Give me a moment to dry my eyes….. This anime seems to have the sole purpose to make as many viewers as possible cry. This takes the typical “boy saving the world” premise and takes it up another notch. He doesn’t have to face ten billion enemies; he only has to face one- Hamdo, who wants nothing more than to rule the world, and will do everything in his power to do so.
This ramps it up in what he must face. This being war, there is torture of many types. Girls are raped to breed new soldiers. And when he does catch a break, it’s in a place where a fever of revenge has taken hold and places him and his new friends in grave danger.
This takes a fairly typical plot but puts interesting and believable characters into it. While Shu is the typical shounen hero, he’s backed by a quiet and almost unfeeling heroine. While she eventually comes around it’s hard to tell how much he affected her until the end. Hamdo, the antagonist, is not just cruel- he’s insane. He doesn’t care who he hurts, how many he has to hurt, or how brutally he hurts them in order to get what he wants. And his second in command is willing until the end to follow him and make his wishes true.
Virtually everyone Shu meets ends up important to the story, whether he knows it or not. This means that a rather large cast gets very distinctive personalities and behaviours. It’s amazing that they all play important parts in the time they get, and that’s a definite benefit.
While the story is heartbreaking, it’s still well-paced, with everything told in it’s own time. It never feels rushed. Both the sub and dub are good, though the dub can sounds stilted in some places. And the violence depicted never is without a reason, as senseless as that reason is. It’s not done without discretion in what’s depicted.
Violence/Gore- Torture, massacre (very little gore but lots of blood), some graphic death (getting shot point-blank in the heart and head). And of course, showing the mental aftermath of going through that.
Nudity/Sexual Violence- There is implied rape, and the girl does become pregnant because of it. It's implied that other girls are taken and raped to produce more soldiers.
Theological Themes- There is a time machine that takes them through time and space. Lala-Ru is wanted for the power she has over a stone that can create water, which is vital in this desert world. The girl who gets pregnant because of the rape discusses aborting it (ends up deciding against it).
Other Themes- There is some language, more in the dub than in the sub. It's a dark title.