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Cover art of the first Saikano tankōbon featuring lead character Chise
(Saishū Heiki Kanojo)
|Written by||Shin Takahashi|
|Magazine||Big Comic Spirits|
|Original run||1999 – 2001|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Mitsuko Kase|
|Produced by||Masashi Tsukino|
|Written by||Itaru Era|
|Music by||Takeo Miratsu|
|Original network||Family Gekijo|
|Original run||July 2, 2002 – September 24, 2002|
|Original video animation|
|Saikano: Another Love Song|
|Directed by||Mitsuko Kase|
|Produced by||Naoko Takahashi|
|Written by||Itaru Era|
|Music by||Kei Yoshikawa|
|Released||August 5, 2005 – September 21, 2005|
|Runtime||30 minutes each|
|Directed by||Taikan Suga|
|Written by||Yukako Shimizu|
|Music by||Makoto Anzai|
|Released||January 28, 2006|
Saikano: The Last Love Song on This Little Planet. (最終兵器彼女, Saishū Heiki Kanojo, lit. She, the Ultimate Weapon) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Shin Takahashi. The manga was serialized in Shogakukan's Big Comic Spirits magazine and the chapters collected into 7 tankōbon volumes. It has been licensed and distributed by Viz Media in North America. It is also distributed in the United Kingdom by Manga Entertainment (as "She, the Ultimate Weapon").
An anime television series adaptation animated by Gonzo aired from July to September 2002 and a side-story OVA series animated by Studio Fantasia was released in 2005. The anime television series was also licensed by Viz, but is now licensed by Sentai Filmworks.
A live-action movie adaptation was released in Japan on January 28, 2006 with Aki Maeda starring as Chise.
The story begins with Shuji (シュウジ, Shūji), a high school student in a Hokkaidō coastal city, walking up to an observatory and reminiscing about his girlfriend, Chise (ちせ); there he finds her exchange diaries that she purposefully left behind. The ensuing story is narrated by Shuji through flashbacks while reading Chise's diary. Chise, a fellow student in his class, declares her love for Shuji at the beginning of the series. However, Chise is very shy and Shuji is insensitive: neither know how to express their feelings very well, but they do indeed have feelings for each other.
One day, while Shuji is shopping in Sapporo, unknown bombers attack the city in broad daylight. He and his friends run for cover, but notice a fast and small flying object shooting down the enemy bombers. Separated from his friends, Shuji wanders through the wreckage—only to stumble upon Chise; here she has metal wings and weapons—apparently grafted onto her body. She tells him she has become the ultimate weapon, without her knowledge or consent, and that she is seen by the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) as the last hope for defending Japan. In the anime, it is not apparent why Chise was chosen to be the ultimate weapon or why the country is under attack. It was not until the OVA episodes were released that an explanation for Chise being chosen was offered: her body has the highest degree of compatibility with the weapon system.
This story focuses primarily on Chise's fading humanity as her condition worsens. The main conflict is within Chise herself; she questions whether or not she is human. Her soul is constantly trying to be a normal girl, while her body succumbs to the devastating effects of the weapon cell within her. Fundamentally important to the plot is the relationship between Shuji and Chise. From this, the resolution of the conflict follows. In the end, she is able to realize who she truly is.
A number of minor characters who do not necessarily know of Chise's role in the war have sub-plots that concern everyday people in the context of war: a woman whose husband is constantly away from home, a school boy who joins the army to protect his girlfriend, a girl whose civilian boyfriend is killed in a bombing, and others.
- Chise (ちせ)
- Voiced by: Fumiko Orikasa (Japanese); Melissa Hutchison (English)
- Played by: Aki Maeda
- She is the main female character of the story. Chise is a shy, clumsy girl with very little self-esteem and has poor grades in everything except for World History. She was constantly hospitalized in Tokyo during her elementary years, and thus, has very few friends (except for Akemi). She starts dating Shuji, with Akemi’s help, and tries to make her relationship work with him despite his apparently aloof personality. However, Chise is very inexperienced and does not know much about relationships to the point she reads shōjo manga for advice. She was turned into the ultimate weapon against her will and the series revolves around her and her fading humanity. As Chise’s weapon-side starts to take over, her heart stops beating, her body lacks warmth and her sense of taste and touch are dulled, but other senses (especially sight) are accentuated. Her condition worsens and her humanity seems to fade away entirely. In the final episodes of the anime, she appears to be nothing more than a cold, ruthless machine that delights in her growing, destructive powers and killing people without mercy. Her love for Shuji is the last of her humanity. Throughout the story, she tries to come to terms with her body while still trying to convince herself that she is still human. She believes that she is nothing more than a weapon designed to kill. Her boyfriend Shuji, however, is able to help her break free by showing her that she is able to protect the ones she loves, and that only a human can experience the feeling of love. This helps Chise destroy the body in which she was trapped, and she realizes that she is indeed human. This brings to question what is meant by the term "ultimate weapon" used throughout the story. Chise's soul had been the only thing that was able to destroy her body, which was claimed to be the most powerful thing in the world.
