Title: Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo
TV Series; 24 Episodes
Genre: RomCom Drama
Produced: J.C. Staff
This post comes a little late, so I’ll try to go over the finale very quickly before moving on to the final review. As usual, if you’re looking for just the final review, you can click here.
Sakurasou has a knack for wrapping up its arcs very well. The penultimate episode was no exception. The last of the “save Sakurasou” arc, I really think the show could have acceptably left off there. But as satisfying an end as it would be, ending the show there would still leave something to be desired in the way of character relationships. So in that respect, this finale isn’t just a sort of afterthought, but rather a necessary addition. That said, we have all sorts of farewells in the finale. Rita goes back to England (after hilariously stealing another kiss from Ryuunosuke), Jin travels to Osaka to study, Nanami goes home to convince her father to let her be a voice actress, and Misaki graduates to Suimei University.
But all that’s just a ruse, as some of them return come the new school year. Nanami is able to convince her father; it seems all she needed was to talk to him in person about how serious she is about becoming a voice actress. Misaki moves in next to Sakurasou, dropping the bombshell that she and Jin are now legally married, although Jin might not know this just yet. But congratulations to her anyway. Speaking of Jin, he and Rita are the two who don’t return, but this is understandable. Jin will eventually be back for Misaki, especially since they’re now officially a couple. And Rita has always had the “disadvantage” of being a foreigner. I do wonder if she’ll eventually settle down in Japan to assault Ryuunosuke full-time. I’m sure Maid-chan would certainly appreciate that.
And in addition to the returnees, Sakurasou gets an infusion of fresh blood. We have Hau Hau’s perverted little brother, and an allegedly well-endowed, smart meganeko. As per Sakurasou’s unofficial initiation rite, the two get the daylights scared out of them when they first enter the building. And then they’re treated to the less intimidating hot pot party that’s come to be Sakurasou’s signature. Oh, and I almost forgot about Yuuko. Apparently she actually passed the entrance exam, but she didn’t tell Sorata her real number at the time so that she could surprise him. And boy did it work.
New residents aside, the finale of Sakurasou also addresses the character relationships very well. I don’t think I’ve seen this many kisses in one episode of any anime. Of course, what we presumably care most about is the love triangle that is Mashiro, Nanami, and Sorata. It was looking an awful lot like Mashiro would win over Sorata, as he found himself not too hesitant to give her a kiss. Except he conveniently gets cock-blocked by a cat, and instead gets a consolation peck on the cheek from Mashiro. With nothing “sealing the deal” and Nanami back, I want to say that a particular pairing isn’t really set in stone. And while I’m happy that it’s not completely over for Nanami, I suppose this is a source of frustration for those merely seeking any resolution on this front. It does kind of feel like the Sakurasou is taking the easy way out and leaving things ambiguous, as is too commonplace in anime nowadays.
In any case, Sakurasou truly is a great show. I know that a common complaint is how melodramatic it can be, and I cannot refute this statement. Sakurasou is a highly melodramatic show. It tries very hard to pluck at your heart strings, and it isn’t shy about it. But why does this necessarily ruin a show? Things are nowhere near as conceited and unconvincing as they are in a certain other show about playing baseball. The developments are just perfect; they’re set up very well, and concluded almost too well. I know I’ve thought on many occasions “this would be a perfect place for the show to end.” But not once have I ever asked, “so why is there more?” Sakurasou gets you so involved with the main characters that you really can’t fault it when it goes on to the next arc. In fact, it does this so well that I would say you even look forward to what’s next, despite recognizing that what just happened could be a potential spot to end. And I say, if it continues to do well, why be discontent? It’s not as if Sakurasou is a never-ending shounen. It just so happens to be a two-cour, and appropriately so. I’ve mentioned before that I understand attention spans are getting shorter these days, but 24 episodes of very well-done character development and just pure, unadulterated drama isn’t all too overwhelming. Especially if it’s all broken down very nicely into a series of arcs, each with a satisfying conclusion.
As far as characters go, Sakurasou definitely is a character-driven show. All plot is a direct consequence of conflict and resolution between the many eccentric residents. Not once is there a dull moment in the show. Whether it’s love troubles to success and failure, Sakurasou pulls us into the world of the characters. I will admit, there were moments when I was very disappointed at Sorata’s behavior, but this isn’t enough to ruin the show for me. This is a case where one bad apple does not spoil the bunch. And in fact, if one of these “apples” is frustrated or going through hard times, the others step in to lend it a hand. Or, I guess in Ryuunosuke’s case he might be a tomato instead. But I digress. If you want to get an idea as to what character relationships are like in Sakurasou, you should just listen to this song.
And of course, we also can’t forget the troubled romance aspect. This is probably the biggest attracting factor, as well as the biggest problem with the show. Being a RomCom, Sakurasou obviously sells because of its romance. But I have to say the romance is the most excruciating thing about the show. There have been so many moments where I wanted to face-palm or simply rage. The Jin-Misaki situation, which spanned the entire length of the show, immediately comes to mind. But this isn’t necessarily a deal breaker. Everything is eventually resolved so that you feel happy for the characters in the end. It’s just a sort of test of patience, I guess. The relationship between Jin and Misaki is a very complicated one, and while it felt dragged out at times, I would say that settling things too quickly wouldn’t do it justice. The same applies to Mashiro and Sorata, albeit with more subdued romantic tones, as the show tries very hard to avoid shipping one of the two main girls. If anything, this is the kind of melodrama that I would admit is borderline overdone, so your mileage may vary. It’s nothing that totally ruins the show though, so don’t let it stop you from giving Sakurasou a try.
No doubt about it, Sakurasou is a very beautiful show. The art is vibrant and colorful, and the show even manages pull this off without ruining the mood when the tone of things takes an emotional dip. I also don’t recall any animation derps, which is rather impressive for a two cour. The bgm blends right into the show, and really helps establish the appropriate mood. In fact, I think the bgm fits in so well that we sometimes forget about it completely; we get so immersed in the show that we don’t notice it. Moving on with the soundtrack, Sakurasou also has the distinction of having OPs and EDs that caught my ears. In particular, the second ED is really, really catchy. The fun ED animation also helps, with the line up of characters (and even the building itself) head bobbing ala What is Love, appropriately enough.
Despite its questionable reputation, J.C. Staff has really outdone itself with Sakurasou. I’ve heard that the source material isn’t particularly great, so this might be a rare occasion where the adaptation does better than the source. And considering J.C. Staff is infamous for ruining adaptations, this is like a miracle. Whatever happened for things to turn out this way, I’m just glad that we get this gem of a show as a result. If you’re searching for a RomCom and don’t mind a generous portion of drama on the side, then look no further. I would heartily recommend Sakurasou to just about anyone.