“Grandmother’s Pudding”

「お祖母ちゃんのプリン」 (Obachan no Purin)

The Story of Three Grandmothers:

Is this really the right time for a one-off episode dedicated to the grandmothers of our main characters? Really? I’m sure it’s not what any of us were dying to see, but nonetheless, it’s what we we’ve been given. In theory, I shouldn’t be complaining that much, because we did get more focus on Kougami (who is probably my favourite character of the cast). Yet… there wasn’t much to love about this episode. It certainly wasn’t bad, it was just typical Sakurako-san. But this time without much mystery behind it. What could have been counted as ‘mysteries’ felt more like idle conversations that didn’t mean anything in the grande scheme of things. And when you’ve only got three episodes left (after this one) having an irrelevant one-off like this is not a good sign.

As I said, the first half of this episode focused on Kougami and her deceased grandmother – which was dealt with in episode 3. It’s good that we tied back to an earlier mystery, but even so there isn’t much else left to discuss after Sakurako broke down everything for us. There was no showing this time around, just telling (unless you count the pudding jar in the opening shots, but that singular pudding jar is not enough, I dare say). Characters gathered around, Kougami brought up the dilemma with her paintings, and Sakurako proceeded to give her the answers she needed. We, the audience, just had to sit back and take her words for gospel. And that’s it, really. At least there was a nice panning shot while Sakurako told the story of one particular painting, and how it tied to Kougami and her grandfather working side-by-side.

The second half was perhaps more entertaining, but not by much. At the very least we got conformation that the old maid of the Sakurako household is in fact her grandmother. We also get some more insight into their relationship, as Sakurako insists they go to the doctors because of her obvious back problems, yet her grandmother refuses. She’s a sweet old soul, but as she says, she has her dignity; making for the strongest scene in an otherwise uneventful episode. As for what came before it, it was Shoutarou’s turn to tell the story of his grandmother, while Sakurako and her own gran figured it out. They got to the bottom of it rather quickly: due to her painful bone cancer, she purposefully made Shoutarou run out to get her some pudding before he came to visit, that way he would never see her in pain. At least it was refreshing to have a character that wasn’t Sakurako explaining the truth behind the ‘mystery’ – she even did the pose!

Overview – What’s Next?:

There’s very little left to discuss after this episode is over, because it explains itself without need for speculation. It’s a growing habit with the series, to the point where I’m becoming more annoyed with each passing episode than I would have anticipated at the start. After the premiere, I thought this was a serious contender for one of the best of the season, but other than the Isozaki and Kougami one-off, every episode has failed to live up to expectations. Again, we get a tease for what’s to come, with hints back to the fedora-wearing villain and his butterfly imagery; but nearly every episode seems to end on a revelation or cliffhanger that is later ignored. This could be the same again, but I have a feeling we might finally be entering into the final arc of this adaptation.

Full-length images: 12.


  1. Am I really the only person amongst the English-speaking viewership who thinks that this series isn’t about the ‘mysteries’ per se, but rather about “those trapped by the Past,” i.e. the people left behind, as the tag phrase at the start of the opening suggests? Based on that, this episode is far from irrelevant — it’s at carefully constructed look into the very theme of the series.

    Also, Gran isn’t Sakurako’s grandmother, but rather a servant that has been working for her family for years. The address term that has been translated as “Gran” actually means ‘wet nurse’ or ‘old housekeeper’.

    1. It does seem like the mysteries are less of the focus in Sakurako-san, which is fine. In fact, that’s what I thought after the first episode as well. However, as the weeks have gone on Sakurako has irritated me with her perfect deductions for the sake of wrapping everything up, and I’ve found the dialogue/stories to be much less engaging. The one-off stories that don’t allow the viewer to become part of the ‘mysteries’ are another failing point for me. Basically, while I can see what is being attempted here, I don’t think the execution is consistent enough for me to be fully engaged in it all.

      As for her not being her gran, I only assumed that because I don’t remember her calling her that before (unless I’m wrong?), and because the translation made it seem that way. Oops!

      1. Yeah, I think that if you don’t like Sakurako (and Shoutarou), then I can understand why this series isn’t working for you. I’ve long accepted that I don’t have the specialist knowledge to solve the physical mystery in some of these cases, so this show has always been about the characters for me. Most significantly, I’ve been interested in finding out how the thread about Sakurako’s trauma over her brother’s death will be resolved — not so much in terms of her solving that mystery, but rather in terms of how the whole thing has been affecting her emotionally, and what release she may gain whatever she finds out in the course of the last three episodes. As such, just about every single episode has seemed significant to me, because there have been moments where Sakurako’s behaviour suggests something about what she’s been holding onto. Additionally, I’ve probably been more willing to just accept what the show says about her deductive skills, partly because I know people who would approach things in a similarly overly-rational way (albeit, about their own areas of expertise, not hers), and partly because I think the show’s done a reasonable job of having her make mistakes (episode 5).

        But for those who don’t think it’s enough, and who prefer ‘real’ mysteries that the viewer can solve as well, then I can see the problems you’d have with it. Might just be a case of ‘this isn’t the kind of mystery you enjoy’. (^^;;

  2. Lot’s of feels in this episode. It even got me thinking about when I’ll eventually have to visit my grandparents and parents in the hospital most likely on their deathbeds.

    I personally think your expectations were just way too high. You only set yourself up for that so don’t go blaming the show so much.

  3. A decent episode though Sakurako-san still have some tendency to be “cold-hearted” on terms of “Memories” and “Remembrance”.

    Well so far, this series has been somewhat up-and-down relating to me grading every episodic plot-line, character development, etc.; except for the visual effects and sceneries are still displayed at its best. The other elements that make the story is still making me feel lukewarm on character development, especially Sakurako-san since Yuriko, in my opinion, seems to have more fans than the former.

    But, I’m guessing things are gonna get interesting as I have my hair standing up with a somewhat “suicidal-slash-admiration-confession” of a young girl named Hitoe, who gave us a hint that she has been influenced by the same villain who poisoned Fujioka physically and mentally (https://randomc.net/2015/11/06/sakurako-san-no-ashimoto-ni-wa-shitai-ga-umatteiru-05).

    Hopefully the final arc of this cour will reveal the identity of the Butterfly Man (at least in the last episode’s final moments).

    Richie Kim
  4. Admittedly, having an episode almost entirely dedicated to grandmothers was a little surprising, but I didn’t think anything was wrong with it. And that ending scene with Hitoe and the reference to ‘sensei’ was pretty interesting.

  5. get a feeling that Gran is Sakurako’s real mother. This episodes suggests too many similarities between them, including the hand gesture. Quite sure the link isn’t suggested as explicitedly in the novel.

    This may explain the bad blood between Sakurako and her supposedly “biological mother”. If this is true, how did Gran ended up in the household as the maid and how Sakurako ended up as the heir would become intriguiing to know.

  6. I think the animation staff made a grave mistake of marketing Sakurako-san as a mystery series. It is a good slice of life show IMO. This episode is not an exception as we were able to explore more of the characters.

    I cannot disagree with the emotional distance of this show portrays though.

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