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Saikano

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Details
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!

By Shin Takahashi (Saikano)

Characters
Main Characters

Chise
Voiced by: Fumiko Orikasa (Japanese), Melissa Hutchinson (English)
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. Chise tries to come to terms with her new weapon body by convincing herself that she’s protecting the one she loves, but comes to admit to herself that the only thing she can do is to destroy. She feels horribly guilty of all the pain and death she has caused and shies away from Shuji, believing she doesn’t deserve any happiness. As Chise’s weapon side starts to take over, her hearts stops beating, her body lacks warmth and her sense of taste and touch are dulled but other senses (especially sight) are accentuated and she’s basically immortal. However, a second darker persona starts to emerge halfway through the series, a cold, ruthless machine that delights in her growing, destructive powers and killing people without mercy. In the end, her love for Shuji is the last of her humanity she can cling onto.


Shuji
Voiced by: Shiro Ishimoda (Japanese), Mark Atherlay (English)
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. Shuji 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. At first, he wanted to break things off with Chise but he then changes his mind and wants to give the relationship another try. However, things get complicated when his old love, Fuyumi, reappears in town. He’s the only person who knows Chise is the ultimate weapon and promises that he’ll never divulge her secret. Shuji is torn by this side of Chise, he loves her deeply, but he is terrified of her weapon capabilities. This causes a very noticeable strain on their relationship and he finally succumbs to Fuyumi’s advances because of this. Shuji is feeling constantly guilty and useless, because of his irresponsible actions that tend to hurt Chise and because all his loved ones keep dying around him. Later on in the series, he comes to accept his love for Chise and vows to protect her at all costs. He’s the only human being left alive in the end thanks to Chise’s sacrifice. In the original ending he is left alone in a spaceship flying away from a devastated Earth, with Chise in his heart. It is unclear whether or not the spaceship was an actual spaceship or if Shuji just went insane and imagined the whole thing. The anime changed this into them having another go at life in the memories of his past. Without food or water, Shuji's fate is unclear.


Akemi
Voiced by: Yū Sugimoto (Japanese), Amy Provenzano (English)
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, she always comes to Chise’s defense whenever Shuji inadvertently hurts Chise verbally. She harbors a secret love for Shuji since she was young, which he is oblivious of, but still encourages Chise to confess to him. She later starts dating Atsushi, knowing that her love for Shuji is unrequited. Akemi gets fatally injured (due to massive internal bleeding) during an earthquake that hits their little town, and with her dying breath, she tells Shuji her real feelings.


Atsushi
Voiced by: Tetsu Shiratori (Japanese), Joe Wyka (English)
Shuji’s best friend. Atsushi is a mature, open, down-to-earth guy who holds a fascination for the military. Atsushi always looks out for others, as can be seen during the Sapporo raid where he's desperately trying to keep his friends out of harm's way. He decides to join the JSDF to protect the girl he loves, Akemi, despite being aware that she will never love him back. When he’s finally in the army, he’s appalled at the bad state the country is in, and never knows what exactly the weapon “Chise” is since the other soldiers never gave him a clear answer. He dies when Chise destroys the city he’s in, holding Akemi’s photo in his hand.


Tetsu
Voiced by: Shinichiro Miki (Japanese), Abie Hadjitarkhani (English)
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 by him. He treats Chise like an ordinary girl, not a monstrosity, and even goes shopping with her; this makes Chise like him even more and finds understanding and compassion in Tetsu. Later on, he gets injured during a fight and staggers to his quarters to hide, but four enemy soldiers were waiting for him and open fire. He dies shortly from his wounds (due to a major hemorrhage), but manages to tell Chise that he loves her, mistaking her for Fuyumi. 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
Voiced by: Miki Ito (Japanese), Elaine Clark (English)
Shuji’s first lover and 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 had an intimate relationship with Shuuji when they were younger, and keeps bringing this up when she seduces him. She hates feeling lonely since her husband, Tetsu, is never home since he’s always away in the army so she decides to take comfort in Shuji, who has a remarkable similarity with Tetsu. Shuji finally stops her advances after Tetsu dies, saying that the only person he wants to protect isn’t Fuyumi. She slaps him and rides her bike to her parents’ house, never to be seen again. In the manga version, she is seen in her parents' house, helping her sick father and reminiscing about Tetsu.

Mizuki
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. Initially disdainful of Chise's behaviour, and bitter because of her body's inability to use Chise's advanced system, Mizuki began to have second thoughts after seeing what the new system was doing to Chise. She then became an elder sister / motherly figure to the young girl. She also had a crush on Tetsu, her former deputy. Realising that she was about to die due to extensive damage to her body, Mizuki decided to do one last mission to prevent Chise from berserking. After her body gave out in the battle, she activated her self-destruction system. But, she managed to return Tetsu's lighter to him.


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