Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo Final Review [Great]

Not the end, but the beginning.

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.

Category Score
STORY Good
CHARACTERS Great
PRODUCTION Great
ORIGINALITY Good
ENTERTAINMENT Great
OVERALL Great

The Screenshots

OreShura Weekly Update – Episode 12

The beach episode.

Despite being the beach episode of the show, episode 12 actually gives us a lot more than a good look at the girls in swimsuits. The haremettes remain skeptical of Eita and Masuzu’s relationship, thanks to some very unconvincing acts the two put on during the train ride. Previously, it was debatable whether Eita was playing the part purely because of Masuzu’s ability to blackmail him. Here, it’s made very clear that this is not his motivation. Unable to convince the girls, Eita consults Masuzu, and she suggests a nonchalant goodnight kiss in front of the others to erase all doubts about their being in love. Realizing the potential consequences of such an act, Eita protests at first. But instead of forcing him to go along with it like usual, Masuzu does something completely different this time. She actually gives Eita the freedom to decide whether he wants to go through with it, or whether he’ll back down.

As fate would have it, Eita never does get the chance to carry out the act, but we see that he did in fact resolve to do so after a brief moment of hesitation. It’s just that Chiwa managed to unknowingly cockblock him by creating a mood in which such an act would be very awkward. Whatever the case, this is irrefutable proof in my mind that Eita actually does have feelings for Masuzu. Sure, they didn’t exactly get off on the right foot thanks to the whole blackmailing business, but everything Eita has been doing for Masuzu since Saeko shook things up felt genuine to me. He may not have realized it himself at the time, but I don’t believe Eita would left Masuzu even if she returned his notebook. And that’s just as well, because this is exactly what Masuzu offers him when he confronts her after the failed kissing attempt.

But let’s back up for a moment and return to the failed kissing attempt. It was suggested last episode that the rest of the girls have managed to become friends with each other, yet none of them have reached out towards Masuzu. This misconception is corrected rather quickly, as the girls reveal that their scheming was actually to surprise Masuzu with matching cellphone straps for the whole club. This was a unexpectedly touching moment, which took even the usually cold-hearted Masuzu by surprise. And it seems her realization that the other girls consider her to be a friend despite their being rivals is enough to finally push her over the edge. We’ve watched Masuzu sort of mellow out throughout the show. But it still comes as a bit of a surprise that she’s offering to let Eita go, even though this is obviously something that would happen eventually.

Which brings us to the long-running question of how genuine her feelings are. Did she like Eita from the very beginning? At first, I didn’t think this was the case. But the way she warmed up to Eita so quickly has me wondering if her sights were always set on him. As if to answer the question, none other than Mana abruptly shows up. It’s been a while since we’ve seen the feisty imouto, and in fact her last appearance didn’t leave a very good impression of her. Here, we learn that despite her previous poor treatment of Masuzu, she’s actually just a tsundere for her big sister. She also reveals to Eita that Masuzu has lived a lie her entire life, putting on an act just to please her father. This took a toll on her, however, and eventually she couldn’t take it any more and ran away. So what does this tell us? I guess no, she really didn’t have feelings for Eita at first. She’s been acting all her life, and probably thought she could solve her latest problems by putting on yet another act. I personally would have liked the alternate possibility, but at least this one works well for what the show has set up.

We’re left off with Masuzu feeling guilty for everything she’s done and probably thinking that she doesn’t deserve Eita. But it’s pretty clear that Eita has his heart set on Masuzu, perhaps consciously now. So unless OreShura throws us a massive curveball, I’d say the final shipping is set in stone. We’ll likely get some sort of flashy confrontation or perhaps confession at the contest, and the rest will be history. My condolences to the other girls.

Nothing here. This has been my favorite episode of the show so far.

The Screenshots

Maoyuu Maou Yuusha Weekly Update – Episode 11

And suddenly everything happens.

Wow. This episode of Maoyuu sure is packed. Let’s talk about the four main events that take place. First, we have the Merchant’s continuing endeavor to manipulate the economics of the human nations. It turns out his grand plan is to establish the Alliance as a sort of massive trading company in the Southern Nations, using wheat as a currency. With all other trade subject to tariffs through the borders, the Alliance will be essentially hold a monopoly in trade between the human nations. And that’s not all. The Southern Nations being at the border between the human and demon realms, the Alliance will also be in a position to explore the new frontier of trade with demons. Truly, the Merchant has an all-encompassing vision. Where there’s a profit to be made, the Alliance will be there to snap it up.

