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09 January 2011 @ 04:55 am
"Sasameki Koto" Review  

Introduction: My anime reviews are simply for fun and my opinion of a series.  Therefore, they should be taken light-heartedly. :`)  I do my best not to throw in huge show spoilers either.  I may elaborate, but I won't directly give anything away.  Also, many things about me and this journal have been discussed in the Introduction entry here, if you're interested.  The bolded words in the middle of my reviews have been fully defined in the Introduction or in the Anime Terms entry here .  Lastly, for a full list of anime shows that I am reviewing, visit my Ultimate Anime List entry. Thank you for taking the time to read my Journal!

★ ☆ ★ ☆ ★

"Sasameki Koto" Review

★ ☆ ★ ☆ ★

 

Initial Thoughts: It's not a love triangle; it's a love decagon.  Whoever thinks love is easy should watch this anime.
Setting: Typical high school setting and places shown in slice-of-life animes.
Plot: So... I wasn't planning on reviewing this show yet because I wanted to start posting/writing on more comedic slice-of-lifes like Azumanga and Lucky Star (especially since I start college back soon and my reviewing will be on a hiatus).  However, the shows that I've been reviewing thus far are fairly alike.  Therefore, I figured I'd keep on trucking with the yuri, shoujo-ai, and slice-of-lifes.  I also want to go ahead and post a review while the show is fresh on my mind.  I can tell right now that I'm going to have trouble giving an in-depth discussion on this show.  It doesn't have overly complicated concepts, but it's hard to fully describe because it's so different from any other yuris that I've seen.  I'll do my best though.  There might be some slight spoilers about who each character likes, but it won't be too detailed.  In "Sasamiki Koto", it's hard to discuss the characters without addressing who they like.  I normally wouldn't go so in-depth, but this is the only way that I feel I can discuss this show thoroughly.  If you completely oppose spoilers, then I suggest possibly reading someone else's review.  I won't ruin anything big for you though.

"Sasameki Koto" has a serious case of: She loves her!  But she's in love with that one over there, who's ironically in love with the first girl!  Sasameki Koto translates to "Something Whispered" or "Whispered Words", which is a lot more suited than the name, "Candy Boy", in my previous review. (I conclude this considering that in one episode Ushio whispers something crucial and, may I add, surprising to Sumika.)  If I had to sum this series into one sentence it would be: This is a yuri slice-of-life anime about love.  There's a lot of angsty one-sided love, but there's also actual couples in love as a counter-balance.  On paper, this show has a lot of things in common with "Strawberry Panic!".  However, the tone of the show is entirely different and perhaps more realistic to life.   This isn't an all-girl's school and lesbianism is not the world's norm (which most yuris tend to display).  I praise the show for bringing into light the ostracization young lesbians may feel.  Also, it is in this tone, that I assume is the reason WHY the two main characters have trouble communicating their feelings with each other and to others (as frustrating as it is to watch...). 

There's also no outright fan-service that I can recall, or many on-screen physical displays of affection.  It's still considered a yuri, nonetheless.  Just when you think that "Marimite" wins the award for bluring yuri/shoujo-ai to the point where you think the shoujo-ai can't be stretched anymore without being considered full yuri, this show gives it a run for its money.  If you're unsure what I'm implying, I simply mean the show is somewhat of a yuri tease, similar to "Saki".  Is that a bad thing?  It depends on what you like.  If you like outright relationships and clear communication about their feelings for each other, then this show will probably frustrate you to tears and possible violence (I'm kidding about that last one, but still.)  As a hilarious side-note: One of the sub-characters of this show is a "Marimite" fanatic.  Of course, the manga that she carries doesn't SAY "Maria-sama ga Miteru", but the cover of it and poster in her room is obviously of Yumi and Sachiko.  She also often talks about how love between girls should be kept private.  I'm not sure if that's a shot at "Marimite" or an ironic statement meant to parallel "Sasameki Koto" 's themes, but it's amusing to me, regardless.  Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself.    

