world as a conglomeration of flesh and things. The only thing that appears normal to him is a girl, who in time they fall in love with one another, and in the end, she turns out to be an unstable slaughter-alien that basically destroys the earth. It's a really heart-touching story despite what it may sound like, and Saikano attempted very much to accomplish the same thing.
The problems with Saikano, though, are many. First off, the one question that kept nagging me was this: who are they fighting? Across the entire series, you never find out who the Japanese are fighting against. They're only referred to as 'the enemy', and it's basically impossible to determine anything about them because you only actually see 'the enemy' a total of about 3 times. So if that's not military intelligence enough for you, check out their choice of weaponry: Arming a hormonal teenage girl with enough missiles to wipe out an entire town several times over, and then letting her run freely around school, pretending to be a normal human. Why didn't the military pick a mid-20s male in prime shape, and instead pick a clumsy, dopey girl? (More complaints on characters to come) Nobody knows. I guess the military was just trolling. Tens of billions of yen spent creating the 'Ultimate Weapon', and they fail to pick somebody who was even capable of walking in a straight line without wiping out.
Military matters aside, all that's left in this show is romance drama. I probably wasn't watching as closely as I should have been, so I got confused with the characters a little, but it didn't matter. The basic idea is that this is supposed to be, as the subtitle may suggest, "The last love song on the planet." It's anything but pure. Nearly every character in the show cheats on one another with every other character, resulting in one big, confusing, web of spitesex. None of the characters seem to be enjoying it, and none of them do anything to pretend that they do. Probably half the scenes have the characters crying or cursing themselves, while the other half typically have one of the partners cut up, coughing up blood, dying, or with tentacles coming out of their stomachs. Meanwhile the other sits and says classic lines such as, "You're beautiful," or "Touch my breasts."
The 'plot', should you be generous enough to call it that, resolves when the main character and his Ultimate Weapon Girlfriend (UWG from here) are atop a building where they first fell in love, repeatedly having sex while the town under them is destroyed in a giant tidal wave, shortly followed up by massive black ... masses coming from the sky and doing I don't even know what. Then, failing to protect the planet, UWG manages to only save main guy, who is then left alone on the destroyed planet (probably) only to sit and rather easily go insane, and probably to die of starvation within a couple days. There's nothing heart-warming about that. There's nothing depressing about that. It's just stupid.
...I hesitantly say this is the best aspect of the show. The art is solid and consistent throughout the series. That isn't to say, though, that it's actually good. First off, for some reason, every character is constantly blushing. Constantly. Throughout the entire show. Then when they actually do blush, it looks more like a rash that got irritated and their entire face becomes inflamed. Or something.
The character designs themselves are pretty unoriginal, which loaned itself to me not being able to keep track of characters. Main character looks like he's about 30, though, and UWG averages 8. Her face is literally a circle, and she's short and fat-looking. I mean, I'm not gonna rip on them for /actually/ making an anime girl fat, but the thing is, I don't think she's supposed to be. I think it was their attempt to expand on her character through her appearance. Then again, I could be wrong.
The one thing that did manage to win several points was UWG's design when she was in full-out destructo mode. She appears several times with a pair of large, metallic wings in various forms throughout the show, each time a little different than the time before, and every single time, pretty darn cool. And that's why the art is the best aspect.
Ugh. The opening theme is annoying. I listened to it the first time, then muted the volume every episode after that. The ending theme is boring. If there was background music, it was so transparent that I didn't even notice it. Except once again, when UWG goes into destructo-mode, there's one song on the soundtrack that sounds like something out of Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor. It was nearly decent, but completely unfitting most of the time, because the action scenes were not very action-packed, and electric guitar with no action is a bit of a paradox (unless it's K-on or some crap like that).
The explosions sounded okay.
Character voices... I guess for the most part they were decent, but there were several points in the show where characters either laughed or screamed, and it was just the most irritating thing I've ever heard. That happens a lot though, and isn't something I haven't grown to expect.
Okay. Let me dismantle this character-by-character (Going straight off the list here on MAL, since I won't be able to remember them all on my own).
Main Character: Chise. I don't know why they picked a whiny, clumsy brat to be their ultimate weapon. She's constantly tripping and falling and screaming, which is apparently only cute to a bunch of perverted old men at a cafe where she works late in the series. She's horribly indecisive. She can be persuaded just by yelling at her. Also, there's some sort of split-personality going on, where she turns robotic and manages awkward utterances such as, "Your liquid entered my body. Why do you do this?" after a kiss. I don't get it at all, but it's annoying.
Main Character: Akemi. What? She was a main character? All she did was offer 'helpful' relationship advice to Shuuji, hiding the fact that she liked him the entire series (of course, it was painfully obvious to the viewers), and by the time she finally got around to admitting it, half her body's blasted away from an earthquake or something. Awkward sex scene ensues, she dies coughing blood all over Shuuji while he reassures her she's beautiful and the only one he loves. What happened to UWG? She's off cheating on Shuuji.
Main Character: Shuuji. He's the most difficult to respect out of all the characters in this show. He says he's Chise's boyfriend frequently, and every night, sneaks out of his house to go sleep with his senpai Fuyumi (who in turn, is also cheating on her husband, who in turn, is also cheating on his wife with Chise. Go figure.) When he's around her, he shows his affection by calling her 'Idiot/Moron/Doofus/etc', then leaves to curse himself and be an otherwise deadpan, static rock of a character.
Atsuhi: The most interesting character this show has to offer, he's friends with Shuuji and the scarcely-important Take, and has feelings for Akemi. He joins the military to 'protect' her, but turns out to be a wimp and dies anyhow.
Tetsu: Fuyumi's husband, a military dog who seduces Chise because he wants loli but doesn't even remember her name. Dies.
Fuyumi: An annoying succubus. Dies eventually.
Shuuji's Dad: What.
Yukari/Take: Listed together because they're equally unimportant. Take dies in episode 1 or 2 or something and you don't learn his name until like 10 or 11. Lulz ensue.
This is higher than it would seem to be. That's because I was actually laughing at what a pathetic show it was, and how all the melodrama was more mock-fodder for my taking. Also, it just has such a weird-out factor that you probably WILL remember it for a long time if you actually watch it all.
That's the average, right? I don't even know. So yeah, trash, avoid.
There's no 9.5 option when you come to reviewing, so I guess that a 9 will have to do. Ok, I discovered this anime purely by accident - don't you just love it when that happens? Anyway, a recent purchase and I couldn't wait to watch it. For those who don't know anything about Saikano - the story is essentially a love story, albeit a very tragic one. The anime focuses on the lives of Shuji and Chise, two high school students in Hokkaido who have recently became a couple. However, the happiness that comes along with finding someone to
love is very short lived. The world that they live in is at war, in the anime it's unclear just who Japan is at war with - but in my opinion that didn't really matter.
