Posted on 24 October 2007 with categories: Anime Reviews, Ayatsuri Sakon


Ayatsuri Sakon is another one of these unknown series that nearly nobody has heard of, and which still is quite good. It’s an arc-based series, tackling murder mysteries. The main character is a pretty interesting one: he’s a puppeteer (Sakon). On his own, he’s really shy, but when he wields his favourite and most cherished puppet (Ukon), he becomes quiet, serious and quite cool. To make matters even better, he’s so good at ventriloquism that his puppet looks just too much like a person. Ukon is loud-mouthed, rude and nearly the opposite of Sakon’s personality, but together they form a solid base for this series to work with.

Basically, the arcs in this series consist out of three or four episodes, and in each of them, a person is killed and Sakon, who happens to be in the neighbourhood, has to solve them. These mysteries go far beyond the “Scooby-Doo”-murders, they’re committed quite carefully, and it’s very often that only the smallest details will give them away. The murderers themselves also often have quite some interesting reasons for their actions. As an added extra, because Sakon is a ventriloquist, the entire series is deeply rooted in the ancient Japanese puppetry, giving this series a unique look.

There is, however, one problem with the set-up. I’m personally a huge fan of arc-based series, but they’ve got one major drawback: the quality between the different arcs can fluctuate heavily. With Ayatsuri Sakon, it’s the arcs in the middle of the series that are a bit lacklustre, and not that interesting when compared to the other ones. It’s often obvious who did it, and they do a bit too little to really stand out.

Still, to make up for this, there are a number of astonishing arcs around the beginning and end. Especially the second and the final arc are true masterpieces in storytelling, and just about everything went right for them. These two arcs managed to become very emotionally charged, with great results.

There are a number of recurring characters here and there, and I’m glad to see that all of them get sufficient development to be more than just a two-dimensional one, and nearly all of them have an entire arc dedicated to them. Sakon is also an excellent main characters, who can, together with Ukon, perfectly carry the weight of the series. He may seem like a static character in the beginning, but don’t worry: as the show goes on, he’ll get enough development.

Overall, if you’re a fan of murder mysteries, you just have to give this series a chance. Don’t be scared away by the lesser middle part, both the beginning and the end contain some remarkable stories. It’s a shame nobody talks about this, because Sakon is definitely getting less attention than it deserves, and it’s a real underrated series.

Posted on with categories: Ayatsuri Sakon


This episode was… just amazing. I’ve been hoping so much that this arc would finally be able to trump the second arc of this series, but I can’t believe that the creators actually did it! This episode was quite possibly the best episode of the entire series, something which is what every series should aspire. The true villain of this arc had a really deep backstory, and this was combined with excellent writing to an ending that just couldn’t have been any better. I’m SO glad that this series turned out in an awesome way in the end.

While some arcs of this series focused at “who did it?”, this was already clear in this one: Ayano Shinozaki. The “how did it happen?” also wasn’t important: this was explained in just one minute. This really was an arc about the “why?”. Ayano is the sister of Sakon’s father. They, however, used to be members of a rivalling puppetry-school of the Tachibanas. This ended when the Tachibana-family spread bad rumours about Ayano’s family. Her father committed suicide because of his worries, while her mother went insane. Ayano and her brother then went different ways, while they both tried to end up, back with the Tachibanas, in order to take revenge.

Then Sakon’s father married, and had Sakon. Seven years later, though he committed suicide as well. It’s still not clear why, but I can imagine how he was terrified because of all the mistakes he made. Considering his family and their genes, it’s possible. In any case, because of this, Ayano decided to one day kill Sakon. His sudden promotion to successor of the Tachibana-school probably was the final straw for this. As for the reason why she didn’t just try to kill Saemon, the one who was really responsible for her parents’ deaths, with a lot of help from the media, I’m surprised that she didn’t have a clear answer for this. But I think that that’s exactly what makes a good antagonist: reasons that can’t be explained in one or two lines, but still make sense somehow.

