OP Sequence

OP: 「Dear answer」 by TRUE

“Where Do You Live?”

「貴方のお家はどこですか」 (Anata no Ouchi wa Doko desuka)

Episodic Format – A Lost Child:

As many of us suspected, Sakurako-san is sticking with an episodic format, at least for the time being. This week’s episode focuses on three-year old Yuuka, a girl who stumbles across a red-roofed convenience store with bloody footprints, in the middle of an early summer night. Within the first minutes the set-up for this mystery already had me hooked. Just like the characters, I was intrigued by this girl – who she was, why her stuffed toy had a bloody hand print on it, why she’d suffered an avulsion fracture, and why it hadn’t been properly treated? Add in fake names given at the clinics, and you’ve got effective set-up for what proved to be a gripping episode.

Gripping is definitely the word I’d use to describe the events that unfolded here. Once they found her home and stepped through the front door, I was glued to the screen to see what was going to happen next. You have a dead (and potentially abusive) mother, a confused little girl, and a mystery surrounding how all of this happened. However, the most fascinating part of all of this was the revelation of the younger brother, and him suffering from heat stroke after being hidden underground from the killer for several hours. It’s not often you see CPR performed on infants, especially in anime, which had me seriously worried for the survival of these kids once we caught in the thick of the drama. Thankfully, they both made it out alive, which gives me hope that there is some humanity behind the atrocities that Sakurako-san intends on focusing on. Abuse, drugs, and murder aren’t light subjects, and shouldn’t be treated as throwaway details just to deliver the ‘shock factor’.

Not Completely Realistic:

While the revelation of the second child and rising tension are what stood out to me most of all, this episode did have some problems. It certainly gave me the rush to find out what was going to happen next, but there were plenty of moments that came off a little convenient. Last week I praised Sakurako-san for being rooted in realism, but after this second episode it appears we’re going to have suspend some disbelief with these cases.

For one, the police work is simply awful and unbelievable, which quite obviously exists to make Sakurako seem superior by comparison. The killer showing up at just the right time was convenient as hell, but it did made for a dramatic conclusion. And then we’ve got Sakurako’s concentration mode, which looks to be a recurring motif. I quite liked it last episode, but I suspect if we get this every single week, I’ll eventually grow tired of the recycled footage. I do feel like the scene would have been better without that moment inserted – it broke the tension slightly, and it worries me that we may be headed to the realms of fantasy if we get into more difficult and convoluted cases. Hopefully not soon, if ever.

The Mystery of Soutarou/Shoutarou:

While some details of this mystery irked me, overall I was thoroughly entertained. And although this episode seemed to be a stand-alone, there are hints of an overarching story on the horizon. We see glimpses of a Soutarou, who I assume to be Sakurako’s younger brother. Going by her memories in this episode as well as scenes from the OP, I can only assume that he passed away at a young age and that has left Sakurako with an emotional scar. Perhaps it also explains why she’s drawn to a boy with almost the exact same name, which she only says aloud for the first time after she thinks he’s going to sacrifice himself for her. The more we learn about what’s going on in Sakurako’s warped mind, the better.

Overview – What’s Next?:

I was already invested last episode, but I’m thoroughly hooked now. There are elements that will likely continue to irritate me, but they should pale in comparison to everything that Sakurako-san has going for it. I’m fine with some more episodic stories for the time being, but I suspect that the butterflies this week’s killer kept mentioning will tie in with the evil-looking fedora-wearing man in the OP, as well as the swarm of butterflies that attacked Sakurako as she was answering the door. It seems those beautiful little insects are symbolic for her own trauma, of which I am keen to see explored as the series continues.

ED Sequence

ED: 「Uchiyoserareta Boukyaku no Zankyou ni」 (打ち寄せられた忘却の残響に) by TECHNOBOYS PULCRAFT GREEN-FUND


  1. The “concentration mode” is almost like a transformation sequence usually found in magical girl shows.

    Regarding the policeman’s competence, it may be a case of “small town where not much happens” or something that makes him a bit slow on the uptake.

