Random Curiosity

Sakura Trick – 02 »

Sakura Trick – 01

OP Sequence

OP: 「Won(*3*)Chu KissMe!」 by Tomatsu Haruka, Iguchi Yuka, Aisaka Yuka, Igarashi Hiromi, Fuchigami Mai, & Toda Megumi

「桜色のはじまり/やきそばとベランダと女の子」 (Sakurairo no Hajimari/ Yakisoba to Beranda to Onnanoko)
“Sakura-colored Beginnings / Yakisoba, Verandas, and Girls”

Seriously, just confess your love for each other already! Though it’s not like I’m not enjoying watching them flirt. Yuri banzai!

Yuri, Yuri, and More Yuri!

Disclaimer: This is a yuri anime. Do I need to say that? Is it obvious enough? Oh well, disclaimer given – if you don’t like yuri anime, I don’t know why you’re here, because this is really yuri. Seriously, super yuri. These girls are mad gay for each other. And it’s awesome!

What most struck me about this show is that it wasted no time. This is not a serious yuri story – though those can be good too, there being a lot of area to mine drama in figuring out one’s sexuality on top of the usual love-and-dating thing – and they’re not really going for subtle subtext. Maybe this is more a story about romantic two-girl friendships (trope!) rather than true schoolgirl lesbians (also trope!), but if so they’re hiding it well, because these girls seem to really love each other. And by these girls, I mean main characters Takayama Haruka (Tomatsu Haruka) and Sonoda Yuu (Iguchi Yuka). This is the first episode and we’ve already had multiple kisses! Not that I’m complaining, it’s just wow, stunned. Usually the kiss is saved up to make the eventual climax even more satisfying, not blown right off the bat in the first episode.

I just made that into something dirty, didn’t I? Moving on.

Art Direction

Making anime is a business, and businesses are out to make money. That’s something I always try to remember, if only because I’m only able to write about anime because I make money elsewhere. With that in mind, there are (broadly) two ways to “make” money: generate new cash flow (Ex: through increased sales) or cut costs and make the same money with lower expenditures (Ex: lower animation budget). The art direction in this episode pointed to them trying to do the latter, but in an artful and tasteful way that I actually enjoy. I’m talking about all the minimalist cuts that appear throughout the episode. In watching this episode I got a major Acchi Kocchi meets Saki vibe, the former in the animation & atmosphere and the latter in the yuri, and the former works for the same reason that Acchi Kocchi did – simple backgrounds and reaction shots drive down costs even while they focus our attention on what the director wants us to see (the characters, their reaction) rather than the extraneous details that aren’t important (the backgrounds, other characters). In a more “serious” or “realistic” series this wouldn’t fly, but in a more laid-back slice of life affair it works wonderfully, and adds a cartoony charm that I find endearing.

Beta Couples

I instantly found myself attached to Haruka and Yuu, and not just because they’re cute, funny, work well as a couple, and because they’re totally gay for each other. Okay, so actually those are the exact reasons. BUT what I also liked were the beta couples that are already forming. Once again, they wasted no time – within minutes of Haruka and Yuu entering their class, they had new friends and we had more couples to ship. Even though we haven’t seen much from them yet I tentatively approve, because as great as Haruka and Yuu-chan are, life is always more fun when more cute girls are involved. Why just two girls when you can have six all at the same time?

I feel like I made that into something dirty again, but I stick by it. More cute girls, banzai!

Looking Ahead

Going forward, I expect more yuri! What? That’s not the kind of hard-hitting, no-one-would-expect-that-otherwise blogging you’ve come to expect from Random Curiosity? Well deal with it, because come on, look at that yuri. Look at it! As if I have to encourage you, ya bunch of perverts. Readers no ecchi.

I’m not sure whether I’ll continue blogging this, but I’ll definitely be watching it, so feel free to check in this me on twitter for my impressions and/or to gush about yuri lovin’. Until then!

