Literally my reaction to the final volume of Sakurasou.
Obviously, don’t read this post if you don’t want to get spoiled. But I’m actually going to assume that if you clicked on this post, getting spoiled is your intent. You can’t be bothered reading through all that squiggly Japanese text yourself. (The last volume only came out a couple of weeks ago anyway.) Well, ask and ye shall receive. I will spoil the ending of Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo just for you.
Or maybe you actually have read the novel and you just want to pick flaws in my rant. That’s cool – I’d love to discuss this with someone who’s also read the novels.
For the rest of you, I’ve chosen to translate a few pages here and there to give a bit of an indication of how the plot goes. In case you can read Japanese and you want to cross-check it with the original, I’ve uploaded scans from the novel, which you can click to enlarge. So you can see I’m not making any of this up. Translation might seem dodgy, though. I’m open to critique.
Edit: To those readers who asked questions, I’ve added the answers to this post.
Q. At what volume does the anime end?
A. Volume 6. Volumes 7-10, which are not translated yet, are the ones that finish the story.
Q. So what happens?
Q. Be more specific?
A. The Best Girl loses.
Q. So, it was a Sorata x Mashiro end?
A. Indeed. Here is your confirmation:
Unable to contain his emotions, Sorata quickened his step. “I love you, Mashiro!” he declared. By then, he was practically sprinting.
Mashiro broke out into a dash too. She tripped over her own feet, she stumbled, she seemed close to toppling over – and all the while she ran frantically. She ran towards Sorata. Reaching for him, she thrust out her arms. Earnestly, single-mindedly, as if she was possessed…
In the end, she dove at him, burying herself against his chest.
At first, Sorata somehow managed to catch her and hold her in his arms. But soon his knees gave out and they fell backwards to the ground, still caught in their embrace, right in the middle of the church.
Q. When was this?
A. The ending of volume 8. Sorata is made to choose between Nanami and Mashiro. After being a dickhead and ignoring Mashiro completely for the first 5/6ths of the novel, he decides that he loves her and they start dating as of volume 9.
Q. What happens to Nanami?
A. She is put on a bus and barely ever mentioned again.
To be more specific: Nanami leaves at the beginning of volume 9, so this is almost immediately after Sorata and Mashiro get together. The novel explains it like this:
“Nanami, who ran away from home to become a voice actor and who worked hard at her part-time job to make a living, was breaking the rules for not going back to the regular dorms. For that reason, she was expelled from Sakurasou.”
So the story here is that she’d been breaking the school rules ever since she got her parents’ financial backing at the end of the anime and she finally got caught out on it.
She also cuts her hair in the last volume, indicating that she has gotten over Sorata.
I have to say, after being such a major contender in the first half of the series, it is really disappointing seeing Nanami drop off the face of the planet like that. But whatever.
Q. What happens to the other pairings? (Jin x Misaki, Ryuunosuke x Rita, etc.)
A. Jin and Misaki remain happily married. Rita is still ineffectually chasing after Ryuunosuke, even in the epilogue set four years after the main timeline. Their relationships are completely static. There is no development.
Q. What about the newcomers to the dorm who were introduced in the last episode? Do they get any backstory?
A. They do.
Left is Iori, a musician. Right is Kanna, a novelist.
Iori is an easygoing perverted guy who seems to like all hot girls except for Kanna, but as we all know that actually means he secretly likes her. Kanna falls in love with Sorata.
By the conventional definition of a harem (3+ girls interested) this means Sorata is a harem lead character now. Yeah.
Q. Do Iori and Kanna ever get together?
A. It’s ambiguous. I personally would like to think they do.
Q. What happens to Chihiro-sensei and Kazuki (the game developer guy)?
A. They are not mentioned in the epilogue.
Q. Do Sorata and Mashiro kiss?
A. Mate, they do more than kiss.
Sorata was no longer the ignorant boy he had once been. He felt the atmosphere keenly, and it told him what he wanted to know.
The timing was now.
