Sounds Saikano-ish? You bet. I haven't seen Saikano myself, but this one gave me a mental breakdown; much less than Iriya herself experienced in the anime, but more than what I experienced after watching any anime (except for Now and Then, Here and There, perhaps) so far.
The 2005 vintage anime is a both sweet and dark love story, intermeshed with sparse humor and lingering suspense that draws you into the story. From episode 1 to 6, the mood changes dramatically, from somewhat ecchi humor in the first, to a quite of a heartbreaking finale. However, the speed is just perfect, not too fast to cram
in the plot, but not too long that it bores people. The remarkable thing is the abrupt changes in mood. In one moment you have a sweet scene where Asaba and Iriya is together, and suddenly Iriya collapses with blood pouring out of her nose, along with a seizure to boot.
To tell the truth, I was expecting something like Yukikaze, with a fast-paced combat scenes. However, the main attraction is the love story; all combat you get is in the OP scene. That said, all the CG animations is very smooth, while the hand-drawn parts was constantly beautiful, with some noticeable quality drop every now and then.
Wasn't the most original, but has a lasting impact.
Constantly very good, with the CG animation excelling everything. However, some parts are just...subpar; thankfully, none too often. Character designs are quite moe, which adds to the enjoyment.
Stock characters (eg, the over-the-top club president and the bratty imouto) are used sparingly yet effectively, without negative effects to the plot. All the main characters are round characters though, and most characterizations are always done subtlely. Though some traits are idealized, in general, the casts are round and realistic characters.
I'm quite a softy, but I really feel I'm about to cry seeing the end of the last episode, having throughly absorbed in the atmosphere. I couldn't believe they wouldn't add a happy end, but for the sake of the plot, it might be better this way. Still though...
Why bother at all?
If you really need that anime that gives you sweet and dark love story with a sci-fi touch and beautiful character design without an unnecessarily deep plot, this one's for you. Casual UFO fans will also find the subtle UFO theme quite pleasing. Beware the bittersweet tragic ending though.
Like Yukikaze, this story is drawn from a series of novels that is nominated for the Seiun Award (Japan's prestigious sci-fi award; Nausicaa anime and Dirty Pair novel won this award). Also, this anime has been made into a visual novel game for the Nintendo DS.