When the opposing army attacks Sapporo and seals large scale destruction to the city, Shuji is shocked to discover Chise standing amongst the rubble with machinery 'growing' out of her arm. Sometime later, Chise reveals to Shuji that some people came to her house one night and said that she would be a perfect candidate... to become the ultimate weapon. The details as to why this is isn't made clear until the OVA, but I guess that's good to keep the viewer's guessing. The anime then focuses on how the two cope with this revelation, and how Chise struggles with herself on how she is changing into a 'machine' and becoming 'less human'. You'll hear the phrase "I'm sorry" a LOT in this anime - so be prepared for it!
The animation quality is pretty good, it's one of those really nice flowing styles that seem to draw you in. It's certainly easy on the eyes, and I have absolutely no complaints about the music either. The opening theme "Koi suru Kimochi" a really beautiful song, the same can also be said for the closing. Both themes remain the same throughout the series.
The only real problem that I actually have with this anime is that it tends to get slightly repetitive in some cases, what with Chise's constant apologising and Shuji's slight indecision and denial in some cases really get on my nerves. But in saying that it all ties in with the story. In all honesty, the anime pretty much follows the manga fairly accurately. However, I've only read the first 3 volumes of the manga so far, so I'll have to wait and see how it all ends. If you're into the more tragic love story, then I can't really recommend Saikano enough. It's an anime that I actually cried while I watched. There is also a live action movie, if you're really into this anime (like me) which I also recommend as it gives a different perspective on the two.
One thing that I think that I should mention though, is that the ending is pretty confusing - but if you're going to watch this anime, or have seen it... I'll let you draw your own conclusions about that.
This series ended up being very disappointing. Echoing the thoughts of others who have the same views about Saikano, it tried hard to be a tragic romance story and turned out to be more boring than depressing - it didn't make me watery eyed. There are series that depress viewers without making it obvious the plan is to pull on the viewers heart strings and there are series that make it so obvious that you expect people to die just to get a reaction, and Saikano is the latter.
Before watching I thought it was going to turn out to be a winner in my eyes.
It has great looking box/DVD art, a depressing sounding story, short length and only a £10 fee required to own the series. I couldn't see how, for such a small amount of money, a fairly highly rated show could fail to meet my expectations. But, sadly for me, Saikano got all the basics wrong, and it's a shame because the story had a lot of potential.
In the Saikano world, Japan is losing a war against a nameless country. The Japanese government decide to make an ultimate weapon to change their fortunes, and they pick Chise, a 17 year old girl with poor grades and physical abilities, to be that weapon. She has to deal with the fact her body has become a weapon of mass destruction and, at the same time, come to terms with being in love for the first time.
The first problem the series has is terrible pacing. The first half of the series left me feeling like nothing had happened; like events simply kept repeating themselves in slightly different ways each episode. Chise cried, she had a talk with Shuji (her boyfriend), Chise cried some more, Chise then went off to fight (without the fighting getting shown since that would require money) and the episode ended. The script for each of the early episodes had very little variation, and the characters started saying fake sounding rubbish (such as talking about kids and marriage after being together for 1 week...), which made the show a difficult one to stick with.
Even though the relationship between the main two failed miserably for the most part, the series still could've saved itself if the sci-fi elements had been explained in convincing fashion. However, almost as you'd expect after seeing how badly the pacing and love side was handled, the sci-fi parts of the story weren't explained at all. Chise, seemingly not caring a great deal, reveals to Shuji that she, a useless girl who can't get anything right, was turned into some kind of humanoid weapon that can grow rockets out of her back...and that she forgot to ask any important details after having her body irreversibly transformed. From start to finish, that's all you learn about why a pathetic school girl was turned into a living weapon. And, worst of all, it's never even revealed who Japan is supposed to be involved in a war with, as if such a minor detail doesn't matter.
If a story is going to work these things need to be explained. Simply expecting viewers to believe that an annoying high school girl (who happens to look eight!) would be forcefully turned into a weapon instead of a consenting adult is stupidity of the highest order. How was I supposed to care about the events that occurred if the story seemed far too daft to take seriously?
I suppose the damage the snail pacing, fake/generic dialogue and completely unbelievable story did could've been lessened if the characters made me care about them. After all, the key to making a viewer feel something when characters die is to build up their attachment beforehand. But Saikano failed to make me care enough about any of the cast to make me feel anything. Chise acted pathetically, crying at every available opportunity and being a doormat for Shuji whenever possible. Shuji was a plain guy with glasses who managed to get three of the opposite gender, including an older woman, after him...and he played around. Akemi, who was probably the best of a bad bunch, was only there to support Chise and be another female who longed for the glasses wearing male lead. None of them did anything for me; I was almost willing the main two to be killed at times!
Aside from the pacing, story and characters (not much really!), the other thing that bugged me about Saikano was the art. For reasons known only to more intelligent people than myself, the characters have a blushing effect going on 24/7 in Saikano...well, either that or Earthlings in the Saikano world have red lines on their faces by default. And the face weirdness didn't stop there: the faces all look silly from the sides due to the way the noses are drawn so small. If you mix those two issues with a lack of animation then you have a problem, and Saikano shouldn't have had problems (at least not with the animation) visually when it's only 13 episodes long. The only plus on the looks side was the excellent use of eye-catching colours.
As for the music, the less said the better. The only theme that has managed to stick in my memory is the guitar theme that plays on the DVD menus. I don't even remember the opening and ending themes. The soundtrack failed to draw any emotion out of me, which is quite a serious flaw for an anime that wants to play with my feelings.
Overall, Saikano disappointed more than it pleased. I almost dropped it after the first six episodes, only ending up continuing to see if the end made up for the first half. Although there was a considerable amount of improvement once the same episode stopped seeming to keep repeating itself and the plot actually started to give me the feeling it was going somewhere, the content wasn't good enough to save what had been an awful series up until that point. And the series wasn't even able to end in style, with the ending being rushed (the world was ending all of a sudden, for no reason) and the conclusion to the events making little to no sense.
I had read so many raving reviews, both in magazines and on the internet, about this anime series, so when I found the boxset on sale, I was so excited. Boy, what a waste of money!
The story seemed really interesting, and I had high hopes for it, however I think it was poorly executed and leaves the audience wondering when the real story is going to begin. The characters lacked depth, and they were boring to watch. I literally had to force myself to finish this anime, in the hopes that at some point it would redeem itself, no such luck. The idea itself was
great, but they didn't meet the level needed to make the show fantastic.
As others have mentioned, it leads you to believe that it is going to be a touching romance, but instead it is just downright depressing and a task to watch.
"Saishuu Heiki Kanojo: The Last Love Song on This Little Planet", better known as just "Saikano", is a show that emboddies Gonzo's tendency to output anime that divides opinions. I shamelessly admit that I really enjoyed a lot of their shows... which is why I was drawn to "Saikano", a show regarded by many as an extremely tragic drama (note that this was before "Clannad" came around and made me forever wary of these type of shows), and by most critics as utter tripe.