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Yuri, yuri, & more yuri! Three couples full of (potential) yuri + multiple kisses in Episode 1. YOU HAVE MY ATTENTION #桜Trick 01

Random thoughts:

Check out my blog about storytelling and the fantasy novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: Don’t break the chain, Nerds & the miracle of human consciousness, Urgency & the rush to come, and Explain yourself. My current combo counter: Writing chain, 1 day long. Editing chain, 2 days long.

Full-length images: 01, 03, 13.

 

ED Sequence

ED: 「Kiss(and)Love」 by Tomatsu Haruka & Iguchi Yuka

Preview

January 10, 2014 at 3:36 pm
82 comments »
  • January 10, 2014 at 3:47 pm~fineyristensen

    YURI FTW!!!

    • January 10, 2014 at 6:36 pmewok40k

      Set the goggles for maximum Yuri value! Main ship approaching! Brace for impact!

      • January 10, 2014 at 9:10 pmdaikama

        @ewok40k: Goggles? Who needs yuri goggles for this show? Have to be legally blind to miss it! Not that I’m complaining… XD

      • January 12, 2014 at 5:31 pmRob

        More like yuri sunglasses.

        /Blinded by the yuri

    • January 11, 2014 at 3:27 amJohnHayabusa

      Finally! After so many years, a REAL yuri anime has come! And for added bonus, sexy legs and glorious plot!

  • January 10, 2014 at 3:50 pmWanderer

    I’m not sure whether I’ll continue blogging this, but I’ll definitely be watching it,

    How can you not blog this of all things?! Come on, Log Horizon’s the only thing on your plate right now, you’ve got to pick something else up. And what better than a series full of magnificent and adorable yuri?

    • January 10, 2014 at 3:59 pmc2710

      Yes Stilts…..

      The Yuri side of the Force is the pathway to many things that some consider to be sinful….

      Together with us commentators you will be far more powerful and far more entrenched in Yuri

      Yes….

      Join the Yuri side of the Force…. It is your destiny…..

      Resistance is futile…..

      • January 10, 2014 at 6:37 pmewok40k

        Is the Yuri side of the force more powerful?
        Not always more powerful, young adept, but always more kawaii!

    • January 10, 2014 at 4:21 pmStilts

      Technically I can just keep being lazy, lol, but since there are a few shows I’m interested in, it’s more of a which rather than if. And since I still don’t know which one I’d prefer to blog, I’d rather not promise until I know.

      Also c2710 scares me when he talks like a Sith Lord. Stop it, I’m scurred ><

      • January 10, 2014 at 4:27 pmWanderer

        Technically I don’t have to do jack

        …Normally you’d have taken my comment in the humorous tone that I meant it. Are you feeling all right? I figured context and content made it obvious that that was a lighthearted comment, rather than a serious “why aren’t you blogging more you lazy (insert random insult here)”

      • January 10, 2014 at 4:58 pmStilts

        Ah, sorry about that. I took it humorously, I was just sleepy and rattling off comments in a daze. I edited it to nix the confusion : ) No worries bro!

        P.S. Naps are wonderful.

      • January 10, 2014 at 7:48 pmdaikama

        @Stilts: You forgot to add “B-but I’m NOT the ecchi (yuri) blogger…I swear.” ;)

      • January 10, 2014 at 8:49 pmcruiser2710

        Imma huge Star Wars fan and I can go chuunibyou bout it as well

  • January 10, 2014 at 3:50 pmTassadar

    • January 10, 2014 at 4:04 pmxmn

      yuri power defies gravity

    • January 10, 2014 at 4:13 pmxmn

      Here are some examples of yuri power defying natural laws of the universe!

      http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/770272986_195fdc100e.jpg
      With yuri power, oxygen is no longer needed!
      http://imgur.com/hnjcHrL
      With yuri power, wind will start blowing magically!

      Defy natural laws of the universe NOW by getting yuri power!
      Call 1-800…

      • January 10, 2014 at 6:38 pmewok40k

        lol and I just started -as a part of backlog clearing – Strawberry Panic!

  • January 10, 2014 at 3:57 pmc2710

    Yes…..

