OP: 「Clover♣Kakumation (クローバー♣かくめーしょん)」 by (Triple♣Feeling (とりぷる♣ふぃーりんぐ))
「パンの耳ですわ」 (Pan’nomimidesu wa)
“These Are Bread Crusts”
Cute. Fun. Cheery. Everything you’d expect and a dash more.
Just from briefly viewing the show’s preview material, you can probably tell that Sansha Sanyou is chock full of bubbly, innocent humor. However, Sansha Sanyou still manages to surprise with its subdued tone and unexpected amount of heart.
The story revolves around Nishikawa Youko (Wakui Yuu) middle school student whose family was once incredibly wealthy. After a recent bankruptcy, however, Nishikawa was forced to live a more penurious lifestyle. However, she still held onto her snobby, rich girl attitude, earning the complete rejection of her peers—she’s without even a single friend.
Enter best friends Odagiri Futaba (Kanazawa Mai)—an airheaded glutton—and Hayama Teru (Imamura Ayaka)—the class president who’s got more bite than her innocent looks let on. One day they accidentally stumble upon Youko as she eats her lunch alone and are quick to befriend her.
First and foremost, these characters are goddamn adorable—both in aesthetic and personality. Author Arai Cherry—famous for the infinitely enjoyable Mikakunin de Shinkoukei—once again creates three intensely lovable characters. None of them ever come off as obnoxious or over-the-top in their cartoonish dispositions (like many other characters tend to)—each of them manage to stay grounded with their mannerisms. Futaba isn’t always running at 60mph with the energy and humor she provides, Teru isn’t constantly cooking up schemes or laughing maniacally to herself in private, and Youko isn’t being unreasonably pompous or snoody. They all retain very human qualities in spite of their somewhat caricatured personalities.
In no case is this more apparent than with our main heroine. When Futaba and Teru first befriend Youko, they don’t all immediately get along harmoniously. Youko is very understandably nervous about keeping her very first friends, and spends a better part of the episode wallowing in paranoia and anxiety that she might lose them as easily as she attained them. Thus, she attempts to secure their friendship at every opportunity she gets, but seemingly fails at each juncture—providing a disagreeable answer when asked of her “favorite food,” and cooking dishes for them completely unlike that which they said to enjoy. She adorably frets and tries her earnest as much as she can, making her the subject of our sympathy—you can’t help but root for her, all she wants are some friends.
However, as the other two characters make apparent, they don’t really care if she stumbles or disagrees with them. They’re willing to be her friends regardless, made evident when they choose to join her every day at lunch, as well as when they enthusiastically dine on her plainly prepared rice balls. They’re greatly likable for the unconditional acceptance and friendship they’re willing to provide. Seriously, just good vibes all around—these characters are cute, likable, and funny (I let out a very unexpected, awkward “HA” when this moment happened).
And I think it goes without saying that the show’s visuals impress. While not anything particularly striking or unique, the character designs and animations are appropriately soft and pleasant. The colors are cheery, the music is spunky, and the girls are cuties—what more could you ask for?
Sansha Sanyou is everything you’d expect and a little more. The show’s packed with adorable moe girls, but contains a surprising level of depth. Its characters are more than just objects of humor, but unexpectedly human individuals—grounded in energy and motivations. They’re incredibly likable, and fun to watch mingle and converse amongst one another. Furthermore, the show’s visuals lend themselves perfectly to its content. While Sansha Sanyou isn’t necessarily a stand out show amongst a season as star-studded as this one, it still manages to deliver a level of quality greater than expected of it.
ED: 「Goochoki Parade (ぐーちょきパレード)」by (Triple♣Feeling (とりぷる♣ふぃーりんぐ))