- Shuuji (シュウジ, Shūji)
- Voiced by: Shirou Ishimoda (Japanese); Mark Atherlay (English)
- Played by: Shunsuke Kubozuka
- He is the main male character of the story and narrator of the series. He is a somewhat antisocial 17-year-old high school student who gets higher than average grades and used to be on his school’s track team. Shuuji is very unsure of his initial feelings for Chise and feels that their relationship is more trouble than its worth, though his feelings deepen as the story progresses. Not long after the two became much closer, they decided to simply become friends again and leave their closer relationship alone. This gives him time to realize his love for Chise and he eventually wishes to give the relationship another try. However, things get complicated when his first love, Fuyumi, reappears in town. He is the only civilian who knows Chise is the ultimate weapon and promises that he will never divulge her secret. Shuuji is feeling constantly guilty and useless because his irresponsible actions tend to hurt Chise. Later on in the series, he comes to accept his love for Chise and vows to protect her and be by her side at all costs.
- Akemi (アケミ)
- Voiced by: Yū Sugimoto (Japanese); Amy Provenzano (English)
- Played by: Shihori Kanjiya
- She is a childhood friend and classmate of both Chise and Shuji. Akemi is also Chise's best friend, and usually gives her advice on love. A typical tomboy, but she has some insecurities about her appearance, always questioning why any man would fall for her. She always comes to Chise’s defense whenever Shuji inadvertently hurts Chise verbally.
- Atsushi (アツシ)
- Voiced by: Tetsu Shiratori (Japanese); Joe Wyka (English)
- Played by: Ryo Kimura
- Shuji’s best friend. Atsushi is a mature, open, down-to-earth guy who holds a fascination for the military. He decides to join the JSDF to protect the girl he loves.
- Tetsu (テツ)
- Voiced by: Shinichiro Miki (Japanese); Abie Hadjitarkhani (English)
- Played by: Kiyohiko Shibukawa
- Regiment leader, Fuyumi’s husband, and the sole survivor of Chise’s first platoon. He’s very much like Shuji in terms of looks and personality and that’s why Chise is initially attracted to him. He treats Chise like an ordinary girl, which is why Chise likes him. He's one of the characters to be featured in the OVA, where Mizuki, his former commander, was shown to have a crush on him.
- Fuyumi (ふゆみ)
- Voiced by: Miki Ito (Japanese); Elaine Clark (English)
- Played by: Miki Sakai
- Tetsu’s wife. She used to train the track team when she was younger and her students called her “Fuyumi-senpai” because of the close age difference. She is always feeling lonely as her husband, Tetsu, is never home since he’s always away in the army. It is soon revealed that Shuji and Fuyumi were once in love. Shuji explains that his love for her was never true; he simply wanted to become physically closer to her.
- Mizuki (ミズキ)
- Voiced by: Ai Orikasa (Japanese); Brooke Campanelli (English)
- Seen only in the OVA, Mizuki was the prototype for the weapon system which would later be used on Chise. She was an officer who was badly wounded in an attack, but returned to the battlefield because of the prototype weapon system. She also had a crush on Tetsu, her former deputy. She was one of the very few people sympathetic (and empathetic since she, too, was a weapon) towards Chise.
- Voiced by: Kishô Taniyama (Japanese); Abie Hadjitarkhani (English)
- The most extroverted guy in Shuji’s circle of friends and Yukari's boyfriend. Take is the first one to get a girlfriend in Shuji's group. His girlfriend is named Yukari.
- Voiced by: Hiroki Shimowada (Japanese); M.J. Reynolds (English)
- The most immature guy in Shuji’s circle of friends. Nori is a naive high-school student, who believed that the war would never reach their hometown and they should stop worrying about it. He desperately wants to have a girlfriend, and is slightly jealous of Take for having one.
- Voiced by: Sachiko Kojima (Japanese); Nicole Emi (English)
- Take’s girlfriend. After her boyfriend’s death, she leaves the school. Soon after that, she gets another boyfriend and on the surface, claims she will never love anyone seriously again.