    The Yuri side of the Force is the pathway to many things that some consider to be sinful….

    Yes….

    Join the Yuri side of the Force…. It is your destiny…..

    Resistance is futile…..

  • January 10, 2014 at 3:59 pmSteelman

    This is truly the Infinite Stratos (first season only) of Yuri.

    That is, a show that has no business being any good, but that somehow works due to outstanding execution.

    Kudos to Deen – best first episode of the season so far (second would be Noragami).

    • January 12, 2014 at 8:53 pmnyanlol

      I think as far as first episodes go, it was Hamatora that left the best impression. Then again, I love mysteries!

  • January 10, 2014 at 4:06 pmNitro

    this show was every bit as adorable as i’d hoped. i love this so much.

    here’s a bit to add to the art direction section; i’m surprised you didn’t mention Hidamari Sketch, the style of the cuts are /exactly/ the same (not a surprise when you realise it’s the same director behind both series, even if there was less involvement in Hidamari Sketch)

    • January 10, 2014 at 4:25 pmStilts

      Never watched Hidamari, so I lack that example in my arsenal.

      • January 10, 2014 at 9:24 pms_w

        Another vote saying you should blog Sakura Trick. There isn’t much that I’d say is great this season, so why not be the yuri blogger again?

        Also how can you say you like yuri and NOT have seen Hidamari Sketch? Okay, the yuri requires goggles… but not with a very strong prescription. But more importantly, WIDEFACES! It will hit all those honobono SoL switches.

        There’s like 4 or 5 series, plus OVAs. Should keep you in art school wideface yuri for a while.

        The first series? So old it’s still in 4:3. The last series? Just came out as an OVA.

      • January 10, 2014 at 9:48 pmWanderer

        Hidamari Sketch is one of the major names in anime slice of life. Not easy to blog as most episodes tend to be summed up simply by saying “this was wonderfully relaxing to watch,” but… well… it’s wonderfully relaxing to watch. Very enjoyable. Also has (relatively mild) yuri hints among some of the characters, although romance of any sort is not a focus of the show. It’s something I would encourage anyone who has any taste for slice of life anime to watch.

      • January 11, 2014 at 3:01 amZannafar

        @Nitro: Actually, it’s not the same director as Hidamari Sketch (at least not the complete show).
        The director of Hidamari Sketch is Akiyuki Shinbou who works with a different co-director for each season.
        Ichigura Ken’ichi, the director of Sakura Trick, was only involved in the third season.

        @Stilts: You’re really missing out on a fantastic series if you haven’t watched Hidamari Sketch.

      • January 11, 2014 at 3:35 amNitro

        @Zannafar: yes, which is why i said there was less involvement on his part. i think what matters is that he’s carried over the style from hidamari sketch. he even assigns all the characters motifs based on hair accessories!

        @Stilts: never watched hidamari sketch? IMPOSTOR

      • January 11, 2014 at 3:12 pmStilts

        Find some way to pay me to blog and I assure you I’ll have my backlog cleared out in no time :P Until then keeping up with the latest season takes up most of my time.

    • January 11, 2014 at 1:12 pmPtolemaios00

      I glad I’m not the only one reminded of Hidamari Sketch! After this first episode, I categorized this as just Hidamari Sketch actually crossing the yuri line. The sound effects and transitions are all very reminiscent too.

  • January 10, 2014 at 4:14 pmPeTdo

    YURIIIII! #notgagarin

  • January 10, 2014 at 4:15 pmwxiagz

    …..who knew perverts could be this cute.

  • January 10, 2014 at 4:26 pmPancakes

    It looks like we have found the founding member of the new softcore fanservice genre. Why mess around with T&A when we can show you two quirky and cute girls gently making out among cherry blossom petals dancing gently around the classroom? Move over Chuunibyou, we have ourselves AotS right here.

    I am going to turn this show into a drinking game. Every time they kiss it’s time to get progressively more sh*it-faced. I don’t know how long I’m going to last if this opener is anything to go by, but by god is it ever going to be glorious.