Moving on, we have the two “wars” between humans. I say this with quotation marks because one of them might not even happen, while the other was more of a minor skirmish. The first is, of course, the war between the Central Nations and Southern Nations. First introduced at the end of the previous episode, the war hasn’t even begun yet by the end of this episode. And if all goes well, it may never begin at all. When Knight told Yuusha to leave the matter of avoiding casualties to her, I was a little skeptical. No matter how good you are at fighting a war, you can’t avoid losing life completely. But I hadn’t even thought about avoiding battle in the first place. I guess technically Knight is fighting a sort of biological war with her providing tainted food to the enemy. But the food isn’t meant to kill; only to immobilize. This is obviously a far cry from armies simply marching up and slaughtering each other, and I have to commend Knight for being able to delay hostilities for at least two days now.

Third on the list is the other “war”. The battle in this one actually did take place, and there have been many casualties (mostly on the “bad” side). This war originates from the enticement of the serfs to move to the Southern Nations (recall the bards). The disgraced general who managed to escape prison attempts to lead a surprise attack on the Iron Country at the behest of the White Night King, who is enraged at the loss of his working class. Unfortunately, he fails just as badly here as he has done with all his other endeavors. Thanks to the strategic planning of another one of Maou’s students, the Iron Country is able to hold its ground against the more mobile cavalry of the White Night Country, who uses archers, traps, and even the terrain to deadly effect. Despite the Iron Country soldiers making short work of the White Night forces, however, the disgraced general is able to slip into the city. I’m sure we’ll see more trouble from him in the future, but I fully expect him to fail again at whatever dastardly schemes he’s cooked up.

Finally, we have the highlight (in my mind) of the episode. While the Winter King is discussing his plan of action with the Maou gang, they receive word that an army of demons is approaching. Yuusha immediately volunteers himself to take care of this threat, as the Southern Nations cannot afford to fight a war on two fronts. As he travels towards the massive force of blue demons, he comes across none other than Mage-Girl, who sends him on ahead to find Maou. Up until now, we’ve not seen very much of Mage-Girl. We see her in one of the very early episodes (perhaps the premiere), and then again more recently when Maou finds her in the library. And I was under the impression that she travels with two other mages. But now it’s suggested that the two other mages might just be alternate personalities? Or perhaps something else entirely is going on that I don’t understand? When Maou confronted her in the library, I thought that there were some magical/dimensional shenanigans going on as the other two mages were only present as reflections. Here, we see Mage-Girl completely switch out with the others one at a time as she lays the law down on the demon army. Just what is going on? The show has completely lost me here.

In any case, the main point is Yuusha’s confrontation with Maou. While everything has been going on in the human realm, Maou emerges from the ritual chamber. And our worst fears are confirmed; she has been completely possessed by the spirits of previous demon lords. Actually, the language that Head Maid uses is “corrupted”, but I digress. Head Maid is sharp enough to catch on pretty quickly, as she observes the images of the evil spirits in Maou’s reflection. Unfortunately, she is no match for the powered-up demon lord and loses an arm during the skirmish, fulfilling the scene that we’ve all been wondering about in the OP. She is able to buy some time though, by luring Maou back into the chamber and trapping her temporarily before Yuusha comes bursting in and destroys everything in his path. And thus Maoyuu very deliberately leaves us off with one cliffhanger of a showdown.

I’m going to go ahead and say that it feels like Maoyuu is really rushing this ending. So much has been going on that it’s getting difficult to keep track of all the events. While it’s obvious that the show has had a clear direction, the presentation of it is such that things appear to be strung together almost randomly. Not having read the source material, I can’t say if the problem lies there, but I’m willing to give Maoyuu the benefit of the doubt since ARMS doesn’t exactly have the best reputation. It’s always a shame when good source material goes to waste thanks to a bad adaptation.

The Screenshots

Robotics;Notes Final Review [Great]

Robotics;Notes shoots for the stars.

Title: Robotics;Notes
TV Series; 22 Episodes
Genre: Sci-Fi
Produced: Production I.G.

I’m actually going to start off with the finale before going on to the review. If you’re only here for the latter, you can click here to get straight to it.

Robotics;Notes wraps things up very nicely, if not slightly too conveniently. I was a little dubious as to whether Super GunPro-1 would be able to win in a straight fight against the Sumeragi, but luckily the fight is anything but straight. Thanks to a few gimmicks provided by Sawada, the gang are able to deflect Sumeragi’s deadly attacks. I suppose while these gimmicks seem a bit deus ex machina, Sawada has technically been working for a long time to stop Kimijima, so they aren’t all too out of the blue. It’s just that his “heel face turn” (technically not even correct since he’s always been the good guy) only took place so recently that there hasn’t been much time for the truth of it to sink in. In any case, Super GunPro-1 holding its ground against the Sumeragi is not quite enough. Sumeragi’s second stage emerging from its defeated first form made me laugh a bit as it was such a stereotypical video game boss development, but that’s all in good fun.