    Magnus Tancred
    1. Regarding the setting, I think it could be that. According to the first episode, the action happens in Asahikawa, Hokkaido. The northern island is rural for Japanese standards and currently suffers from depopulation.

      As for the city itself, it has 350,000 inhabitants. The second most populous city of the island, but not a lot in comparison with the large cities we tend to see in anime (to make a comparison, Hokkaido’s capital Sapporo doesn’t reach 2 million inhabitants, while Tokyo’s 23 wards have 9 million and the metropolitan area has almost 37 million souls living in there).

    2. I agree that the incompetence of the police force is quite shocking. I don’t know how it compares to the actual police in Hokkaido, but if there anything like they are portrayed here then that would surprise me.

      1. I’m not sure if its because we live in the different hemisphere; or many of us simply live a way more convenient life than another.
        But I can completely relate to the police “incompetence” in this anime.
        Heck, mine (South East Asia) is even worse.

        At least Japanese rural police portrayed in this anime (or even in the reality), still being attentive to the people who came to them.
        Where I live? You’ll be lucky if the police don’t rip the hell of your wallet for the so called “small fee because you need us to help you”, but then abandon you.
        Not all, of course, but stereotype happens because the majority act that way.

        So, it’s actually not that this anime portray the police to be “incompetent”… but I suspect in reality, they are also act that way, because how Japanese society works (not in a bad way, but rather a more peaceful way than what we tend to see in the U.S. or other part of the world).

      2. I really wouldn’t be too surprised though. Japan has a crime index of 20.84 and is 117 out of 120 surveyed nations, putting it into the very low category. In comparison Canada is in 78th place with a index of 38.73, the UK is in 68th with a index of 42.92, the US is in 45th with a index of 49.79 and Venezuela is in 1st with a index of 85.19.

        Crime Index is an estimation of overall level of crime in a given city or a country. We consider crime levels lower than 20 as very low, crime levels between 20 and 40 as being low, crime levels between 40 and 60 as being moderate, crime levels between 60 and 80 as being high and finally crime levels higher than 80 as being very high.

        Violent crime is not a common occurrence in Japan compared with many other nations so I can see many officers being unaccustomed with dealing with such crimes.

      3. Incompetent or not, its still better than a compromised or non-independent police force..
        Best example I can give is from my own country; those criticizing or reporting upon a certain government financial scandal are the ones being arrested by the police instead of the police investigating the ones supposedly being irresponsible…

        It would be nice to see an honest, hardworking police force, no matter how rare those may be…
        That can’t be asking too much, is it?

      4. The incompetence of the police doesn’t surprise me. They laid the groundwork in the first episode. Time has stopped. People are put at extreme unease by seeing even a dead cat. This leads us to think that violence(or death, at least) isn’t something that really occurs in their world. Considering this, I don’t think the police would really need to be trained to handle these sorts of things if it isn’t something they encounter often. The incompetence, to me anyways, seems to fit extremely well with the premise the story is based on.

  2. Yeah, I found the ‘transformation sequence’ a little out-of-place in this episode. But apart from that, I can’t fault the episode at all. If the other episodic-format type episodes are like this things’ll be fine. That being said, I’m looking forward to find out more about what happened with this ‘Soutarou’, how he’s connected to Sakurako and even how our similar-named MC met Sakurako. And I wonder if Yuriko Kogami’s involvement in this episode means she’ll be helping Sakurako and Shoutarou in future mysteries. That could be interesting.

  3. Maybe I read/watch too many mystery novels/shows, so this mystery wasn’t exactly compelling to me.

    Was wondering why they didn’t just do a DNA test of the blood on the backpack. Oh okay, we can wave that away with “small town”, if you really want to.

    Also dissatisfied how we don’t get a clear answer on how the mom died. I’ll assume she died from stab wounds to the back.