So yes, I cried during this episode. It’s sad to see this series finally go. I’ve been blogging it for nearly two years now (to be exact, I started blogging this at November 30, 2005), and there has been no other show that I blogged for a longer time than this one, even Popolocrois. It’s obvious that it’s been a really fun time, despite the lesser parts of this series.

Posted on 31 August 2007 with categories: Ayatsuri Sakon


Yes! Yes! This arc is progressing perfectly! I couldn’t have expected it to get any better, by the standards that have been set with the rest of the series. There’s a strong and consistent emotional strength throughout the entire episode, the mystery progresses perfectly, and it’s great to see Sakon as the centre of attention, without any increase of cheesiness.

The interesting thing is that this is another one of those arcs where we know who did it, before the final episode: the Shinozakis. If the creators are confident enough that they give out these hints, they must have got something very interesting in store for the conclusion. With other words: Shinozaki’s reasons should be quite juicy.

Come on, Sakon! There’s only one episode left! You’ve only got one more chance to prove yourself and your unique character. Please, make your end a memorable one!

Posted on with categories: Ayatsuri Sakon


So, apparently there is no Baccano-release this week. To make up for it, we get treated to a double-release of Ayatsuri Sakon. We’re finally ready to start the final arc, and it’s exactly as I hoped: the final arc is going to be all about Sakon, as it centres on his succession of his the puppetry-school that has been lead by his father for ages. If I had to say so, this episode was the best opening to an arc since the first one, which benefited most from the fact that I had no idea what to expect from this series.

Lots of side-characters also return for this arc. Shiho from the fourth ac is back, Shinozaki from arc I returns, and our regular side-characters of Kaoru and Zenkichi are also present. Like I mentioned above: Sakon’s famous grandfather finally decides to hand over his title as the head of the house, after suffering from a heart-attack on stage. The successor will be Sakon. I nearly forgot that this grandfather is also Kaoru’s father, by the way. His other child, Sakon’s father, committed suicide when Sakon was only ten years old.

The fact is that people obviously disagree with Sakon being the next head. The most obvious suspect would be Sakon’s grandfather’s brother, but he also coughs up blood at the end of the episode. The big question is now: was Sakon’s grandfather’s heart-attack a real one, or was it created by a human? If it was, I’m putting my money on the guy who takes care of the clothing, due to a hint that was given around the middle of the episode. There are still lots of questions that remain, though. Why did the criminal set a garbage-can on fire? Is Sakon’s father’s suicide related to this?

I’ve got high hopes for this arc. This is probably going to have more emotional strength than most other arcs, due to the fact that it focuses on characters who are already fleshed out, and with a bit of luck, it’ll be able to finally top the seventh episode. Come on, Ayatsuri Sakon! You’ve only got one arc left, so make it an arc to remember!

Posted on 22 June 2007 with categories: Ayatsuri Sakon


Okay, it didn’t turn out as good as episode seven, but it sure as hell was enjoyable! I’m glad to see that the past few arcs have been way less predictable, as I never really confirmed the culprit until he was revealed. I also loved his backstory and character-development. I liked how he didn’t really turned out to be evil, he just wanted to have revenge for the things that people did to him. His miserable state of two episodes ago was an act all along.

I loved both Numata and Tsukiko, and how the ending wasn’t a 100% happy one. Numata will be serving in Jail, and Tsukiko has forgotten the things that he did, in exchange for her previous memories. It’ll only remain a question whether she can forgive what he did, and whether she’ll still want to be with him after the years he served in prison.

I think the only really evil person here is the major. He’s nothing but a greedy bastard who framed his son into killing Tsukiko, and he probably made him do even more. Even Kobayashi acted because he didn’t want to disappoint his father, which probably was because of the way he was raised.

Overall, it’s either me, or the arcs are getting better and better. There’s only one arc left, and let’s hope that the creators saved the best for last. I’m intrigued as to what they were planning to do to resolve the series. Sakon will obviously be in the spotlight more than he’s ever been, and I do wonder what part of him the creators will use for this.

