「愛のパワーin文化祭」 (Ai no Pawa in Bunkasai)
“The Power of Love at the Cultural Festival”

Like clockwork, every fourth episode of Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo really brings the power with the climax of an arc and some serious development for one or both of our leads. This time it’s Mashiro’s turn to changes.

I’m going to skip past the whole Sorata-and-Mashiro-laying-next-to-each-other thing for now (save to say HNNNNNG and move on) so I can spend more time on the game. First and foremost – that game looks fun! I was especially impressed with how well they integrated Nanami’s role into the whole thing. She really is the linchpin of the whole experience. That kind of thing, you need to have someone all excited and really getting into it to make it “okay” for the audience to do the same. You have to blow past their natural inhibitions and make them comfortable, and Nanami playing not just the role of narrator and game guide, but main female lead as well, really helps to pull the audience in. And that’s what you need – immersion. With her acting so excited, how can the audience not? Wonyanderful!

Of course, the problem comes when there isn’t someone making it “okay” for the audience to get excited, as happened when Nanami called out for the audience’s love, and got silence in return. It’s just too much, too weird, too uncomfortable to suddenly shout out something so personal. Also, it’s hard to think of something like that on the fly, and decide to say it! Honestly, I was disappointed with Sorata here. I know he’s still a high schooler, but were it I, I would have at least planted someone in the audience to shout something, to get things started. Of course, the problem with that is that if you start lying, you ruin the magic of the experience. That’s why, were I Sorata, I would have planted myself, and shouted my honest feelings. Of course, that means that this can only really work once, because anything else is just a lie, and true art can’t be anything but honest. Fortunately, the kids of Sakurasou only needed it to work once. That’s why I originally thought Sorata was planning to shout out himself. Shounen, I am disappoint. That said, I do like that he nearly failed. Always nice to have a protagonist who isn’t bulletproof.

All that said, how this challenge was overcome was undeniably great. I didn’t think Mashiro would be the first to leap, and in a way I enjoyed being wrong, since it was the first real inkling that this was her turn to grow up a bit. Misaki was even better though, yelling out to Jin in the truest expression of the “love” theme. Hell, even Rita was great, asking for Ryuunosuke’s phone number. Those are some scary awesome girls you’ve got there at Sakurasou! As for Sorata, in truth it was always too early for a (purposeful, planned) confession of any deep sort. What really needed to be done is for the damage from Rita’s visit – the idea that Mashiro unknowingly hurts those around her – to be proven to not be the case with Sorata. He did that well enough, so it passes.

Speaking of Misaki and Jin, awwwwww! he finally gave the necklace to her. This is why I like B-couples so much. With the story not focused on them, things can progress slowly in the background, so much so that not even I remember all the little details until they pop up. Well played.

But alas, Sorata wasn’t quite done holding idiot ball (trope!). You should have had a plan for Mashiro leaving for the airport, Sorata! Okay, okay, so I realize he hadn’t yet decided whether he was going to try to stop Mashiro or not, and it took Nanami (her love rival, of all people!) to shake some sense into him, but it ended being really convenient and irksome, where the drama is dialed up mainly by some number of characters acting thick. There were other ways to get Sorata to that airport, writer-guys! Though admittedly, it did leave Nanami with enough time to stop off and reject Miyahara-kun. Man, poor Miyahara-kun (though Nanami was nice to not leave him hanging since she already likes someone else). You’re going to have to get a lot weirder if you want to join the main cast. Until then, FOREVER ALONE!!

Yet once again, the fruit of the drama was delicious indeed. Misaki’s crazy driving was hilarious, with the crown jewel of the episode coming when she ramped it off the stairs and shredded the cultural festival’s banner!! But oh, nothing could match the hug. Have you ever seen a grown-ass man squeal like a schoolgirl? Take a moment to imagine it. A tall skinny guy, by the way. Arms flailing like a squadron of cockroaches just flew by. Rocking so far back in his chair he almost fell out. Tears of joy. Got it? Yeah, that was me. “Don’t leave us! Don’t leave me!” Ohhhh man Sorata, your feelings are leaking out. I love it!

Fortunately, Rita is the greatest troll in the world. I’ve got to say, as soon as I saw Rita and Mashiro in the airport I knew that Mashiro wasn’t leaving. I mean really, it was obvious all along. It’s not like Mashiro is such a weak girl that she would give up on her dream for any reason I can fathom! So what is it about Sakurasou that gets me so swept up that I don’t recognize the obvious truths in front of me? Clearly I’m a failure at anything like critical thought, but I have to say, this time it worked out for the better. I’ll take it.

