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Shy Chise and nervous Shuji are high school seniors in a small town and have just started dating. But everything changes when Shuji discovers that Chise has been engineered by the Japanese Self Defense Force to transform into the Ultimate Weapon! Soon Chise is torn between realizing her potential as a devastating fighting force and her desire to share a bowl of ramen with her new boyfriend!
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One of my favorite manga ever. Takahashi Shin wove a brilliant, sweetly tragic epic of love and war; if this were textual and not graphic, it would rank up there with the greatest novels of all time. Rather than try for a constantly tragic tale or a constantly sweet one, Takahashi juxtaposes the lives of high school students with the unreality and harshness of war with what can only be called genius. He captures the raw emotions surrounding love and death and weaves them together into a glorious tapestry. By using Shuji's human, flawed perspective as the tool by which the story is told, we see just how painfully normal these people are. By switching to other viewpoints temporarily, the experience is that much more broad and complete.
Reading this is like listening to a symphony or opera; the sheer emotion that is expressed in the pages is balanced by the presentation and floods your senses beyond what you would expect from text and pictures.. The sappiness is countered by the sheer hopelessness of the presented situation, and although it might've seemed cloying if it had been executed in any other way, Takahashi strikes a perfect balance between the elements in play; the enormity of the contrasts in the story really, truly brings out the depth of the concepts that he uses. I would recommend it to anyone, but especially people who are more used to works of depth, because if you haven't truly appreciated a story before, you probably won't appreciate this as it should be. But it's an experience that is so incredibly powerful, I would not want anybody to go to the grave without it.
Finished reading it, and it's amazing how emotional this manga gets after a while. Recommend this to those who can handle such a sad story.
... Last updated on August 27th, 2008, 1:10pm
This manga will show the deepest emotion and darkest abyss of Mankind. It's an masterpiece of philosophical, yet lovely story making. In my opinion one of the best mangas so far. It let a very deep impresion on me, one that can't be explained with words. Can recommed it to everyone who is able to handel hardtship and crying.
Fight to live or drown in dispair and die
This manga was so excellent. I read it all in one go so I didn't have time to get tired of the story. It is a bit overwhelming though. I definitely cried not of my own volition. It's f-ing tragic man. it really is. but at the same time you really want to root for the characters. Till the last page you're thinking... everything is going to be ok, right. Everyone is alive, fearless, and their love is returned; somehow the manga is mistaken. But that is not the reality of the situation... hahah reality in manga. This manga tears into the notions of sex, war, living, dying, dying while wanting to live, living while wanting to die, growing up, coming of age, and love through unforseeable and uncontrollable circumstances. It kinda tells you that everything is hopless.... then tells you to fight to live and love anyway. In summation, it's inspiring in an almost if not really depressing way. And for the mature... this is not light reading.
I began reading this manga completely confused at first. However, as I continued reading it, it stirred a lot of questions in me. Questions that I had forgotten about until now. Thankfully I had answers for them. This manga in general was very well written, and made me feel nostalgic at times. I really wish I could have read it slower. If your going to give it a shot read it slowly. I'm sure there are some thing's the author had written intending it to change someones perspective on how they would perceive the reality around them and what was REALLY important to them. Not only was the story astonishing and thought provoking, the art itself was unique and extremely favorable to me. If your looking for a great read and something to stir your memories try this manga. I highly recommend it.
A second take
I just picked up this manga after seeing the anime a couple years ago and I got to say I am impressed. It looks like the manga is much more polished. Its funnier and the art is more suiting. There's a better blend of the depression and hope in the atmosphere than what the anime done. Since I'm through with the initial 'wow' factor I'll rate this thing for what it is. First the negatives. This manga does indeed lose points for its artwork and its storyline. Although I do think that the artwork in of itself is good, and perhaps gets even more points for originality, it doesn't perfectly fit the mood in all situations. The overtly cutesy look is good in the school-situations but certainly not the ones in warfare. But in retreospect, having read Elfen Lied I believe the author did a tremendous job in being able to render a good amount of emotion with resorting to the 'evil smirk', as seen in Elfen Lied. Furthermore I think the story is far too underdeveloped. Again, like the artwork I think this is also somewhat justified as the story is not about war or any of that jazz, but I do feel that having a nice solid foundation for a story is so important in making a story great. The story has little to no progression, other than the world is ending, thus making it privy to criticism. In addition I felt that if the author wanted to tell a story about the depth of love, he could have used any other wartime sceneario. The final vice I have against this manga is the excess amount of ecchi in it. I know that love may lead into love making but love making certainly does not equal love. I felt that one or two scenes would have fit the bill, but it was rather dragged on. Negatives aside, the manga is nonetheless extremely impressive because of its drama and character development. This probably surpasses almost all other manga in the way it literally sacrifices everything (literally) for the sake of development. The author kills of characters and really reflects some realities and touches on some really nitty gritty life values. Despite the large amount of negatives I put on eariler I think this manga does deserve an overall 8.5-9/10. A great manga overall, and its drama and emotional aspects greatly surpass its lack of story. The story also gets points on its Evangelion-style asides and soloioques and inner thoughts, not to mention putting each and every chapter to good use.
... Last updated on May 21st, 2008, 11:10pm
a tiny bit more confusing than his other series, but it is the longest, so that's expected. great story, excellent art, and just really makes you feel, a great heartfelt story
Tore me apart
Just as the subject says, this one tore my heart to pieces. Although the drawing could be better and the story is hard to follow at times, this is--and will be--the greatest drama manga that I will ever read.
Pretty Epic! But...
...UTTERLY DEPRESSING!!! Now this is what drama for you guys! The 1st chapter is a common one for love drama, but things will start shaking on the next chapter. The deep, dark emotion from all the character in this story (which IMO inspired from the Japan's WW2 experience with a bit of fantasy) keep developing that in some points make you feel like you lost your will to live. Not recommended for thou with a weak heart.
PS: BTW, It would be great if the anime opening is ALONES from Aqua Timez (I knew, but it's just that those 2 are so perfectly matched, right?)
I made a similar mistake reading this as with Bokurano - it started off so captivating that I just kept reading, and by the end I just felt exhausted and terrible. I finished a reread of it recently at a slower pace and it's much better that way.
SaiKano builds you up and then tears you down. It can seem a bit emotionally manipulative at times, but as a whole it works. There are some parts that I'm not sure of - the way people's #1 priority when someone is dying is sex seems a bit unnatural, but I'm not giving this a 10 because it's perfect in every way. It gets a 10 because of the fantastic tone, atmosphere, depth, and emotional weight. These outweigh any of its flaws.
Special shout-out for the art, which is brilliant. It captures a sort-of nostalgic and 'whispy' kind of feeling.