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Sarai-ya Goyou – 12 (END)

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「もうふらふらですよ」 (Mou Furafura Desu yo)
“I’m Already Wasted”

On the surface, this appeared to be a pretty anticlimactic conclusion to this fairly laid back series, but I just loved how everything came full circle when Masa offered Yaichi a skewer of dangos at the very end. It was at that moment that I realized how fond I had grown of all these characters over the series’ short twelve episode run, which wrapped up the same way it started. I was smiling from ear to ear when I saw Yaichi depressed and hunched over with his back against that same post Masa rested next to, followed by the latter showing up with dangos to return the favor of lifting his spirits. To top it off, Masa even used the same line Yaichi did when he was starving to death. It was such a small thing in relation to everything that happened earlier in this episode between Yaichi and Jin, but that element of human interaction is what I loved in Ono Natsume’s other series, Ristorante Paradiso. I can’t quite explain why I enjoy seeing these small gestures of friendship and characters’ concern for one another, other than saying that there’s just something very “human” about them. Regardless of the setting and era this anime takes place, the depictions of these human interactions are very real to me and I honestly feel I can learn from characters like Masa on how to be a better person (as cheesy as that may sound).

For a finale, it was nice to see “Seinoshin” finally show some emotion at the real Yaichi’s grave. I’ve been also wondering if Yaichi’s death from falling down the well was truly an accident, so it was nice to learn from Yagi that it was likely a cover-up after he found out what really happened to Seinoshin. Admittedly, I was a bit confused when I first heard him say that though, mainly because Jin had said that the person who delivered the money to have them kidnap and kill Seinoshin was named Yaichi. As such, it would’ve been weird for him to get killed off if he was aware of Saegusa family’s plans to get rid of Seinoshin upon giving birth to a true family heir — one who wasn’t adopted — so I originally surmised that Yaichi committed suicide as repentance. Much to my surprise, Jin had lied about the person being Yaichi, which gave me mixed feelings when Seinoshin just killed him for deceiving him all this time. Clearly, believing that the one person he trusted the most in world sold him out has made Seinoshin the person he is today, but Jin did say that it was a lie to save him from getting killed — likely by going back to the Saegusa household looking for Yaichi. I still find it hard to see Jin as the worse person out of the two given that revelation, especially when it was hinted that Seinoshin killed Monji at some point too. That’s on top of selling out the Bakuro gang to the police, giving Jin a legitimate reason for wanting to kill Seinoshin now.

Quite honestly, it kind of bothered me how Jin’s death was completely overshadowed by Seinoshin coming to terms with his past and grieving over Yaichi’s grave; however, I kind of see his unfortunate end as the result of their fates getting intertwined in a one neither one wished for. As the survivor, Seinoshin’s the one who has to ultimately come to terms with his past and move beyond it, which is why the ending with Masa helping him back on his feet played out really well in my eyes. Yagi’s role in all this turned out to be a positive one like I was suspecting too, since he was well aware of Seinoshin’s true identity, but didn’t do anymore than have a drink with him and clear up some of his confusion about the past. He decided to have a drink at at Ume’s place later on as well, and showed no signs of wanting to arrest our House of the Five Leaves members. All in all, a nice end to the series, which just so happens to coincide with Ono Natsume’s decision to conclude the manga this month after a four year run.

 

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Final Impressions:

It was Manglobe and samurai all right, but nothing like Samurai Champloo. However, it was never intended to follow in the footsteps of that hip-hop Edo period series and I enjoyed it just as much with its drastically different take on that era. The fact that this is a noitaminA program gave every indication that it’s intended for an older “seinin” audience even if one wasn’t familiar with Ono Natsume’s other works. Much like Ristorante Paradiso, her style has never been about flashy action and shounen-like superpowers. Instead, it’s a realistic portrayal of characters in a storyline that may not be all that eventful, yet is still interesting enough for viewers such as myself. It’s pretty hard to recommend this series to anyone who’s not patient enough to take enjoyment from the small things in life, but anyone who likes going at their own pace in a fairly laid back manner may want to check it out. A lot of the appeal comes from the character interactions themselves, while the focus delved into their various pasts before coming together around Yaichi’s. There is no real antagonist in this series but if there had to be one, it would’ve been the inner demons that Yaichi needed to conquer in order to overcome his dark past.

