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Sarazanmai – 03 »« Sarazanmai – 01

Sarazanmai – 02

「つながりたいけど, 奪いたい」(Tsunagaritai kedo, Ubaitai)

“I Want to Connect, But I Want to Take”

This episode of Sarazanmai can easily be summed up by the many topics it introduces to us: waterboarding, a cat that ingests marijuana, dancing corrupt cops, ninja dating, cat fetishists, and more! But above all else, this episode tackles the secrets that burrow within our three protagonists as the shame they have to unearth from the kappa zombie also brings out different shades of the trio.

As the shadiest of the three, Toi’s secrets are the most illegal. Considering how much he wants to help out his brother Chikai, he finds himself involved with much of his brother’s dirty work. This includes waterboarding a guy in his shower and cultivating marijuana so that he’ll be able to sell it and make money for Chikai. Toi finds himself chasing after his brother due to Chikai’s insistence on keeping Toi at arm’s length if he’d be unable to bail himself out without his help. To that effect, Toi puts pressure on himself to use the Dish of Hope and make money off of selling pot for his brother’s sake. For this reason, he is on adversarial terms with Kazuki and Enta, but when he has to work together with Kazuki to chase after Nyantaro, who ate a bag full of weed, he finds himself slowly cooperating alongside others. There’s a sense of normalcy that comes from Toi’s cordial interactions with Kazuki as he’s willing to negotiate with him to protect the cat on the condition that he gets to keep the dishes.

While Nyantaro’s early celebration of 4/20 is what drives Toi to chase after him, it’s Kazuki’s reasoning that drives the episode forward. It’s already established that Kazuki would do anything for his brother Harukawa, who is easily charmed by his new friend Sara Azuma. But it’s Harukawa’s desire for a cat that gives Nyantaro a deeper significance for the brothers as they look to Nyantaro as their very own outdoor cat that they can take care of whenever they wish. After taking the shame from the kappa zombie, however, there’s a far more significant reason why Kazuki sees a high level of importance in Nyantaro as the cat was actually someone else’s housecat that he stole so that Harukawa could have a cat that he could consider his own. It digs deeper into Kazuki’s complex as he finds himself going such far lengths to make his brother happy that he is more than willing to dress up as Sara and steal a person’s pet if it makes him happy. It’s a little admirable that we would be starting the series off so quickly with evidence that our three heroes are not the best role models

For Enta, however, his affection is on a much deeper level as his feelings for Sara and Kazuki emerge to its highest degree yet by the end of their second transformation. There were small signs that Enta had a particular attachment to Kazuki as he was upset that he wouldn’t be sticking with their school club together. In this episode, much of Enta’s screentime was dedicated to telling him to stay away from Toi as he is distrustful in how dangerous he can be, especially considering that he ended up getting Toi’s secret gun this time around. Other minor hints such as Kazuki showing up in Enta’s OP water tunnel sequence and the soccer band that appears in his box also connect the dots towards how Enta feels about Kazuki. All of this culminates in the episode’s after-credits shocker where Enta finds Kazuki in his Sara outfit napping on a park bench and kisses him. It’s an explosive moment that sets the scene for future development regarding Enta’s feelings for Kazuki, and manifest into a larger secret that could eventually be exposed to one another.

Thematically, the episode also draws attention to the two police officers, who are the root of the kappa zombies’ emergence. Their role in capturing the guy who collected cat fur to appease his girlfriend as a kink is thoroughly explored with the last episode’s interrogation being further elaborated on. By tugging on the thread of fate, the two cops harness the guy’s shameful desires to weaponize them and let them run amok in the city. They are slighted by the possibility of some force that’s undoing their work, but how their side of the story merges with Keppi’s point-of-view will be interesting to see unfold for the sake of giving the story’s lore some more detail. And in its essence, it’s what makes Sarazanmai such a rewarding anime to watch at this point. For Ikuhara, it’s impressive to see him give the cast more to work with by elaborating further on the roles that everyone plays in the story and how their motivations determine which direction they will sway in.

April 18, 2019 at 6:33 pm
13 comments »
  • April 18, 2019 at 8:18 pmPavaniGanga

    Thank you for this informative post. Without your hint I would not have recognized that the red lines in the dance could be the thread of Fate. I hope you will continue your reviews of Sarazanmai–or at least present your thoughts when the series concludes. I will bookmark this page.

