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「住めば都のさくら荘」 (Sumeba Miyako no Sakurasou)
“Home Is Where Sakurasou Is”

Nineteen episodes after it began, we go back to the pre-Mashiro days for a reminder of why Sakurasou is worth saving.

Matsuoka Yoshitsugu for Tsukkomi of the Year

Say hello to those good ‘ol Original Recipe laughs! The comedy this episode was a nostalgia trip, as we were suddenly getting all the jokes that had me cracking up back when we first met these crazy characters. There were so many good ones that I’m not going to list them all, save to say that Sorata’s seiyuu continues to tsukkomi like few can. His reactions to his new dormmates’ antics cracked me up every single time, especially since this was back when he wasn’t used to Sakurasou and freaked out about everything. With this role, Matsuoka Yoshitsugu is reminding me of seiyuus like Kitamura Eri – not only is he playing this character to the hilt and doing it well, it sounds like he’s having a damn good time while he does it!

An interesting thought: it wasn’t until this episode that I realized how much the comedy had changed since this series began. Of course, it stands to reason – these characters have grown and changed since then. And it’s not like it’s a bad change or anything, as I still find myself laughing at most episodes (and I very much enjoy the drama and plot we got in exchange), but it’s worth noting. It can be harder to bring the funny when you’re using rounded, realistic characters rather than those who can be ridiculous 100% of the time. Case in point: Yuuko. Moving on!

An Entire Episode to Remember

From a storytelling point of view, I loved the direction of this episode. The underlying reason for the episode (other than to entertain, of course) was to remind us of why we (and the characters) like Sakurasou, and why it’s worth saving. The thing is, I feel like a lot of studios would have tried to muscle all of this into a 4-minute flashback and then zoomed ahead to the plot rather than luxuriating over it for an entire episode like we got here. That would have been a mistake. “Show, don’t tell” is a good principle to write by, and instead of having Sorata narrate about his memories real quick, we got to go back and really enjoy them. Even if we run out of time before the end of the season, that was the right choice to make this arc work better.

Why We Love This Rundown Old Dorm

So then, what is it about Sakurasou that makes it worth fighting for? There’s the crazy characters who are just damn fun to watch, yes, but there’s more than that. Akasaka spoke of Sorata having more time to prepare for the final round of his contest, but what of the creative benefits of being surrounded by all these talented, driven people? I mean, without them, Sorata wouldn’t have gotten as far as he has in the contest. That’s just the clinical argument, though. The fact remains that they are a family now, and breaking them up for no good reason feels wrong.

But my favorite reason from this episode was this – the students of Sakurasou are adults. Young adults, to be fair, but adults nonetheless. The students in the regular dorms have their meals cooked for them, they have no chores to do, they only need to study before they can go have fun – they’re children – while at Sakurasou they do everything for themselves and make their own decisions without having to run them past sensei. Sure, it’s more work, but being an adult is hard work! Personally, I’d rather have the freedom of an adult (to make mistakes, achieve great victories, keep pets, and draw on the walls) than the ease of a child.

Her own laziness aside, I think that’s the gift that Chihiro-sensei has given her students. She’s been forced into a corner by the school board, but notice how she disappeared after she gave them the bad news? She’s giving them the space they need to make their own decisions, to do what they feel is right. Points go to Chihiro-sensei for letting her charges grow. Looks like she isn’t so useless after all.

Another point in Sakurasou’s favour: being normal is overrated. I’d rather be weird at Sakurasou than unimportant at the “normal” dorms. Normal sucks.

Looking Ahead – Follow the Money

Follow the money. When an old, erratically maintained dorm is set to be knocked down for no stated reason, chances are someone with a lot of money came by wanting to buy the land. Once they figure out the real reason, they’ll be able to do something about it. Sakurasou Defense Brigade, roll out!