- Voiced by: Kishô Taniyama (Japanese); M.J. Reynolds (English)
- Young soldier on Chise’s former company. He admires Chise very much, telling her that her combat skills saved his life. He also appears in the OVA, alongside Tetsu.
- Voiced by: Atsushi Ii (Japanese); David Arendash (English)
- Head scientist in charge of Chise. He is a nervous man that perpetually wipes his forehead with a dark-blue cloth. He also makes an appearance in the OVA.
- Sergeant Itou
- Voiced by: Manabu Muraji (Japanese); ? (English)
- Chise’s chaperon. He is in charge of keeping Chise up to date with headquarters decisions and keeping her schedule in order. He later goes insane after witnessing the full extent of her powers. He also appears in the OVA.
- Voiced by: Hiroyuki Yoshino (Japanese); ? (English)
- Atsushi’s army mate. He’s a playful, teasing person and gets along well with Atsushi. He dies when his military base is attacked.
- Voiced by: Hiromi Konno (Japanese); ? (English)
- Girl who is part of Chise's circle of friends. She was spying behind a locker (along with Akemi, Seiko, and Yukari) when Chise confessed her feelings to Shuji.
- Voiced by: Kiyomi Asai (Japanese); ? (English)
- Girl who is part of Chise's circle of friends. She was spying behind a locker (along with Akemi, Rie, and Yukari) when Chise confessed her feelings to Shuji.
- Voiced by: ? (Japanese); ? (English)
- The only female recruit that is seen in the series. She joins the military to avenge her boyfriend’s death.
- Voiced by: Yumi Kakazu (Japanese); ? (English)
- Akemi’s younger sister. She’s a very optimistic and cheerful girl who sometimes acts as a messenger between Akemi and Shuji. She's also part of the track team.
- Shuuji's mother
- Voiced by: Mika Doi (Japanese); Elaine Clark (English)
- She is a kind and gentle woman, who always worries over her family.
Saikano began as a manga series written and illustrated by Shin Takahashi. It was serialized in Shogakukan’s Big Comic Spirits magazine and the chapters collected into 7 tankōbon volumes. It has been licensed and released in North America by Viz Media. It has also been translated into Spanish by Glénat, into Italian by Panini Comics, into German by Carlsen Verlag and into French by Éditions Delcourt.
- Love Story, Killed
The story is of a 17-year-old Japanese sniper, who hides in the remains of a block of flats and kills enemy soldiers so that he can collect their guns (sans ammunition, just to lay them out on the floor). At the start of the story, he kills a group of enemy soldiers who are about to rape a Japanese girl. While collecting their guns, the sniper is confronted by the girl who picked up one of the guns, but the sniper eventually befriends the girl and takes her back to his room because he wants to have sex with her. It is revealed that he only has five rounds left, with his final round being his good luck charm that he keeps in the pocket, and that he wants to die because it will relieve him from the war. However, after getting to know the girl better and having sex with her, he becomes afraid of death, and when firing on an enemy squadron that came looking for him, he misses and reveals his position. Eventually, he finds himself unable to fire his good luck charm round due to his fear of death. Suddenly the girl appears in the doorway, bringing the guns and ammo of the soldiers he has just killed, saying that he now has the ammunition to kill more soldiers and can keep fighting in the war. Right as the sniper smiles however, three enemy soldiers appear behind the girl, kill the sniper and then rape and kill the girl. The enemy soldiers themselves all die two days later.
- The Last Love Song on This Little Planet
A series by Shin Takahashi which is a collection of OneShots called "The Last Love Song On This Little Planet". The first, and currently only released, story is of the day Chise asked Shuji to be her boyfriend and their journey home from the place where that happens. Takahashi does not shy away from confronting the awkwardness between the two teenagers and their problems, continuing the trend from his main series "SaiKano"
An anime television series adaptation animated by Gonzo aired on Family Gekijo from July 2 to September 24, 2002 and ran for 13 episodes. The last TV episode strayed from the manga's continuity and gave an original conclusion to the anime.
- Opening Theme
- "Koisuru Kimochi" by Yuria Yato
- Ending Theme
- "Sayonara" by Yuria Yato
- "She, The Ultimate Weapon". Sentai Filmworks. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
- Dungan, Mike (February 5, 2005). "Saikano (aka: Saishuu-heiki Kanojo) Vol. #03". Mania.com. Archived from the original on October 5, 2012. Retrieved January 7, 2020.
Takahashi's combination of high school romance and war drama is a surprisingly good fit.
- "Sentai Filmworks Adds Saikano/She, The Ultimate Weapon". Anime News Network. 2014-12-17.
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