Shuji and Chise are two Hokkaido high school students barely starting a relationship with each other. Then, with no warning, a squadron of bombers from an unknown country destroy the city of Sapporo. All hope is lost when suddenly, the bombers are destroyed by a small red light floating across the sky. At this point, Shuji finds out that the one responsible for eliminating the enemy forces is Chise, who reveals herself as a cyborg engineered for mass-destruction.
Saikano (Saishu heiki Kanojo) is an outstanding story of love, hope, war, despair, and companionship that takes places in a post-modern era. With a divine mix of modern realism and futuristic science fiction, Shin Takahashi brings a fanscinating world that envelopes the characters of the story with both light and dark elements.
Following the romantic relationship between Shuji and Chise, Saikano's story of a love-time story shows the complications of being apart when togetherness is the most important key of survival. While a bulk of the story is a sci-fi war story, the real focus lies on the struggles Shuji and Chise overcome to realise
The artwork in Saikano contains a unique texture that embodies the characters with their background surroundings. The constant appearance of "blush" on all the characters gives off a sense of emotion while facial expressions serve strong to set a mood. Sharp and soft at the same time, the physical appear of Takahashi's work is one that is well suited to this type of story.
The characters are all prime in their sense of reality. Every character is well aware of the world around them and they work well in their situations. The lack of last names was included by Takahashi to allow readers to develop a sense of companionship with the characters. With every character developing equally through the times of struggle and depression, the reader can come to relations with at one character during the progression of the story. Even secondary characters are given great attention to show their place in the story, no matter how small it may be.
The manga itself is an excellent composition of a superb love story, great artwork, and outstanding character development. From the initial romance to the climactic conclusion, readers will never find a dull moment with the manga. This seven volume series is a must-have for fans of romance or sci-fi drama.
Readers should be warned of the graphic sexual content of the final volume. While attributing greatly to the story, it may be unsuitable for younger readers.
Let me start by saying I consider Saikano to be the best manga I have ever read. A nearly perfect blend of seinen and shoujo, sci-fi and drama, I picked Saikano up on a whim with fairly low expectations and was honestly consistantly stunned by its quality.
Story 10: Most of the negative reviews I've read of Saikano seem to revolve around this category. Saikano is a war drama, it is a sci-fi, but by far its focus is romance. And this is where it really succeeds. Rarely do you see a true romance epic, but I cannot think of a better term for Saikano. From
the summary I was worried this was just another "Magical Girlfriend manga", but in a similar way that Evangelion isn't just a mecha anime, Saikano really surpasses all of the standard cliches and stereotypes.
Art 9: Personally, I really love Takahashi's art style, but I can see how it could not be some people's thing. (If you liked the art in the FLCL manga, chances are you'll like it). Specific to this series however, I would like to applaud him for two things. Chise's weaponry is not only fascinating and more than slightly disturbing, it is also very visually appealing. Also, the sex scenes were tasteful, romantic, and never seemed gratuitous, all of which seem to be rare qualities for a series that includes several.
Character 10: This is definately where Saikano exceeds other great works of the genre; with a normal grasp of character Saikano would be fairly similar to shows such as "This Ugly Yet Beautiful World". But Saikano's characters are almost unarguably (and increasingly) realistic, sometimes painfully so. They don't beg us to like them; they aren't flawed to make them interesting characters. They are all real people, examined more honestly than most people ever get to see more than a handful of people.
Enjoyment 10: I cried at some point during each volume of this series. Saikano is SAD. I'm not even sure what to say beyond that. I think it really speaks for itself; go into Saikano with an open heart and I promise you you'll feel something.
Overall 10: Saikano is an ultimate underappretiated work, matching and at points exceeding much of the medium's finest works. If you are looking for a mature, heart-rending love story, I really don't think you'll be disappointed.
Good if you like... romance especially tragic romance; immaculately detailed plots and characterization; stories with a slow, thoughtful pace; Apocalypse stories; humor used to highten tragedy; slice-of-life school dramas; flawlessly imployed literary techniques (especially symbolism and foreshadowing).
I've read this manga long time ago. And recall that their is no feeling for them.
One of my friend comment this to me as he know I love to watch drama movie/anime. And even enjoy some action manga with drama fused with them. I read this manga thoroughly and find nothing...and even thought hey! they begin to cry too much
The Story is rather interesting at first. Poor girl who became a weapon...but they try so hard to make us sympathize with the girl and her boyfriend. And try so hard to make us cried. But I found this huh? It barely move my heart and
think that oh dear they cried again...and what's repeating "I'm sorry" though you're not from Hinamisawa?
