When abandoned kittens and his good conscience force second year Sorata Kanda to move into Suimei High School’s infamous Sakura Hall, the satellite dorm and its eccentric, misfit residents turn his life upside down. The decidedly average Sorata finds it difficult to fit in with the bizarre collection of dorm residents like Misaki, an energetic animator; Jin, a playwright playboy; Ryuunosuke, a reclusive programmer; and Chihiro, the dorm manager, art teacher, and party girl. Sorata's friend Nanami, a second year student and aspiring voice actress, pushes him to find new owners for the many cats so that he can quickly move back into the regular dorms. However, his desire to escape Sakura Hall wavers when the pet-like and infantile second year Mashiro Shiina, a world-class artistic savant looking to become a mangaka, transfers in during the spring trimester and quickly latches onto him. Supported by each other's quirks, Sorata and Mashiro come out of their shells and trigger change in the lives of those around them. Based on the light novel series of the same name, Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo explores the fine threads connecting talent, hard work, romance, and friendship with its ensemble cast. [Written by MAL Rewrite]
Once in a while, it’s nice to be pleasantly surprised. Going into something with a synopsis like Sakurasou, I honestly wasn’t expecting much, but the end result was nice way to finish such a great series like this.
Keep in mind this is my first review. I’m not going to dive into why I picked numbers for each category because I find it pretty repetitive, but more strictly my enjoyment and impressions I have towards this anime. So by all means, I’m no expert in anime, I just watch what seems enjoyable for me.
One of Sakuraou’s most redeeming factors is the atmosphere from the characters/ setting. Sakurasou is not a typical setting like your group of friends or a school club. Our setting is that of Sakurasou, a rather different dorm that is home to individuals that are quite “unique” yet extremely talented. However, it’s in this sense that Sakurasou offers a large and diverse, and while rather cliché, cast that provides a lot of depth and humor.
Most noteworthy is our oblivious and rather emotionless female lead Mashiro, who brings the concept of a girl who has for all her life painted pictures and has no clue how to take care of herself. Her character overall works well with the over exaggerated actions of the male lead in charge of her, Sorata, and provides a humorous dynamic that many slice of lifes lack. The many other residents also play a vital role in this series, ranging from the tsundere friend who also likes Sorata, Nanami, to the random, jubilant, and talented animator Misaki. All of these characters complement the duo rather well, and are accompanied with their own meaningful back stories.
So by reading this far, it seems all this anime would have a rather shallow plot with the normal cliché characters. That’s where I was largely surprised by this anime. I was fearful of this anime just in the sense that it had 24 episodes, which always suffers from pointless fillers that deters viewers from watching it. However, this anime is unique in the sense that it juggles many different ideas and maintains it well.
Although the first three episodes were quite slow and lacked much plot movement, episode four was one of these first indicators that showed that even a show like this can have depth, and displayed drama and development that some series take 12 episodes/finales to reach. The introduction of Sorata’s ambitions at the start to be a game maker contrasts beautifully with Mashiro’s brilliance. While Sorata faces the hardships and realities of being a newbie game maker, Mashiro eases her way to the top as new manga artist. And Sorata experiences those feelings of when somebody is better than you.
Jealously. Hatred. Frustration.
I found it to be quite relatable and understandable. Does one give up if they can’t be successful at something? Or is there something beyond failure? Many of the characters of this series meet this question and ask themselves the same thing.
Sakurasou’s pacing is pretty solid, allowing it to nail its melodrama while also maintaining its comedic feeling. While I’m not a huge fan for melodrama because it’s always overdone and cheesy, I felt a lot of drama in Sakurasou was on-level and believable. The balance of comedy and drama, switching from serious moments to ones full of sexual innuendos and jokes, really helped the pacing out. The comedy is revolved around the character’s personalities, so if you have a liking towards all the characters, you’ll enjoy the sexual and awkward moments of Sorata and Mashiro or the embarrassing outburst of Nanami.
As you would expect, you’re going to have your moments of fan service and perhaps overdramatic moments to the point where it’s silly, but I don’t think it really deters the series as a whole. Yes, sometimes the fan service is a bit silly and unneeded, but as long as we’re not getting panty shots every 5 minutes, it doesn’t affect the series as a whole. As the series progresses into a more serious mood, the quite attractive scenes of Mashiro fade out (sorry if you enjoy them). And yes, Mashiro is a love and hate character. If you hate her, you probably won’t like this series.
End result? Something that catches you off guard. A romance comedy with a unique feel that truly hits home. Great atmosphere of characters and cast, and solid pacing that intertwines comedy and drama. If you’re a romance comedy fan, by all means watch this if you want something with a change of pace.
Sakurasou no pet na Kanojo was quite the ride and I’ll sincerely miss this series. Even though it won’t happen, I’d love a season 2.
Thanks for reading my block of text, and if you survived this far, please leave any comments or criticism on my profile so I can improve my future reviews.