And so I went in with high expectations... and left with a glum reminder of why I have this contradictory love/hate regard
for Gonzo - I have to say that those critics have got this one right.
The first point where I suspected that "Saikano" isn't going to live up to my expectations is at the end of the first episode, when a seemingly straight forward love story takes a ridiculous (and ultimately not fully explained) twist, and the overly dramatic title - the translated english title that I didn't know about - flashed up on screen: "She, the Ultimate Weapon".
I damn near fell off my chair laughing at the randomness of it all.
The premises "Saikano" (or "She, the Ultimate Weapon" *snigger*) is, at first glance, ludicrous. And having picked this somewhat exotic, apocalyptic backdrop for settings of the story, I personally feel they should have fleshed out the background in order to prevent the whole thing from becoming unseemingly absurd. But Gonzo, not being renowned for the completeness of their world building, presented just a few bits of information, leaving the background of the story in a typically confusing mess.
Even looking beyond that, the part that Saikano does show you is far from great. Instead of going for a convincing story, "Saikano" tries to force the issue, as characters and story are sacrificed mercilessly to fuel the melodrama, the angst and the sense of tragedy. You can almost see the places where the makers decided "ok, lets throw in another sad event here" - characters taking actions that comes straight out of the blue; fake feeling romances in which the participants seem more interested in hurting each other than anything else; plot twists that are random and senseless etc. In one scene, a bomb that exploded in the middle of three or four men conveniently killed all but one, leaving that remaining guy the opportunity to milk the scene further by grovelling around and crying over the deaths of the others.
Those kind of examples are everywhere you care to look in "Saikano". At times the show practically shouting at you to cry, and it managed to achieve exactly the opposite of what it intended: it made me unable to sympathise with the suffering characters. Worse, some of the events and developments were so bizarre they had me laughing out loud at inappropriate moments. The mood is not helped by the background music, which often went for power ballad-esq electric guitar tracks to thicken the atmsophere. For the most part, they didn't work.
Despite all this heavy handed incompetency, "Saikano" occasionally managed to strike gold - though more by law of averages than anything else. Some of the death scenes were quite moving, and, perhaps ironically, a short stint of happiness shared by the main characters in the latter half of the series manages to be more emotionally poignant than most of the sad moments put together. It's also one of the few times that the romance in the series isn't totally shambolic.
Gonzo, either in the spirit of innovation or cost cutting, appear to have made a decision to hire 5 year olds for the visual design of "Saikano". I mean, what's up with those constant blush lines?! They make all the characters look as though they've just fallen over and scaped their faces on the gravel! As if this isn't bad enough, these blush lines also have a degree of independence from the character's faces - on a side view, you can often see the lines sticking out of them, like a mostache. Gonzo's reputation with CG is well earned though, as even in this crappy looking show it blends in well with the non-CG parts.
If the quality of a tragic story is directly related to the amount of conscious effort put towards making it tragic, then "Saikano" would be one of the greatest shows ever made. But because it's not, it ends up inducing more tears of laughter than sadness with its forced, train wreck of a story. What IS sad though, is that I could have sworn I came across a couple of other anime with similar tones that were released soon after "Saikano" came out - as though it was being used as the blueprint for powerful drama. If that was really the case, then please excuse me while I go and face palm myself into unconsiousness.
Ok first time writing a review but here goes, Saikano is just one of my favorite animes and I just had to write a review for it.
The story is just...wow and it was full of tension, drama and it'll leave you in tears. throughout every episode made you wanting more. It doesnt stall like naruto though i love naruto, half the episodes everyone just talks and it gets boring sometimes but this isnt about naruto im just comparing... anyways what im trying to say is that saikano gets straight to the point with each episode and it doesnt bore you halfway through the anime
more about the story, its an extremely sad story. First time i watched it I couldnt stop myself from crying and even now every time i hear one of the ost of Saikano or rewatch it i start to cry >< it's just that sad o= especially when the anime starts killing off the characters, like every character in this ends up dying in a sad painful way. And its the ones you least expect to die too -.-
Anyways i think everyone should watch this cause its just that good x3 but i must warn you if you are watching it and are starting to understand what i meant by extremely sad stop yourself at episode 10 because that is considered the "happy" ending but if you're the type of person who just has to finish a series like me then you'll watch all the way through the end meaning the last 3 episodes. and those that do watch all 13 episodes i congratulate you for being able to withstand it :]
Have you ever thought to yourself, “The person closest to me could be a deadly weapon” and accepted it? You never know what someone might be going through during the life they face, but what happens when that person becomes less of a human and turns out to cause destruction to their own kind? Saikano is an anime that goes through such a scenario of loosing someone you love dearly to the arms of war.
The story begins with Shuji, who is walking up to an observatory site and having a sense of nostalgia about his girlfriend, Chise. There, he finds her exchange diaries that appeared
to be left behind on purpose. From what Shuji reads from the diaries, he narrates the flashbacks and scenes of Saikano as he reads.
Shuji and Chise start off as a really awkward couple, just starting out together when Chise confessed her feelings. Upon being happy with each other as the time goes, things start to alarm the two as the featured hotly-contested war edges on to their home town. The war first begins around Sapporo on Hokkaido, a northern island in Japan, which leads to a bombing on Sapporo. During this bombing, a gleam of light shoots up into the sky that absolutely annihilates the enemy fleet. From his intuition, Shuji chases this ray of light as it fades away, revealing Chise come down from it. Shuji is in shock to see that his once normal girlfriend had been turned into a harmful weapon under the army.
As it goes along, the story follows Chise and Shuji trying to keep their relationship together as many obstacles, unique to this anime, stand in their way and keep them separated. Chise will go through tough times as she loses her humanity bit by bit and as she loathes to accept herself killing many people and fighting off forces, whether she’s doing it for a good cause or not. Shuji, unable to help what’s happening to his girlfriend, will have to stand amongst the people going through the war and make choices to aid those who can’t fend for themselves.
Since this anime is in the times of gruesome war and loss, it has a very depressing mood that gives you a sense of harm and weakness. Saikano represents the feelings of defeat, helplessness, and fear with such impact that’s easy to understand and makes you as emotional as the anime shows.
The adaption of art from the manga to the anime looks almost exactly the same, which is a crafty edge on the style of both editions so you aren’t missing out on much between the two. From the rendered characters and the scenery that is placed in this anime, the art interacts with the mood of the series itself, showing off the rumbled battle site of the war with a realistic feel. Though, the art can be a little out of shape like the odd proportions when looking at a character’s profile, the wide scenery makes up for it.
Darker colors add to the dreadful tone in Saikano; using many navy, black, gray, maroon, and sharp colors for the damaged war zones and lighter colors for Hokkaido, which eventually turns more ominous.