Story-telling is ok. But the plot just keep repeating in the same loop after the hero knew what happen to his dear Chise.And so many time I found that they are overacting , they cried again and I said huh? to myself again.
Drama value in this manga continued to drop repeatedly volume by volume. Even the nearly last episode of Minami-ke : Okawari (Anime) has more drama value than this manga (Yes! I'm talking about Comedic Slice-of-life anime!)
If you want good mecha with romantic/drama value I recommend "Voice of a Distant Star"
Sorry for my poor english...You may tease me "Coppora! Coppora!" if you wish.
This manga is beautiful and terrific, in the archaic sense of the word. It is largely a slice of life tale, but with an overarching theme of, well... I'll leave that for the reader to find out.
The story is extremely well put together and told in a way that doles out information on a need to know basis, while tossing out little tidbits of what is yet to be told that tantalize and, all too frequently, leave the reader with a hollow feeling in the pit of their stomach that is commonly known as dread. Meanwhile, it tends to take a lighthearted approach much
of the time, keeping the mood in tune with the characters emotions, but never really getting rid of the increasingly intense sense that not only is something not right in the world, but, perhaps, nothing is actually right at all.
The setting is a world that is dystopian, war torn, and gradually sliding toward chaos and oblivion. However, that is not really what the story is about. It is about two young people who decide to start dating, much to their mutual surprise. When things get tough, they think of quitting, but when they actually talk things over, they find that they both are feeling the exact same thing and they agree that they are going to stick it out a bit longer, but now they are going to get serious about falling in love.
However, when things get even more complicated, it will take every ounce of love and devotion they have to stay together. They don't succeed completely, but can they make it work in the long run?
Some of the themes presented include young love, secrets, long distance relationships, infidelity, unrequited love, and, of course, how to deal with the fact that your girlfriend has been turned into a cybernetic super weapon.
I seriously debated about the ranking for art. I was going to give it an 8, but the amazing background art and frequently breathtakingly romantic scenes with our young couple pushed it up to a 10.
The character designs are typical for Takahashi-sensei, with most of the characters having rounded features, wispy hair, slightly stout figures, and a certain level of cuteness. He gets good mileage out of chibi transformations and exaggerated facial expressions when portraying emotion, but when things get serious, the character art is stunning and the emotional love scenes are remarkably touching and romantic.
The real standout in the art, however, are the backgrounds. From incredibly detailed views of towns, cities, or countryside; to amazing action scenes with explosions and chaos; to air raids and, of course, a cute little ultimate weapon with giant rocket launchers, energy beams, and dragonfly/fairy wings that are beautiful at a distance, until you see the damage they wreak on the clothes and body of Chisa as she returns to her "normal" self.
The characters are strong and, for the most part, likable. (At least when you are supposed to like them.) The main couple are both wonderfully crafted, with Chisa being a shy, soft spoken, but surprisingly strong girl. The process of watching her gradually gain confidence while simultaneously getting further and further from being truly human is amazing. The heartbreaking middle section, where she loses out to her growing ability to "know too much" and longs for people who can just look at her and tell a bald face lie to make her feel better, despite the fact that the earnest (if not always faithful) and loving people around her cannot bring themselves to do her that favor.
Shuji is gruff, sharp tongued, and, with the exception of on a few choice topics at a few choice moments, honest to a fault. His love for Chisa grows as she becomes more dangerous and harder to love. However, the hardships of their relationship and an extremely ill-timed reunion lead to some very poor decisions that make him seem less of a "nice guy." In the end, he is one of the few people who is always thinking of what is best for his diminutive super weapon.
The side characters are strong, especailly Akemi, the best friend of Chisa and former track teammate of Shuji who, quite obviously, harbors a longstanding unrequited love that leads to tragic outcomes for more than one character. Some of the soldiers are also well done. One of the characters I cannot bring myself to like, but I don't know that you are supposed to like her.
If there is a weakness, it is in the amount that suspension of disbelief needs to be stretched for the process by which Chisa becomes the Ultimate Weapon. Her blithe acceptance of her fate and complete lack of anger, at first, that she seems to have had this done to her without consent, at least of her parents, is dumfounding. She really seems to be saying that she met with the people, then woke up and was a cyborg. It makes no sense and could have been handled better.
Of course, it could be that she just couldn't tell Shuji about the details, but we never see the details in the sections when we look at the world through her eyes either, so it seems off.
Enjoyment and Overall: 10
This was a roller coaster. It had highs, lows, gut wrenching twists, dizzying heights, and devastating. earth shattering descents. The ending is phenomenal and, I should say, incredibly, profoundly, and touchingly sad.