Either way, I’m glad to say that Rita got her reward for playing matchmaker in the end. Finally, a kiss! I dearly, dearly hope this isn’t the last time we see Rita. With Ryuunosuke still 1000% tsundere and her finally giving a true smile, this ship cannot recede into the background for too long. It cannot! …I hope.

The final note of the episode was, aside from the hug (and the kiss), the very best. After the past two arcs gave Sorata plenty of development, finally it was Mashiro’s turn to learn a little something about life. Of course, she already knows plenty when it comes to art, and is functionally useless when it comes to most chores, so it could only be about one thing. “What happened to me? Is this…love?” *doki doki* At last, a real loveu-loveu development! With half the episodes gone past and only another twelve to go, it looks like things will begin heating up in the romance department…I cannot wait!

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Nyaboron was a smash after an assist from Mashiro & co , only for Sorata to almost let her get away…but he didn’t. That hug!! #sakurasou

Random thoughts:

  • For the first time, the animation got kind of shifty at parts. Since this is the first time I’m willing to ignore it in case they were just blowing all their budget on the video game parts. Just don’t let it happen again, J.C. Staff. I’ll have none of that crap in my Sakurasou.
  • Yes Nanami, Sorata finally said “you look good.” See, that’s what happens when you let him get some sleep! …erh, that didn’t come out right >_<
  • A van is swerving all over the place and careening off ramps like it’s no big deal. Seta, is that you?
  • Enjoyed that Ryuunosuke gave Rita Sorata’s email address…and that it appears to be a shoryuken reference to boot! Bad idea on his part though, ’cause you just know that Sorata is going to give Rita Ryuunosuke’s real email address later on. Payback is a bitch…or maybe that’s what he wants? So tsundere!
  • Since we’re halfway done with this series, think of this like a mid-season report. So far my enjoyment is well documented, but I have one major concern, and it’s one I’ve had practically since Day 1. As Toradora’s spiritual successor, I have been worried about whether they would have enough time to adapt the entire series in one go, or if they’d end up rushing at the end (again). We’re now twelve episodes in, and ~3 light novels worth of material have gone by. Of eight. With two more coming. And two collections of short stories. I intend to enjoy this show throughout its run, but consider me officially worried. Though then again, at this rate we’re set to finish six light novels in these two cours, with four more (and some short stories) left, once they’re all released. So, uh, Season 2 please? Instead of the rushed ending? Pretty please?

Full-length images: 04, 08, 11, 15, 17, 26, 40.




    1. What can I say… so much awesome…
      Misaki getting her necklace and driving like mad.
      Rita trolling everyone and kissing Ryuunosuke.
      Mashiron staying for the night, and then staying for good.
      But the main prize goes to in-show game about Nyaboron! I feel we could use a spin-off Nyaboron show!

  1. I think a part of me died of happiness at the ending of this episode…
    Had to rewatch the ending 4 times before i could stop HHNNNNNGGGGGGG and massive blood loss that came afterwards.

  2. @STILTS

    Actually, this episode combines the ending of Vol 3 into Vol 4, so it’s 4 books down ^^;

    And unless the Author has already spilled the beans on how he wants to end the series, there simply isn’t enough time for him to write the last 2 books in three months (The list of titles for Dengeki’s January and February sales didn’t have Sakurasou on it) . So either it’s a second season or an Original ending, That’s my take.

    But who knows? Maybe Vol 9 would be out by 10th March and that would be the conclusion =p

    1. Good to know. As for the original author, he’s been on staff for a few episodes, so he’s definitely involved, but it would be rather strange for him to give the ending away of the light novels in anime form before actually making money off it in the light novels first. Hopefully that’ll mean that if there is an original ending, it’ll actually sort of work since the original creator will have (hopefully!) thought it up

    2. Author’s usually give away endings when they think they have a series popular enough not to be effected by it. It happens in games from time to time too, i.e. halo 4 & mass effect 2. It usually causes more anticipation than it quells. Its also a nice tactic when the popularity of a series starts to cool off a little, mainly because in causes controversy. I work for a VERY large book publisher & they encourage that kind of stuff from several avert sources. Harry Potter is another example. When ever you see spoilers of that nature, I can nearly guarantee you that it’s the publisher’s doing.

  3. ‘Twas the night before Christmas at Sakurasou,
    Not a creature was stirring, not even a crow.
    Sorata was nestled all snug in his bed,
    While visions of Mashiro danced in his head.

    You’ll have to imagine the rest of it as I have a turkey to get in the oven, but thank you JC Staff for the wonderful present.