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – The story of Sorata’s first night at Sakurasou reminds us why it’s worth saving #sakurasou

Random thoughts:

  • “You’ll start hating life if you do what you hate.” It was a joke, but there’s truth in there too. We all have to take care of our shit (chores, errands, earning enough money to not starve on the streets), but why should we spend the rest of our time doing things we hate? If you hate them, don’t do them. Do something else. +50 points for Chihiro-sensei. She’s on fire!
  • I enjoyed how they wrapped in some of the events from the OPs – the wasp nest, the roof nabe party – and revealed that they actually happened. It was a nice way to make the OP sequences support the story without wasting time telling those little side stories in full.

Full-length images: 05, 31.

 

Preview

Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo   19   Preview 01
February 19, 2013 at 12:22 am
35 comments »
  • February 19, 2013 at 12:45 amLGrey

    I predict there’ll be fast ball coming for
    Show Spoiler ▼

    I think I hear something shattered. LOL

    • February 20, 2013 at 10:27 pmStilts

      I’m not sure whether the lampshade hanging makes that more or less likely, but I’ll be holding onto my seat when I watch next week’s episode, that’s for sure.

  • February 19, 2013 at 12:59 amFT5Havok

    Misaki Senpai’s oppai are superb this episode! They are so distracting! xD

  • February 19, 2013 at 1:08 amRoguespirit

    I loled at Fem Sorata

    Still there’s an easy way to save Sakuraso: Shiina would just have to paint line on the walls. Sounds stupid but because it was a painting by Mashiro Shiina it’s immediately worth a king’s ransom. Of course they might still kick them out but at least the buidling might be there.

    • February 19, 2013 at 3:28 amZen

      Or, as Stilts was saying, “Follow the money.” Mashiro might just buy the place out with her substantial earnings from being a world-class artist, or by using family money…

    • February 20, 2013 at 10:28 pmStilts

      They do have a lot of options, yes. I just think they need to find out what they’re fighting against before they decide how to blunt it. Know thy enemy and know thyself…

    • February 21, 2013 at 3:02 pmBear

      Maybe they’re actually after the Nyaboron drawing on Sorata’s wall. Tear down the building and sell the wall for big bucks.

    • February 22, 2013 at 8:07 pmZen

      @Bear

      I’m hearing so many people say this that I wouldn’t be surprised if it actually turned out to be true…XP

  • February 19, 2013 at 1:43 amtom

    • February 19, 2013 at 7:09 amHalfDemonInuyasha

      The bad end if Jin screwed up too badly.

  • February 19, 2013 at 1:48 amewok40k

    Of all the funny things on Sorata’s first night at Sakurasou, nothing made me laugh more than one nickname: Solon (Athinaios). Only history buffs would get this joke!
    All of those crazy people were showed in their Sakurasou glory, alien gamer genius girl, playboy guy, speed-dating drunkard teacher and hikikomori hiding behind automated mail response program.
    One thing I think would fit in case of Sakurasou really going down, is we could get Rita back on Mashiro duty in the girl dorms – what a perfect excuse for her to get back and make move on Dragon-kun.

    • February 19, 2013 at 2:50 amShadowfax14

      Hooray for Greek history reference! I am Greek by the way! :P

  • February 19, 2013 at 2:26 amNekomimimeido

    Stilts-nii, not drunk this time? :P

    • February 20, 2013 at 10:29 pmStilts

      Just hungover from my weekend shenanigans. That extended into Monday :X

  • February 19, 2013 at 2:44 ambaseone

    Daa!! Sorato’s reactions was priceless especially that conversation with Dragon’s AI maid.

    • February 19, 2013 at 2:46 ambaseone

      Sorata not Sorato >_<

      • February 19, 2013 at 5:26 amWuz

        Just like Misaki, you can’t get his name right!

  • February 19, 2013 at 3:21 amCybersteel

    I like seeing the earlier version of Meido-chan and how Sorata was eventually called Kouhai-kun.

    On a side note I figure the reason why they are being kicked out of Sakurasou might be due to some of the students in their school.