Production-wise, this series featured some of the most beautiful backdrops of the season and was visually stunning every episode because of them. Some people may not be a fan of Natsume’s character designs, but I actually like how they blend well into the setting and aren’t too cartoon-like. The last thing I would’ve wanted to see is a bunch of typical big-eyed teenager designs when the characters are clearly much older than that. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this one even though it wasn’t a show I actively looked forward to on a weekly basis. However, I found myself drawn to the story as soon as I started watching an episode and entertained for the full twenty minutes or so every time, which sort of suits its laid back nature and theme about living in the moment.

July 2, 2010 at 6:57 pm
28 comments »
  • July 2, 2010 at 7:05 pmFlags

    I completely agree with you on the animation. I don’t read the manga but it would be great to see a second season that answers the left over questions. With the manga ending I could see this happening. I liked Yagi going to drink at the tavern at the end.

    • July 3, 2010 at 8:15 pmAlec

      i wouldn’t want a second season… the series is already fine as it is

  • July 2, 2010 at 7:12 pmShinjiro

    Man, some fansubs groups need to work on this series to the end (or consistently).

    • July 2, 2010 at 7:15 pmDivine

      Fansub groups probably aren’t bothering with it because it’s already simulcasted by FUNimation. It’s region-restricted, but there are ways around that with proxy servers.

      • July 2, 2010 at 7:26 pmShinjiro

        Thanks, Divine. I don’t think it will work for me since I’m in Canada (MTV and other sites IP blocked Canada for whatever reasons).

      • July 2, 2010 at 7:30 pmDivine

        FUNimation’s YouTube channel is available to Canada. You should be able to watch all the episodes at the link I provided.

      • July 2, 2010 at 7:32 pmShinjiro

        LOL. I’d take a guitar and sing “Have I told you lately…” but then, you’re not a girl (sorry). Thanks again, Divine. ^^

  • July 2, 2010 at 7:13 pmsemtex

    A fitting end for a fantastic anime. Season 2 where???

  • July 2, 2010 at 7:45 pmClick

    It was a nice show, but I really didn’t think of it as one that you would look forward to watching through the week. I thought the animation and drawing was beautiful, though for some reason I felt somewhat slow watching this. Although I knew it was going to be a nicely paced Seinen genre anime, it felt it didn’t reach my expectations of the series. However, they were ridiculously HUGE expectations, especially Samurai Champloo was one of the coolest and unique series out there and had some of the funniest scenes I’ve ever seen, so naturally the extremely laid back pace came as shock. Although the series didn’t reach my expectations, I still enjoyed the ride all throughout.

  • July 2, 2010 at 8:12 pmZepwich

    It did bore me at time but I really did appreciate the music and visuals… I think I should watch it again.

  • July 2, 2010 at 9:59 pmBROOKLYN otaku

    ZZZzzzzzz ZZZZZzzzzzzzz ZZZzzzZZZ……..ZZZZZzzzz…uuuuH!!! mmmhaaaa!!! what?!?!……..oh. it’s over? WOW! this series plus my new recliner equa…’s… ZZZZZzzzzz…. BUT SERIOUSLY! if i came away with one thing from this series it would be that i discovered something about myself. i discovered that accordion music with an Italian motif puts me to sleep faster than 2 ambien with a malt-liquor chaser. thanks fo the blog D, if not i prob wouldn’t have gotten back into it.

  • July 2, 2010 at 10:22 pmKarmafan

    Was a good series. I just wish one time we could have seen Masa in action and showing his skills.

  • July 2, 2010 at 10:29 pmlys

    To tell you the truth, I was quite disappointed with the ending. But I really like the rest of the episodes. Of course if the manga still continues from this point, then I’ll have nothing to complain. I should read the manga if there isn’ going to be a season 2.

  • July 2, 2010 at 10:52 pmNick

    I might check out this series were I not completely turned off by the huge black eyes.

  • July 2, 2010 at 11:57 pmShuffleAir

    Are you going to blog Mitsudomoe that came out today?

    • July 3, 2010 at 1:44 amDivine

      I’ve been out and about, but yes, I plan to cover it. I’ve already watched both Mitsudomoe and Shukufuku no Campanella, but won’t have posts out until later on. (Sleep awaits.)

