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Yesterday I finished watching all thirteen episodes of Saikano in one sitting, yes, one sitting. If I feel for a anime deeply, I'll shut out the entire world so I may see it all the way through to the end. I really love a series that makes you think while simultaneously evoking pure emotion. This series did both for me.
The series starts off like your typical Highschool romance. We meet the protagonist, Shuji, a regular senior as he walks to school soon to be followed by Chise. Chise at first glance is your typical shy & clumsy, yet incredibly cute school girl. Chise doesn't excel in any school subjects with the only exception being History.;) Right off the bat Chise lets her feelings for Shuji be known. Shuji is reluctant at first, but the two eventually develop a bond. The two share a moment upon a lookout and decide they will become a couple.
We are soon introduced to several friends of the two lovers. All of whom play a role in this story, be it brief yet significant. As the story progresses Shuji and three friends head to the mall where Shuji and another friend want to buy presents for their girlfriends. The mall soon begins to shake as we learn earthquakes are not uncommon for this area. The four friends run to street level to see the comotion, and soon learn the city is being attacked by fighter planes. During the chaos, Shuji is split from his friends. He gazes in the sky and witnesses a glowing light destroying every fighter plane it comes in to contact with. He proceeds to chase the light, and eventually comes across a vision of none other than Chise, his new found love with a girant Gatling Gun attached to her arm (image below). Is Shuji hallucinating, or is this killing machine really his girlfriend?
I have to rank Saikano one of the saddest anime series I've watched. It's up there with Grave of the Fireflies & Millenium Actress ending. You're probably thinking what I thought the first time I was told it was a depressing anime, but I assure you the series is filled with more sorrow than a main character dying at the end. At the beginning of every episode a splash screen with the words The Last Love Song on this Planet is shown. This sentence will make sense in the end. After watching this series, I highly recommend watching a comedy, or go outside and stare at some pretty scenery. This series really made me feel depressed. For me this is the sign of a good anime, and good being when a series can get me to care enough about the story and it's characters to make me feel an emotion afterwards.
I highly recommend this anime, although it's not for everyone. The moments of happiness are rare, and short-lived. The animation is quite well done, with almost a manga-esque quality to it. Soundtrack is beautiful, featuring a significant theme that will add to the sorrow you feel when the series is complete. The voice acting was fantastic. The lines never feel forced. You can feel Shuji's voice actor really respects the role.
The series runs 13 episodes.
Licenced by Viz Video, with both original japanese w/eng subtitles, and English dubbing.
Official Japanese Site
Official N.American Site
Buy Saikano from Anime Castle