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

5 Responses

  1. 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. 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. 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. 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. Alec says:

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

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  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:47 AM)
    I remember that same guy, during end of eva, pausing it over and over during that scene where asuka dies with all of those fast moving clips too.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:39 AM)
    I remember catching it also when I was young with a friend and we looked back on a fanservice scene with shinji and rei and he mentioned “You know if you think about it that scene is damn disturbing when you think she’s a clone of/modelled after you know who…”
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:36 AM)
    Before Eva, when I was 11 or so my image of a mech anime was Nadesico…then it was eva and then I was like…Whoah…whoah God halp! =O
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:34 AM)
    I suppose credit where I feel it due, the angel designs are excellent and I remember getting the shock of my life when shinji’s eva went nuts and then there was a bit with Bardiel infect Toji’s unit. I remember at least Masatos boyfriend being a likeable character.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:31 AM)
    I don’t think anyone was prepared for Eva, whether they liked the show or not, at 11 I can remember being horrified by end of eva and the series original ending as well as having my first moment of “Feck…theres a first…an anime that did something that scrambled my mind, I actually feel kind of thick now, this show is smarter than I am”.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:27 AM)
    It really wouldn’t have been that hard to put a satisfying ending to the original series, wrap up the threads nicely and put a pretty ribbon on the package to finish it off. But Anno and friends took a risk and went against the tide and end up becoming the trope-namer for the Gainax Endings. That took balls and made things unexpected and fresh, cuz god knows that ,good guys win the day ‘is tired and boring.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:26 AM)
    Requiem for a dream. I remember the guy who recommended that film saying to me “Even someone such as yourself who finds it hard to find/has high standards an emotionally investing film will get something out of requiem for a dream”
  • Bam
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:17 AM)
    @Emma: leaving a bad taste is pretty much the point of Eva, just as getting bummed out by Requiem For a Dream is the naturally intended effect. I don’t mind that you don’t enjoy Eva all that much Emma, l actually appreciate it over dishonest admiration. Just keep in mind that Eva deserves it’s special place in anime.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 01:32 AM)
    But Eva just left a bad taste in my mouth as a whole, I understand that Bam you are very passinette about it and thats fine, I wasn’t aiming to provoke. I just feel that its frustrating that like alot of certain anime, that I am not allowed to dislike it or have reason to.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 01:32 AM)
    If anything at least I found Ikuhara’s symbolism while obvious at least in utena and straightforward was at least visually interesting to look at.
    I love every David Lynch film and again I thought Lain was exceptional.

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