Since Saikano is an anime constantly at war psychically and also mentally within Chise and Shuji’s mind, music adds another factor that sets the right nature in this anime.
The theme to Saikano, “Saishuu Heiki Konojo”, is a pain riding song, which makes you feel dread as you listen to it. The opening would always set me into the empty feeling that was to come through each episode. Though, I enjoyed listening to it and never once did I think to skip it, like I do for many other anime.
“Saishuu Heiki Konojo” is not the only good song that appears in Saikano. The inserted music like “Koi Suru Kimochi” and “Sayonara” makes you remember to never forget those who mean a lot to you, whether they’re the same as you remember them or not, which I felt was a great theme in Saikano.
The very clean and centric tunes in this anime really helped bring out the emotions in me and also the premise within the story.
Each character has there own evolution and development, just like how each song built up instrumentally through Saikano.
Chise, the main female protagonist throughout the story, is a very shy and clumsy girl, who has barely any self-esteem within herself. She was constantly hospitalized in Tokyo when she was younger, causing her to have very few friends. Her best friend Akemi helps her get with Shuji and make their relationship work because of Chise’s inexperience with dating or knowledge about romance. Against her will, she was turned into an ultimate weapon, which is the center of Saikano’s story as Chise slowly, but surely loses her humanity. Frequently trying to adapt to her new body by convincing herself that she’s protecting the one she loves, but admits to herself that all she is good for is destruction. Because of all the pain and killing she had caused in war, she keeps her distance from Shuji, believing that she doesn’t deserve any happiness. As time goes on, her mechanical body takes over her senses of warmth and feelings, to the point where she becomes very cold and heartless as a darker persona emerges from her. In the end, the only connection she has as a human is her love for Shuji that she’s able to string together. Although she becomes a god-like character, an immortal device, Chise is a girl always battling for her old self, regretting ever turning into what she became.
Shuji, the main male character of the story, is a somewhat anti-social seventeen year old and a guy very unsure about his feelings for Chise at the beginning of the anime, but later progresses to a deeper love. Because of his relationship with Chise, he is the only civilian who knows about her power of being an ultimate weapon. His support for Chise is what keeps her motivated through out the series, despite some harsh turns as things go on.
Although the lead roles work well together, there is also an interesting supporting cast.
Akemi and Atsushi are the best friends of Chise and Shuji, who urges the two on and also has to work through their own obstacles during the story.
Saikano is not an anime to be very light, ending with a joyful rainbow and acknowledging that everything will be okay it’s honestly the direct opposite. I enjoyed this anime very much, due to the inspirational theme that was simple to understand and also the unique aspects of war and pain. At the start of the anime, I barely smiled as I watched it because of the emotional impact it gave me, also because of the agony the characters have to fight through.
Overall, it’s something that you should watch on a sunny day so you can appreciate the joyful life you live, and be grateful that it’s not like Chise’s in Saikano.
The term "emotional manipulation" isn't quite on the level of the word "pretentious" when it comes to canned, overused, and empty criticism. However, it is down there. The problem with the term stems from the fact that all stories in some way aim to manipulate emotions. Where we to draw the lines is when for some reason or another, we the audience begin to see the cogs spinning. Characters then become plot devices to us, and plot-holes become impossible to ignore, as does the desperation to get a reaction out of you from the script. Once things like these take us out of the experience,
we see can see a lousy story for what it really is, and it just so happens that the show in question here is is extremely manipulative, to the point where you might as well watch the puppy-beating scene in Elfen Lied for four straight hours instead. Saikano really wants the audience to cry, and if it has to do so through repeatedly and savagely insulting the intelligence of the viewers until they bawl in submission, then so be it.
The issues with it essentially boil down to the fact that it tries to frame a tragic love story through the lens of a war setting with sci-fi without any idea how to handle said setting or sci-fi elements. The story is literally about a 10 year- old-looking high school girl and how she fell in love with a male classmate (that looks like he's 7 feet tall and in his thirties) only to be abducted by the Japanese military, enhanced with a bunch of bizarre enhancements that enable her to fly and drop nukes everywhere, and allowed to wander free. The purpose of all this for them call her up to bomb faceless enemies that they're at war with part-time. It's about as ridiculous as it sounds and there's no rhyme or reason to any of it. Why would the Japanese military implant weapons into a civilian? Why allow an extremely dangerous military secret walk freely when she can accidentally blow up entire cities? Who the fuck are they at war with anyway? It seems as if the original manga artist had this idea that sounded really cool and decided to pursue it in the most threadbare way imaginable. It's not like a premise like this is impossible to work with. Gunslinger Girl had a story that I largely expected to give me the similar result as with Saikano, but it managed to somehow make its ridiculous torture porny-sounding premise work really well since the author knew that good world building would make the story easier to believe, and thus easier to connect with. Such nuance, however, is sorely lacking in Saikano. If the world of a story creates a tragic scenario for the main characters, let it be because of how said world is understandable yet unfair, not because it's fucking stupid.
I think I've harped enough on how the senselessness of the script caps the emotional investment Saikano is going for, but the anime doesn't particularly shine as a character study either. The cast here is about as simple as one can imagine for a story of this nature. The female lead, Chise, for example, is a character you can know almost everything about by reading the brief synopsis I gave above as she's really just an ugly moeblob in love that just so happens to be able to destroy the world. This segues into a massive problem I have with romance as a central focus in storytelling, and that's when the romance is all that matters to the characters. I like to see love stories that are more than about "will they end up together and have babies?". Give me characters with conflicts that are external to their love-lives. A lot of what goes into making a relationship interesting is to see who said relationship affects other aspects of the lives of the characters involved. I have no idea what kind of person Shuji was before meeting Chise or what he wants out of life besides Chise. This is why I don't particularly care to see characters clearly fall head-over-heels for each other from episode 1. Beginning the story by fleshing the main characters out in other ways first will give me a reason to get emotionally involved with them. I want to know why he and she complete each other. This is a principle is what makes a romance like Kare Kano great since it gave us an interesting look on both sides as to why Arima and Yukino are drawn together, and what implications their relationship have on all aspects of their character. The difference here is that Saikano sets its sights low by wanting to be a story about just love, whilst Kare Kano aims more broadly at being a story about people.
This problem extends across rest of the cast. Side characters in Saikano don't exist but to do anything other than be a part of unrequited, and sometimes taboo (I forgot to mention, there is a fair amount of cuckoldry in this anime) relationships, and then die. I've already established why throughout the entire series I could never bring myself to care about Shuji and Chise's relationship, so why should I care when even blander archetypes with less screentime get to take center stage? All of them at some point are put through physical and emotional straits with random tragedies taking place, such as airstrikes or even an earthquake. Yes, an earthquake. It's about as random as killing off a character by having him or slip and fall down a flight of stairs. As if the unconvincing romance between side characters isn't enough for you, a few of the girls fall in love with Shuji. I'm sure this was meant to add depth to the central relationship, but it felt like I was watching a playthrough of a shitty visual novel in which the player had a bit hesitation when it came to picking a route, but ultimately goes for the moeblob cyborg that dispenses bombs like Pez and cries all the time anyway.