The show's two most central characters are best friends, Sumika Murasame and Ushio Kazama.  We follow the show through the perspective of Sumika, so we aren't privy to the other character's inner thoughts.  Sumika is very Tsundere-like as well.  She has dark hair and glasses; she's the class representative, skilled in karate and sports, and intimidatingly tall.  Because she is our protagonist, she is also the easiest to sympathize with and to understand, which is a good thing.  If we were an outsider and not privaledged to her inner thoughts, her actions seem borderline crazy at times.  Ushio Kazama is an opposite to Sumika in every sense of the word.  Ushio, a Genki Girl, tends to be more cheerful, open, clumsy, and blissfully clueless.  Argueably, Sumika can be pretty clueless too...  So what's the main concept of the show?  Well, Sumika is in love with Ushio, but Ushio only likes "cute" girls, aka small, Lolita-like, and Moe, if you will.  She also has no idea of Sumika's feelings.  Sometimes I wondered if Sumika was even aware of the length of her own feelings.  Although, it's interesting to note the change in both of their personalities towards the end of the series.  They both grow emotionally, which is always gratifying. 

We have five more sub-characters that make up the group, they inevitably form.  The little Lolita Miyako and her girlfriend, Tomoe, are probably the most stable couple on the show.  The token straight girl is Sumika and Ushio's mutual friend, Kiyori.  She's the one always eating bread.  Then we have the "Marimite" fan that I mentioned earlier, Azusa Aoi.  (Spoiler about Azusa: I think you could argue that Azusa lives in a "transparent closet" in terms of her own orientation.  She blatantly protests Tomoe's openly expressed lesbianism but is a massively secret fan of yuri herself.  She even self produces a yuri magazine and attends yuri festivals.  Azusa, I think thou protestith too much...ith.)  Lastly, we have Akemi Yamasaki, ahem... I mean Masaki Akemiya.  Masaki is the only main boy character, not that the other characters know it.  He's extremely cute and shy and likes Sumika.  Of course, Sumika only has eyes for Ushio.  Therefore, he cross dresses (quite well, I might add) to catch Sumika's attention.  He cross dresses so often, that his younger sister found out about it and sent some pictures of him as a girl to a magazine.  The pictures were accepted and started appearing in magazines displaying him as the new top girl model.  Ushio becomes a HUGE fan of Masaki, who models under the alias: Akemi, and decides that she loves her. 

So you have Sumika who loves Ushio who loves and thinks Masaki is a girl, who only dressed as a girl because he loves Sumika.  Obviously, mayhem ensues.  Another comedic character ploy is that the "Marimite" manga that Azusa loves is written by Ushio's brother, who's also under a female alias name.  Therefore, Ushio tends to bolt away from Azusa in fear that Azusa will discover that her brother is the author.  (It was stated by Ushio that her brother's publisher asked him to keep his identity a secret because it might hurt sales for yuri readers to know that a male wrote it.)  Azusa tends to flock near Sumika more than the other characters. Therefore, Ushio ultimately distances herself from Sumika whenever Azusa's around, much to Sumika's dismay and irritation.     

That's about as in-depth as I can go without directly giving what happens to them away.  I can say that you would think that a show with a love decagon (or rather a love quadrilateral, if you want to get technical) concept would shoot for a more comedic tone.  Don't get me wrong.  There are some VERY amusing scenes, but there is equally, if not more, drama.  I felt like I was on an emotional roller coaster witnessing this show for the most part.  I'm sure the characters felt the same way since they experienced it first-hand, but I digress.  I also felt a little emotionally drained after watching it.  The unrequited love is a huge card played on here.  That's one of the reasons why I was so skeptical to watch it in the first place.  (That and the fact, that I had a friendship in high school that resulted in being horrifyingly similar to Sumika and her one-sided love angst she carries for Ushio.  And who would want to relive that?!)  The concept of sitting down to watch Sumika lust after Ushio who likes everyone but her does not sound like fun.  However, the show does not present the characters and their actions in expected ways.  Therefore, it makes the series a lot more interesting.  Sumika and Ushio have more depth built into their character, so it's similar to watching real people rather than simply watching one-dimensional hormonal anime characters.  Although, I'm sure hormones had some roll to play in this show.  There is unrequited love, but there is also the emotional maturity and growth that occurs as a character gets older and learns to understand their feelings more.  I do feel like this show captured that. 

