She, the Ultimate Weapon (2002 IMDb)

Categorization

Wartime tragic romance with an isolated but remarkably intrusive element of hypertechnology. Okada Toshio of Gainax fame described it as “the definitive sekai-kei” in Little Boy: The Arts of Japan's Exploding Subculture (2005), that being a genre wherein the fate of the world and one's private feelings are strongly linked.

Subject

There's a war going on. A big one. It isn't evidently nuclear, the causes are unexplained and as it turns out, the tagline is almost literally true. A fairly normal guy lives on hitherto peaceful Hokkaido. He becomes the boyfriend of a timid, clumsy girl. When the first airstrike hits their city, the thing zipping through the sky and mowing down bombers with a Vulcan turns out to be her. Their relationship and the snags hit by it are the primary story. Various effective human tragedies occur in connection.

Commentary

The super-weapon identity could have been handled a lot worse, but also a lot better. When the girl is worried, perfectly ordinary missiles pop out of her back. You never find out why there's a war, why the war destroys the planet or why the girl becomes a weapon. The major premisses thus go unexplored, which I don't think is justified past episode 9 or 10, when the painful personal stuff is basically over. It gets melodramatic. The series, which began as a manga, has also been done as tokusatsu.

Japanese production animation series