    • April 19, 2019 at 9:55 pmChoya

      No prob, thanks for the comment. I know the first thing I caught onto with the heart-pull was how close it resembled the sword-pull from Utena, but the thread of fate is definitely imagery that is reoccuring with anime. It’ll be exciting to see where the show goes from here with what it has in store for both of the cops and the main three.

  • April 18, 2019 at 8:48 pmstarss

    Okay so it’s as i expected: they’re recycling a ton of plot elements, and therefore, recycling a ton of animation, just under a different monster of the week, different conflicts, and different secrets. Also, like are we gonna get a new musical number every episode?

    … that ending though1! :O

    • April 19, 2019 at 10:00 pmChoya

      Ikuhara is known for reusing transformation sequences and doing subject-of-the-week anime with a specific format. It’s the moments that deviate from the sequences, however, that are the most intriguing as the plot begins to unravel and the underlying tension is slowly trying to burst at the seams.

      The ending defintely sets a precedence for what will happen in the future. Where it will be a challenge for Enta to hide it from Kazuki or Toi now that they’re sharing eachother’s secrets, and could easily define what Enta’s main motivation for what he would ever do if he were to get the dish’s powers.

  • April 19, 2019 at 12:36 amsosbrigade1991

    alright alright alright here we GO. Between the hand holding and the kissing and all the shameless butt stuff I am happy to see that they aren’t pulling any punches. Go big or go hetero.

    • April 19, 2019 at 10:06 pmChoya

      It’s hard to come by a show like this where it aims to approach same-sex romance without adhering to the standard shoujo trappings of yaoi/shounen-ai. Not only that, but also depict it in a unique and trippy manner that feels unlike anything else

      • April 21, 2019 at 4:02 amsosbrigade1991

        I agree completely. this feels less like its trting to bait fujoshi and more like its interested in being very frank about male sexuality, which is a real smack in the face for fans who aren’t used to being catered in such a way. I’m enjoying it very much.

      • April 21, 2019 at 7:02 pmChoya

        It was an aspect of Utena that was interesting in that they never shied away from same-sex relationships, yet didn’t present it as just a reskinned shoujo where a docile uke (that’s drawn the same way as a heroine but with shorter hair and a smaller chest) enters an abusive relationship with a forceful seme and having them be seen as the perfect fairy-tale couple in spite of said abuse. In Utena, it was more or less presented as casual as possible yet also addresses the internal flaws of the characters that have less to do with their orientation/dynamics and more about their own personal flaws that come into the fold.

        The same can be said for Sarazanmai, where Enta being interested in Kazuki is great in the sense of bringing same sex infatuation onto the table, yet is also reflective of the flaws that Enta has in not only doing all of this while Kazuki was sleeping, but also keeping these feelings guarded and secretive to the point of being outwardly jealous of others that have any signs of compatability with him. Enta’s feelings haven’t been presented as something exotic, fetishy, or sensual, but rather a part of his repressed feelings that are starting to emerge as he’s learning about Kazuki’s secrets. There’s something naturalistic about it that goes beyond the cookie-cutter love stories where it shows both Enta’s feelings and flaws through his actions which just happen to be for the same sex. It’s a topic that isn’t explored as much in mainstream fiction, notably because you don’t often see the story from the perspective of someone going through these emotions for a same-sex friend.

      • April 22, 2019 at 3:26 amsosbrigade1991

        I always admire when a show stops trying to rely heavily on cliches they think will sell and instead use the medium to tell mature stories, especially narratives that are seldom done justice. I always end up enjoying shows where LGBT characters are there but not the focal point, because it usually allows the authors a bit of creative freedom (harmful stereotype or otherwise. Once a show has labeled itself a yaoi it’s safe to assume dominance and sexual abuse are the name of the game. I applaud Sarazanmai for yaoi-ing its otherwise yaoi premise.

  • April 19, 2019 at 11:12 amSherris

    Weed? In my anime?

    • April 19, 2019 at 10:17 pmChoya

      Other than the turbo-weed from Kara no Kyoukai, anime where marijuana shows up is a rarity. For all of the taboo subjects that show up in anime, pot and drugs are specifically touchy topics that are ignored regularly in media. In this episode, I’d imagine the word “herbs” was used specifically to dance around it being full blown weed.

      • April 21, 2019 at 4:37 amMormegil

        Gotta love Ikuhara. Nothing is too taboo for him.

    • April 21, 2019 at 3:06 pmTheYepMan

      Legalize Gay Weed: The anime episode

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