Posted by psgels on 2 July 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews, Sarai-ya Goyou




One of the things that made the past spring season awesome was the fact that it didn’t have just one, but two Noitamina series. And boy, it sure came with a couple of amazing series to start off this new feature!

Sarai-ya Goyou is a character-study, set in the Japan of a number of centuries ago, and it unites Manglobe with Tomomi Mochizuki, of Toka Gettan, Porfy no Nagai Tabi, Kimagure Orange Road and a ton of other series. He’s a true veteran in the anime business, and he did an incredible job of bringing these characters to life.

The animation in nearly every scene in this series is full of detail, with a ton of subtle movements. This really allows the creators to put as much meaning into these scenes as possible, giving them a surprising amount of depth and development in only twelve episodes. Even most of the side characters get some development throughout the series that already is short on time and despite this limited length, it never tries to rush through things in order to fit as much as possible into its airtime. There comes a price to this, of course: it’s unfortunately an incomplete series, and stops after animating about half of the manga. The main plot threads are skillfully wrapped up at that point, but it’s clear that the storyline isn’t over at that point.

Airing next to Yojou-han this season, this series faced some incredibly tough competition, but it really shined out there despite this, and is a great recommendation for those who are looking for a short character-focused series. There is one arc that isn’t as good as the others (the Matsu arc), which breaks the flow of this series a bit, but apart from that the stories that it tells about its characters are all incredibly thoughtful and engaging.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Very detailed. Tries to put as much meaning into every scene as possible, and succeeds. Never loses itself in its pacing, though the story itself has plot threads that aren’t wrapped up.
Characters: 9/10 – Deep, well developed and thoughtful.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Manglobe does it again with excellent animation that focus on bringing its characters to life instead of over the top action scenes. Haunting soundtrack.
Setting: 9/10 – Excellent portrayal of Japan at the time, with a great analysis of the types of problems that people faced around these ages.

Suggestions:
Mushishi
Porfy no Nagai Tabi
Seirei no Moribito

8 Responses

  1. Avatar m says:

    This was my favorite show of the season. It’s serious without being melodramatic, and despite transpiring in the equivalent of a bustling metropolis and having such wistful characters, it’s all very breezy. The significance of the events is never inflated so the story never seems over-ambitious. The events are mostly windows into the characters, and while there are hints of danger they are there mostly as props to demonstrate the characters’ personalities. This tact is most-significant for exploring Matsu.

    Subdued as it is, a lot of information is conveyed through facial expressions, body language, or with the camera. The viewer is lead along rather than hammered with things, which stands in contrast to an awful lot of Japanese entertainment.

    An interesting aspect of the show not being action-oriented is that violence that isn’t meant as a sport is very quick and decisive, and there is a sense that it’s something to be avoided, even while the threat of it is used routinely. A lot of subterfuge and deal-making is used instead to accomplish tasks, instead of head-on conflict.

    I also thought that manglobe did a good job of pulling off the less cutesy style of the manga.

    Other than the unlikelihood of there ever being more of this show, there wasn’t a lot for me to be disappointed with. Well, it would have been nice if it had been more popular, because then it might inspire similar efforts in the future.

  2. Avatar Johnson says:

    I thought I’d be the last person complaining that a show was too slow, but I think they could’ve sped this up a little bit.

    I know they’re trying to build an atmosphere, but sometimes I felt like it wasn’t going anywhere. Or rather, I knew exactly where it was headed, but it just… wasn’t there yet. I mean, I think we all predicted almost everything in the final episode.

    That having been said, it’s definitely still a good series. I’m a little disappointed that we didn’t get to hear why Yaichi ditched his gang. I think that’s pretty important in establishing his character, because that’s kind of dick.

  3. Avatar Sam says:

    I thought he ditched the gang as kind of a revenge play, and that was pretty obvious considering that just selling them out to the police wasn’t enough for him.

  4. Avatar Joojoobees says:

    I loved this show. It is for shows of this rare quality that I watch anime. Watching and hoping.

    I thought M’s comment above, about the show’s “subdued” nature was an excellent point. It really embodies the aphorism of “showing not telling”.

  5. Avatar Alec says:

    loved it…cant say its one of the best ive ever seen… totally love the unique storyline

  6. Ah, how wonderful it is to go back to a series that you initially didn’t care for, due to a positive review you didn’t understand the positivity of so many years ago.
    This is another example of my maturing as an anime fan.

    Initially, especially in its first half I was prepared to declare this something I had more appreciation and respect for, admiring rather than enjoying, occasionally this felt a bit removed aswell.
    This time around the character designs quickly grew on me and it picked up in its second half excellently, rewarding frustrations with good little character bits dotted throughout it.
    I also liked how there was a muted feel to it and a lack of handholding toward the audience.

    And as an additional point, Takahiro Sakarai is one heck of a voice actor.

    • SuperMario SuperMario says:

      I watched this show for my 2010 anime and I wholy enjoyed this show. For me most of it comes from the mangaka’s signature styles (she also writes ACCA and Ristorante Paradiso), it’s stylish (I’m kindda miss Manglobe) and flows slowly but steady.

  7. Also, It was definitely a very confidently directed show, that even though it didn’t always nail its pacing, when it did so it knew how to use slowness properly.
    We talked about Acca before and I’ve seen some of Ristorante, I need to actually read her other manga.

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