When abandoned kittens and his good conscience force second year Sorata Kanda to move into Suimei High School’s infamous Sakura Hall, the satellite dorm and its eccentric, misfit residents turn his life upside down. The decidedly average Sorata finds it difficult to fit in with the bizarre collection of dorm residents like Misaki, an energetic animator; Jin, a playwright playboy; Ryuunosuke, a reclusive programmer; and Chihiro, the dorm manager, art teacher, and party girl.
Sorata's friend Nanami, a second year student and aspiring voice actress, pushes him to find new owners for the many cats so that he can quickly move back into the regular dorms. However, his desire to escape Sakura Hall wavers when the pet-like and infantile second year Mashiro Shiina, a world-class artistic savant looking to become a mangaka, transfers in during the spring trimester and quickly latches onto him.
Supported by each other's quirks, Sorata and Mashiro come out of their shells and trigger change in the lives of those around them. Based on the light novel series of the same name, Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo explores the fine threads connecting talent, hard work, romance, and friendship with its ensemble cast.
#1: "Kimi ga Yume wo Tsuretekita (君が夢を連れてきた)" by Pet na Kanojo-tachi (Ai Kayano, Mariko Nakatsu, Natsumi Takamori) (eps 2-10) #2: "Yume no Tsuzuki (夢の続き)" by Konomi Suzuki (eps 13, 16-22, 24) #3: "I call your name again" by Nanami Aoyama (Mariko Nakatsu) (ep 14)
**This review has a section (highlighted by tags) that contains spoilers.
Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo is a rom-com slice of life anime, so it’s a good watch by default, right? Well, not quite. This genre has a shtick for being oversaturated, particularly with many poor productions. Why should you watch Sakurasou in particular, over the many other rom-com slice of life's? Well, read on to find out.
Sakurasou does one thing especially well that makes it stand out among its competitors, and that is its character dynamics. That is an aspect of it that is simply fantastic. As such, this review contains a fairly lengthy discussion
of the plot, which I will highlight with spoiler tags.
The main characters of Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo are Kanda Sorata, Kamiigusa Misaki, Shiina Mashiro, Aoyama Nanami and Mitaka Jin. Already, Sakurasou can be seen as a highly unique anime. With 5 characters that are all equally important to the story, the audience gets five times the character development than most rom-coms. However, the story technically follows the adventures of Kanda Sorata, who has been banished to Sakurasou (“Sakura Hall”) due to the regular school dorms not allowing the keeping of cats. As he cares deeply for his cats, Kanda ends up biting the bullet and chooses to live at Sakurasou. There at Sakurasou, he lives with other would-be delinquents. And so, the relationships between the five characters at Sakurasou would serve as the backbone of this anime’s story.
Presumably, this should already be heaven for any rom-com slice of life lover; after all, there are five main characters and 24 episodes. The real thing that does it for Sakurasou, however, is the romance aspect of the anime. And by “doing it”, I mean doing a disservice. The romance in this anime is quite horrid, honestly. This is especially hard for me to say as I thoroughly enjoyed literally every single aspect of Sakurasou, except for its romance.
I’m going to be discussing the story in mild detail, so if you don’t want to be spoiled at all, skip to the [endspoiler] tag.
My first problem is Misaki’s relationship with Jin. Due to the nature of the anime and the nature of Misaki’s personality itself, her quest for love was simply a joke; I never really took it seriously. Whenever she cried after her numerous failures, I did not feel sympathy for her, nor did I feel emotional as a viewer. Misaki’s love struggles never really had any weight to them, and they even got resolved fairly quickly (as if to further undermine them).
