(This post is part of a series of posts covering Christmas-themed anime episodes. For more posts like these, check out the 12 Days of Anime tag.)
Hi, I’m that blogger who spoiled the Sakurasou light novels. The angry tears I cried over Nanami getting shafted could quench the thirst of thousands of 4channers. My rage might not be comparable to Captain Garlock’s, but I was still pretty riled up about how this show treated Best Girl Nanami.
Two years later, I decided to rewatch the Christmas arc in Sakurasou (episodes 13 and 14). I realised I was a masochist. Time did not ease my pain. Rewatching Sakurasou only made my heartbreak worse.
WHY DID I DO IT? WHY IS SORATA SUCH A DUMBASS?!
Okay breathe, Froggy. Breathe. Let’s start from the beginning.
Sakurasou is one of my favourite anime. I think it came at a very timely moment in my life. I was a jealous and insecure twat who couldn’t stop obsessing over this girl I thought was better than me. In other words, I was an awful lot like Sorata.
Rewatching Sakurasou has made me realise that while I’ve changed a lot in these past two years, Sorata never did. All of the character development he receives is reset by the next arc. The Christmas arc is a particularly egregious example of this, where we’re treated to the exact same drama that we saw in episode 8. Except this time, Sorata is more of a grouch who verbally abuses Mashiro and refuses to see her as anything but a perfect artist who must always be a slave to her work.
The resolution to this arc is particularly odd. After berating Mashiro for going out of her way for him, he tells her to keep being a drawing machine because that’s the side of her he loves. Now, one could interpret this scene as him being dishonest with himself. He tells himself that he’s only in love with Mashiro’s artist side because loving her girl side would distract him from his ultimate goal. Therefore, his confession is only half-baked. But the way this scene is shot and framed, with soft romantic lighting and tinkly piano music in the background as he embraces her, sends a conflicting message.
The weird thing is, I actually really enjoy watching Sorata and Mashiro interact as a boke/tsukkomi duo. (The cooking scene in episode 13 was hilarious.) But I dunno. Seeing them try to get romantic really gives me the shits since it’s so clearly an abusive relationship.
Sorata is a whole lot nicer to Nanami, predictably. Nanami made this arc a whole lot easier to swallow by being such a Best Girl. Seriously, how can you ignore such cuteness?
It’s not just that Nanami is a superior romantic candidate to Mashiro. Nanami is a really cute anime girl. I love her voice actress (Mari Nakatsu, who must have the cutest kansai accent ever), she looks great with her hair down, she works hard and she’s kind. I’m a big fan of the non-violent tsunderes who are merely awkward at expressing their affections. Nanami fits that archetype to a T. She’s dere almost 100% of the time.
In the end, she’s precisely one of the reasons Sakurasou’s Christmas arc is so frustrating to me, though. Seeing a girl who clearly deserves so much better than Sorata be led around by the nose is nothing short of heartbreaking. Then I inevitably get angry at Sorata once more.
Still, I can say that I did like these two episodes overall. The frustrations and the teen angst is part of the rollercoaster experience that is Sakurasou. As misguided as the messages of this show may be, I think ultimately it has its heart in the right place. There’s no doubt to me that every note of this series was sincere and that everyone involved in the project put their heart into it. The fact that it can make me feel so much is a great thing. I think I will always love Sakurasou, no matter how many years go by.
And to finish off, here’s a picture of Misaki in a skimpy Santa outfit.
“There’s no doubt to me that every note of this series was sincere and that everyone involved in the project put their heart into it.”
Some of them even put in some unexpected samgyetang into it ;).
And here we have the reason Sakurasou never got a second season!
Well i don’t think she really had much competition anyway. She’s the only girl i think that can be qualified as “normal” in Sakurasou.
Being normal doesn’t mean you’re the best character! Sorata is the most “normal” and he’s crap XD
I totally agree with you. Characters so great and well written like her make me more and more uncomfortable with the flood of MC that are thick as a brick and just plain unbelievable. sorata is a good lead, don’t get me wrong, but in these kind of anime the MC is portrayed with such traits and make them take decisions that are just not believable.