    • January 10, 2014 at 5:00 pmStilts

      Drinking game? Challenge accepted!

    • January 10, 2014 at 5:22 pmDvalinn

      You’ve just created the best drinking game ever. You sir, are a drinking game god!

  • January 10, 2014 at 4:35 pmCroos

    If you keep watching a lot again Stilts, you’re going to lost it againnnn.

  • January 10, 2014 at 4:43 pmdrzero7

    I’ll admit. I am NOT a fan of yuri at all. And even I found the kiss scenes were hot as hell. (Especially the moans) Also funny that 4chan exploded with this series kicked off. I can kind of get where the joke is coming from of why people saying this series saved anime. (No, it didn’t save anime, but it is epic yuri series already)

    • January 10, 2014 at 4:50 pm~fineyristensen

      LMAO how can you call yourself NOT a yuri fan after praising this show that much!??!

      • January 10, 2014 at 8:51 pmcruiser2710

        I detect tsundere trait in him/her

    • January 10, 2014 at 4:54 pmPancakes

      4Chan needed a comedy to make up for the catharsis that the drama Watamote generated. What better than a little (a lot) yuri between a pair (probably upwards of 4) cute girls. This show covers all the bases and leaves no one unaffected.

      I don’t like most romcoms or ecchi stuff, but even I’m going to be watching this. Nothing brings men together like cute lesbian romance.

  • January 10, 2014 at 4:45 pmWW

    Yuri levels aside, does this show resemble Yuru Yuri at all comedy-wise?

    • January 10, 2014 at 4:49 pmPancakes

      Not at the moment, comedy is definitely second place to moe and fanservice here just going off of the opener. Future episodes will tell.

    • January 10, 2014 at 5:01 pmStilts

      It’s still funny, but a different kind of comedy that Yuruyuri to be sure.

      • January 10, 2014 at 6:45 pmKyosuke

        YURUYURI SO GUD! I MISS IT!!! 3rd season inc? :3

  • January 10, 2014 at 4:46 pmMagoiichi

    They cut out the middleman, which was all the denials of affection and unnecessary drama to give us two awesome characters that know who and what they want >:3.

    Anime of the year, hands down.

    • January 12, 2014 at 4:51 amTrunkmonkey

      It’s so refreshing to see a Yuri girl show without all the Yuri anxiety.

      I have read some of the manga, I adore their “this is just a mater of fact” way these two approach their affection for each other.

  • January 10, 2014 at 4:59 pmCaptain Hussain

    - Throws a pair of goggles on the floor. Dat kiss!

  • January 10, 2014 at 5:30 pmDvalinn

    Everything is better with yuri!

    This is a pleasant show to be sure. Real yuri entanglements instead of teases, a fitting artstyle and it’s funny to boot. Our mains have chemistry right off the bat, and there’s even more couples to come! Yeah, this is a keeper.

    All aboard the yuri-train!

  • January 10, 2014 at 5:54 pmJiCi

    The jump was epic XD

    • January 10, 2014 at 10:53 pmStilts

      Not quite as epic as Haruka’s leap into Junichi’s arms, but close : )

  • January 10, 2014 at 6:02 pmkevinball

    Please for the love of yuri blog this for the screen caps <3

  • January 10, 2014 at 6:29 pmfragb85

    Kisses? These were borderline makeout-sessions! I was half-expecting them to start tasting the roof of each others mouth. I’m glad that this series takes a more light-hearted take on yuri. It’s so sweet it gives me diabetes.

    The most amazing part though has to be that jump. Who knew that yuri could defy the laws of physics? This show doesn’t even have the excuse of being magical girls. Yuu just saved her waifu with the power of pure love.

  • January 10, 2014 at 6:33 pmCatsrofl

    Yes.

  • January 10, 2014 at 6:44 pmKyosuke

    If this doesn’t get ecchi’er soon I’ll go crazy! There was more YURI in Imocho! They can’t let themselves get shown up in their own genre!

  • January 10, 2014 at 7:04 pmTheMoondoggie

    Lesbians > Gays

    hence:

    ST > BC

    I’m considering dropping BC for this.

