She: The Ultimate Weapon (AKA Saikano)

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Genre: Sci-fi

Creator/Studio: Shin Takahashi/Gonzo

Distributor: Sentai Filmworks (streams on Hulu)

Suggested Age: 17+

My Rating: 8/10

Number of Episodes: 13

Summary: Chise is a clumsy, shy girl who fails at every subject except World History. She has fallen in love with an upperclassman named Shuji.  One day, their lives are forever changed for the worse when a covert military experiment turns Chise into a cybernetic weapon capable of nuking cities.

Review: When an anime is called “The Last Love Song on This Planet”, you can expect a rough ride.  This series meets that expectation in spades.  It’s short, but it hits you right in the heart. You may think you can handle Grave of the Fireflies, Now and Then: Here and There, but She: the Ultimate Weapon might be a new level of sadness you aren’t prepared for. You have been warned.

Chise is a pitiable character. She is confused, clumsy, and weak.  You often wish that the story had even a shred of happiness for her, but your heart aches because you realize it may not happen. What’s more, she is fully aware of her abilities and the wrongness of her actions. She does not wish to kill, but she must do as she is programmed and it gnaws at her conscience.

Shuji, on the other hand is pathetic.  To be honest, I kept wondering why Chise pines after him.  He’s not a reliable boyfriend at all and seems unkind at first. He does have some likeable qualities in that he does care for Chise and teases her often to show that.

The character designs take some getting used to at first. (I swear it’s as if the artists don’t know how to draw noses) But some designs, like on the adults, actually don’t look bad.  The animation is decent, but I think they want you to focus on the story, not the characters.

Bottom line, if you don’t like sad stories, skip this series.  But if you feel you can handle it, get a box of Kleenex and be ready for one of the saddest stories you will ever watch.

Sub/Dub: Not bad. The voices are all right and match the characters. However, a couple characters sounded better subbed.

Music/Score: The score has a poignant feel to it, matching the mood well.

Violence: (8/10) As I said in the summary, Chise can nuke an entire city and does so several times in the show. A couple characters die horrible deaths as a result of Chise’s actions.

Language: (2/10)

Nudity/Sexuality: (5/10) (note: I combined because the nudity only in sex scenes) SPOILER! Early in the story, Shuji has an affair with his teacher, who is probably twice his age. Although it’s clear that he has little desire to pursue the relationship, he doesn’t stop himself. They make twice in the anime. Later on, Shuji and Chise have two love-making scenes. Chise is also naked when she reverts to her human form after a battle.

Religion: (0/10) Except for cries about why God will not intervene and stop Chise’s destruction, there is no mention of religion.

Related Media: This is based on the manga Saikano, published in America by Viz. There was also a live-action movie and an OVA sequel called Saikano: Another Love Song. I don’t know if these are still available.

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