Mania Grade: A
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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: •5800
- 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. #4
By Chris Beveridge
March 05, 2003
Release Date: February 27, 2003
What They Say
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. In this volume, Chise gets to have a moment of peace at Tetsu's hideout, but... Contains episodes 8 through 10. Sleeve cover artwork by Hisashi Kagawa.The Review!
After three volumes of set up and emotional build-up, things seriously hit the fan here and the body count is staggering.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
The covers continue to impress here as we get a great looking shot of Chise in weapon mode settling down towards the ground set against the sunset while Tetsu is crouched behind the remains of a building. 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 a haunting shot of Chise in a simple white dress that?s blood soaked, 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 ten-minute long behind the scenes/making of segment that is not subtitled. Content
: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The progression of the storyline in this series has been quite well done once you take the larger look at things. Initially, it looked as if we?d not see much of the actual damage and bloodshed that comes from a war as the town that was focused on was so far removed, that we?d more simply deal with the emotional impact of it, both in the lives of the young love between Chise and Shuji, but also in those around them.
But with this release, things have certainly changed. The conflict continues to go on even though Chise is razing cities left and right in what?s turning into a scorched earth retreat by the military. Peace negotiations are apparently ongoing, but the enemies advance continues and the Japanese forces continue to get pushed back. One instance we have is when one of the enemy jets gets shot down over the city and the pilot ends up hiding out in the hills. With little military presence there yet, a bunch of the kids in Shuji?s class end up gearing up and heading out to search for him, which leads to some very tense scenes, scenes that are so well done that once the episode is over you truly need that end sequence so you can take in a deep breath and absorb it.
Chise herself is tiring of it all, and we have a very quiet and almost tense series of events where Tetsu comes across her and tries to help her out some. With most of those left in the military so firmly hateful of her for destroying their home towns, lives and families, Tetsu is one of the few that continues to treat her like a real person. The two spend time away from everything and sort of play in the ghost town they?re in, such as taking over one apartment and going shopping for clothes and food, simply watching TV and just keeping away from the fighting. Chise confides quite well with Tetsu, which is one of the reasons that he tends to treat her more human than others, but even as she reaches out for some form of love to sustain her belief in life, she finds herself betrayed again in the end. Not a real betrayal though, but more one of a betrayal of her ideal view of what love should be between people.
As the war gets closer to Shuji?s home, the city begins to experience a number of earthquakes that upends everything and brings much more pain and devastation to the lives of the students we?ve gotten to know. One by one, we watch the end of their lives in an almost casual way at time. But with the emotions they?ve tied to them in the earlier episodes, emotions that are stronger than originally suspected, each one is a sharp sting. There are some truly brutal ones in these episodes as well, and much like the one near the end of the first episode, the remaining episodes provide some very strong moments where that end song break is a welcome relief. While one of them was dragged out a bit longer than I would have liked, mostly for the ability to have the character give a love confession, the brutal honesty of it and the intensity of it all outweighs that.
While I certainly expected a heart wrenching series based on what people who had seen it during broadcast said about it, I didn?t expect it to be quite so vivid or intense. With only a few episodes left, it?s easy to see things wrapped up and dealt with, but I can also see much of this series remaining with me visually for quite some time to come. This is the kind of series that I had always imagined anime capable of producing since first seeing Macross. Very recommended.
Japanese Language,English Subtitles,Japanese Subtitles,Behind the Scenes Featurette
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.