「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
- 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?