  • July 3, 2010 at 1:34 amshiryoenbou

    I can understand why a lot of traditionalist anime viewers would be turned of by this series, but I wholeheartedly enjoyed it. It’s a very different experience from most animes, but as divine stated it’s a great anime for those that enjoy a slow and steady kind of pace might find the same kind of enjoyment from this series as I have. I also like how the character design were different and noncartoon-like , but also nonrealistic. All the visuals despite the character designs are breathtaking to the smallest detail and all the lighting and landscape was drawn not only realistically, but had a very artistic feel to it. Every scene felt like it could’ve been a painting by itself.

  • July 3, 2010 at 5:11 amLithium

    Best show of last season.
    Like I mentioned before, a case study in plot-pacing. Thank you for covering this.

    Too bad this season seems full of moefag or brain-cell-killing harem shite. >_<

  • July 3, 2010 at 10:38 amCoconut Sid

    Best show of the season imo.

  • July 3, 2010 at 10:40 ammoto

    It was a slow but nice ride :D I like how it ended too.

    One part I didn’t quite understand – why did Jin say that Yaichi will be killed if he told him the truth? Was that because Yaichi/Seinoshin would go back to the real Yaichi, and end up gettig killed? Or will the boss of Bakuro kill Yaichi/Seinoshin if he found out?

    I felt really sorry for Jin; he seemed like a good guy underneath and he had loads of reasons to kill Seinoshin, but he still didn’t go insane about Seinoshin at the sight of him. Though there’s not much time left, but I was slightly disappointed that viewers didn’t have enough time to connect with his death before moving on. There were a few unanswered questions (from my perspective), like why Yaichi/Seinoshin decided to sell out the gang. Though he wasn’t there by choice, it didn’t seem like they mistreated him either.

    • July 3, 2010 at 8:38 pmYou-tachi

      Yeah. They made him their bro and everything. I was sad when Jin died! Especially since his last line was about Sei’s well being. I think he meant that if Sei went back… they’d just kill him another way. Maybe have him fall down a well like Yaichi. =P

    • July 3, 2010 at 9:51 pmtokebi

      The less is explained, more powerful the impact.

      To answer your “unanswered question,” imagine the betrayal Seinoshin as a kid must’ve felt, believing that his most (and only) trusted person in the world sold him out to die. The kindness of Jin wouldn’t really matter much. Betraying those who took him under their wing could’ve been a way of lashing out, a way of misguided revenge. That’s my take on it anyway.

      Following through the character study of Yaichi was so enjoyable. I wish similar level of depth and complexity were afforded to the back stories of Ume and Matsu.

  • July 3, 2010 at 10:52 amIHM

    Nothing to see with the episode(I´ve just watch three), but damn, that new header is amazing!!!

  • July 3, 2010 at 1:08 pmz4kai

    This series makes me want to eat skewered dango and drink sake all day; perhaps, I’m too impressionable.

  • July 3, 2010 at 4:22 pmcrazystudyguy

    In the end it lacked the hard core action I wanted but I got something else in return hopefully black lagoon ova will give me the action Ive missed.

  • July 3, 2010 at 7:51 pmAlvord12

    I just realized something… this post for Sarai-ya Goyou has the maximum number of comments compared to the others! :D
    Well to be honest, I tried to like this series, I really did. But the whole thing started going downhill after Episode 6. This series got so slow that I don’t even have the mood to watch the final Episode! Not many people’ll buy this on the DVD/BD, so I guess there’s little to no hope for Season 2.
    By the way Divine, are you going to blog Setokai Yakuindomo?

  • July 3, 2010 at 8:42 pmYou-tachi

    I really enjoyed this series! Actually looked forward to it every week. Yaichi… is good looking.

  • July 6, 2010 at 3:58 amLinnie

    One of my favorite series this season. I loved the ink-like art, the music, the story, the random way each episode was named and who am I kidding I loved Masa over it all. Who wouldn’t feel for a “hero” with an expression of kicked puppy? Good observation about Jin, he cared about the memebers of his gang, Seinoshin included, and the fact Seinoshin wasn’t killed is an outcome of his deliberate revelation that Yaichi hadn’t been involved in Seinshin abduction.