Posted by SuperMario on 8 June 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Sarazanmai

Well, I definitely didn’t see all this coming. Sarazanmai comes back in a big way, at least for me, now that every plot thread starts to go in the same direction. We have Kazuki, Toi and Leo are all losing someone dear to them and trying to get a Dish of Hope so they can revive that person. Before I get into the details, I consider both the prologue and epilogue this week as Sarazanmai’s highlights, as each segment showcases different side of this show that tell you a lot about its identity. The prologue is the most playful (read: bizarre) segment except maybe for “getting the shards out of zombie’s butt” part, where Sara slips the freeze-Kappi out to the street and he literally gets broken in pieces. It’s bizarre and it’s wonderful. The epilogue goes in opposite direction and serves as Sarazanmai’s most tender moments. Not only the sad piano tune does its job, the use of montage the constantly swifts between their memory together and their current situation pretty much brings the emotions forward.

The rest of the episode is no slouch either. While I’m one of those who lament the fact that Ikuhara’s ambition is too great for a 1-cour series, one of the strength of having only 11 episodes is that the plot is much tighter and has more purpose than his longer series. This week, for example, not only one, but three characters, are having someone close slipping away from them, although it’s hard for me to draw more parallel regarding their relationships. While Reo & Mabu and Toi & Chikai relationships go in dark places, the way Kazuki feels about Enta is in totally different light. It would make much more sense if Entai was the one saving Kazuki. By no mean, what I just said meant to be a criticism, more like an observation, given Kazuki is a MAIN main character. With Enta is in his (death)bed, it’s time for him to re-examine how much Enta meant to him and comes to learn Enta’s affection. At the same time, Keppi is revived (or more like, reanimated) and he also revives Enta (in a way) in his kappa form, although the clock is literally ticking here. Kazuki also has a chance to truly talks to his brother for the first time. Those are nice developments, albeit predictable moves to get Kazuki into the centre of conflicts.

Because the other threads aren’t that straight-forward. I must say that even now I don’t really buy the Otter vs Kappa war and I’m glad that it isn’t really the focus of Sarazanmai. In fact, this episode gives some reasons for me to care about Mabu and Reo. Reo has been struggling with the feeling he has for  the new Mabu (love or desire), one who has similar appearances yet behaves like a stranger. But the interesting twist happens when the red-eye otter intimating himself as Reo to suck out the “desire” from Mabu. The fake-Reo inserts that he’s the “desire” inside Reo, more as an implication that Reo’s love for Mabu is all about desire and obsession. The other interesting angle is that Reo keeps rejecting the current-Mabu. What if it wasn’t Mabu but Reo’s own perspective change? In any case this thread weaves tightly the the “connection” theme and to the main overarching narrative. And speaking of that, the fact that both Otter King and Keppi have the same red eyes strike me as odd. Maybe they are more similar than you would think.

Lastly, the title of this week could apply to any character in Sazaranmai, but it fits best to Chikai. The one big lesson we learn this week about him: he’s an bad egg all the way and he’s incapable of loving someone, save maybe for Toi. It’s this dark and tormented relationship between Toi and Chikai is where Sarazanmai shines the brightest. From Chikai’s point of view, he knows that he’s using Toi, but he does it anyway. “You’re a little too good to be my little brother!” pretty much sums up their chemistry. Toi is desperately following him around and even protecting him, while it becomes clearer and clearer that Toi is walking down the dark path. Sarazanmai raises a red flag right there where Chikai shoots his subordinate to cover his track. Would he do the same to Toi, when Toi is not needed anymore? Maybe. While the flashback and his final remark “Connection is just a pain” and his cash might appear that he was intended to get out for good with Toi, his resentful delivery tells me otherwise. For Chikai, only the bad survives and my take is that with Toi’s unshaken devotion to him, it’s only a matter of time before he self-destructs and kills Toi instead. That’s all beside the point now, though. With the final Dish of Hope that served as the new MacGuffin, the last two episodes are going to be thrilling, and I would expect – unpredictable.

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