  • January 10, 2014 at 7:05 pmkanade_

    All the kissing scenes gave me a boner.

    And that 80s OP and ED.

    • January 10, 2014 at 11:20 pmbone

      yes, hardset and thickest boner

  • January 10, 2014 at 7:18 pmZhinvu

    My highlights of this episode:

    1.) http://1-media-cdn.foolz.us/ffuuka/board/a/image/1389/29/1389293286596.gif

    2.) Tomatsu Haruka in another lead role.

  • January 10, 2014 at 9:07 pmdaikama

    @ Stilts: I wasn’t planning on watching this, but after seeing so many comments posted for the review, I figured why not? After watching the first episode, I can only say “what the hell was I thinking!?”

    - “…life is always more fun when more cute girls are involved.

    While JMO, never were truer words written… ever. XD

    - Why just two girls when you can have six all at the same time?

    Why indeed, but for those of us who aren’t famous anime bloggers leading a rock-star lifestyle full of cute girls chasing them around, just finding one cute girl to hang out with is tough enough! *cough* Anyway, I agree 110%. Haruka and Yuu are great on their own, but the adding the four girls, especially Kotone <3, just makes the show exponentially better IMO.

    “And suddenly physics fuck yooooou!! I would complain more, and I don’t especially want to see more out-of-place action moves like that…”

    In-universe/in-setting credibility is a really big issue for me, but TBH, I really didn’t notice that as my thoughts were preoccupied with other things. Seriously – didn’t give that scene a moments thought. XD

    “I instantly found myself attached to Haruka and Yuu…BUT what I also liked were the beta couples that are already forming.”

    Yes, yes, and yes. Completely agree. Wonderfully distracting yuri moments aside, I think it is worth nothing that they did quite a good job with the characters – especially Haruka and Yuu. IMO, how well the show turns out depends in large part upon how likeable the characters are, and I agree with Stilts completely that both the leads and side characters were done well in that respect.

    - “…and we had more couples to ship.”

    For a change, I was thinking about maybe shipping everyone together. Is that so wrong?

    - “I’m not sure whether I’ll continue blogging this, but I’ll definitely be watching it…

    Obviously what you choose to blog (and what not) is up to you, but based upon the first episode, I would think this would be a very fun and even easy show to blog (assuming there’s multiple relationships and character/relationship development). Hopefully you will decide to do so. Regardless, I’m grateful that you at least did an “initial impressions” review because I probably wouldn’t have watched otherwise (*shudders at thought*). No “3 episode rule” needed here. I’m in.

    • January 10, 2014 at 11:03 pmStilts

      To be fair, not all anime bloggers lead rock star lives with multiple girls and/or dudes (depending on preference) on their arms. Just me. Ladies love a wordsmith, lemme tell ya* ; )

      Totally agree with your other points, including the physics-defying leap. I don’t want to see more of it, but it didn’t give me more than a moment’s pause, kind of like how the amnesia schtick (which usually annoys me) got a pass in Mikakunin de Shinkoukei.

      * Note: good wordsmiths are known to lie. Except when they don’t. Or do they? Exactly.

    • January 11, 2014 at 10:40 amBear

      That leap would have gotten a ten from the judges if they had just stuck the landing.

  • January 10, 2014 at 9:17 pmJ-Luke

    The Yuri is indeed strong with this one. They surely don’t beat around the bush (no pun intended).
    Art-wise I also got the feeling that the production staff is somewhat of a fan of SHAFT’s visual effects…

    • January 11, 2014 at 12:45 amScruffy

      This is basically done by the Hidamari Sketch team so is SHAFT to the core. Everything screams HS. The art style, the breakout to chibi, the symbols for characters, the chapter format, even the named footsteps! All you need to do is widen the faces and you’d have Hidamari Sketch, but with more Yuri actually shown on screen!

  • January 10, 2014 at 9:27 pmNamaewoinai

    So another Yuri Anime eh…….uh…BRING IT ON DUDES!!!