    Okay, I think I know what my gripe is… Sakurako-san doesn’t seem interested in finding out how or why people are murdered, only in their corpses, whereas most mysteries are.

    1. It also depends on:
      1. How long a DNA test actually takes. The events in this episode seem to span one night and the day after (less than 24 hours)–I don’t know if this is long enough to complete a DNA test.

      2. Whether an extensive DNA database exists in Japan IRL. Sloppy police work aside, the story seems set in “real life” rather than a fantastical or sci-fi setting; if a criminal DNA database in Japan doesn’t exist or is too limited in scope/accessibility, then it won’t be very useful in this particular case.

      Magnus Tancred
    2. DNA tests can easily be completed within 24 hours now, the problem lies in databases. Hospitals will not keep DNA samples of patients except for research purposes (and those are bound by confidentiality) and police agencies won’t always sample. Unless that person is already in the database, the genetic profile you’re testing is just another unknown.

      The mother’s death is also strange. It looks like she bled out, but that palm injury is not enough for that to happen. The one thing this show really is suffering from IMO is the lack of logical detailing in its mysteries.

      1. is it possible they specifically avoided showing the wound that killed her to keep the ratings down?
        i noticed they didn’t show the body in very close detail, not like they did last episode with the drowning

      2. Funnily enough, I was thinking why they wouldn’t do a DNA test. I don’t know if Hokkaido is as behind-the-times as its portrayed here, but for now it just seems like its ignoring the obvious answers for convenience sake, which sucks…

      3. For the DNA test, not all country keep the DNA database (not sure about Japan though, but I know my country in SE Asia sure does not keep one) which enable police to identify the people from the blood sample taken alone. In this case, DNA test only usable as the comparison between 2 sample taken to identify its a same person or not. Also, since this town is located at countryside, they might required more time to deliver the sample to nearest hospital equipped with the facility.

        As for why the police is so carefree and slightly incompetence in this series, it does not strike me as odd. Because, it is know that this town is define as countryside (although its a 2nd biggest town in Hokaido) with all the hints dropped on episode 1 where Shoutarou define this town as straight and unmoving nature which a definite characteristic of countryside town. The murder cases usually are rares in this kind of town and most of the police officer are just passing their time with mundane work.

      1. Sorry but I don’t watch CSI shows.

        Honestly, they wanted to find out the identity of the child. No idea when this story is set but as Pancakes has said, you can get DNA test within 24 hours now. True, that mother might not have even been on the database but they did not even try.

        Also, once the lead at the hospital with false name went cold, they just decided to sit there at a park. Why didn’t they think of actually posting up signs of missing child, in hopes someone would even recognize her?! Thank goodness for the child (and plot) that someone comes along that DOES recognize her!

        Too many things that just conveniently fell into place to help progress this “mystery”.

      2. Well, I have never heard of a case where police will do like this. It will be funny though.

        Oh, a missing child. Let’s take a blood sample for DNA test first.

        As for the posting the missing child notice. Since, the child not not even missing for more then 24 hours yet (standard for missing child duration for my country), hence it might been just a minor case. We only think of all possible action the police might have taken because we, the viewer, knows this is a possible high profile murder case.

    3. I want to know where this “DNA tests in 24 hours” comes from. Even parental tests can take their good 3-4 days, and that’s working with two clearly defined samples. The problems start piling up when you have to check it with a database of thousands. 1-6 months is actually a common timeframe.

      It’s true that Rapid DNA testing exists, but it’s a very recent innovation with less of a year of official use (and I doubt it has reached every corner of the world).

      Also, as Magnus Tancred has said, the whole episode took place in less than 24 hours. So even CSI testing wouldn’t have been of use here.

    4. No one ever said fast profiling was widespread, just that it does exist. Any DNA sample, no matter the method (RFLP, STR, AmpFLP, PCR variants), can be prepared for screening within 24 hours. I’ve done it in both class and research settings, and that was as an inexperienced student.