Gingerly, he placed his hands on Mashiro’s shoulders. She trembled in reaction. And then, without any hesitation, he bent over slightly and kissed her. As their lips met again and again, they collapsed on the bed, where their fall was broken by the mountain of clothes swathed all over the sheets.
Resting on her back, Mashiro gazed up at Sorata with misty eyes. Their hearts were each thumping with the same frantic beat.
Mashiro was beautiful, Sorata thought, so irresistibly cute and loving. He wanted to hold her in his arms and possess her.
Q. So… they do it?
A. It is strongly implied at the end of volume 9.
There is also a “morning after” conversation which they have in the beginning of volume 10:
“It’s cold,” Mashiro mumbled drowsily in complaint.
“That’s ‘cos you were sleeping without any clothes on.”
Intending to wake her up, Sorata pushed Mashiro’s forehead away from where it rested against his body.
“Nrgh…” At last, Mashiro opened her eyes. She looked at Sorata, blinking in surprise. “It’s cold.”
Unfortunately, waking her up did not progress the conversation. Once again, Mashiro cuddled up against Sorata’s body.
“P-Put some pajamas on already! Why are you butt naked anywho?!”
“It’s your fault.” Her condemning eyes seemed to look right through him.
“Oh really now. Let’s hear your reasoning.”
“You took my clothes off.”
“Urk! Ahem!” he spluttered.
“Do you have a cold?”
“No! It’s because you said something weird!”
“It was the truth.”
“W-Well, that may indeed be the case, but I clearly told you to put pajamas on before you slept, remember?!”
“Let’s go over this again, why are you naked?”
“I couldn’t find my panties.”
“Oh? Hm, isn’t it somewhere around there…?”
“You took my panties off.”
“Oh, right! I’m the last one who touched them!”
Q. Has Sorata really turned into such a pervert?
A. Yes. It’s disconcerting how his personality seems to have done a complete 180 last time I checked.
“Do you really want to have sex that much?”
“Is that the only thing you want to do?”
“N-No way at all! I-It’s because I love you that I want to do it with you! So don’t say I only want to do that kind of thing. Definitely not!” he insisted vehemently. He was truly frantic, and his desperation seemed more awkward and unsightly by the second.
Mashiro was unimpressed.
“I-I love you, Mashiro!”
“You love my body?”
“All of it, I mean all of you! I love everything about you, Mashiro!”
Silence. It was clear she was waiting for something.
The silence continued.
Mashiro looked at him expectantly. He figured she wanted him to repeat himself.
“I love you with all my heart and soul.” Slowly – and clearly – he put his feelings into words.
Blushing slightly, Mashiro smiled.
Q. So what happens at the end of volume 10?
A. Sorata and Mashiro break up. They realise that even though they love each other, their relationship is too destructive and he can’t achieve his dream as long as he’s comparing himself to Mashiro. Their breakup is amicable and strongly resembles something out of a ’90s Korean drama.
It was just too unbearably sad… Even while they still loved each other, they thought it was best if they parted ways.
Her tone was warm as she responded to him. “I think that’s for the best.” He was in love with the sound of her voice.
The wind sighed. The air, still cold, numbed him to the very core.
He said nothing to her.
“Then I can support your dream, Sorata…” The side of her face seemed only slightly scrunched up in pain.
“Good luck with your manga,” he cried out. The words poured from his heart.
“Yes. You work hard too, Sorata.”
It was then that he saw the smile hovering over her lips, radiating with utmost, gentle kindness. It was a look he had never seen up until now, the greatest of her smiles.
Q. … But they get back together in the end, right?
A. Of course. The next chapter skips ahead four years and suddenly Sorata is a COMPETENT ADULT whose growth process we never actually got to see. His reunion with Mashiro plays out like so:
“Mashiro,” he called out, turning to face her.
“What is it?” Mashiro turned her body towards him too.
“I’ve always loved you for these past four years.”
She said nothing. Her eyes widened in surprise.
“I’ve loved you for more than four years.”
Gently, he held out his hands.
“We might fight again.” Mashiro held her own hands close to her chest.
“Yeah.” She was right.
“We might have hard feelings again.”
“Yeah.” She was right about that, too.
