Posted by SuperMario on 29 May 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Sarazanmai

Well, I’m back. After 2 weeks of summer breeze and rain like crazy in Cannes, along with films frenzy (I managed to watch 37 movies while I was there), now I’m back in the Down under with severed cold (and rain), jetlag and lots of anime to catch up. But enough of my vacation dairy, let’s get back to where Sarazanmai left off. While previous weeks I said that I felt Kazuki’s characteristic to be inconsistent, episode 5 does a magnificent job on exploring the complex chemistry he has towards his little brother Haruka. The tricky part of it is that it’s not merely one dominant feeling he has for his brother, but a whirlwind of conflicting emotions that tear him apart and that he still tries to make sense. First off, despite claiming at the end of episode 4 that he hates Haruka, the well runs much deeper than that. It starts with a realization that he isn’t blood-related to any member of his current family, thus lead to him feeling “the odd one out”. In Sarazanmai, the underlying theme is the thrive to connect to one another, and placing him as the “perfect stranger” makes sense.

But again, his feeling isn’t that straightforward. Upon meeting his real mother (who I suspect has something to do with the Otter empire), he’s in a bind between choosing her and his current family. Things get more complicated when in a spur of moment Haruka gets hit by a car and becomes disabled for the rest of his life. Kazuki’s feeling of all this is a mixture of not belonging and guilt, which the latter intensifies by the fact that no one, Haruka included, blame him for his action. This is Ikuhara’s character writing at his best. While his style can be overwhelming with influx of symbolism and characters keep pushing themselves to their extreme, he provides a complex examination of human psyche. I’m also glad how Kazuki’s plan quickly gets out of hand and ends with humiliation and disappointment of his brother, the two things he wanted to avoid the most.

Episode 6 saw the trio in their kappa forms the whole way through, and where the cops decided to be more active: by kidnapping Haruka. This episode finally spills the bean about the ongoing conflict between Kappa and Otter Empire, that they gather source of their “desire” energy, and that people who lost shirikodama out of their butt will have their existence erased. This episode marks the end of what I consider the first arc of Sarazanmai, when the trio finally work together and the stake is higher as ever with Haruka being kidnapped and erased. There’s an affecting moment where Kazuki almost gives up his own existence to save his little brother, just so that Enta and Toi remind him his worthiness. I would love for that conflict to happen a bit longer, but it’s a neat conflict nonetheless. The resolution where the trio pass the “ball” to Kazuki work as a symbol in which they finally work together, despite their differences.

The latest episode, as a consequences, is much slower since it’s the beginning of a new arc. We could see this change through Kazuki’s character, as he is now content and happily play soccer again AKA he has no more conflict whatsoever. To connect the dots between these two arcs though, we learn more about Reo and Mabu, and the affection from Reo to Mabu, although it leaves a lot to be desired. Mabu saves Reo from the attacking, and that lead to him having a machine heart right now. Reo doesn’t take it easy. While we can see Reo’s motivation it’s hard to tell how he would fit to the big picture. At the same time, it’s revealed that it’s Enta is the one who vandalize their soccer spot and steals all the dishes. One thing of note is that the flashback frames his action more goofy than dramatically, makes me question how significant this plot twist will be. We have the routine dance sequences in episode 7 as well, but I can’t help but feeling rushed. While episode 5 & 6 offer a solid case that Sarazanmai is something special, episode 7 unfortunately is its lowest point yet. Here’s hoping it picks up its steam soon.

ps: in case any of you still wonder, I am back with normal schedule now. So no more skipping. No more waiting for weeks. Also, thanks Wooper for helping me out with the other two shows. You’ve been a great help.

2 Responses

  1. Avatar Firechick says:

    37 movies? Dang, that’s a lot. Do you have any favorites among them?

    • SuperMario SuperMario says:

      Thanks fo asking. 37 movies, but still missed out a lot. Parasite is the best film I’ve seen over there (which I’m glad that it eventually won the Palme). It has a strong social satire tone, and hilarious until it’s not. It’s the only one movie where the audience often cheers along with what happening onscreen.

      The one that surprised me the most, however, is a little animated film called I Lost My Body. Not only the art is pretty good, it tells an intimate story of a young adult who feels stuck. It’s a remarkable film, especially when it’s a debut feature from an African-origin French director.

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