Posted on 9 June 2007 with categories: Ayatsuri Sakon


I’m not sure how many others are still watching this anime, but that isn’t stopping me from really enjoying the current arc. This one might indeed have a very good chance of rivalling the second arc, and also for the first time since that arc, I’ve got absolutely no idea who the heck the culprit is. My best guess would be that Tsukiko is faking about losing her memories, but she sounded awfully genuine in the time we saw her.

It’s like everyone’s hiding something. Apart from Hoshie, everyone has at least one thing that doesn’t make any sense. Why kept Kobayashi visiting Numata’s sister? Was he the actual culprit? What is his father’s role, and why did he look worried? Why was Numata killed off in the first place? Did Tsukiko really survive such a fall and lost her memories? And why the heck did the culprit tape his victim and was stupid enough to lose this tape?

The background music also was truly excellent. If there was anything that could contribute to the already creepy mood, even though it just consists out of piano-tunes, it would be this one. I also laughed quite a bit when Sakon managed to sneak past a large number of police-agents, and Ukon was talking about Tachibana behind her back. ^^;

Luckily, The Ayatsuri-Sakon Project has the tendency to release the different arcs quite fast after each other, while the periods between the releases of the different arcs take up a few months. With a bit of hope, the final episode of the arc should arrive quite soon, as I’m really eager to find out whether it really is as good as I hope it to be. The past two episodes have already been excellent, now let’s hope for a good finish!

Posted on 31 May 2007 with categories: Ayatsuri Sakon


Hah! It’s just as I hoped, now that the ending is coming closer, the arcs are getting better and better! This episode reminded me again why I started blogging this series, and it’s quite possible that the current arc will be able to match up to the first two arcs. One thing’s for sure: this is one of the most touching arcs yet, only rivalled by episode seven. I especially loved the climax.

The case this time centres around a young woman (Hoshie). Sakon, Ukon and Zenkichi (I was surprised seeing him among the main characters, he works perfect as a side-character, in my opinion) run into her, and it seems that her sister (Tsukiko), who used to be a nurse committed suicide after making a mistake that killed her fiancé’s sister. Right now, her “ghost” haunts the local graveyard.

There are lots of juicy details to this mystery. For starters, Tsukiko was a strong person, who according to her sister would never kill herself for such a thing as accidentally killing someone. She endured a lot of hardships in the past, while she had to take care of her sister as well after her parents died. For her to commit suicide was just highly improbable. In fact, I actually believe that it was Tsukiko herself who committed the obligatory “first kill” at the end of the episode.

Hoshie also has her own problems. Remember the fiancé? After the tragedy, he started gambling and accumulated quite a bit of debt. He then kept begging Hoshie for money to pay these off. During the episode, this guy really looked like a miserable fellow, and he also was the first to fall victim to the plans of the killer, possibly killed by his former girlfriend.

Posted on 8 April 2007 with categories: Ayatsuri Sakon

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Short Synopsis: The true culprit is revealed. Quite a clever bastard he is.
Good: Perhaps the most clever villain up till now. Great arc.
Bad: Wouldn’t the guy try to hide his wounds as well?
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8/10

You know what? I loved this. The previous arcs may have had their flaws, this arc was handled quite well. I have to admit, while I saw Naoto as the main suspect after the head of the school got killed, after more people started to die, Eimei started to become more suspicious. His speech also nearly convinced me of the fact that Eimei was behind everything. That is, until he died in front of Naoto. Quite nice, I haven’t been this surprised with this series since the second arc.

And that butler. I knew he was fishy, I knew he knew what the culprit was, but I never suspected him to be an actual accomplice. In the end it was he who made the most mistakes. After all, he spoke so easily, in order to put the blame on Eimei. It’s quite clear that Naoto was the mastermind behind all this, while the butler just wasn’t as good an actor as Naoto.

With this, there’ll probably be two arcs left. It’s interesting, as there won’t be any four-episode arcs anymore. That’s quite interesting, as in that way, they won’t be able to drag. I just hope that they’ll somehow go back to the brilliance of the first two arcs. It’s quite strange to see that an actual ending is in sight, and that with the series I’ve been blogging for the longest period of time. I wonder which series will finish sooner: Ayatsuri Sakon or Popolocrois.