      Of course that’s the error-free ideal, and does not take into consideration the sample quality/contamination, the sample priority/lab availability, or the database screening afterwards mentioned. In this instance it very likely would not have been of any use for the above.

      Funnily enough though this thread highlights Sakurako’s problem with narrative. A short blurb about possibly screening the blood could have forestalled the question entirely.

      1. As Kuma Kuma said, it’s more of a case of people expecting a procedure that doesn’t fit the situation than the situation not being realistic. I don’t know how it works in Japan, but I checked guidelines of other polices and nothing is said about DNA testing.

        Trying to get the child’s name (and their parents’, if possible), filling in a form, taking accurate photos and sharing out accurate descriptions among other police officers, checking it with known missing child alerts, and other similar things are common standard procedure in such a short timeframe. Generally, it seems those procedures expect whatever parent missed the child to look for them sooner or later, and are more worried about not giving the child to the wrong person.

    5. Also, since the case is more on missing child with possible the child parent are in peril (due to the blood on the bag) is the initial case for this chapter. Hence, looking for missing child report, and search the area to identify the parents are the 2 most logical choice of action in this case. Hence, thats why the police office start with asking to the child about where she come from and the name while checking around for missing child report. Taking DNA sample straight in this case strike as dumb action for me if they did one.

  4. https://randomc.net/image/Sakurako-san%20no%20Ashimoto%20ni%20wa%20Shitai%20ga%20Umatteiru/Sakurako-san%20no%20Ashimoto%20ni%20wa%20Shitai%20ga%20Umatteiru%20-%2002%20-%20Large%2032.jpg

    Not trying to nitpick or veer off-topic here, but how does a troubled household end up leading to so much accumulated thrash? Even if the mother was lazy;
    1) She had to go out for groceries eventually, best opportunity to take out thrash at the same time.
    2) Wouldn’t the bad smell make the place really unpleasant to live in? Have to clean up eventually.

    1. Ever hear of hoarders? People can have psychological problems and do things that the rest of us find unbelievable. One townhouse near me had over a hundred dogs living there with feces everywhere. The killer may well have been the woman’s boyfriend/husband and she might have been on drugs too. There was a whole show on one of the cable networks about hoarders living in conditions that were as bad or worse than what they showed here.

      1. No offense, but if a story requires that its audience have to start taking leaps like asserting “psychological problems” and the like without implying anything of the sort in the actual plot, that’s just lazy storytelling.

        Ryan Ashfyre
      2. @Ryan Ashfyre

        None taken. I don’t have to assert anything, nor do the writers, about why she lives like that. I’m just pointing out that there are people in real life who do live in filth and trash that most of us would find objectionable. Those were just examples. Why that woman in particular lives like that might be of interest on an intellectual level but as far as the story is concerned that situation is entirely possible. My comment was just to point that out.

    2. 1) Trash collection isn’t always free. I don’t know about how things work in Japan specifically but some places it isn’t taken out of your taxes, you actually have to pay for the pickup.

      2) Japan is big on sorting trash. If you’re too lazy to sort your trash it’s easier to just toss it all in one bag and let it pile up.

    3. Hoarding occurs all the time ! Details are incomplete but maybe the mother was hiding from the true abuser as to not leave traces of them as ! And animals hoarders are in the news all the time ! Child domestic cases happen all the time like this !

    4. Gotta also remember that she(or was it the guy?) either lived under horrible conditions because of the bf/guy, or, she was psychologically damaged herself, hence, why she injured the child. Not too much of a stretch to link a feeling of despair to the trash accumulation(like NEETs or what-have-you). Based on Sakurako’s perception of the mother though, she didn’t seem like the type to do any of this, so I really don’t know =01…

  5. No idea how you found last week’s ep any more real than this one. They were both equally absurd for me. Having said that, I think I preferred this second ep. Dunno, just seemed less up it’s own arse this week. That stupid colourful animal skeleton scene still annoys the crap out of me (is that supposed to be some bankai of hers or something?) but at least they didn’t throw in the oversaturated and overused falling sakura petals this time out.