I personally feel more comfortable with the way Andou Jurai from inou battle is being portrayed. He’s still thick but he’s very honest and I can relate to most of what he has done.
I think Sorata is flawed in a very realistic way, but the fact that he never seems to take the lessons he learns to heart is very frustrating. I empathise with him, but he’s written poorly. Andou’s certainly a better person than Sorata will ever be, though. Definitely.
Doesn’t Andou feel artificial for you, though? I can see exactly what the author wanted Andou to be – pure enough to be seen as a fool by the society, but therefore perceptive about the things the society is wont to forget – but the delivery feels fishy to me. Try throwing around some of Andou’s serious quotes (not the chuunibyou ones) at the people around you and you might not exactly get the oh-my-god-so-deep reaction Andou seems to get every time (I won’t even mention girls falling for him after those lines).
Sorata was a petty guy a lot of the time, but that just made him feel more real. He does show how an inferiority complex can twist our perception of things and lead our decisions in all the wrong directions..
I can see what you mean. I definitely relate more with Sorata. Andou’s a nicer person but an idealised character overall. I did like Andou’s characterisation a lot in the first couple of episodes, but I get the feeling the show has been overplaying its hand lately, so his characterisation doesn’t ring as genuine.
On the other hand, I think Sorata’s character development is poorly articulated, probably more so than Andou’s, to be honest…
I see your point. Yet I think this artificial portrayal of characters is a consequence of the need to move the plot and dynamize the interactions between the girls and Andou. Yes, the directing could have been better and Andou seems far to emotionally sharp for what is convenient for the plot, but this is a story with a timeframe.
I don’t consider myself very anime literate at all, but of all the series I have seen, this portrayal of MC is the most apropiate. Not best, nor believable or realistic, just apropiate.
Just my opinion :)
If viewers can see the meta reasoning (budget, time constraints etc.) behind a show, it’s usually a sign that things could have been done better. Since the staff has complete control over the world and characters they create, good pacing and natural characters shouldn’t really be an either/or thing – you can have both. But I can understand your position in a “lesser evil” sense.
I never get tired of these “Augh this series is so flawed….I love it so much” posts.
Sure, pure praise or pure critique posts can be more interesting, or more fun, but affectionate critique or frustration borne from affection really gets at the personal truths of why we’re all in fandom in the first place. Nearly every other form of post can be spun from an emotional distance for the sake of “better” writing, (a more coherent argument/interpretation, a complete stream of snark, undiluted squee) but they don’t reflect that we’ve stayed in a certain fandom through the bumps and bruises out of true emotions.
It’s not even the “I love even their flaws” fresh passion, but golden old-marriage “that one habit of theirs drives me NUTS” without a thought of divorce. How much more romantic can you get!?
Wow, I… never realised my feelings about Sakurasou were so romantic. I-is this how it feels to be married to a cartoon?!
But anyway, yeah. I think the stuff I like to read (and write) the most are about ambivalent feelings. This applies to fiction and non-fiction. Ambivalence is such a human feeling, especially when you get the impression that the author is grappling with themselves and can’t come to any easy answers. I think it’s in such moments where something like “true love” comes through? It’s such a humbling and inspiring feeling to me.
And then there’s the “old married couple” dynamic people can have with their fandom and their favourite shows, which is what you talk about specifically in your comment. That’s always great.
Would you like to rewatch Sakurasou at some point?
I also doubt anyone is going to disagree with you. I cannot say I remember reacting to the hugging scene, though. Or perhaps I thought it was conflicting too and just forgot about it. I do remember the resolution being a bit frustrating, however. Still, I cannot help but agree with arbitrary_greay above and say:
Grahhhhh Sakurasou is so flawed but I cannot help but love it.
Yep, I’d like to rewatch all of Sakurasou at some point. I’m planning to do so sometime next year.
