April 28, 2004

Saikano Episode 01


"We Fall in Love"

The best and most accurate way to describe the world of Saikano is that it is one in which everyone is constantly blushing.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I should tell you that I actually saw the first seven or eight episodes of Saikano in its Japanese release, so my reviews may be somewhat colored by that fact. (If it makes you feel better, I don't remember all that much about it, other than I liked it.)

Back to the review. While all the characters do stand around blushing all the time (or maybe it's just hot, or some weird fashion), the show actually takes place in a future or near-future Japan (reference to an F-15 makes me think near-future).

The premise of this show is a story about first love between a boy and a girl, where the girl ends up being transformed into a superweapon to defend Japan from its attackers.

Gotta love anime, huh?

So you get many of the themes that are common in this sort of show, thrown in with a lot of shocking war moments. These crazy events tear Shuuji and Chise in two different directions over the course of the show, and provide most of the tension (after all, who just wants a simple love story these days).

One of the things that really impressed me about Saikano is Gonzo's animation. They did a really good job of capturing emotion through character's movements. One really good example is the scene in the middle where Chise is crying, and using her sleeves to wipe her tears away.

As a jumping on point to this series, this probably isn't the strongest episode. If you're interested in an emotional rollercoaster ride of a story, I can tell you now (with my foreknowledge) that you should watch this series, it gets better real soon. Saikano would probably have been better served with a quicker opening, as the big emotional punch of this episode just doesn't serve up all that much drama (most people watching the show already know that Chise is a weapon of the military).

The animation is extremely good, featuring all of Gonzo's normal high production values, though the music is a little nondescript (at least in the first episode). It does have one very good tune, though, and that turned out to be one of my most vibrant memories from my first viewing of the show.

To sum up, if you want to watch a show that will absolutely punch you in the gut with its emotional twists and turns, you should watch this despite the somewhat average first episode.

Rating: B-

Posted by Kei at April 28, 2004 10:51 PM

Wait... Is that the "superweapon girlfriend" show ? I remember how that show made me sad -- because, even though it held much promise, I was physically unable to watch it. If shoujo anime was like candy, then this one would be like getting several metric tons of pure sugar crammed down your throat -- and that's just the first three episodes. There's so much shoujo in this anime that watching it feels like getting assaulted and battered by an Akira-grade street gang wearing "Hello Kitty" outfits. If I had a yen for every time they blush or feel angsty about love and whatnot, I'd have a million dollars (that's right, dollars, not yen) by now.

Ok ok enough with the bad metaphors. My point is, this is definitely one of those shows that, ah, shall we say, requires quite a bit of getting used to (and I never did).

Looking forward to your reviews of subsequent episodes :-)

Posted by: Bugmaster at April 30, 2004 12:00 AM

thanks for making reviews on saikano, its one of the many show that i love to watch! :D

Posted by: shuji at May 11, 2004 05:11 AM

I got Saikano a few months ago and wasn't very excited about watching it. I never really was into anime at all, but finally, I sat down and watched it with my boyfriend and we couldn't stop watching them. Though it was a little slow in the beginning, I was just blown away by the awesome story line and the fact that someone actually created a story that had a sad ending for once. I love how unique and similar it is in comparison to other plots. Thanks for the review.

Posted by: Jessica Soucy at May 7, 2005 04:37 PM
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