  6. While certainly stronger than an otherwise forgettable premiere episode, Sakurako‘s second round would seem to have it falling into an almost Hyouka-esque pattern; episodic mysteries (that really aren’t that fun to watch) with female protagonists that come off as more intriguing than their near painfully dull male counterparts, but ultimately only held up by shallow plot devices that do little to stir the imagination.

    Would would help here is if the series went out of its way to give at least some foreshadowing as to why it is that Sakurako is so obsessed with bones beyond it just being her personal intrigue, something that the audience can slowly piece together bit by bit as the anime progresses rather than just expecting us to slog it out until the big reveal.

    Give us something to invest in each week rather than these token mysteries that may or may not contribute anything to the actual plot.

    And yes, admittedly, Sakurako’s little brother (whom I’m assuming is dead for as of yet known reasons) as a plot device does show promise, though that would’ve been better having been in the first episode rather than at the very end of the second. In a show like this, IMHO, you’ve gotta hit hard and fast with those elements to suck the audience in right away lest you risk falling into that most abysmal of impressions, mediocrity.

    Ryan Ashfyre
  7. I would have liked more details concerning the case, honestly.

    Was the child being abused?
    Who was the crazy guy? The father? If so, why didn’t the mother leave him?
    Why was the place such a mess? There was trash everywhere. Not a great environment for the kids…

    1. This question often asked about why person doesn’t make the effort to leave an abusive relationship to protect themselves or their children. It is easy from an outsider point view to say they should leave but what the hold is often strong the bind a family together until is to late.

    1. From the 5 episodes I watched before dropping it, I felt that Ranpo Kitan skimped out on the detective work (esp. after the 1st case) and relied on “bait the perpetrator” tactics.

      Ep 1&2 –> plant cellphone
      Ep 3 –> crossdressing to become a victim
      Ep 4 –> release a repeat offender
      Ep 5 –> Flashback/backsory episode, not applicable

      The deductions/explanations given when the criminal was confronted often fell flat and got me a “WTH?” look.
      After 4 episodes, I was annoyed.
      By the 3rd time the perp mentioned his little sister in episode 5, I muttered “Oh don’t tell me she’s gonna die” in exasperation.
      A so-called mystery series that doesn’t drop enough clues, doesn’t provide adequate explanations, and is at times predictable, is an abject failure IMO.

      Magnus Tancred
    2. I can see the comparison with Rampo Kitan, but at the very least Sakurako-san is actually showing the details to the mysteries, unlike Rampo Kitan which didn’t care to explain anything whatsoever. Hopefully the butterfly symbolism is where the similarities end.

  8. I kinda would leave Yuuka’s mom about being the abuser as a very big ?? mark ! First her actions protecting her children was her up most concern even telling Yukka where to go to be noticed ! I say this because the mother used false ID at the Clinic / Why to hide from an abusive spouse / father ! And this occurs all the time ! Even with Orders of Protection tragedy occurs !

    And yes the police(anime) are kinda of bumbling / but in real life they fail at so many domestic abuse protection cases !

  9. @Ryan Ashfyre please stop over using that “lazy story telling” hand waving for every single thing you don’t agree or don’t like about an episode. yes hoarders exist, yes 24 hour dna testing exists. no its not available everywhere. I lived in a pretty rural area myself and I can tell you the police is being depicted spot on in here. you could use this series as motivation to actually do some research about things you didn’t know about instead of just thrown everything under the catch all “lazy story telling” that phrase is a disservice to all people trying their hardest to create a new compelling world every week and it makes a mockery of their efforts coloring peoples perspective of the rest of the show if you don’t like something give an actual reason and form an actual argument instead of giving a “lazy explanation” for why is it so 🙂

    1. First of all, Vicente, my comment here with regards to “lazy storytelling” was with respect to the implication that the audience needed to start presuming things in order to make sense of some minor details in the story that went unanswered. Nowhere did I specifically call out Sakurako as having lazy storytelling, nor do I think that’s the case at this point.