About more or less as faulty as the show's story and pleads to emotion is the overall presentation. Saikano is definitely as far on the wrong side of the 2000s Gonzo visual quality spectrum as possible. Saikano was 1st made back when digital animation was considered new and it really shows, as the visuals are ridiculously drab and murky. The character designs are about as unappealing as the rest of the artistry as the proportions often lack consistency and the characters look blobbish to the point where with the in profile shots, you can see Chise's forehead slants directly into her nose, and her nose to her chin. Not improving anything, of course, is the CGI, but that goes without saying as this is Gonzo after all. The show I imagine never looked particularly good when it first came out I imagine, and as of now it's aged about as well as a glass of milk left outside for a week. I chose to watch most of the show with English audio, not because it was good (the story is unsalvageable so it's not like good acting would matter in the least anyway) but because it made the overall experience that much more unintentionally hilarious. Seeing these greenhorn actors (that haven't done much of anything since) try their best and fail miserably with their ridiculous sounding voices was the closest I came to having a good time with Saikano. Chise in particular always sounded as if she was about to burst into tears, even if the scene didn't call for it. If this review plagues you with the bug known as "morbid curiosity" then the dub is the way to go. If you want decent acting, however, then you probably want decent writing and characters too, in which case, you're obviously better of forgetting this anime exists.
Saikano is easily one of the most thoughtless, plot-hole filled schizoid hodgepodges I've ever seen in anime. It's not as if using shaky and vague sci-fi elements to serve as a conduit for the journey of flawed characters can't work (I do consider Neon Genesis Evangelion to be a masterpiece after all) but goddamn where is the effort? In Saikano however, any kind of pathos to be found feels woefully undercooked and hamfisted, and its all wrapped up with plot elements that solely exists to extract as much suffering out of the characters as possible without context or reason to care.
Saikano is a tragic love story, but not "tragic love story" as in Romeo and Juliet (I'm not sure about the anime), but somewhat the opposite/reverse/inverse. This story (or "Love Song") is enjoyable and dramatic.
Animation was by Toei and Gonzo (2004), and that should give you an idea of the quality. Artwork changed from normal to a comical form once(1 time), I believe, for the sake of comic relief.
The background sounds did their job (though I hardly noticed until the last episode where it changed the music genre), and the opening and ending songs were good. The English voice dubs are sub-par/mediocre (especially for Chise(the
The Characters were well suited for this story (though I can't personally say that I enjoyed each and everyone of them). I can't really imagine any other personality on any of the main characters. The supporting characters were diverse and close to the main characters.
Pros: It's a good, dramatic story that reminds you of the transience of life. Hopefully the OVA will answer some of the questions left pondering from the series' epic ending.
Cons: Too tragic for my tastes (but still managed not to cry).
Science Fiction (SF) elements were over-shadowed (for me).
I didn't feel that some of the scenes were entirely necessary.
~So, if you happen to be a little bit more sensitive than I am (doesn't take "A Dog of Flanders" to cry), and Romance/Tragedy/Drama is your thing, I'm sure you'll be able to enjoy this series more than I did.
You must be tired of reading this on other reviews, but this is my first review on this site. However, that doesn't mean I can say that I am only writing this because it's the best anime ever or because it's the worse, but rather, I know exactly what I can write about it, and I feel like writing about it. Now without further ado, I'll move on to the review.
Story: After reading the plot summary for the first time, I became intrigued on what the anime would turn out to be like which is why I decided to watch it. After watching the series
as a whole, I see how artful it turned out to be. The atmosphere is really similar to that of Air TV. That is, it's very much of a "Slice of Life" type of anime. After watching it, you seem to appreciate your life a little more, and so I give this anime credit for teaching a lesson on life.
Art: The most appealing factor about this anime is the art is outstanding. Chise being a weapon of mass destruction and all, you would hope to see beautiful effects, and this anime showed just that. The thing that seemed to bother me at first was the little blush marks that appeared on every characters' faces. I know it's their style, but it seemed strange at first. I just learned to deal with it because it is nothing major.
Sound: The sound isn't as good as the animation, but it worked as a good supplement with the art. I can't say that I really loved the opening song or ending song enough to add it to my mp3 player, but they are still tolerable to listen to. It might just be that I am really picky about the music.
Character: I like how each character seemingly connects with each other. Another anime with yet again a love triangle or even a square. Let's just call it a web in this case. The characters all seem to behave as expected which is kind of disappointing. It is nice to be a little surprised sometimes, but the characters were pretty much consistent the whole time. It was hard to really connect with any of the characters except for a few of the minor ones. I wish I could say that there was a character I really hated or really loved so it would be known that they played their part well, but sadly I can't.
Enjoyment: It might just be me, but I can barely stand watching dramas that are only filled with dramas! I know, that sounds weird, but in Saikano, you expect to see all the tragic scenes seeing as how the setting takes place during a time of war. The thing is, every episode is filled with melancholy. There are hardly any scenes that make you feel happy, only depressed about the situation the couple is in. I understand that war is not a happy thing, but if one is to enjoy an anime, I don't think every scene should have to depress the watcher to no end. I don't mind crying at sad scenes, but there were just too many in this series - I couldn't even cry because everything happened in a way to be expected.
Overall: This series had the potential to be one of the best. It definitely has the animation and even music to show for it, but even Shakespeare's tragedies are more happy than this. Nevertheless, the ending was good, and I'm glad I watched every episode to satisfy my curiosity, but I wish it was a little less painful to watch.
Wow after seeing so many blogs out there writing that this is one of the most depressing anime of all times I gave it a shot. However after finishing all 13 episode the thing in my mind is not despeair nor sadness. Its a question; "why!". Really I wonder why did they produce this anime. This is not filled with action , Its not solely drama, ıts not discussing war only, love is just a sub topic eventhough tried to be the main one. This anime is different, nothing cliche but nothing brand new at the same time. Its just weird.
Only thing that leads you to watch all eps despite of bad drawings is good harmony of ALL affairs! Its clever and stupid at the same time. Its just unique. That light novel image at the beginning of first episode vanishes quickly at the end of it and leaves you with an interesting near apocalyptic love struggle. Struggle of loving a weapon.
The story takes place in an unknown future while an unexplained international(!) war goes on. Its like giving a glimpse to the cont of series; important thing that they want us to look is not the how things come this way. The things we would do if it has become like this. We dont see many flashbacks during the series which also ignores the future. Its about accepting your reality. On this issue series is succesful because we dont see disaffirming little brats around.
Relations seems realistic however exaggerated time to time. Nudity or love affairs are giving taste to the series unlike many other anime. They are appropriately put in to the series. Giving an unexpected storyline which also attracts you.
