Mania Grade: B+
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- Audio Rating: B
- Video Rating: A
- Packaging Rating: A-
- Menus Rating: B+
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: All
- Region: 2 - Japan
- Released By: Other
- MSRP: •5,800
- Running time: 75
- Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Saikano
She, The Ultimate Weapon Vol. #2
By Chris Beveridge
December 26, 2002
Release Date: December 20, 2002
She, The Ultimate Weapon Vol. #2
What They Say
In this sci-fi romance anime based on the manga by Shin Takahashi, a high school senior named Shuji finds out that his beloved girlfriend Chise has been turned into the ultimate weapon against a mighty enemy. This volume contains episodes 2 through 4. The Review!Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. As that?s the only track included, it made our choice easy. While a number of OVA?s have been done in PCM audio lately, this 13 episode TV series gets the Dolby stereo mix, providing a solid mix for both the dialogue and the music behind the show.Video:
The folks at Gonzo have managed to produce another visually stunning piece with this transfer. Although they show is letterboxed but not anamorphic (a continuing problem that Gonzo simply must address), it looks fantastic. Colors are solid and vivid, aliasing and cross coloration appear to be non-existent and the overall look and feel of the transfer is just sparkling. The three episodes here look great on this dual layered disc.Packaging:
This volume features the really excellent image of Chise in her weapon mode, completely exhausted, set against the sunset of destruction, giving a real feel of despair. The logo is provided in both Japanese and English here and just has that ?so simple it looks great? look to it. The back cover provides a few pictures from the show itself as well as a summary of the shows main plot. The discs technical features are all clearly listed in the grid format I love. The insert has another shot of Chise with her clothes in ruin as well as he demeanor, while it folds open to reveal a nice full image of the Chise with her wings and a quick little rundown on the various characters.Menu:
The menu is a bit flashier than a lot of Japanese menus, using a similar style to the Saikano website. Selections are easy to figure out along the bottom with a few tries, but the thankful part is that when you get into language selection, the selections are provided in bilingual format, so it?s not as much guesswork. Access times are nice and fast and the layout is definitely nice on the eyes.Extras:
The only extra included is a twelve minute long behind the scenes/making of segment that is not subtitled.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the final revelations given in the first volume and the massive amount of destruction, the show begins to reveal just what it?s really going to be all about, especially if you couldn?t be quite positive from the first episode. This is, first and foremost, a love story. Those looking for the deeper meanings behind the war, the enemy and the fighting may find themselves becoming very frustrated or bored by this series due to this.
The rest of us are likely to really get into it. After all the carnage that the enemy and Chise have thrown back at each other, Chise tries to find herself some peace and quiet in the things that she wants to use as her anchor to humanity, which is her relationship with Shuji. She ends up placing more of herself into the relationship and hoping that it keeps her grounded as she keeps getting paged by the military to go out and to save another city. This aspect of things is amusing, since it shows just what must have happened when they wanted to control her entirely and she balked enough with her power to get what she wanted. I can?t imagine the military letting their ultimate weapon ?go to school?.
While this is Chise? method to deal with things, Shuji finds himself becoming more and more concerned that his love for Chise isn?t truly love, but just his way of trying to help her, to try and rescue her from her problems. He goes back and forth with his feelings internally, but ends up having things become forced for him when Chise ends up becoming more distant and focusing more on not letting anyone see her in the weapon mode, or just in general. Shuji also gets more trouble for himself when his first love, a teacher of his a few years back, ends up entering his life again and seeking comfort from him while her husband is away in the military.
Through these episodes there?s a greater focus on the military side of things, such as when Chise returns from one battle and ends up talking with some very impressionable young soldiers. We also start to get a feel for just how well the enemy is able to track and target Chise as well as her own people. A silly idea to run from everything proves just how much of a leash they really have her on though, which goes again to what level of personal control Chise may have managed to exercise due to her strengths.
Now a third of the way into the series, I?m really curious to see where it?s going to go. I love the mix of the action levels with the romance and the teasing ways of showing off her other self and abilities. There looks to be a few predictabilities coming down the road, but I?m definitely on board to see where this is all going. Very enjoyable.
Japanese Language,English Subtitles,Japanese Subtitles,Behind the Scenes
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.