Tomoe put it best when she said something like, "I would rather sink in the mud of my love than run from her on a road of thorns."  Love is hard.  Love is messy.  Love definitely makes you do absurd things, but being afraid to even try... can ultimately hurt you more.  The show doesn't end exactly how you'd think it would.  However, I'm pretty sure there will be a second season because the manga is still going strong.  I haven't read the manga, but I've heard a lot of people like it.  I don't think the anime strays too far from it, but I'm not 100% certain.  I do know that a LOT more is covered in the manga than in the anime.  There's more characters, storylines, and there's seven volumes so far.  The manga also discusses Ushio's train of thought... where the anime leaves off.  But similar to the anime, the manga tends to follow the yuri-tease pattern so be forewarned.

Just to briefly discuss the music: I have to say that the opening song and other themes are extremely soothing and nice.  The lyrics are lovely as well.  "Someday together with you, the sky we looked at / Quietly, into my heart, it melted away / the white note paper / the letter I wrote has left without telling me / If I tell you my repressed feelings, we cannot go back. "   I feel as though I'd hear this type of music on "Marimite" or if I was floating on a cloud.  It's sung beautifully.  In fact, I'm listening to theme right now as I write this review.  (Lol!  Oh lord, I'm further alienating myself from my non-anime friends.  I actually don't know anyone to discuss anime with... hence one of the reasons for this journal.)  Anywho, the art on the show isn't that bad either.  I really don't know how to rate the artwork on animes, especially since I haven't seen a lot of varieties of them.  I'll probably only mention the artwork in future reviews if I completely love it or utterly disliked it.  I suppose that's really all I have to say about this show.  I'm going to skip the 'Favorite Quote" section since I listed a quote earlier in this entry.  Hope my review was helpful! 

Favorite Characters: It's hard NOT to like Sumika because she's the protagonist.  On a relating note, that's one of the reasons why so many people don't like Ushio.  Personally, I'm not sure of my feelings on Ushio.  Perhaps if I knew her perspective more, she wouldn't seem so insensitive sometimes.  I'm not sure if Tomoe was suppose to be a popular character, but she's really likeable among fans.  I like her too.  She has the range of being really mature to being a little wacky.  Her driving skills leave a lot to be desired as well.
 
On an ending note: If you want to watch a shoujo-ai with semi-yuri anime that deals with the complications of relationships, friendships, and growing up with a slight humor undertone, then you'll probably enjoy this.  Personally, I grow weary of yuri teases similar to "Marimite".  I'm in search of something with more defined relationships with a well-written storyline in a slice-of-life setting, but it's always interesting to see what's out there as well.
 

★ ☆ ★ ☆ ★ 
 
 
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
 
 
 
shannon j.l.shanejayell on January 9th, 2011 11:24 am (UTC)
An LJ cut might be a good idea. *lol*

I rather liked Sasameki Koto, and it DOES follow the manga faithfully.

In fact, that may be the big problem for the anime, because it takes a LONG time in the manga to chip away at Ushio's obliviousness to Sumika's feelings. It's been 30 some chapters before Ushio finally gets it... *lol*

If you wanna try reading the manga it's here:

http://dynasty-scans.com/reader/series/sasameki_koto
Aniekins: konaniekins on January 9th, 2011 05:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the link! I was definitely thinking about reading the manga. I've read other people's remarks that comment about the Ushio in the manga too. However, if I'm going into it knowing what to expect, then it probably won't bother me.

You're right. An LJ cut would be wise. Lol, but I tend to ramble. Also, this journal is not really a reviewing one as much as a thorough discussion of the show with opinions on the show thrown everywhere. Just an excuse to blab on about my favorite shows, really. Lol! Anyway, thank you for referencing my review in the Sasameki Koto community.
mtranc3: [Chi's sweet home] Play tiems!mtranc3 on May 22nd, 2011 11:59 am (UTC)
Thank you for the review! I do hope there will be a second season to the anime!