It has no deep thoughts in it or analytic analysis but its not that light at the same time. More childish as you expect from highschool students. For example giving too much meaning to love. But they also see that its not the only thing out there. Struggle is not about love and duty but about love and acceptance of what you love.
Lastly the drawing are bad. Really bad actually. Chise's design is fine but others lack. Scenes and backgrounds are drawn poorly. But watchable.
So ıts an interesting sci-fi_ love_war anime. Its not too naive about live and has good discussions in it. Has tragic deaths and suicides in it, (it didnt effect me but) many people found that sad so beware (maybe its the thing you want). Its not an action anime so you wont see awesome battle scenes and deep thought battle fields. It deserves to be tried at least so give it a shot.
--As it touts, this series is a love story. The story itself is very hard to rate, mostly because in terms of plot, it was not entirely creative in terms of a love story, yet the manner in which it was told was a different style. Very slow in places, more often than not. Predictable, to say the least.
So at least mediocre for its weigh-downs, but then it is placed in a setting of pre-apocalyptic World War. This deals with many themes, including the view of said war from the perspectives of the main characters; it takes Fifth Element's compaction, and makes it into
a full-length series, dragging you along through the coals the entire way. There is no doubt that you will question your own views of war, and empathize with its consequences; it is laid bare with both the good and the bad things it brings.
--Wasn't incredibly impressed with the art style for this one on the actual characters. The lines were often very sketchy, which while this works well in manga, does not so much for anime. Most of the characters seem to have a permanent "blush"; you can get used to it after a few episodes, but initially it may be a bit distracting for some seasoned anime-watchers.
The detail and craftsmanship that go into the buildings and backdrops however generally make up for what faults I could find in the actual character animation. The city-scapes are breathtaking sometimes, and as to the walls they have actual depth -- you can see chips in wood or imperfections in cement. Having watched the special on the making of this series, it was shown that the team actually went out to Hokkaido (Chise's "hometown", which is coincidentally the hometown of the author of the story also). It really shows in the accuracy of landmarks and the "feel" of the places portrayed.
Unlike most series, there wasn't any noticeable "drop-off" of animation quality at any point so I suppose they had the budget to keep it with the same main animators the entire time.
--The music in itself was nothing exceptional, but it wasn't bad either. The Opening song is rather appropriate... it's a Love Song. :) The opening is certainly the most recognizable piece, regardless. The actual background music itself is okay and appropriate where it needs to be, but nothing stood out about it.
The sounds were also pretty good. Missiles launching, explosions, metal clanking and guns were all perfectly fine. The sound of Chise taking off can be kind of funny sometimes... but then we try not to laugh at Ultimate Weapons, right?
--Another tough thing to rate, but this is definitely were Saikano shines the most. Some of the characters seem hard to believe in terms of their actions (personally Fuyumi did this for me), yet at the same time, you get empathy for why they do what they do. Each of the characters have their own background and story; this is done intentionally no doubt to support what happens to them plot-wise.
Shuji is a typical high school boy: a bit on the blunt side, curious enough about girls to agree to be a boyfriend, but doesn't think he would have it in himself to write an exchange diary.
Chise is a slow learner, a klutz, and lovable girlfriend. Nothing less than adorable to Shuji, and yet she is slowly losing her humanity by turning into an Ultimate Weapon. She becomes less-and-less like herself, mostly when the enemy is nearby.
Akemi is the good friend to both main characters; naturally she harbors a secret crush for Shuji, and yet she encourages her best friend Chise to "go for it" the day she mentions she'd like a boyfriend.
As you can tell all of them seem very "down home" based on an overview description. However, this is part of the beauty; how they develop in the story itself (and what a story to be in -- wars are not fun) is very much something you find yourself relating to. It's painful, you feel their pain. It's elating, and you're soaring with them. They appeal to you in ways sometimes you may not always recognize until you think over it again. Without a doubt, Saikano is character-driven.
--The themes of the story itself are designed to be thought-provoking. They do their job wonderfully -- but overall a tad too slow. Mostly, I tended to be with Chise; the only thing that kept me going were the feelings of "love." I loved that the feelings from the series seemed to course directly into me, but at the same time, I still had the sense to know it was not me personally; the pace tended to start killing the mood by the end of most of the scenes. Regardless, the emotions and concepts were really what kept me watching through this, and will probably be what convinces me to watch through it again sometime.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve cried watching anime. The end of the first Gunslinger Girl series made me tear up a little bit, the realization of the last story in Kino’s Journey wrung a few half-formed tears from my eye sockets, and each episode of Aria and nearly every one of Natsume Yuujinchou left me a blubbering mess unable to function. I’m far from an impenetrable, emotionless stone wall. Now with all that said, Saikano didn’t come close to making me cry. There are several reasons for this, which I’ll get to shortly.
On the cusp of war, two students named Chise
and Shuji start dating. While they’re not particularly eager to progress their relationship or get to know each other, their feelings for each other eventually start to bud once the initial hesitation is moved past. However, all is not good in the hood. What starts out fairly ordinarily quickly takes a turn for the worse as war begins its slow climb up the Japanese islands, slowly creeping up to our ill-fated lovers. While this is going on, Chise is slowly modified into the only successful counter against the invading forces. As the series progresses, she becomes more and more inhuman and Shuji has to puzzle out whether he’s able to be with her through all that’s going on.
The first thing that’s noticeable is that the animation hasn’t aged well. It isn’t terrible or sloppy, but the colors look muted and washed out. It’s not anything to gripe about, but it bears the telltale mark of being made during that strange anime period that wasn’t particularly concerned with looking vibrant. Aesthetics aren’t the series’ strong suit, but they do the job well enough to not be a hindrance.
The second, much less forgivable thing that I noticed was that the voice acting is well below average. I was lucky to have both the dub and the sub available, and they had the exact opposite problems; the former had two well acted leads, but everyone else was too wooden to take seriously. The latter had fairly good acting across the board, with the glaring exception of Shuji, whose VA emotes with all the intensity and passion of somebody who accidentally dropped their toast butter-side down. The performance is rarely convincing for the majority of the series, creating the odd scenario where he’ll be lamenting something that he’d done to Chise, tears streaming down his anguished face, all the while saying everything in a depressed monotone.
Considering that a significant portion of the series focuses on his various dilemmas and emotional breakdowns, he ends up being the lead weight that brings the series down to mediocre levels. A good portion of the time, I found myself laughing at his delivery more than sympathizing with the emotions he was supposed to be expressing. It’s quite the shame, especially when everything else is fairly decent at its absolute worst.
Despite the garnish of encroaching war and death, it’s the romance between Chise and Shuji that’s the real meaty content. As far as romances go it’s pretty well done, balancing angst and tragedy with the occasional ray of hope to create a relationship that has realistic ups and downs given the situation that the two find themselves in. Yet, this isn’t enough to save it from its significant problems, namely the plot and the aforementioned horrid voice acting of Shuji.
