Sakurasou no Pet no Kanoujou – 13

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Sakurasou’s struggle with itself might just be more interesting than anything its characters are struggling with.

OP2: “Yume no Tsuzuki” (夢の続き) by Konomi Suzuki

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[rori] Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo - 13 [880FC81D].mkv_snapshot_00.53_[2013.01.09_10.24.17]Cour 2 (or more accurately, what feels like season 3) of Sakurasou kicks off with an episode that takes us squarely down the RomCom path, complete with the clueless male lead.  I’ve been trying to figure out from the beginning if this show was a formula harem series with occasional bursts of originality and depth, or a deep and inventive relationship series which sometimes lapses into formula.  I suspect it’s the former, especially after an episode like this one, but it’s interesting in its own way watching the show teeter back on forth between its competing personalities.  And there’s always the potential of a “wow” moment happening at any time, which offers some incentive to stick around and find out.

[rori] Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo - 13 [880FC81D].mkv_snapshot_01.06_[2013.01.09_10.24.31]To be honest, after everything we’ve seen in 12 episodes, the notion that Sorata could be this utterly clueless about Shiina’s feelings is a pretty huge lapse into absurdity.  I don’t expect him to be like Gigolo Jin, but it really feels as if he’s been pushed into the role he fills this week in order to drive the plot forward.  As to that, once again we have some more unusual and interesting threads competing with very conventional ones – and the focus on this one was the most conventional of all, the triangle of Sorata, Shiina and Nanami.  We’ve even got the classic dilemma – which girl to se on Christmas Eve?  I frankly don’t see Nanami as an especially interesting character and she seems like the destined loser in this struggle (which may of course end up without any decisive winner, if it follows that formula) but the onus is certainly on Sorata to keep his promise and go to the play with her on Xmas Eve, now that he’s made it.  Even if it’s clear to whom his heart belongs.

[rori] Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo - 13 [880FC81D].mkv_snapshot_01.28_[2013.01.09_10.24.53]The much more interesting element of the series is the notion of normal people trying to coexist and even connect with exceptional ones, and that’s not totally absent here, fortunately.  Sorata has been turned down again on a game submission, and quite naturally this vents in anger towards Shiina for wanting to have an actual life apart from drawing manga.    The talk between Sorata and Mashiro’s editor was interesting, in that each has a sort of vested interest in which Shiina wins out – and the editor, with a lot more experience and maturity (and love of brown foods) says that she prefers to see the Mashiro who acts more like a normal girl, even if it’s a threat to her professional success (though a little cut is definitely overdramatized, there is a genuine issue when artists want to do things like play with knives).   Sorata meanwhile says he’s likes the old Shiina better, though he can’t quite find the word to describe how the new one makes him feel (I think “uneasy” is the one, Champ). 

[rori] Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo - 13 [880FC81D].mkv_snapshot_04.11_[2013.01.09_10.30.15]There’s a lot of interesting stuff going on with that dynamic, and that’s where Sakurasou is at its best.  Sorata clearly feels on-edge about Shiina changing because of her feelings for him – that puts him under a lot of pressure.  The manga-obsessed, clueless Shiina is a much safer prospect – dealing with this one comes dangerously close to demanding commitment.  And there’s the fact that as a muggle, it viscerally infuriates him to see someone who actually has the opportunity to share their talent and be recognized for it have the temerity to think about anything else (like love, even if he’s the object of it).  I see the same dynamic in Kamoshida’s writing, ironically enough.  The triangle stuff and the endless Sisyphean drama between Jin and Misaki feel very safe and manageable, while dealing with the deeper psychological aspects is full of risk.  As such, he seems to keep using the crutch of formula – but if you’re going to introduce those other elements into a series, it seems like a real shame to keep settling for stuff that’s been done a million times already.  There’s certainly a curiosity factor involved in finding out which side wins out, even if the handwriting seems to be on the wall.

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ED2: “Prime Number -Minna to Deaeru Hi-” (Prime number~君と出会える日~) by Asuka Okura

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  1. H

    Yeah, I didn't care for Sorata's cluelessness in this episode either. I almost wish someone else would hit him with the clue bat, or at least use the clue bat to knock the idiot ball out of his hands.

    I agree that Sorata probably prefers the easy to figure out, uncomplicated by feelings Mashiro over the actual girl Mashiro who has feelings for him that she can't really articulate. But I don't know that that justifies at all his jackass behavior in taking his frustrations out on Mashiro. It's not her fault that his idea got rejected, she finished her work, and she's not an automaton, tasked solely to draw on command. She's a person, and should have the same opportunity to grow and live that any other person does.

  2. E

    You mean a spiky baseball bat, right? Straight unto his balls.

  3. E

    I knew. I predicted it.
    Instead of dating Shiina, the romance turn back into stalemate condition.
    Last time we saw him chasing her all the way to the airport, grabbing / hugging, telling her not to leave him, in a supeeer dramatic way. Would you do that to somebody that you think should just keep drawing manga? Obviously not. But this is the case with Sakurasou.
    Looks like MC-kun has a personality / affection reset button, which the author can press any time. Following last week's episode, he should be really grateful that Shiina is constantly looking forward, he should be crying tears of joy when she wants to cook for him. He should take the chance to get lovey dovey with her, just like newly weds. But no. He freaked out when her face is too close to him. He treats her really poorly. He make an appointment with another girl for Christmas Eve.
    What happened here? Is current episode's MC-kun another person from last episode's MC-kun?
    Good job original writer! Good job Mari Okada! If this was cinema, I am on verge of leaving my seat. Who's joining?

  4. H

    Well, I don't think it was quite as much of a step back as you do, because I don't think Sorata had moved that much forward before. I honestly don't think he's thought about *love* with Mashiro, just that she should do what she wants to do, and that he wants her to stay around. If he knew he was in love with her, then it wouldn't fit at all that he wouldn't accept her feelings of love for him.

    Mashiro's in love with Sorata, but doesn't quite know what it is. Nanami's in love with Sorata, but can't work up the courage to outright tell him. Sorata likes and is friends with both Mashiro and Nanami, but doesn't really think about love (although what high school boy *doesn't*?) with either of them, and is too dense, for plot or inexperience or whatever reason, to realize that they're both in love with him.

  5. I don't know it could have been any more clear after episode 12 – not that it wasn't before – that Sorata is in love with Mashiro. The problem is in episode 12, he acted as if he were 100% aware of it himself. That's why his behavior this time represents yet another plunge into the depths of cliché from a series that really can do better.

    I actually liked his outburst at Mashiro for wanting to focus on other things besides her manga (like him). It was unfair but it felt very real, and that side of the story is the least formulaic part.

  6. V

    It might've been realistic but the guy hasn't made any progress in conquering his inferiority complex. Like you said, all the 'touching' sentimental drama that took place in episode 12 seemed like it never happened. Only the other day, he was running breathlessly to stop her from leaving, and now that he failed the selection process, he pitifully takes it out on Mashiro when she's trying to understand the changes she undergoing.

    And of course the next episode will be filled with yet another predictable cliche because its clear as daylight, which appointment he's gonna keep.

    I'm so dropping this.

  7. E

    There's the button.
    Personality reset button.

  8. A

    After I watched this episode, I got the sudden urge to hit Sorata. What a jerk.

  9. S

    wow. I wish this anime took a few pages from Ano Natsu. A romance isn't boring just because both of them are aware of their feelings, god. This is not the way to uphold interest. not at all. Fuck that. I'm dropping this

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