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Anime Info

Studio: Gonzo
Genre: War, Drama
Length: 13 Episodes
Purchase: Here

Summary

+ War scenes were enthralling
– Most characters were boring/dull
– The main love story is not as interesting as the side love stories

Overview

I loved the war scenes and hated the forced love story of whiney characters. Saikano proves that it could do love drama correctly, except it does it with the side characters instead of the main characters. This series is short and after viewing it it left no positive impression on me.

Public Rating

Our Rating

Score of 2.5 out of 5
2.5 out of 5

Saikano Anime Review

Written by: James Lin on 2/14/2004

Introduction

Saikano is a tragic story of love, friendship, and war. It gives a frighteningly true aspect of war that most people ignore - and that is how war affects civilians who aren't even involved. With the "what-seems-to-be-recent" September 11th attacks, I felt a bit more compassionate towards Saikano because even with the American troops in Iraq, I still lived my normal everyday life as if nothing was different. My eyes were wide open throughout the war sequences of Saikano, but unfortunately they were halfway shut through the rest of the series.

Review

Japan citizens, in the midst of war, are trying to live their normal lives. For Shuuji and Chise, trying to be boyfriend and girlfriend during this catastrophe is difficult. Their high school friends are rooting for them to succeed, but in the meanwhile, everyone's emotions are on edge as war has finally struck their homeland. Shuuji and his friends go to the nearby city, Sapporo, to shop, when an earthquake strikes. At least they thought it was an earthquake. What shook the mall they were shopping in was actually an air raid flying through to attack. Bombs drop by the dozens, and the city of Sapporo is completely annihilated. Shuuji desperately searches for his friends before thick dirt, debris, and fallen buildings separate him from them. Shuuji does manage to find one of his friends, however. Her arm has been completely transformed into a state-of-the-art weapon. It is Chise that Shuuji sees floating down to where he resides. With his eyes shocked with disbelief, Shuuji finally has witnessed that Chise is not only his girlfriend, but is also the ultimate weapon of destruction.

I wanted to love this story but I couldn't. Saikano had moments where I was absolutely mesmerized by, but then it screwed everything up by forcing a confusing love drama in it. I know that was the focus of this series from the start, but it was simply not interesting. After seeing Chise's body transform into a weapon, it is difficult to go back to a lackluster love story where nothing really happens. I suppose the problem I had with this element of the story, was with the characters. The main character, Shuuji, is one of the dullest, and ugliest drawn characters in all of anime. That might be a cruel statement to say, but I felt that way the entire 13 episodes I was watching. Shuuji's attitude, and dull personality, adds up to a character that you can't root for. Shuuji was also a victim to poor character development. We are given flashbacks of Shuuji that really do not matter. It has really no affect on the story or on the characters. Not only Shuuji, but I also had a problem with the other main character, Chise. She is drawn cute, but her personality is whining, obnoxious, and overall a chore to watch. Luckily Chise is the ultimate weapon, which makes her a lot more interesting then she really is.

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Obviously without good characters, there isn't going to be a good love drama involved since the audience doesn't care what happens. But it isn't just that. Saikano does have great characters, but they aren't focused on in the series! At least three come in mind when I'm thinking of how this series could have been great. The three characters have great stories, are a joy to watch, but end up being casualties of war. They aren't completely forgotten about, but their impact on the show could have been much better if the series had just emphasized on them a bit more.

Now that I have the character problems summarized, I figure I'll start with the story. Saikano is about war. Every guy's interest. I'm a guy, I'm interested. Add in a girl who is the ultimate weapon, and you have one interesting series, correct? Nope. It could have been, but the story of Saikano focuses on the relationship between Shuuji and Chise, and not enough on war. I can honestly say every second there was a "war scene," (not just the battles, but also with the civilians and their lives) I was glued to the screen. It's unfortunate that these scenes came by too few and far in between. The rest of the show is made up of whiney love drama that seems to repeat itself over and over.

What a disappointing series. The story is average, the characters aren't developed very well, the animation is mediocre, and that is about all I can say. If potential was a category that counted, then I suppose Saikano would score high. Unfortunately, potential only counts for a series that is still running. Saikano is a depressing series that leaves much to be desired. I suppose the target of this series was to be depressing, but did it really have to be this boring? There are some shining moments, like I mentioned during battles, but those simply don't occur enough for me to like this series.

Perhaps the only thing that saved this series was the ending. And I only say "saved" because if the ending ended in a different way, I would have completely hated this series. But still, dissapointment fills my mind when I think of Saikano, and it just doesn't quite get it done for me.

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Conclusion

Saikano War and drama are perhaps two of the most interesting genres ever to exist, and for Saikano to fail this bad is surprising. Perhaps I overlooked this series? Maybe my interest in Chise, the ultimate weapon, was not supposed to exist. Was I supposed to be interested in the whiney love story that was presented? No, I can't convince myself that I am wrong in my review of Saikano. (Trust me, I tried... me scoring a war-type series low is unheard of!) In the end, Saikano is simply an average series. The lasting feel to it simply doesn't pack a punch. It tried too hard at having a relationship drama, when all it really needed was to let the effects of war talk for itself. After I finished watching this series I really felt bitter about how much time I just wasted.

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