The plot is a series of peaks and valleys, moving between effective soul crushing and dry dialogue with the flip of a hat. Particularly in the middle, it feels like too much of a drag to carry on. Ground is retread more than it should be and there’s a hiatus put on the focus between Shuji and Chise. Together, they’re a strong unit that carries the show. Apart, their struggles aren’t interesting enough to do the same and it simply becomes a slog. Even the growing number of deaths doesn’t spice things up; mostly because they’re incredibly predictable once you get a feel for the series’ formula.
It’s for these reasons and many smaller ones that Saikano didn’t make me cry. Hell, it didn’t even make me feel morose. It’s not for a lack of effort, since the series does all it can to make you care for these characters, and it does it with the same bravado and skill as some of the greatest emotion manipulators. Yet no matter how much effort it puts in, it’s a tragedy that’s simply unable to move me in its animated form. It proves that no matter how perfect the concept, the execution of each element is crucial to enjoyment.
Oddly enough, the last few episodes are probably one of the biggest turnarounds I’ve seen. The plot tightens up, the suspense is heightened, Chise’s declining humanity accelerates at a heartbreaking pace, and even Shuji’s emoting improves considerably. However, even a sharp increase in quality does little to make up for the middling quality of the rest of the show.
To summarize neatly, Saikano is a fantastic concept with a compellingly tragic relationship let down by a minute number of significant problems. From shoddy voice acting in important places to a dip in pacing around the middle, there are enough glaring flaws to make me hesitant to recommend it to anybody. I imagine if I read it in printed form it would be much easier to digest the way it was intended, but its success as an anime is arguable.
It's hard to describe the masterpiece that is Saikano, there are so many different things to say about this anime, most of them very good and positive things. Despite the story being as far out there as it is it has a very realistic feeling to it, even in some of the more extreme circumstances this anime has. Out of all the anime I've watched, including elfen lied, nothing has made me cry more, it's definitely a really touching anime and will make you cry no matter how tough you are, that is a fact.
Story- Saikano has a very unique story that is a fact,
but just because something is unique doesn't mean that it is good. However the story in Saikano is a very good one despite what other people may tell you, that of course doesn't mean that it's not without it's flaws. People often rate it very lowly because of some very minor issues that it has, which is complete idiocy on their end. If I rated anime lowly based on minor flaws then every anime I've ever watched would be a 1/10. Sometimes anime has flaws on purpose, it's often brought up that the enemy is never revealed in Saikano, but is that really even an issue? They are fighting a very oppressive force, but the enemy has no relevance to the story at all. It doesn't matter what force is oppressing the people, Chise would have still have become the way she is despite who the enemy is. The army is just as corrupt, easily willing to completely ruin someones life in order to save many. Even without an enemy the army would still want to have a weapon to stop an opposing forces, that's what the military is all about after all, defending the people. Chise makes the ultimate sacrifice of her own humanity in order to save everybody that she cares about. Not many people can really contemplate doing something like that, if given that option many people would just say no and end up killing their self before coming a weapon, but not Chise. Despite losing most of her own humanity she is able to persevere because of love. Shuji on the other hand is thrown into all of this much in the same way Chise was and he is left a bit confused. He's constantly wrestling with his own emotions, knowing that he loves her, but now knowing what to do, and here is where most of the story takes place. The basis of the story is about Chise and Shuji trying to overcome this giant obstacle and just trying to find happiness in all of this. Being that it is such a stressful and tense situation they of course have many different things that happen to them that make them drift apart at certain points and make some stupid decisions. If you come to this anime looking for the perfect love story where everything is fine then leave now, it's not the perfect love story at all, in fact many people say this anime is terrible because this story is quite corrupt and dark to be honest, but despite all of these issues that they encounter and have to deal with they can still manage to be together after everything they went through. I wouldn't call this a perfect love story at all, in fact I would consider one of the most imperfect love stories, but what ends up happening in this anime despite it being so corrupt makes the good parts that much better. That is why it made me break down so much, it was just so sweat and pure when things where going well and it was also so sick and disgusting that it brought me to the edge of being sick multiple times. It has some of the most intense scenes I've ever witnessed in an anime or in real life even, and I've been through some pretty intense stuff in my life and have seen some pretty bad things along the well as well. Some of the things that I've witnessed in Saikano are going to be engraved in my mind right along side stuff like sitting in the hospital bed waiting to die. Saikano has a magnificent written story that will make you feel happiness, but also sadness. You will be filled with anger, but also calmed. It's something that can't be put into words and is something that just must be experienced.
Art- For something that was released in 2002 it looks pretty good. You can tell that it is an old anime when you go to watch it, but it was still good for the time. The animation quality is good as well are the overall designs. It does have some very powerful scenes and I think that some of the art style definitely helps that out. Come to think of it some of the scenes are quite remarkable. I dig the art style, it holds up quite well.
Sound- Nothing to complain about on the sound side of things. The intro and outro where pretty good in my opinion. The sound assets are a bit dated, but this was aired in 2002 after all, that can't be really helped. The sound assets help add to the mood of the scenes going on just like you would expect. Overall the sound was pretty good for the time for Saikano.
Character- There are 2 main characters in Saikano with a very important side character. The two main characters are Chise and Shuji, the third important side character is Akemi. The characters are designed well over all. They definitely seem to grow for the better as the story progresses, but they do make some mistakes along the line, which makes them seem all the more human. Often the "hero" of the anime doesn't make mistakes, or only makes small mistakes or one big mistake then has a revelation. In Saikano both main characters and Akemi make multiple big mistakes, but they stay true to their character while doing so. It really makes them feel alive compared to some other characters that are fairly predictable and just cliche. This anime does alot of things right and one of those things is the characters.
Enjoyment- There wasn't a dull moment in this anime that's for sure. I "enjoyed" it all the way through. I wouldn't say enjoy so much as "interested" really. There were certain scenes that I almost couldn't handle to be honest and I don't think I really "enjoyed" those scenes in particular, but they weren't bad. They made me like or dislike the characters even more and made me closer to them in some small way. I would compare some of it to something like having a tragedy in your life that you learn a valuable lesson from. You don't like it per say, but you are somewhat grateful at the same time for it happening. That sounds about right to me. It was a very enjoyably experience overall and I don't see how anyone could drop this series or call it bad, it was all just masterfully done.
Overall- Overall this anime was alot different that I expected it to be, but in a good way. I was expecting a solid 8/10 anime that I would enjoy and tell people to watch, what I got instead was a fresh take on romance and a masterpiece at that. I can kind of understand why some people dislike this anime and rate it lowly, but what baffles me is how some people can give it a 3/10, that's just piss poor on their part. I'm usually not one to speak out about things like this, but Saikano deserves more respect than that to be honest. it's a masterpiece and should be treated as such, just because you don't like something doesn't mean that it's bad and vice versa. Saikano is something that everyone should at least try watching once. You might no be able to handle it and have to drop it, which is understandable, but don't go around calling it bad just because you couldn't handle it. I highly reccomend it and it has easily become on of my personal favorite animes of all time.