The giant robot battle aside, Kimijima is also perceptive enough to not let a few grunts and a giant robot be his final defenses, as he installs himself as the administrator at JAXA to prevent the cancellation of the rocket launch. Fortunately, as with all victims of possession, Misaki is able to resist Kimijima’s control slightly, shocking the diabolical e-villain. This enables the gang to expose Kimijima long enough for Kai to “shoot” another one of Sawada’s gimmicks, the AR missile, at him. This finally erases Kimijima, freeing up the JAXA computers and allowing Nae to abort the end of the world. More importantly, Misaki’s nightmarish experience as the villain’s puppet is finally over, and she is able to return to being Aki’s beloved, robot loving onee-chan.

All in all, it was a very satisfying ending. The epilogue is also rather inspiring, as it leaves us with several astronauts (suggested to be the robotics club gang) safely traveling to space while GunVarrel looks on. I must say, Robotics;Notes is definitely a character-driven show. But that’s not to say that the story is completely unengaging. The futuristic, yet believable world it builds is very impressive. Most futuristic shows seem to be set far into the future, with unimaginable technologies commonplace. Instead, Robotics;Notes presents us with the near future, with some of the current cutting edge developments being commonplace. This really gets you looking forward to what’s in store for us, rather than what’s in store for our children or even grandchildren, which really gets you inspired and excited.

As well-done as the setting is, however, some of the plot elements are a little questionable. For one, the Committee of 300 is never really developed into a truly believable villainous organization. Their motives have always dumbfounded me, and no effort is made to make them look any less of a bunch of idiots who somehow ended up in positions of power. No better is Kimijima. Unless it went completely over my head, it is never explained why he was so obsessed with completing his experiments and killing off mankind. I understand that the digitized version of him is even more ruthless and obsessed with his experiments, but there’s still little rationalization offered. It’s almost as if we’re just supposed to accept him as a mad scientist whose research just so happens to involve screwing over mankind. Oh, and he’s also charming enough to seduce a group of rich, powerful idiots into helping him. Welp. But as unlikeable as Robotics;Notes’ villains are, the camaraderie and strength of the robotics club gang as they go through hard times definitely makes up for it.

As I’ve previously mentioned, the heart of Robotics;Notes lies in its characters. The dynamics of the gang, their relationships, and how they deal with themselves and each other during rough times are really the most engaging things about the show. It also really helps that all of the gang are so lovable, each with his/her own quirks. We have Kai playing the male tsundere osananajimi, Aki playing the lovable ball of energy that is the genki-girl, Subaru playing the fabulous Mister Pleiades and closet robot enthusiast, Jun playing the cute and timid underclassman, and Frau playing the hilariously awesome wiz with a troubled past. Oh, and we certainly can’t forget the moe-blob that is Airi. And I say this in the least demeaning way possible. Airi is just as important as she is adorable. If you haven’t watched Robotics;Notes and are a little skeptical, you should check the show out before you judge her to be just another moe-blob.

With such a great array of characters, Robotics;Notes has no problem pulling us into the world of the robotics club and their many (mis)adventures. The extended cast of supporting characters also comes into play a lot, with a great deal of drama and tragedy introduced into the show through them. From Misaki to Mizuka to Doc, the supporting characters live up to their name both by providing motivation for and even outright directly aiding the main characters.

Production I.G. has always done a great job making shows look amazing. Robotics;Notes is no exception. There were no obvious animation derps throughout the entire run of the show, and the culminating battle between the giant robots was very well done. Admittedly, the quality seems to suffer a bit in general, but I’m pretty sure this can be attributed to the airing station or whatever encoding shenanigans took place. For a two cour show, Robotics;Notes really impresses me with its capability to continue without any dips in quality. Even Psycho Pass, the other noitaminA slot, had one episode where the animation quality noticeably dipped. Combine this constant upholding of quality with the fact that the show involves animating both small and large robots, and you get the feeling that Production I.G. really outdid themselves.

Audibly, none of the soundtrack really stood out to me. Nor did the OPs and EDs. But this is business as usual. Liking the audio is more subjective if you ask me. As long as none of it is really jarring or unfitting, all is well. And in fact, sometimes dissonant bgm is done on purpose (see Evangelion).