  4. Your reaction to that hug reminds me of my reactions to that kinda of HNNNG moment! It’s why I learned to try and watch anime when my roommates are out. Nice to see someone else just as (ab)normal as me. But great episode nonetheless, now all that’s left is, well a lot. I actually thought this was going to be a one-cour show, it being two-cour makes me all giddy inside(besides the fact that it’s Christmas)!

    By the way, Merry Christmas!

  5. Rita: Lv. 100 Artist Lv. 1000 Troll, that troll smile was priceless. I was hoping that she will stay in Sakurasou so it’s a bit sad to see her go back to England. I’m going to miss her a lot.

    About the e-mail address, I think he’s just being tsundere since he must knows Sorata will give her the real address anyway.

    And Stilts! You didn’t even mention the absence of OP song! I bet if it’s ED song that’s absence, you would mentioned it. Such dedicated ED song fetish…

    1. Ahaha, true. Though to be fair, I love a proper OP as well – they’re great for setting the mood too – it’s just that using the ED for storytelling purposes is such a more remarkable art, and so remarkable when done well…yeah, I definitely would have mentioned that, heh

  6. the episode is so mesmerizing that nobody mentioned sorata’s idol being a former member of sakurasou! and it looks like sensei and idol-kun have a past of their own :3 i’m kinda expecting a chihiro arc now >:D

    1. It’d be about time. Fail-sensei has pretty much been a non-issue for a while now, would be nice to see her factoring back into the story. Err–well, really factoring in for the first time 😛

    1. Unfortunately, the minor characters usually get unrequited love. Props to Miyahara though, it took some guts to confess to Nanami because I think he kind of knew that she had feelings for Sorata, but he still did it anyway. Oh well, as Stilts said: FOREVER ALONE!!

    2. Yeah, I dunno what it is, but I don’t trust him. Couldn’t tell you why, but he just seems… sketchy >.< Like he could go bad on her. I want Nanami to be happy, just… not with him :X

      I know, I'm not making sense. Just one of those things. I never like the friend that only sees the protagonist as enviable. It's more than that, but yeah…

  7. I was sad when I finished this episode… thinking an episode this good must be finalé…. then i rushed to here “to extend the magic” of the episode (quoting stilts there I believe)…and find out theres 12 more episodes left :D… but onyl 12 🙁

  8. So glad that there are still twelve episodes left and like Stilts mentioned, having the B-Couples slowly but surely developing in the back really draw you further in without your even realizing. Misaki/Jin and hopefully Rita/Ryuunosuke are definitely two pairings that will continue to make my heart swell just as much as Mashiro/Sorata. Maybe even more so.

  9. So many pictures of cute girls doing cute things and being cute and adorable and sometimes sexy week after week after week in reviews for this series… with good romance and basic relationship stuff that seems to be turning out well too from the sound of it. I’ve been resisting, but I really think I need to watch this.

  10. @Stilts

    “Yes Nanami, Sorata finally said “you look good.” See, that’s what happens when you let him get some sleep! …erh, that didn’t come out right >_<"

    Nah, I bet it's because she's wearing a catgirl outfit this time =p

  11. This ep was great. The audience participation idea was even better than I’d imagnined. I especially love the guy who shouted out that he wanted his money back. Classic!

    And Rito setting up the forced confession was Ryuunosuke-level genius, she turned out to be a even better friend than I gave her credit for.

  12. Oh in case someone’s interested, there will be new OPs and EDs next ep!

    OP; “My dream” By Konomi Suzuki
    ED; “Prime number~君と出会える日~” By Asuka Okura (No official English title yet)

    AAAAAND… Sakurasou won’t air next week due to New Years :(((

  13. This series so far has been something really inspiring and just all around fun and good time sit down and watch. Look forward to it every week! That Sorata hug was as powerfull as a shounen punch! So far this anime might end up falling in my top favorites, period.

    P.S. Stilts I can agree not being able to look critically at this for the most part. But screw it! So much enjoyment to be had!

    P.S.S. my name kinda fits with this episode (hurray for lame jokes!)

  14. Well, that ends the first half of Sakurasou. And it seems Okada Mari stepped up to helm the script this week. J.C. Staff has really done well in making this series, and i can’t wait for more.

    So far, it has been a great experience watching this great group of characters. Dat tsundere Ryuunosuke! (I wouldn’t mind getting a kiss from Rita)

    Also, no more of my fav ED next episode… *cries*

      1. ~Kaze wo hashirinukete…
        Kimi to boku no naka de!!!
        nani ga hajimatta no darou~
        Wakaranai kedo,
        Kirakira hikaru taiyou ga
        terasu basho wo Zutto susumou!!
        Eien nado~
        shiranai keredo~!

