Anime Review by: Smooched
If I were to stick to my initial instincts, I would have dropped this show already. Why? The opening scenario in the first episode had every possible sign that screamed: code red. It starts out with an annoying and obnoxious girl flaunting her body, situated in a room with a clueless male character. Now that's original. Thankfully, this anime actually progresses into the realms of solid storytelling, with the themes of failure and realism being eminent. The story touches on the insurmountable gap between commoners and geniuses, and explores the relationship between these polar-opposite characters. The drama with all of this, although hard to absorb at times, will perpetually draw you in episode after episode.
For me, watching Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo is like finding a diamond in the rough. The “rough” that I am referring to, would be the dominance of the many crappy ecchi-romance shows in the anime industry. In these shows, the romance is inevitably cheapened by the ecchi aspect of it. Although I am not the biggest fan of the ecchi genre, it’s fine as long as it does not take precedence over the storyline. In addition, the story needs to build up momentum to escalate the romance to its full effect. This show does both, and at a high level. Comedy wise, it was unoriginal and uninspiring after a certain point. The jokes became too reliant on one thing, which was the obliviousness of the female protagonist. Ultimately, this show’s main appeal is the drama and the romance.
The title pretty much sums up this show: translated as “The Pet Girl of Sakurasou”. The main female protagonist, Mashiro Shiina, is that “pet girl”; a beautiful girl with a genius in her. She is a world famous renowned painter and an aspiring manga artist. Nevertheless, conventional wisdom points to the notion that all geniuses are also retarded. In Shiina’s case, she is inept in living a normal life. She needs a caretaker to feed, clean, and dress her, symbolic to a lazy domesticated cat. That is also where most of the ecchi is derived from. A teenage girl who needs assistance in personal hygiene can only lead to one thing. To the author's credit, this is a shrewd implementation of fan service that cannot be overlooked. The male protagonist, Sorata Kanda, is her caretaker. He operates in a different world than Shiina, and fits the expression of Jack of all trades, master of none. He is just a plain and average boy while Shiina is gifted with artistic talent. Can they coexist with each other? The plot screams: DRAMA!
Drama can be good but also bad. It’s bad when it gets overblown. It’s good when it’s realistic. This show falls under the realistic side for the most part. I was intrigued by the prospect of pairing Sorata and Shiina. The character development of both characters comes hand in hand with their relationship. The simple fact that Sorata feels inferior to Shiina creates a lot of hardships, which was well executed throughout the series for the most part. Put yourself in Sorata’s shoes. His feelings are real. His insecurity about himself was magnified by Shiina’s outstanding talents. This often makes Sorata a detestable character because of his random lash outs. The boring characters are always the realistic ones. However, he is a good fit for the main protagonist of this story no matter how much of a sissy you think he is. He is the "balance" to all the crazy characters in this show. Mashiro Shiina is probably the fan favorite, being the clueless, deredere girl she is. Watching her can be highly satisfying and cute, especially when she figures out what love is. She massages the soft spot of many viewers. I am a victim.
The rest of the cast in Sakurasou is good and steady for the most part. The fact that Sorata is not the only important male character automatically deserves credit. My standards are low after being subjected to all the harems that exists in the world of anime. To create more drama, because we can't get enough of it, Aoyama is added to the mix to form a love triangle with Sorata and Shiina. She is more on Sorata’s level in terms of talent and diligence. This makes the love triangle more conflicted, which means more dramatic! What a surprise! There is also the wacky-calm duo in Misaki and Jin to provide a dose of comedy whenever it’s needed. Ryuunosuke completes the group as a shut-in computer nerd that has a phobia for girls. The diversity in these characters makes a good supporting cast.
I have zero complaints over the production done by J.C Staff. Kayano Ai is a perfect match for Shiina’s emotionless personality. There could not have been a better voice actress for her. The coloring scheme for the setting gives off a certain light-heartedness that sits well with me. Other than that, nothing really stood out to my eyes, which is quite a shame since this show is about art.
I didn’t see myself enjoying Sakurasou na Pet no Kanojo initially, especially after the opening scene to this show. “Here we go again” was the thought that popped up in my head, but I didn't cut the knot. You shouldn't either.
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