Sakurasou no Pet no Kanoujou – 06

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That episode didn’t do much to clarify my uncertainty over what sort of series Sakurasou intends to be over the next few months.

I might be swimming upstream on this, but the Nanami arc felt like a step backwards to me.  It’s not so much that the last couple of episodes were more serious than the first four, which dealt with some pretty dark emotional baggage, but these felt heavier somehow.  There was an air of predictability to Nanami’s situation that was largely – though not totally – absent from the episodes centered on Mashiro’s adaptation to life in Japan and Jin and Misaki’s dysfunctional non-romance.  No series has an obligation to present material that hasn’t been done before, but for me at least Sakurasou certainly felt fresher and more compelling when it was doing so.

I suppose the most practical question would be this: do we have a triangle centered around the main character, or don’t we?  It’s certainly beyond doubt that Nanami is interested, as illustrated in her pal Torajirou’s admonition to “get him on the bed already”.  But so far, she’s the only corner of the triangle that’s expressed an overt interest in anyone – Sorata and Mashiro are still in the anime self-denial stage.  I don’t think there can be any question that Mashiro has strong romantic feelings for Sorata – though I very much doubt she has the emotional vocabulary to frame that verbally – and he seems to reciprocate.  Neither one of them are expressing their feelings very well, but Mashiro has the better excuse – she’s patently helpless in any and all practical affairs.  Sorata’s is simply that he’s an anime character.

Personally I hope the series doesn’t go in the traingular direction, because there won’t be a whole lot of suspense about how things are going to end up.  Chronicling Sorata and Mashiro’s relationship once they start dating seems a much more fruitful path to follow, and even better would be to focus on the odds and ends of the odds and sods in Sakurasou rather than a main character romance at all.  Jin and Misaki are already quite an interesting pair, and Ryuunosuke has the virtues of being a virtual unknown, a confirmed oddball and the voice of Horie Yui (eventually).  It’s that question that nags at me just about constantly with this show – how much is it going to think outside the box, and how much will it remain trapped inside it?

I think the real acid test for Sakurasou is going to be quite straightforward – what kind of growth will we see from Sorata and Mashiro, whether as a couple or as individuals and friends?  Nanami isn’t my favorite but she’s not so bad that she presents a real obstacle – she’s just the most conventional anime character in the cast.  With Sorata at least we’re seeing a growing focus on trying to better himself and find a path in life.  Mashiro is a bigger problem, I think.  Right now she’s cute, completely brilliant at a couple of things and hopeless at everything else.  Her personality is a bit of a suspend-disbelief affair but at least it’s interesting – now I want to see her actually learning how to function as a member of society (or at least one small, very weird piece of it) rather than relying on others to do everything for her.  I’ll withhold judgment on Yuuko (Ogata Yui), who was introduced after the credits and who I assume is Sorata’s sister.  The waters the series is sailing into with that character are riddled with some very obvious mines, but I’m not going to assume the worst – Sakurasou is certainly well-written enough at its best to avoid most of them.

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  1. J

    Think you nailed it in the last line. This series has the potential to go south really really quickly, even though it hasn't just yet. I'm not saying it's a disaster waiting to be happened, but the past experience isn't too kind. I really want to believe that this series is something special.

  2. S

    Yeah, that last line was golden. Even though I thought the "DADAN DAN DADAN!" was cute, I'm assuming worst case scenario. We had a glimpse of a telephone call with her before and it's going to be bad: Screaming moe witch with brother complex where the brother is playing the forever "-sigh- hai, hai" song. Probably letting some spoiled brat terrorise all viewers for shitty and overplayed misunderstanding TsunTsun scenes.

    God damnit, why isn't the series more like R;N?

  3. k

    R;N? No that's just as bad or even worse, in a different way. Try SSY, Uchuu Kyoudai, or Jormungand if I want to quote a greatness.

  4. k

    if "you" want to quote a greatness.

  5. k

    Yep, I also think that this show is starting to bug with the drama-queen pseudo-serious plot (ep 3 was tolerable, but this?) and moe-girl device (I shudder at that preview). Nanami crying fit (voice acting was terrible, BTW, ironic since this character is trying to be anime voice actor in this show) and all the drama queen stuff really didn't work.

    I really don't get this girls posing all cute in front of camera in anime for the sake of being cute and nothing else (the fact that I don't fine these desperate camera posing Japanese anime cute girls cute at all and annoyance fills inside of me is for the topic for another day, sigh~~). Poor me, since this moe-girl thing is apparently so popular that it's almost a requirement for most of Japanese anime productions follow.

  6. H

    Is any anime crying ever convincing? I certainly don't think so. It always sounds just badly faked.

  7. S

    @Highway, true! I do think it's only credible with a real human face. There's so much unattractiveness and weird body noises going on while crying and the face just need to match the voice actor performance.

  8. k

    Well, I think silent crying, whether it's angst crying or not, does work sometimes, even on 2D anime. But ugly bawling-my-eyes-out crying? Of course, that never really works on anime. Voice actors are not exactly oscar winners and they just fake-cry into the microphones in cold recording studios for all I know. (BTW, I thought crying fits in Honey & Clover were mostly convincing and definitely tolerable & never eye-roll inducing, but that's probably my bias talking since I liked the show very much, ha ha).

  9. Highway – Miyu Irino in Cross Game, at the matsuri in the "What am I supposed to do now?" scene. If you've seen it you know what I mean.

  10. H

    Enzo, nope I haven't seen that (I still consider myself a new guy to anime, it's been just over a year that I've been watching it, now). I wouldn't be surprised that it *can* be pulled off, it just almost never is. One that I thought was probably closest to reality was Sana in Mashiroiro Symphony.

    And yeah, it's not just tears I'm talking about, but really the all-out bawling "WAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH" kind of stuff. Usually, at best, it is unconvincing and mostly tolerable, but it's so easy for big crying scenes to get narmy. And what gets me is that it's usually so unnecessary. It's a trope about what people think emotional crying ought to be, not what it actually is.

    And for all that we're discussing this in the Sakurasou thread, I thought Nanami's crying was much better than Komari's in Little Busters. But then there was almost nothing I liked about that whole arc.

  11. h

    "I also think that this show is starting to bug with the drama-queen pseudo-serious plot (ep 3 was tolerable, but this?) and moe-girl device (I shudder at that preview)." — kenny

    Note that both episodes 3 and 7 are written by Sakurasou's original author, Hajime KAMOSHIDA. The irony!

  12. H

    I still find Jin and Misaki's so-desperate-to-be-a-couple relationship about the most compelling thing in the show. Seeing that more 'normal' side of Misaki, that she wants to be almost an ordinary couple with Jin, but obviously doesn't know how to just ask him, or maybe it's that when it comes to interacting with Jin she just can't calm down like she can with Sorata, so she just gets hyper. You even wonder if Jin even knows she has that kind of side to her, since as perceptive as he seems to be about people, he likely never sees it from Misaki.

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