  15. “Epic” is not enough to describe my feeling for this episode.

    Mashiro’s shout of inspiration was an anime original, yet it feels very much in-character for her to do such a thing for Sorata. Nanami continues to be really cute, but Mashiro just beats her to it every time. Sorry, poor Nanami. (And poor Miyahara for that matter. )

    Mashiro realizing her love has awakened. HNNG Prior she merely wanted to keep Sorata by her side without knowing why (see episode when Yuuko came visiting), now she knows why.

    Ryuunosuke should count himself lucky that he escaped Rita with his virginity intact. XD Though Rita’s kiss to the cheek is just a taste of what she’ll bring in the future.

    That Nyaboron interactive movie-game would make a great future XBOX Kinect or PS3 Move title, though the motion capture technology used by the folks at Sakurasou is probably still 10 years away from possible mass production for the console market, no?

    Kinny Riddle
  16. CG car made me cringe so bad xD. But the hug at the airport definitely pulled my heartstring and then got me laughing hysterically afterwards. Man this show is so good at manipulating my emotions!

  17. Wow. I keep getting impressed by this show week by week…it’s been awhile since a show on this level for me.

    Up until now, Mashrio didn’t see Sorata in the same light as Nanami does from the start. Until the great revelation that Mashrio loves Sorata. I was a Nanami fan all the way, with Mashrio second. After this, I kinda feel like the show will actually start now with the second cour!

    But now, I’m so torn between Mashrio and Nanami!!!

  18. That was the moment I as waiting for Stilts! The look in Mashiro´s face when the most wonderful feeling in the universe finally blossomed! The second part of the series it´sgoing to be blast, poor Nanami, she doesn´t stand a chance against that cute Mashiro.

  19. Kay, let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first. Yes, while the characters are usually quite smart, they were really holding the idiot ball at times this episode for the sake of the plot. Also that CGI for the car was really wonky. And like you, I am worried for this show’s ending…even the greatest shows can feel like a letdown if the ending is rushed and unfulfilling, especially since J.C. Staff doesn’t have the best track record in that regard. Bad stuff over? Good.

    Because holy hell, was the payoff of buildup for this episode worth it. It’s rare for an anime to get me so emotionally involved, to have my heart beating faster when things seem to go wrong, to leave me with a big smile on my face after the episode’s over. It’s pretty much a sign for me that I love a show, any flaws be damned, and the only other series this season that’s managed to get me on that level is Zetsuen no Tempest.

    While their project wasn’t perfect (that’s what you get for coming up with features like that at the last minute), it did work out well in the end. The game they made actually looks pretty awesome too, especially for something made by high-schoolers. Imagine what they’ll be like in ten years’ time. Rita’s master trolling was both hilarious as well as effective; because it did allow for Sorata to shout out the things he really wanted to say. Props to Nanami as well for shaking him awake so he could realize that (damn she deserves to be happy too). Mashiro was pretty impressive as well, not only with the shout, but also her realization – I wonder how things will go from there. And of course the B-couples were fun to watch as well.

    And aww, I’m going to miss Days of Dash. It always concluded the more memorable eps so perfectly. It’s tying with Jojo’s Roundabout for my favourite ED of the season (and technically, Jojo is cheating with that one).

  20. definitely yelled out “STILLLLLLLTS!~” at the end of this cuz you called it. another good episode, loved the audience applause after rita the troll was found out and was worried they were repeating the ‘sorata leaves’ arc…

    if this show can sustain this energy for 12 more episodes i will be impressed. honestly kind of hoping for a little breather or two in the coming episodes.

  21. Overflowing with awesomeness.

    I don’t know many other shows that could draw me in so deep that I myself had an urge to shout the one thing I felt the most during that scene! This is what J.C is really capable of when the right people get the story going with the right kind of plot from the original work.

    So many great things to pick from. The reliable scenario of having everything going well until it hits the climax, where our heroes face a ‘crisis’, then it gets resolved by that one particular individual which then results in a happy conclusion. I’m, of course, talking about the Nyaboron game.

    While I somehow knew how the scenario was panning out and guessed who was going to save the day, it was really uplifting and even a little emotional. Trust the two geniuses to save the day. While the prodigy is often set apart from the rest because of the talent, it seems like the message here is both geniuses didn’t just live in their own worlds but brought the whole theme of teamwork, friendship and togetherness to its fullness with everyone joining in the fun.

    I don’t have that much of a gripe with the idiot ball trope, though. Intentional or not, it does play to the strength of this series and the characterization of Sorata. Dude can be totally on the ball when it comes to doing things, but he also shows himself to be the average of the average where he had no idea what to do in situations that demand that he made difficult decisions – which is why it makes his character so much more interesting and full of passion when he handles things in a unexpected fashion. The hug, the declaration and throughout the series, the way he takes care of Mashiro.