    Side note: I was wondering if the people of Gokurabu (do you had a clue for this anyway?) will comment on this one…(Hey or …Speak Something!)

  • January 10, 2014 at 10:12 pmKrikket

    So finally a “real” yuri anime, not another bullshit like Yuru Yuri? I’m in!

  • January 10, 2014 at 10:16 pmSaga Darklight

    I’m, I’m freaking in this boat pals.

  • January 10, 2014 at 10:27 pmbolton

    this is “oh my GOD” on ayaya levels. i’m burning up right now, the moe is fucking strong. i love how sakura trick has the ability to be both cute and hot at the same time!

  • January 10, 2014 at 10:45 pmEliteF22

    You have to wonder if the VAs in the booth have ever just said screw it and started making out with each other.

    • January 10, 2014 at 11:05 pmStilts

      No, almost certainly not, but that won’t stop us from dreaming… *floats off into a world of yuri dreams*

    • January 10, 2014 at 11:56 pmMike

      I do not know how Japan works but i worked as a choreographer for quite a while and was able to see a few shows being put together.
      You would be surprised how often VA’s are not even in the same room or at the same time.

  • January 11, 2014 at 3:06 amTaiakun

    The yuri is almost the same level as the final few episodes of Strawberry Panic! The only thing missing is them stripping off and having fun in a horse shed…

    • January 11, 2014 at 10:19 amiTheShirt

      I’m perfectly okay with the classroom lockers.

  • January 11, 2014 at 3:11 amJif

    That was a lot of kisses. A lot more yuri than most Yuri has been recently :3

  • January 11, 2014 at 10:19 amiTheShirt

    Oh this is priceless. The kissing was so intense I was feeling it. lol

  • January 11, 2014 at 2:00 pmAggron

    This first episode had more kissing then romcoms or even romances had in their entire airing :O Me likey :3

  • January 11, 2014 at 9:14 pmpahlavi5312

    Stilts, srsly you need to blog this :)

    • January 12, 2014 at 4:14 amkornpone

      Totally agree. I mean watching this is fun and all, but watching and then reading the Stilts writeup makes it easily 500% funner. With frosting on top.

      And besides, Stilts, although you certainly already deserve it, showing why will make it feel even better when you are at last rewarded that yuri-anime review Pulitzer ;)

      • January 12, 2014 at 1:48 pmStilts

        Oh shit, that’s a thing? Tempting…

  • January 12, 2014 at 1:38 pmTrapMaster

    Oh my, the yuri in this one is strong, but still, I must say, although there were some shortcuts in the animation, I don’t know why but it gives this series more charm than had they just animated everything in complete details. this is definitely a series I’ll be watching for this season :3 Onward to the sea of YURI!! XD

  • January 13, 2014 at 8:13 amRincewind

    Real, canonical, yuri… YES!!!

    I loved this first episode. Watched it four times already. And I lost the count with the opening.
    Yuu voice is soooo cute. SOOO CUTE!!!

    And loved the Hidamari style. Fits perfectly.

    I can’t wait for the next episode!! Want more cute canon yuri!!!

  • January 13, 2014 at 12:04 pmSieff

    Holy crap. The yuri’s great and all, but the mere fact that it delivers, in spades, straight out of the gate is pretty novel.

    Why is this so rare?

    • January 13, 2014 at 12:21 pmStilts

      I actually talked about this a little in another post (and I’ve talked about it more previously as well), but storytellers have a tendency to want save up the good stuff so that they can string us along and keep us watching (and them in employment) for longer. So most stories save us the kiss because spending it now makes it feel like they have to up the ante to hold our interest.

      Which is not precisely true. Haruka & Yuu don’t need to be getting married by the end of this series just because they kissed early on. That’s how storytellers often think though. Better to not hold anything back says I, exactly like this show appears to be (so far).

  • January 14, 2014 at 9:51 pmLicolis

    Finally, Yuri anime… this season will be great!

  • January 18, 2014 at 12:15 amFuu

    Meh. I found YuruYuri to be more entertaining and funny.