Saikano is a pretty old manga, dating back to 2000, made into an anime in 2002, given two OVAs in 2005 and then was finally turned into a live action film in 2006. This review is about the anime and somewhat about the OVAs which I recommend you go and watch if you plan to watch this series. Due to the fact that Saikano is an anime from over a decade ago, don't expect any stellar animation. In fact the animation seems to be perfectly based off of the manga which is pretty damn bad but then again, it's from 2000 so I can't be too judgemental about it. The voice actors are actually really good but the dialogue seems kind of repetitive to such a point that you may be a little annoyed when Chise constantly refers to herself as a weapon and Shuji is always calling someone an idiot. What's really important about this series is it's romance between Chise and Shuji which comes under constant strain from Chise being turned into a super weapon to fight a war with practically zero chance of victory. Not only does Chise's status as a WMD put her in a position where she is no longer considered human but it also begins to eat away at her, mentally and emotionally. More importantly this series really focuses on how warfare completely destroys the future (kids and teens) and how no one really wins during a war. An interesting point to make regarding Saikano and it was actually conveyed quite well if not perfectly but the ending will confuse you a bit.
Saikano can get you to really feel for the characters if you're a sensitive individual but don't expect to really feel anything for the cast. There are a few select moments that will get to you and surprisingly, those moments do not revolve around any drama between Chise and Shuji. In fact many scenes involving Chise and Shuji that should normally be quite romantic, dramatic or saddening are actually kind of annoying because it always turns into the exact same conversation. Chise's a weapon and therefore cannot love nor should she be loved, then Shuji loves her anyway, then Chise has to go off to destroy another city and Shuji is left contemplating their relationship until her return. This happens repeatedly through out the series. For a short time, the two of them get romantically involved with other people and it makes for interesting drama but nothing truly note worthy comes from it.
Saikano is a great tragedy based anime when it focuses on the war and it's effect on both the soldiers and civilians. This part is probably the most interesting thing about this series but I only think that way due to my obsession with war documentaries. The psychological impact of the war (in which Japan is losing) plays the most important role in the development of the characters. The lives of the main cast are brought under stress as the battle makes its way to Shuji and Chise's home town and really everyone undergoes a major change in response to the war and the increasing number of earthquakes. Overall, Saikano is an okay show. Nothing horrible and nothing exceptional.
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