「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
- “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.