“We might hurt each other again.”
“Yeah.” She really was right about all those things. “Even so…”
His feelings, four years budding, were opening up like a flower in bloom. It was as if time itself flowed in reverse, turning the clock towards a moment that had passed years ago.
“What is it?”
“I think we can overcome it this time.”
When he looked back, those four years overwhelmed him. In that time, he felt as if he had become somewhat more of an adult.
Looking at Mashiro like this now, he thought, was all the proof he needed to believe that this was a new beginning. He wanted to hold those emotions to heart. And he wanted her to know all about these feelings that had assailed him when they reunited. Hopefully, he was not alone in this.
Mashiro’s eyes were slightly downcast. She said nothing. There was nothing to say.
She merely extended her hand slowly and held Sorata’s hand in hers.
Q. Do they have a sketch or a picture of the grown up Mashiro and the others?
There’s this picture from the very last page of the book:
That’s about it, really.
Q. Was Sakurasou always this painfully cheesy?
A. I don’t even know, man. Probably.
Q. Do the characters achieve their dreams in the end?
Yes, they do. In the ending, we’re told that they’re all working hard to achieve their dream but they’re making real progress. Sorata’s game designs are getting steadily more popular and Nanami has had a couple of voice acting roles. Mashiro’s manga is widely regarded as a classic. We’re not told much about the others, but we can assume they’re successful.
Q. Do you still like Sakurasou?
A. The anime, yes. Spoilers for my year-end favourite anime list: It’s going to be number one.
Q. How would you have done the ending differently?
A. Oh man, I came up with such a tldr; scenario for this, I don’t think I can summarise it adequately here. But to cut a long story short, I would have focused much more on Sorata’s growth process as a teenager and would not have resorted to the four years separation thing. In theory, I do like the idea of having to grow as an individual and learning to love yourself before you can love another person. The way it was done here was just a copout.
Q. Do you want a second season for Sakurasou?
A. No. Fuck. NO! It’s good the way it is.
If you feel differently from me, however, there’s an online petition you can sign, although it feels more like a declaration of interest among fans than a practical means of securing a second season.
Q. Is there a translation for the novels?
A. Yes, there is one on Baka-Tsuki. I much prefer Nano Desu’s version, so while it is on hiatus, I think it is a great starting point. (Link)
Q. What about volumes 7-10? Do you plan to translate the novel yourself?
A. Unfortunately, no. I’ve already got my hands full translating Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru. Please feel free to click the link and read what I’ve done so far. It’s another series that I really like and the light novel isn’t half bad. So if you’re interested in reading light novels – check it out.
Q. Are there a lot of big differences between the plots of the anime and the novel (besides the ending that was discussed), or are they just small details?
Mostly, only small details are changed from the light novel in the anime, but in general:
- the dialogue is severely cut down
- some scenes are rewritten, usually to place greater emphasis on Nanami’s role
Q. Any general comments about the light novel?
A. I think in general the light novel is an inferior product to the anime. The content is much dirtier, the characters spend ages talking about oppai and pantsu and doing jack shit with their lives, the prose is repetitive and the plot is cheesy. It’s not just my translation that made it sound like a bad romance novel. It is a bad romance novel.
The anime was able to take the best elements of the light novel and make them shine, but even then, I admit it was hampered by serious directional flaws.
I have this to say about the novel, however: it has the distinct strength of being an easy read. You don’t need to be that good at Japanese to understand it.
I am disappointed with the ending of the light novel, but at the same time I do admit it’s not out of step with the feeling of the series. It’s merely stupid, but not deserving of rage. There were so many smaller moments of the characters not acting like themselves and the general stupidity with which the romance subplots were handled, and not to mention the whole “talent versus genius” aspect – the main fucking draw of the series – was completely overlooked by the end, but when all is said and done, I guess it was okay…
No, what the hell am I talking about. This sucked. I spoiled the ending for you just so you wouldn’t have to read it yourself. Please be happy.
If you have any further questions or comments one could reasonably have about the LNs and the ending of the series, feel free to leave a reply on this post.