So how would I describe Robotics;Notes in a single word? It would definitely be “satisfying”. The show has a very deliberate pacing, which some people might complain about. I say, you have to go with the flow to appreciate it. Things start off very slowly, which is where most of the complaints originate. But as the show progresses and more is revealed, the pace starts to pick up until it reaches a breath-taking sprint near the end. If it were a one cour, I might be a little dubious as to the successful execution of such pacing. Being a two cour, though, Robotics;Notes can definitely get away with it. That said, I understand that it does take a bit of patience to get through the show in the beginning, and long enough attention spans are unfortunately hard to come by these days. If you’re willing to struggle through the slow start though, I assure you that you’re in for a real treat.

So with that out of the way, let me leave off by addressing the obvious question. Does Robotics;Notes live up to Steins;Gate? I have to say, while Robotics;Notes is no Chaos;Head, it unfortunately isn’t as great as Steins;Gate. Of course, the two shows really shouldn’t be compared to begin with, but I’ll do it anyway just for the heck of it. What does Steins;Gate have over Robotics;Notes? Most definitely, both have very engaging casts of characters. But what puts the former ahead of the latter is the story. Steins;Gate pulls the time travel card, and it does it very well. The only thing Robotics;Notes has in the story department is a conspiracy theory (which Steins;Gate also has), which isn’t very well developed anyway. Yes, there’s also the ongoing effort to redeem Misaki, but I would classify that more as character relations than plot development. But don’t let this discourage you. Robotics;Notes is still a great show. It just has a hard time standing up to the giant that is Steins;Gate, as most other shows would.

Category Score
STORY Average
CHARACTERS Excellent
PRODUCTION Great
ORIGINALITY Great
ENTERTAINMENT Excellent
OVERALL Great

Finale Screenshots

Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo Weekly Update – Episodes 22 and 23

I guess that settles it.

I apologize again for having to lump two episodes into one post. But you’re not here to read about why I’m late, so I’ll get straight to the action. Episode 22 is a whopper in terms of relationships. First, we have the obvious sinking of the Nanami ship. Being a long-running proponent of SorataxNanami, I’m a little sad to see it go. But at least Nanami left the romantic candidate scene with dignity. I could rage a little about how she let her very last chance to make her feelings clear to Sorata slip through her fingers again, but that wouldn’t accomplish anything. Nanami realized where Sorata’s heart lies, and was strong enough to let him go after Mashiro. Hats off to that classy lady. I’m sure her preventing Sorata from reaching Mashiro in time at such a critical moment would also earn her a lot of ire from most viewers, so everything works out well in the end, even if Nanami does get the short end of the stick a bit.

With Nanami finally (and officially) out of the way, the Mashiro ship sets sail with wind in its sails. Sorata’s outright confession to her in an attempt to prevent her from getting on the train was a very powerful and touching scene. For a moment there, I was actually slightly worried that Mashiro might very well leave for no other reason than Sorata’s pleas being drowned out by the passing train. Thankfully, it seems she heard enough of what truly matters, and despite the brief dramatic fake-out the show pulls, the Sakurasou gang remains intact. While Sorata’s feelings are made clear, however, Mashiro still hasn’t clearly stated her own romantic feelings towards him. Sure, she reveals that she also wants to stay with Sorata. But while the sentiments behind such a statement would be fairly transparent in reality, one can never be too sure in the realm of anime.

Moving on, episode 23 continues where episode 22 left off, with Mashiro, Nanami, and Sorata arriving in time for the graduation ceremony. It turns out Ryuunosuke and the senpais never gave up in spite of the failure of the petition, and both parties acted independently to raise awareness of and sympathy for the Sakurasou situation during graduation. Thanks to these combined efforts, with a surprisingly serious and rousing speech from Misaki, the faculty find themselves being seen as the antagonists by the entire student body. Throw in an impromptu vote instigated by the wily Chihiro-sensei, and the preservation of Sakurasou is a done deal. As Ryuunosuke comments, this is truly a very well thought-out, if not simple plan. The Sakurasou residents have earned every bit of their victory, as manipulative as it is when you think about it objectively.

I’d previously voiced my doubts and concerns about how well a “preservation” of Sakurasou would play out, but it looks like the show will be taking the route of brushing it aside. Which is all well, since going into the details of the actual safety of the building isn’t quite the point of the show. With Misaki and Jin moving on, it looks like the finale will focus primarily on Mashiro and Sorata’s relationship, and perhaps leave off with a traditional hotpot party welcoming some incoming freshmen to hit home Misaki’s words to Sorata.

