Teenaged romance shows are a dime a dozen, so it has to take something special for a series to catch my interest. For that, the past Autumn Season was a source of gold. Kamisama Hajimemashita was awesome, Sukitte Ii na Yo was a surprise hit, and Sakurasou also seemed like the series to bring new life in the shounen romance genre. It kinda did, but if you want to stay with that impression, then don’t watch the second half.
Sakurasou really managed to set itself apart with its execution. From the outside it looked like an average romantic comedy, but when you started watching it became clear to me how good the chemistry between the characters was. The banter had a lot of comedic gold in it, and it was full of energy. Scenes were well set-up, and there were a number of really sharp characters in this series, whose lines pierced through all pretense. That made this series a roller-coaster of emotions that was actually really well balanced.
The level of writing really was good there, and consistently so. I can only recall one bad episode, which randomly introduced incest for no reason whatsoever). You’d expect this level of writing to get better as the series goes on and gets more chance to build up, but somewhere along the way it just loses its spark. Especially the final third just misses the energy and wit that made this series so addictive at the start.
The early parts of this series are about hard work versus talent, and working hard towards your dreams, and coming of age. The show ends with a love triangle and a silly subplot about a bunch of dorms being closed down. It totally lacks any kind of impact, and the series ends with a melodramatic ending that is too scared to really resolve anything. The only good parts about the final third is where the creators focus on the themes that made the first half so good, but there are unfortunately too few moments to really salvage the series.
It’s a shame, really. I really endorse series evolving and changing. Doing the same thing over and over gets boring. But if you want to change your attention, you have to make sure that you have something interesting and logical to follow up with. Sakurasou didn’t and just got bogged down in its genre conventions that unfortunately spoiled what could have been such a good shounen romance.
One-Sentence Review: If you are interested in Sakurasou, my tip is to watch until episode 16, and let your imagination fill in the climax, because if you do you’ll get a really rewarding and witty romance series, instead of having to sit through the downer climax that follows…
– Kaze no Shoujo Emily
– True Tears
– Yumekui Merry