Posted on 5 April 2007 with categories: Ayatsuri Sakon

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Short Synopsis: As expected, more people die. The culprit seems to wear a white Noh-styled mask. Kaoru, meanwhile, makes a fool out of herself.
Good: Glad to see the brilliance of the first two arcs finally returning again! Kaoru was quite funny.
Bad: So far, Ayatsuri Sakon’s only bad point was its predictability, but even that was absent from this episode.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8/10

I never thought to see some actual consistent updates from Ayatsuri Sakon again, but surprisingly the Ayatsuri-Sakon project released yet another new episode. And I’m glad to say that, apart from the ending of the second arc, this is one of the best episodes yet. There are probably two reasons for that. First of all: Kaoru. I really like this arranged marriage of hers, and the fact that she fell in love with it anyway. She was so cute when Ukon kept teasing her. ^^;

The second reason is the fact that throughout the episode, you’ve got almost no idea of knowing who the real culprit is. Right now, I’m suspecting that the youngest son is behind it, but why would that be? When the previous arcs tried to side-track the viewer, the events were rather transparent. But this arc manages to throw in not one side-track, but lots of them. At one point of the episode, everyone has a possibility of being the culprit.

There’s a lot behind this mystery that still isn’t clear yet. For example, why did the culprit have to wax the floor, when he could have timed the attack perfectly. If it was a mistake, and the slippery floor was actually meant to fend off the killer, and Naoto was the real victim, then why didn’t the culprit kill Naoto off the second time? How did the culprit make Kouei end up in the car-crash? It’s hard to believe that everything is the work of just one person.

Memorable quote: “Hyu hyu! You two are sizzlin’!” – Ukon

Posted on 15 February 2007 with categories: Ayatsuri Sakon

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Short Synopsis: The setting for the new arc: a school for the puppet-style Noh. Kaoru has an arranged marriage with the oldest son of master of this school.
Good: Kaoru was surprisingly interesting. I finally realize the good thing about this series.
Bad: Again the usual formula. I hope I’m right with my statement above.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 7.5/10

Interesting, I know that I’ve been ranting against Ayatsuri Sakon for the past few episodes. But after seeing this episode, I really can’t imagine why I’d do such a thing? Sure, it’s not as good as shows like Simoun or Noein, but it does have a certain charm. Sakon himself also is a unique character. I finally realize why I liked the first couple of episodes so much, while the later bunch of episodes started to get really boring. This really is a show that you need to see once a month. Not once a week, like I tried for a while. It’s a slow show, but it definitely has some really good points. The fact remains, however, that it’s too much of the same. When you put huge breaks between watching the episodes, this effect is weakened significantly, which results into quite an enjoyable episode.

After watching this episode, I also finally realized that this show is like the sister-anime of Ghost Hunt. They both involve Ghosts, they both involve mysteries that have to be solved. The huge amount of similarities is quite astounding. Still, there are a few significant differences. While Ayatsuri Sakon focuses on solving murders, Ghost Hunt focuses on getting rid of ghosts and spirits. Ayatsuri Sakon is deeply rooted in the ancient arts of japanese puppetry, while Ghost Hunt rather offers a modern look at psychic events.

Still, I now realize that Ayatsuri Sakon has one major disadvantage over Ghost Hunt: it doesn’t have an incompetent main character. Heck, Sakon is smart, he does things on his own, and he uses his puppet to talk for him. The first arc also had lots of shock values, and Ayatsuri Sakon actually gives the viewer the opportunity to solve the case himself with a bit of logical thinking. Instead of Ghost Hunt, which comes with rather random points that rather resembles storytelling than solving a mystery.

About this episode, I really liked Kaoru when she fell in love with the guy. I’m really hoping that the Ayatsuri Sakon project will continue releasing once a month, as I’m interested to see how this will turn out.

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