This week’s Sakurasou lays off the romance and drama in favor of an extended flashback. It turns out Sakurasou is going to to be demolished so the residents are being evicted. Honestly speaking, I found myself wondering how this episode would fare as it was a big change of pace from all the love problem business that’s been going on. Fortunately, it turned out to be rather entertaining and didn’t feel like some sort of filler material at all. Sorata had already been a resident of Sakurasou by the beginning of the show, so seeing his induction into the group of weirdos was rather refreshing. While it had been mentioned here and there in the first few episodes, it feels like we’ve lost sight of just how unique the Sakurasou gang really is. We have the hyperactive Misaki, the playboy Jin, and the shut-in Ryuunosuke. And true to their nature, Sorata’s first experience with them was rather tumultuous, with Misaki mistaking him for a thief. I have a feeling that she actually knew he was a new resident though, seeing as she purposefully hid herself in his closet. In any case, Sorata realizing that he might have bitten off more than he can chew was rather amusing to watch, and the introduction of the Sakurasou traditions (the hot pot welcome parties and meetings) was also a very nice touch to remind us of the bonds between the residents.
Flashbacks aside, the episode concludes with the obvious question. Why is Sakurasou being demolished? No reason is immediately given, and we get the impression that some dirty tricks were pulled behind the backs of the residents to keep them in the dark about the impending demolition. Sorata believed that Chihiro-sensei was in on it all along since she was the one who shooed them out during winter break. But if you ask me, it’s entirely possible that she had no idea herself at the time. Whatever the case, it seems that she doesn’t intend to do anything to preserve Sakurasou. I can see this coming off as her being cold, but it could just be her pragmatism at play. After all, the show took the time to specifically show us her conversation with Sorata in which she declares her principle of avoiding things she hates (i.e. dealing with bothersome matters). Alternatively, it’s possible that she’s privy to information that would lead her to conclude that the demolition of Sakurasou would be for the best. Knowing that they can’t rely on her, the gang decides to take it upon themselves to investigate the matter and prevent the demolition of their home and memories at all costs. Should be a cinch considering their talents; the Sakurasou gang really is a force to be reckoned with.
I’m not sure how I feel about the episode incorporating animation from the first OP. There was also mention of events that take place in the current OP. On the bright side, this sort of self-reference is a nice touch in that it creates a sense of connected-ness. On the dark side, it appears kind of lazy. It’s almost as if the team slacked off on this episode and decided to recycle material (from the OPs of all places). This “recycling” gives the episode a rather short feel, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But it does leave us with the feeling that not much happened (which technically is true). They could just have done a better job of masking the lack of progression.