THIS A THOUSAND TIMES OVER
Nanami (wasn’t looking at my keyboard and initially wrote Babanu >.<) will always be best good. I don't even think there were other candidates in Sakurasou.
Sorata was always going to end up with Mashiro though, even if the writers decided to make him get all angry at her for crap reasons. I enjoyed Sakurasou but Sorata's BS certainly did wear on my nerves.
Babanu… ahahahaha XD Sounds like a great name, though :P BABANU IS BEST GIRL
I can accept that Sorata ending up with Mashiro, but the way it happens is still really, really dumb. I do like them as individual characters and as a comedy duo, though!
of course! you were the blogger who said they had sex, and Rita and Ryuu never went anywhere with their relationship. I was looking for closure after Sakurasou ended and I found your post…
Aaaaanyway, the anime ends before their third year begins. So Nanami still has a chance right(if you consider the LN non-canonical) even Jin tells her that. So write a fanfic Frog-kun, where Sorata does choose her, because Mashiro moves back to England or dies in an accident. It’s simple really (after all, you killed Haruno without batting an eyelash).
Technically, I suppose. It’s not so much that I want Sorata and Nanami to be together, though. I just don’t like Sorata and Mashiro’s relationship. I want Nanami to become a successful voice actress and either stay single or get together with someone who would treat her better XP
I did! Except… Sorata doesn’t end up with Nanami in it either… WHY AM I SO DEPRESSING?!
From your comment it seems like you read my Oregairu fanfic. So… thanks for that XD
Are you still there dude lol, it’s 2021 I watched that series in 2020 readed your spoiler of LN, tbh I was crying half of the time in the Anime or getting frustrated because how Nanami was treated, whenever Soraya takes a dumb decision it makes me frustrated, and also when she was so hard crying (only once) she did that only for a few minutes like she still hides her feelings for others, and later everyone forgot that she was also crying, I was in Depression at that moment and I used to hide my Tears seeing her doing the same made me feel more connected to her, but the way it ended I was sad, and when Jin said her to try again I was angry like she just helped her love to propose someone else hide her feelings for a year even when she was emotionally broke, let her live and get rid of all this shit and let her be a Voice Actress, and I still wonder that she did a live performance on a function still failed like how much experience they want from High schoolers
… I want something more explosive tomorrow…
I remember feeling so depressed after I finished Sakurasou because of how things turned out for Nanami. I just can’t bring myself to rewatching it… 2 years is still too soon for me.
Yep, Nanami will always be best girl in Sakurasou.
i feel like you can find a girl like Nanami in any god damn anime…. Shes normal, boring, and average. Shiina was a new type of character and had an intresting and laughable character. Her obliviousness and clue-less-ness made her special and something ive never seen before. Nanami just felt eh, boring…
See and I feel the opposite – Shiina is the typical helpless, damsel in distress with the artist tropes thrown in to make her ‘redeemable’ and of value. Without a special skill she’s literally a walking, co-dependant vegetable.
The only problem is that Nanami was always intended to be the osananajimi character in the equation who will always get the short end of the stick :x
really really frustrated see the writer ended Nanami fight for love with such way when i read that in your spoilers about Sakurasou LN ending
and then i read about this christmas arch…
Damn you Sorata,why you do that ???
One thing i must say,i read comments page and i want to say i really like Andou from inou battle because when i see him from first episode until 12th episode,he gradually become…. you now smarter man and i can see he was similar with Yuuta Togashi hehehe.
Sorry for my bad english.
And then i was #TEAMMASHIRO because he was cute XD
[…] Day episode was my favourite episode of the anime overall. It’s essentially a repeat of the Christmas arc, but the conflict feels much more organic here. Sorata’s decision to prioritise Nanami over […]
I SHIPPING SORATA X MASHIRO
MASHIRO BEST GRILL FTW
I’d like to get a second season of sakurasao where Sorata will marry nanamin and Mashiro will become a famous manga artist
Definately i want this anime to be like this