Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Review: Saikano 7 by Shin Takahashi


price: $9.95
Rating: Parental Advisory
             Explicit Content

This is the final volume of the Saikano Manga series. This series showcases the beauty and fragility of life and the horrors of war. yet it makes no judgement just observes and comments and shares. At it's heart it is a love story between young teenagers Chise and Shuji. Shy and clumsy Chise somehow finds the nerve to ask Shuji out on a date. The begin a sweet albeit awkward courtship. the seem like a mismatched couple at the start: Chise always apologising Shuji always telling her to stop apologising and gently thumping her on the head. A lot. :) It's very sweet watching them together as the fumble towards intimacy. Through the course of the series Chise has long absences and secrets. She finally confesses to Shuji her secret. She is a weapon. THE ULTIMATE WEAPON. Designed by the Japanese government to destroy all opposition. Chise is part human and those aspects of her nature she shares with Shuji, but her main purpose is to destroy all opposition which she does throughout the series.
Volume 7 begins with Shuji waking up in the aftermath of the epic battle from the previous volume. He is in the ruins of a home with Chise nursing her back to health. He pretends to not notice the changes happening to her , the strange machinery coming out of her body, the bleeding. He watches helplessly as she disintegrates before him.
Having no other options he stumbles  on the road towards his hometown. On the way he meets a variety of survivors all heading his way are talking about "Chise Town" the last safe place in the city, possibly the world. As he reunites with his family and gets caught up in the day to day tasks of surviving he remembers a promise he made to Chise and goes to the spot where the two of them first kissed.
He is surprised to find Chise there or a piece of her, a reconstructed body broken off from the whole. She is disoriented an unsure of why she is there and even who Shuji is . There reunion is clouded by Chise's information to him. the world is ending. The never ending war, the ravages to the planet have put it on a countdown to destruction.
This is such a touching and poignant series that really explores the nature of man and love. Shin Takahashi's art and writing blend together beautifully. There is such deep emotions in this volume. This entire series is an example of how comics, graphic novels and manga are a definite art form. Art at it's best explores and showcases the human experience and spirit. A little note about the explicit content. This is definitely a book for mature audiences but there is nothing overtly vulgar. There is partial nudity in all of the volumes proceeding this and this one especially has a series of explicit scenes between the two characters. Takahashi admits that he wrote this series from the mindset of his 15 year old self and the book is aimed towards teen boys and young men. As a female reader I didn't find it offensive in any way but I want to give this caution to readers.This series is not to be missed.




Orchid said...

Sounds really intersting, thanks for the review. Though, I probably won't read this one do to the rating. ^_^


I just added a little bit about the explicit rating, It really isnt that strong its just because of partial nudity and the sex scene in this volume it has to be rated that way. I hope you try at least one volume :)