      That being said, please refrain from forcing your interpretation of my opinion down my throat without at least asking me first. You would save yourself some face in doing so and it would, hopefully, lead to a much more productive discussion.

      Now you’re free to believe me or not, but the truth is is that I’m so frank and hard on so many anime in my comments specifically because there’s something there that I like. I wouldn’t waste my time commenting on a series I didn’t care for and that I didn’t think is at least worth sticking it out with. If that weren’t the case with Sakurako, I wouldn’t have even watched it past the first episode, as I made a point of saying in my very first comment on it.

      Had you done your research, you would’ve known that.

      And finally, if a series turns out to prove me wrong in my initial impressions of it, as Subete actually did in its second episode to a certain degree, I’m more than willing to admit my fault and enjoy it for what it is.

      With that, I hope that clears up any misconceptions you might’ve had, though please feel free to ask if I happened to miss something. 🙂

      Ryan Ashfyre
      1. I believe you and I offer an apology if I offended you. That was not my intention I honestly missed your first post I went back and I could not find it still. in reference to the lazy story telling comment i was referencing your reply to Bear at 4:06pm. Honest debate is really hard to come by these days and I feel victim to one of my own pet peeves ” having a opinion crammed down my throat” I should of talked to you first in this case and asked to expand your opinion on this series. my reaction came about as so many people nowadays use that phrase. I believe it was coined on this site and since then became used out of context so many times. an anime or any kind of entertainment should do what it says on the tin “entertain” it is when it fails to do so that criticism starts to pour in. once again sorry to have lashed out at you I hope to be able to have an exchange of points of view on this matter later on.

        PS: I feel my lose of face its worth it if it allows debate and conversation to open up between two people.

        sincerely Vinny. 🙂

  10. That transformation sequence thing wouldn’t be so bad to have every time if it wasn’t so pretentious.
    It really kills the scene. Which wouldn’t be such a bad thing if everything else didn’t capture my interest as much.

  11. Regarding the plot inconcistencies(which are not really inconciestencies), are easily solvable based on the cicumstances. Really. It’s not that hard.
    1. Why did they not use a DNA test
    2. The wife’s hoarding tendencies
    3. Police incompetence

    The andwer here would just be one thing. Setting. The story is set in a rural area. Now after that you just need some amont of imagination.
    A. About the DNA test. Unlike what you westerners believe, DNA tests are rarely carried out. Why? Because:

    Most of the times, it would be a waste of taxpayers money to do it in every little problem,especially with a middle income community. Most of the times it is funded by an outside source or it gets backlogged. Also, most places have an incomplete or even unexistent DNA database. Seriously, just because CSI used it, most people, even those who didn’t know the show just suddenly up and believed that DNA testing is soke magical solution.

    B. The hoarding thing.
    The wife here is clearly a hoarder. Why would I know? My brother is one. Hoarders like to buy in bulk(most of the time) and where can you buy in bulk at low prices? Why at sales of course! After that you just have to put two and two together.

    Of course you could also look at this at a different angle.
    Judging from the look of the woman and the hair of the man. The childrrn could have been born out of wedlock. Seeing as the woman still uses glittery manicure and the man has bleached hair, they could have been fresh out of college or highschool( you never know, anime age can be so misleading, but it is most likely highschool) and with a small community, any scandal could be damning. That or that they could have thought that they could raise the child on their own since such a thing would be refused by their parents.

    And finally, the incompetent cop thing.
    One answer only. It happens. No action does that. Same reason as why some martial artists would flinch when faced with a knife. They are not used to such conditions and react poorly, rashly or in self preservation.

    Just because this is of the mystery genre it doesn’t mean that all will have to force fed to the audience. Half the fun in mysteries is in guessing and imagination.
    Sorry for the long post. Hopefully that clears up more stuff.


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