Don’t be alarmed. I’m actually not going to talk about what I think is bad here, but rather what I’ve heard others complain about. I personally think Sakurasou is a great show. In fact, it might well be one of the best shows this season. Some others think otherwise though; and to my understanding, people who don’t like Sakurasou all too much cite how melodramatic it is. I understand that the show very obviously and purposefully tries to tug at your heartstrings, but this realization doesn’t make any of the developments any less legitimate and engaging. If you’re looking for extremely contrived and poorly done examples of drama, just go watch the Little Busters! anime. I originally held out hope that it would be better than everyone expected since people were giving it such a hard time. Now, I know better. But the kind of drama present in Sakurasou is a far-cry from the poorly executed stuff we see in LB! Primarily, Sakurasou spends a lot of time getting us very invested in the characters and their situations. Sure, some things may still turn us off (like Sorata being an ass and not learning his lesson the first time), but all in all, Sakurasou really draws us into the world of these crazy high schoolers and holds our attention. I say, if you can’t come to appreciate Sakurasou’s melodrama, then perhaps you shouldn’t be watching this genre of shows in the first place.

Also notable (and not bad) is the credits song in episode 23: Kyou no Hi wa Sayonara (Today is the Time for Goodbye). Apparently a traditional elementary school graduation song in Japan, my only previous experience with it was in Rebuild of Evangelion 2.0. Maybe it’s just the context from the respective sources, but I must say Sakurasou’s rendition feels more hopeful and even slightly uplifting while Eva’s version felt chillingly dissonant.

The Screenshots

OreShura Weekly Update – Episode 11

Lovers and fakes.

Saeko appears and takes the show by storm. Last time, we saw her call out Eita and Masuzu’s relationship as fake. How she came to that conclusion is explained this episode. As a galge and otome-ge creator, she’s had plenty of experience writing up fictional relationships. As such, she knows best the characteristics of a disingenuous relationship. This is a really nice touch in my mind. Typically, Saeko’s insight would probably be attributed to some vague womanly intuition, but here we actually get a fairly believable explanation. Assuming most people play the games she creates for the relationships of the characters, Saeko really would be in a position to understand the inner workings of love, as well as how to properly present it without making it appear forced. Perhaps Hime might want to consider swapping Saeko for Ai-chan as her “love master”.

Also notable is how Saeko refers to each girl by their respective harem “roles”. I had previously voiced disapproval at how generic OreShura can be, but seeing the show lampshade the stereotypical characters is entertaining enough for me to forgive it. Heck, Saeko even goes on to offer laser-guided advice to each haremette, courtesy of her genre savvy nature. It’s only been the first episode in which she makes a full appearance, and she’s already quickly becoming my favorite character. I guess I’m just biased towards characters who actually have a grip on what’s going on. In any case, Saeko’s sharpness may prove to be a problem to Ai-chan next time. Ai-chan’s insistence on continuing the Michel act is going to be her undoing if she makes the mistake of texting her “boyfriend” in front of Saeko. I’m confident that should this happen, Saeko will not hesitate to expose her, humiliating her in front of the other girls. But of course, all of this hinges on Saeko catching Ai-chan in the act. And it’s entirely possible that Saeko might not go to the beach with the gang. She didn’t meet up with them at the train station, after all.

Moving along, we have the question of Eita and Masuzu’s relationship. Saeko’s diagnosis of everything being too perfectly calculated to be true cannot be disputed. But I have a feeling that something more complicated is at play. In spite of both Eita and Masuzu continuing to refer to each other as fakes, they also try pretty hard to keep up the “act”. Masuzu aside, it’s interesting that Eita doesn’t just ditch her the moment Saeko calls them out. His claim that he’s become invested in the act so they’re in it together isn’t very convincing. And unless he’s got some sort of romantic version of Stockholm syndrome, I’d hazard that he’s unknowingly fallen in love with Masuzu. Masuzu’s feelings, on the other hand, are a little more complicated. I’ll continue to uphold that she really does love Eita, but then what about Saeko’s accusation? Simply put, I believe that Saeko is wrong. Consider the possibility that Masuzu is too complex even for her to see through. Masuzu’s anti-love mask is the true act, and it’s one that’s so tough to crack that even Saeko doesn’t realize it.

It’s all very convoluted when you think about it. Masuzu likes Eita, but all the other guys who worship her would get in her way. So she creates a front of being anti-love to approach Eita. Having gotten into a relationship hinged around a lie, however, she is forced to keep up the act even though she’s finally gotten what she wants. I really like this scenario, and as bad as I would feel for the other girls, having Masuzu prove the genuineness of her love to Saeko might be the perfect way to wrap up this show. And to be fair, Saeko does hint that she realizes there’s something more to Masuzu, but she doesn’t exactly elaborate.

Nothing really. The OreShura is starting to impress me again after a few lack-luster moments. That, or it’s managed to grow on me.

The Screenshots