Title: The Pet Girl of Sakurasou (さくら荘のペットな彼女)
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Sorata is kicked out of his high-school dorms for keeping a cat, and moves into a small dorm called Sakurasou. It turns out that all the residents, in addition to being uncontrollable and weird, are outstanding in some way: a well-known animator, a scriptwriter, a programmer. A beautiful girl called Mashiro moves in who is an internationally known painter but is so devoted to art that she can't even dress herself, and Sorata is given the job of looking after her. Through her and the other residents, he learns who he is and what he wants to do.
"Hey…What color do you want to be?” – Shiina Mashiro
The theme of this series can be simply summarized by what Mashiro said, What do you want to be? Everyone have their own dreams right? Sometime in our life, we dreamed of being a doctor, a teacher, a engineer etc., those were normal dreams, but admit it, we’ve dreamt of outrageous dreams like being a manga artist, game creator, animator, voice actress, writer or even a programmer. Deep inside those outrageous dreams, we gave them up easily because in our minds there’s this phrase that keeps on nagging us: “I can’t do it” and we end up not doing anything to achieve our dream. Sorata’s story is like that, he had a dream but he didn’t have the guts to achieve it until Mashiro came in and made him realize what he truly wants.
Knowing what you really want is only the first step, but finding ways to achieve that dream would be the hardest part. Sorata experienced that the hard way. He was not a talented person like Mashiro or Misaki, he was simply a normal guy so he really had to work hard. He tried and failed over and over but with Mashiro, since she’s very talented, she achieved her dream of being a manga artist easily. Here enters another theme: Does hard work really pay off? Well, the series answered this one bluntly, sometimes it DOESN’T, but the effort you put in your dream was not all for nothing so if you really want your dreams and aspirations to come true then all you have to do is try again and “Never stop running”, just like what Mashiro said.
This series was crafted from the hands of Okada Mari-san who was able to weave one inspiring story about achieving your dreams with romance as a sub plot, a drama where the audience can relate, comedy to lighten things up and interesting dialogues that reaches your heart. I just love the direction of this series since it was able to mix all those genres without making things a mess since the director knows when he needs to throw in those things at the right time. My only problem I guess was the sub-plot where Sakurasou was about to be closed down, since it was kind of cliché and gave me that ‘been there done that’ feel. Though Sakurasou was able to redeem itself by making that cliché plot as a stepping stone to one heart wrenching and touching ending. Another complain is the way they ended the relationship of Mashiro, Sorata and Nanami they left us hanging and somehow not resolved but gave us some clue with Mashiro finally realizing her feelings for Sorata.
This series have one memorable cast in it and was all nicely fleshed out with their own story/romance tied to the main plot. Sorata was admirable since whenever he makes a mistake, he will surely face those and move forward. I really thought at first that Mashiro would be just there for the fanservice and comedy but heck, I have to admit she is one of the reason why Sorata have become the person he is now. Despite her innocent looks, it seems like she has a deeper understanding of the world and the people around her. Nanami on the other hand plays the best friend of Sorata who is also in love with him. Yup another one of those usual tropes but she isn’t annoying at all and I was able to fell in love with her character because of the hard work she puts on her dream. I’m just a bit disappointed in her since she never properly told her feelings for Sorata, too bad since I’m really rooting for Nanami x Sorata pairing. Oh let’s talk about another typical character archetype, the imouto (little sister), I wonder why she’s even present in the series since she did not contribute at all to the story, she’s just there for the comedy. Misaki and Jin, the childhood friends who both like each other, yep usual archetype but what sets them apart was the action of Jin (I won’t spoil it) which was admirable but quite stupid since his action surely hurt Misaki (and he even know he’s hurting her) but thankfully he told Misaki his plans. Ryuunosuke and Rita was also an interesting pair but their romance was not that well develop to give way to the main pairings development.
J.C. Staff have proven once again that they are still the king of Rom-Com anime. Direction of animation was simply well done from the camera angle, lighting and facial expressions, they really did a very wonderful job in making the scenes dramatic or hilarious, a good example would be episode 21 where the mood is very bleak and Sorata and Nanami are suffering, oh good grief those scenes really broke my heart from the dark lighting, the rain and their faces. Production quality was very consistent all throughout the series and animation was really fluid and background very detailed.
I just have to commend the way J.C. Staff handled the ending of Sakurasou. They’ve mixed in some of the best dialogues in this series and coupled in the memorable scene then ending it with Mashiro’s “Hey…What color do you want to be?” It was simply beautifully done and was very successful in bringing tears to my eyes and feeling a bit melancholic with Sakurasou ending.
“Today we have to say goodbye. Until the day we meet again…” ヽ(´▽｀；)/♪
The OST used in this series compliments the animation and boy were they successful in throwing in the emotion the series wants to convey. Though the OST have done it’s job, it was not ground breaking and memorable. Voicing acting was very spectacular and dynamic in bringing the characters to life. I could really feel the emotion they want to convey. A good example would be Misaki’s genkiness was shown but you could hear the conflict in her voice that despite her happy appearance she is hurting inside. Oh I gotta love Nakatsu, Mariko-san’s performance as Nanami since she could easily switch from the usual accent to a Kansai accent (I find it moe) which really shows how upset she is and gosh that bawling out at episode 21 was really heart breaking (Good job girl!). Kayano, Ai’s performance as Mahiro was also spectacular since despite being a silent and sort of a poker face character you could hear in her performance that Mashiro is capable of feeling. Oh I just can’t stop praising every voice actors in this series.
I love all the OP and ED song of this series but my favorite would be the quirky opening "Kimi ga Yume wo Tsuretekita (君が夢を連れてきた)" by Pet na Kanojo-tachi (Ai Kayano, Mariko Nakatsu, Natsumi Takamori) and the ED "DAYS of DASH" by Konomi Suzuki specially when it was used at the ending of the last episode.
I didn’t expect much from this series specially with that very mediocre and ecchi sounding summary, thank God I happen to pick this up out of curiosity. This series just blew me away with it’s theme and the way it delivered its answer through the story of the characters. When Mashiro said this at the first part of the series: “I’m doing this for my manga, that’s why I’m here. What about you? Why are you here?” it made me ask myself, “What am I doing with my life?” and holy crap that really made me look back with what I did with my life so far. This series made me want to pursue writing again but then it didn’t stop and it threw another statement: “Hard work, doesn’t always payoff. That’s just how life is. Unfair” WHAT? WHAT THE?! Now it just gave me DESPAIR. Thankfully, they’ve wrap it up with: “Don’t stop running. We can go far as we please” simply put if you want something don’t give up and continue running.This series is an emotional and memorable ride that anyone could enjoy specially to those who love the Rom-Com genre.
No, Thank you SAKURASOU that was a very fruitful ride and you manage to move my heart every episode. I’m definitely going to miss you!