I am huge drama fan because there are so many different kinds. Drama comes in all shapes and sizes, and leaves the greatest impression on me. It does a great job at dragging you through hell to end up bringing you to heaven. HOWEVER...some dramas will drag you through hell only to leave you there to rot and burn. Case in point, Saikano.
Saikano follows Chise and Shuji, who are an amateur couple set up by there friend, Akemi. They lead a normal awkward school life, desperate to make things comfortable because they really do like each other. However, Shuji finds out during a raid that
Chise is a government super weapon. It may sound absurd, but raise a very important and real question: Will fear get in the way love? The story continues with Shuji struggling to find the answer, and Chise struggling to trust Shuji's judgement and struggling with her will to desperately find someone who will except her.
The art is good. That is all. The are a few that are better than others, but it isn't quite noteworthy.
The soundtrack is good and the opening is nice, but it isn't what I find amazing. I usually don't comment on the voice-acting, but this is an exception. The voice-acting is nothing short of phenomenal, and not just by the leads. In fact, the stand out for me would be none other than Shuji's and Chise's friend, Akemi. If you watch through, you;ll know what I am talking about. In short, decent soundtrack, amazing voice-acting.
The characters all have individual struggles, making keeping up with them worthwhile. Each character has a purpose, which was a bit overwhelming at first, but added to the drama.
Enjoyment is tricky, and here is where I explain the first part of my review to you. There comes a point in the series that you are given an option, or so they say. You can stop at that point, or continue. This is for people who can't take it. This is obviously a clue to the viewers who haven't watched it yet that this is rough. And as one who has, I will say that you will experience one of the most depressing endings in anime, bar none. However, I would rewatch it again. The feeling is extraordinary. Overall, a warning to people who dislike depressing series. DON"T. If you can handle the drama, the reward will be well worth it.
I only watched this show because I made a deal with a friend that he had to watch JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, and I had to watch Saikano. Needless to say, I got boned on this deal.
This show amazes me. Not in a good way. It amazes me because it constantly manages to peck at my head and annoy me. One of our main characters Chise was turned into a military weapon and selected at random off of the street. Thats...about it. There was no special reason given whatsoever. And all of the problems caused in the show could have completely been avoided if
they used an ACTUAL SOLDIER.
Chise constantly doesn't do what she is supposed to. She is weak willed and from the very beginning couldn't handle the task given to her. I feel the show didn't even really turn her weak will into a plot device but instead constantly used it dry from episode 1 till the very end. She never developed.
Ignoring the awful sound, art, and overall poor story, out of everything that made me mad was how bad the scenarios were. At one point Chise runs away with her boyfriend on a bicycle even though she was monitored by the government and thought it'd be a great idea. Then missiles out target her and she gets rid of them. Problem is, the show made it seem like her own government was trying to retrieve her with the missiles. Not sure how that benefits the government if they hit her target. But the worst part was after that was a lone helicopter was sent to search and retrieve her as her boyfriend groped her on the ground. This helicopter had a hell of a hard time finding them too. They just tried to launch missiles at this girl, Japans last hope and a weapon of mass destruction, but they send a fucking unarmed military transport helicopter to retrieve her. Not even thermals were on the helicopter. It did however have a spotlight, and you can see clearly in the show they spot Chise and her boyfriend on the ground and it fades to black. You'd think they'd be found out, but no, in fact they escaped somehow even after being seen and just walk away with no problems.
Little scenarios like that occur throughout the entire show and it just doesn't make any sense. I'm not even gonna talk about the ending. It was that bad.
If you watch this show, I hope you've prepared yourself with a loaded gun because you'll need it to kill yourself afterwards.
The most outstanding thing about this series was the plot. It moves at a nice pace, including all the twists that keep this love story interesting. The final couple episodes are extremely intense.
This was a 2002 anime, and its obvious when it comes to the sound and art. The art is nice, nothing special. The music is rather plain and mediocre. The characters themselves are nothing too special either.
I found that the whole enjoyment from this series surrounded the plot and progression throughout the series. No episode was worthless, with them all assisting towards the final ending.
It builds slowly on a nice romantic
path and graduates to a more intense story,
I would recommend this to people who enjoys a nice romance like plot, who aren't too picky when it comes to art or sound. :)
An incredible anime, and one that has an intensity that completely took me by surprise the first time I watched it.
However there needs to be a warning when you’re going to watch this anime, and that is: Don’t watch it if you’re sensitive to depressions. It’s one of the emotionally heaviest animes that I’ve ever seen.
Alright, the scores and the breakdowns:
SaiKano has an incredibly story, extraordinarily intense and superbly written. The depth that the story presents to us goes well beyond that of many anime that are presented to us. In terms of depth it falls just short of the manga, which goes a
bit deeper into the story and fills in the few gaps that are left in the plot of the anime.
The transition from manga to anime was very well executed and one of the best I've seen so far. The impact of the story remains in great detail and the interactions between the characters and the desperation of them is almost perfectly represented.
The only reason why it got a 9, is because they left out a few points that were better explored in the manga.
The art is stunning and vibrant, and really well used to show the emotions of the characters and their situations. The anime also strikes a good balance between the visuals and the story, neither putting an emphasis on either of them and combining them into a whole.
A well deserved 9 here.
The sound fits pretty well with the anime and doesn't take an overtone in it. The effects were few and not well expressed, it could have been put to better use. The makers could actually take a good lesson from Texhnolize in the way of sound since they blended it very well in that anime, and I felt that in the subject of sound SaiKano was slightly lacking. A 7 for that.
Character development and character interaction is where this anime shines in the most. It's extreme in every way, from the interactions of love, anger, desperation, depression and loss, every one of them was presented in a realistic manner and with a great impact.
Background stories are well explored and things that are left out of those stories feel like they are left out for a reason and aren't really missed in the whole sense of the story.
An extreme amount of care for the characters and their place in the story gets this a perfect score.
Eventhough this anime gives you an extreme hit on your emotions and can drive you into a depression, the story and the great execution of it, the loveable characters and the extreme depth gave me great enjoyment, and as it stands now, I've watched it over 10 times.
A fantastic story, great characters and everything I've said up till now make me practically unable to stop praising this anime. I don't have enough words to say how great I feel this anime is.
People would have to see for themselves how well this anime is made and presented, although the heavy emotions that this anime can create in people can put some people off. The extremes that this anime presents and the heavy choices presented to the characters and the high amounts of empathy that the characters evoke can have a resounding effect on the viewer making this anime hard to watch at times.
So see for yourself and let yourself be surprised, this anime is well worth it.
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