    Speaking of which, there were two scenes in particular that caught my attention:

    -The scene with the entire gang on their way to ‘rescue’ Mashiro. Anyone noticed the ‘Youth’ word from the banner draped across the hood? I thought it was a nice little touch which highlighted the experiences of youth from all the characters.

    -Mashiro’s question on love at the end. The plane zooming off in the background, with her hair windblown. Wow wow wow wow! Delicious cliffhanger in a sense, because as Mashiro finally discovers what kept her next to Sorata, the dynamics of their relationship is going to change, as are those who are related to them. Can’t wait!

    And in case this wasn’t mentioned…

    “Aoyama, you look really good.”

    Owaranai Destiny
  22. This show does arc finales better than most shows do series finales. Heck, if this show ended here, most people would have been happy with the series ending (I think the same of the first four episodes: package them up, and they’d have been a great complete OVA series). And now we get more of the show on top of that.

    I still really want Nanami to be happy, because she’s really paid her dues for it. I almost wonder if Miyahara’s confession to her helps set up an alternate for her, as she sees Sorata move closer and closer to Mashiro, could she refocus away from him, or will she stay stuck on him until full heartbreak?

    Also, Sorata seems to be making progress with Fujisawa. After his failed interview / presentation before, he pulls this off, but with a hiccup (saved by Mashiro’s help). I wonder if some of the reason Fujisawa came to the Nyaboron presentation was to see how Sorata did with it. I think there’s still more between those two that’s going to happen.

  23. I hope every pair in this show ends up happily together. I mean, every single pairing in this series looks perfectly together, including their teacher and that game creator. That leaves us the trio of Sorata, Mashiro, and Nanami to worry about.

    Why can’t we have an ending where all 3 of them are happy and together? I’ll be very very pissed if they push Nanami to Miyahara. In 1-man-2-women relationship, I really hate endings where they pair the odd woman out to a nobody just to avoid making her forever alone. To be honest, I’d rather have her stay alone and true to her love if possible (yeah, I admit I’m that cruel). But of course, a 3-way ending between them can never hurt :3

    The Story You Don't Know
  24. Nyaboron is one of the more beautiful things I’ve seen in awhile. I’ll give it at least an 8/10 on MAL.

    The emotional bits felt a little forced this episode, but it does little to ruin the piling on of hnngggs and daaawwws. That hug for Mashiro and that kiss for Ryuunosuke. My cheeks are aching so badly from all the grinning right now. And while I’m on board the Aoyama ship, I couldn’t help but feel all warm and fuzzy inside when Mashiro realized what the doki doki in her chest meant.

    The scene with Aoyama running down that hallway looking for Mashiro is the only scene or that has explicitly reminded me of Toradora!.

  25. A final point or two on this first half. As has been noted in these comments, Nanami is paying her dues, but is currently the extra person in the trio. I still believe in a Sorata/Nanami ending because it’s possible that while Mashiro is experiencing love for the first time, she may well see it as the missing ingredient in her work, not the opportunity to expand her relationships outside art. I could see Nanami and Sorata becoming closer in the second half, with Sorata becoming majorly conflicted with his feelings, and at the end, Mashiro stays with her painting and tells Nanami to ‘take good care of him’. Bittersweet, but Mashiro and Sorata are in different worlds and this gives us the good feeling about Nanami not being left out. I wonder if Fujisawa might have some sway helping Nanami’s voice acting? Oh, well, I doubt too many will read this, as late as it is, but Happy New Year. and I am looking forward to the second half.

    1. I KNEW I’d forget something… Can someone (Stilts, etc) explain the lighting in the early scene with Sorata/Mashiro? He got the phone message, she came in and they ended up together on the floor, then she talked about making a memory and she asked if she’d hurt him, too. He sat up and wanted to say something, but she was asleep already, then light flooded into the room. there was no time element there to indicate that the conversation took place after they’d slept, so was that sunlight or moonlight coming in the window???

      1. Nyuk, nyuk!! I’m delusional about the ‘reality’ of an anime couple’s relationship? You’re celebrating the New Year a bit early to be so grouchy! I can easily see Mashiro being quite happy to love Sorata, and letting that energy fuel her work, rather than a serious relationship. Any focus outside her painting will detract from her genius. Nanami and Sorata can have a full life together with the loving support for both from Mashiro, and their love for her. It’s the perfect threesome, and everyone gets their portion. Now, go have some eggnog and have a Happy New Year!


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