Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Sakura Trick (2014): I missed out on the Hanami Season, but this more than makes up for it

Image credit: mikan (ama no hakoniwa)
Provided I can find a suitable image, I should probably start off every single anime review with this meme, the 'special feeling meme'- one of the rare few that I actually like, mostly thanks to the rich context for those in the know, and for the actual effort involved in making in. Yeah, I know. I'm horribly late in jumping on the bandwagon, but hey, I'm a puffed up bourgeois who hates having to take public transport, remember? Geez, I can't believe that I actually spelled bourgeois right in (memory fails me completely- and conveniently, here) my first time using the word three years since graduating from law school. Back on track after that unnecessarily long-winded opening, I am definitely not late in cranking out this 'review' (commentary, more like)- this 12 episode show's last episode aired sometime near the end of March '14. On we go then.

Chew on a little disclaimer first. I picked this show up knowing almost nothing about it. I came in with one assumption only: that it would be a romantic comedy, and I was not disappointed in that sense- there was plenty of both in each episode. I had read some comments on anime blogs (probably episodic review blog Random Curiosity) alluding to a shocker in the very first episode itself, and what a surprise it was. Sakura Trick is a romantic comedy, yes, but the relationships in it aren't your typical male x female, Tarzan x Jane, Dennis Rodman x Kim Jong Un saga of emotional entanglement- the relationships in this show were all of a sapphic nature (google the word and learn some mythology for a change). For those of you not in the know (like I was), don't run away just yet.

Summary time! The main couple in Sakura Trick are high school girls Takayama Haruka and Sonoda Yuu, two best friends who decide to make their relationship just a little more special than everyone else's by doing something (probably) no one else would do- share a kiss. The reasoning behind this is somewhat far fetched but highly dependent on both characters' personalities- Haruka is rather clingy and possessive, and Yuu is... a spoiled kid? I guess it's mostly Haruka's clinginess that set them down the yuri path. This is the story of their blossoming Sakura-colored (hardy har har) relationship.

Each episode was a delight to watch- other writers have covered the fundamentals, so I won't bother (here's a great breakdown on Kotaku). Both the leading ladies were sweet and fun to watch, though I don't think I'd want to date either of them- I did however find myself leaning towards prankster and class rep Kaede. Although I enjoyed each episode (to various degrees), I couldn't bring myself to marathon more than 2 episodes in one sitting- I had to take breaks by mixing in other shows. I usually do this when a show is nice but not really amazing enough to warrant my complete attention for several hours, or when I just want to complete the blasted thing so I know what happens in the end, and so that I can forget about it after (I'm looking at you, D-Frag). Sakura Trick was nice, but somewhat cloying. It's like how chocolate is nice, but you don't gobble 10 bars in one go. I'm assuming that it was the amount of lovey-doveyness on display in each episode. I can't recall how many times the two kissed throughout the show.

Thoughts. That being said it was refreshing watching a romcom where the romance was established from the very beginning, never mind that the people in question didn't really seem to know that they were an 'item'. Them both being of the same sex didn't bother me in the least- not surprising in that I have never given much thought to same sex relationships- it doesn't really concern me much, though I do feel that one should have the right to choose whether they want to be in a relationship with a person of the same or opposite sex, or a dead fish, if they should so choose. I found it charming that beyond the (frequent) kissing, their relationship never took on a more overtly sexual tone- as such their relationship seemed to be based more on their feelings for each other and not just plain lust- kissing aside. There was a fair bit of tension in that at the very least they knew that they might get into some trouble if others were to find out about their relationship. I won't spoil the fun- there was a spot of trouble, though not the sort that you might expect given their situation, and not as serious as I had hoped it would be.

There's no better way for a lazy person to wrap things up than in point-form:
※ Would I recommend this show to my mom/dad/sister? Nope.
※ Would I recommend this show to my guy friends? Probably not. Half of them would be expecting to see some form of sexual intercourse, and the other half would probably go 'eww why are these girls kissing each other'. All of them would probably be thinking "I wish that was me", and I suppose that's fair, but no, I wouldn't recommend this show to any of them.
※ Would I recommend this show to my girl friends? Absolutely yes.
※ Another reason I liked this show, that I forgot to mention earlier on: they're in a co-ed school, but it seems as if the existence of male students is completely forgotten. I rather like this, despite how it would work against me if I were in their school.
※ Would I have liked this show as much as I did if the main characters were all men? I'm not too sure. I'd gladly watch a gender-flipped Sakura Trick just to test that- I wonder if Free! would count.
※ What would be a good title for a gender flipped Sakura Trick? Beefsteak Trip?
※ Three cheers for SBJK, the best acronym I've heard in ages.
※ I want Yuu-chan's daisy hairpins. I've no idea what I'll do with them, but who cares.

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