I’ve been watching Sasami-San@Ganbaranai each week, wishing I knew more about the religions here and marveling at some of the visual ideas, but I began to worry that the show was drifting into a “supernatural being learns how to exist and make friends in the common world” theme, mind you, a Shaft/Shinbou version of such a theme with all the weirdness they’re capable of conjuring (which is a lot), but was it all to mask something mundane? Well, there’s nothing wrong with the theme, and episode 6 raises the stakes with the arrival of Sasami’s dead mother. Just the appearance and how Sasami deals with it would be enough for a good episode, though a slightly less crazy one, but then for this woman to practically drag Sasami back to the shrine to finish her training after killing Kagami and sending Tsurugi to the underworld after beating the crap out of her (albeit after a rousing speech from Tsurugi) was almost too much for me to watch. I don’t expect them to keep this dark mood going for long, but we still have to deal with rather nasty female, and Sasami is going to be the one to do it. Plus, they hint that the mother is in cahoots with the king of the underworld, meaning she’s not working with completely pure motives, either, something that I’m sure will come into play next episode.
Kotoura-San has settled down into a pretty routine high school comedy, beach episode and everything. The episode isn’t much, just a chance for the characters to show off their quirks for an episode before setting up the big confrontation between Haruka and her mother. Judging from the look on Kumiko’s face this meeting might end up as nasty as Sasami-San’s. Which is a shame, partly because they did such a job establishing Haruka’s isolation in episode one that I feel that she deserves a few years of normal, happy fun life with no conflict. Also, the main group has settled in, with varying levels of interest attached to them. Manabe’s emotions are so obvious to everyone, so guileless is he, that you don’t need esper abilities to know what he’s thinking. When Haruka hugs him out of fright, he’s delighted; when she hugs Yuriko instead, he’s despondent. Moritani is still wrestling with the guilt about how she treated Haruka earlier, and she must also bear the brunt of bad karma the show throws at her. Yuriko and Daichi … what the hell are they all about, anyway? We’ve got some backstory on Yuriko but it feels unfinished, and who knows what goes through Daichi’s mind. Yeah, the supporting cast is a mixed bag.
I mentioned in my posts about the winter shows that it didn’t seem to be the best season. Most shows out there seem to be weak imitations of other shows. I’m not talking derivative; if you got rid of those we’d only have 2-3 shows a season. It’s just that the current shows of their type feel like they’re going through the motions, and I’m finding it hard to care about anything that happens in them. Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo is sometimes an exception, a show that manages to take the derivative pieces and make us care. I suppose I should point out that this series began LAST season, so everything I’ve said about this season still applies. Episode 19 has everyone reconciled to who likes whom (with the exception of Nanami), so they through a new crisis at us: Sakurasou is to be demolished. But once they’ve announced that the rest of the episode is a flashback to Sorata’s first day at the dorm and meeting the crazy neighbors, putting off any reaction and counterattack until next week. It’s funny enough; Misaki gets a lot of screen/shouting time, so if you like her you’ll like the episode. But I don’t see this new arc having much to do with the show’s strongest point: how do you live with and/or love someone far more talented than you.