  • February 19, 2013 at 4:04 ammaou

    I hope they gonna make a season 2… by following the novel faithfully…

    • February 20, 2013 at 10:30 pmStilts

      I haven’t been following them lately, but I don’t know whether BD and DVD sales are supporting the chance of a Season 2. I hope, but, well…

  • February 19, 2013 at 5:28 amDvalinn

    I agree that this flashback was wonderfully done. It didn’t feel crammed in; instead, it took its time to show us the characters pre-character-development and to show us their crazy antics (including those from the OP!) to reiterate how much this place has helped them grow. While this kind of plot has been done to death, I feel it does work here more than usual; saving your normal high school or whatever is kind of trite, but where Sakurasou is different is that this place really is special – these characters wouldn’t have gotten far without it. Especially for Shiina, who is likely unable to live in the normal dorms, as the episode addressed.

    Thus I wonder where this will go. It won’t be easy, for one, setting aside the whole follow the money thing they have to do, there’s also Nanami’s results coming up and the whole love triangle being resolved (at least I hope so, I’ll get mad if they won’t give us any resolution on that).

    And yeah, Sorats’s seiyuu is a masterful tsukkomi. He really makes those scenes shine.

  • February 19, 2013 at 5:51 amlegwkio

    They should make a giant Nyaboron robot to fight evil and save Sakurasou.

  • February 19, 2013 at 6:39 amKiria

    I loooved how the openings had their own stories in them that actually happened. That was so clever. Plus, Misaki’s insanity and hilarity had and Sorata’s screams had me tearing up laughing.

    But that fake smile in the preview…why do I feel something is going to happen to Nanami? ;__;

    • February 19, 2013 at 10:50 pmCalyce

      It’s really quite obvious in rom-coms like these that the main character will end up with the main girl, so to tie up loose ends, some sort of resolution is probably required for characters like Aoyama.

      Maybe
      Show Spoiler ▼

  • February 19, 2013 at 8:20 amGanggalee

    I love this episode. To tell the truth, I had been wanting to get away from the MSN love triangle. So I thoroughly enjoyed the first meeting between Sorata and his senpais (and sensei)

  • February 19, 2013 at 9:01 amHighway

    How much is Ryuunosuke growing more comfortable with everyone else that he’ll actually come out when Chihiro-sensei asks and attend a meeting in person, rather than by computer like he did in all the early meetings? Maybe there’s hope for him and Rita after all. :)

    The only thing that had me a little non-plussed was following up a flashback-heavy episode last week with a flashback-heavy episode this week. It was still a lot of fun but it really seemed to lessen the impact of the news that they were being forcibly evicted. Although maybe that’s fine to keep it from getting too maudlin.

    (And it’s a pretty certain thing with that little amount of info that some big bad developer wants the land. I just wish they could come up with a different plot driver sometime.)

    • February 20, 2013 at 10:33 pmStilts

      I don’t see why, when that one is reeeeeeally realistic. Like so much so.

  • February 19, 2013 at 9:22 amMovieKeeper

    New vocabulary to add to the list: downer flag
    Besides death flag, what other flag terms are there?

  • February 19, 2013 at 10:33 amBear

    I really liked the humor in this episode. They could do a series on Sorata’s first year at Sakurasou with all the hijinks (mostly Misaki’s obviously).

  • February 19, 2013 at 12:09 pmNaske

    I wonder.. could they save Sakurasou by claiming that the art drawn by Mashiro in Sorata’s room is a masterpiece??? you like play up her fame a little?

    • February 19, 2013 at 4:08 pmNaske

      you know like*

  • February 19, 2013 at 5:35 pmSmithCB

    It’s a foul attempt by dame Rita to flush the Dragon out of his lair!!!

  • February 20, 2013 at 12:32 amAnonymous

    Matsuoka Yoshitsugu really does enjoy playing these tsukkomi roles, doesn’t he? I find myself laughing really hard everytime he does his OTT voices for Sorata’s reactions, which are in abundance in this flashback episode.

  • February 20, 2013 at 5:35 amTingster013

    Yes, if you meet Dragon on the first day, you are lucky for the rest of your life. Totally true.

  • February 22, 2013 at 12:47 amLoveAsuna

    Ending theme is totally awesome. Composing atmosphere with beautiful voice!!!