The other problem: Aoyama and Kanda’s relationship. Oh boy. This relationship single-handedly “ruined” Sakurasou for me (not really ruined, but it basically kicked my pairing hopes in the nutsack). I personally rooted for Aoyama and Kanda to get together throughout the series, but man was THAT wishful thinking. Before watching this series, I read many posts touting Sakurasou as being “the bad kind of predictable”. And I certainly see why now. Right from the first episode, you could already see Shiina x Kanda being established. Them getting all touchy-feely so early on, the sexual innuendos, the peeping moments… it was all meant to be from the very beginning. So why then, did the writers decide to create a second relationship branch in Aoyama x Kanda? It makes zero sense to me, and Sakurasou’s execution of the pairing itself made just about the same amount of sense. The entire time, Kanda is as blunt as a block while Aoyama is as pitiful as a bug. It was just painful for me to watch Aoyama each time she tried to confess to Kanda. Her constant failures were just really disgusting, and especially so since I’m one of the viewers who prefer Aoyama over Shiina. Not by much, because I do love Shiina as a character, but some preference nonetheless. Aoyama’s unrealized love was truly cringe-worthy; two especially disgusting moments were when she confesses her love, only to play it off as “good acting”, and when she gave a half-ass confession to Kanda after her audition. Seriously, it’s like the producers were purposely getting my hopes up simply to laugh at me afterwards. Two times, we were supposed to get Aoyama to finally confess to Kanda, and for Kanda to (more than likely) go out with her or reject her. But, we get the worse-case scenario; Aoyama’s love is never realized! As I have said before, the chemistry between Aoyama and Kanda really pissed me off not only due to how poorly it was coordinated but also by how unnecessary it was. The producers did NOT need to include a second girl for Kanda; this isn’t a harem anime. Shiina would have been good enough, and the story could have simply focused on Kanda x Shiina being realized. However, just as this anime put the final nail in the coffin when it came to pissing me off with Aoyama x Kanda, episode 23 came about: the graduation episode. And boy, let me tell you. This was one of the greatest episodes in anime history; I’m just going to say it now. The emotion displayed in this episode by all the characters (students, school staff members, Sakurasou residents included) was simply unreal. This scene does not necessarily make you want to cry. However, you can sense the genuineness within each characters’ sadness, their speeches, and their feelings for each other. Instead of being a giant cheesefest, the producers of Sakurasou actually managed to make the graduation episode an honest-to-goodness emotional episode. And I felt it. However, I found myself asking: "Why wasn't this the final episode?"
The last episode (24) made it seem as if there was still plenty more for Sakurasou to cover. It introduced two new characters, and it was the start of a new year; everything was fresh. We were going to see Kanda and Shiina being isolated from the other main characters for the first time, and maybe even having their relationship furthered. We even got a glimpse of the two new members of Sakurasou, and they are not bad characters in the slightest. All in all, the producers had quite a lot of quality material to work with if they wanted to create another season. So why didn’t they? After I finished watching all 24 episodes of Sakurasou, I was left wanting more. The series didn’t really “end” at all; why start a new chapter if you're just going to cut it off right away? The ending makes no sense to me. You could say that this is a sign that the producers are thinking of a second season, but there hasn’t really been any news yet. It’s just wishful thinking as of now.
In every other department, however, Sakurasou excels.
Story [9/10]: Probably the most important aspect of an anime, Sakurasou has an exceptional story. While its romance is admittedly weak, as previously discussed, it doesn’t take much away from the story. There were quite a lot of aspects of Sakurasou that I had a critique for, and yet I found myself excitedly watching every episode regardless. I constantly wanted to find out what would happen next, and I was definitely held in suspense during many moments throughout the anime. The moments of drama, in particular, gave Sakurasou such great depth.
Art [10/10]: One of the absolute KILLER aspects of Sakurasou! The art implements a fairly unique style, using mainly warm and bright colors. Most animes have art that uses colors and shades from a generic palette, which causes them to look to look very similar to each other; Sakurasou strays away from this. All of the characters are drawn nicely, along with all of the minute details in the animations being perfectly executed. However, if there was one thing to really set Sakurasou apart, it’s the art used to portray Shiina Mashiro’s artistic virtuosity. As the viewer, I was able to completely comprehend the extent of Shiina’s skill due to Sakurasou’s magnificent art. Not to mention, whoever drew Shiina’s drawings was quite talented themselves.
Sound [10/10]: The only proof I need to verify the greatness of Sakurasou’s soundtrack is the fact that its OPs/EDs are among my top-played songs on my iPod. Initially, I wasn’t really feeling the first opening; it sounded somewhat generic. However, after listening to it multiple times by virtue of watching the anime, I fell in love with it. The openings completely portray the mood of the entire anime (and the openings very cleverly display the fantastic art style, too). The second ending in particular went very nicely with the characters dynamics at that point in the story.
Character [10/10]: Sakurasou’s characters truly give it that extra dimension. For a rom-com, all five main characters are surprisingly deep. Throughout the story, we get to learn of all of their backgrounds. What makes them so amazing is the fact that despite vastly contrasting upbringings, all of the Sakurasou residents are accepting of each other. There is never any sense of dislike or resentment among them, and they are all genuine friends. That chemistry between them is what makes them so special to watch.
I thought long and hard about my final rating. Admittedly, there are quite a few problems with Sakurasou, such as its romance. However, for an anime that has left such a huge impact on me, Sakurasou deserves nothing less than a perfect score. Along with other viewers, I have been left wanting more. Few other animes have managed to make me feel this way. And while I was watching it, Sakurasou provided countless laughs and a fair share of quality drama. Never was I bored at any moment while watching the series. The greatest thing about Sakurasou, however, is the fact that it manages to meet and then exceed the standard expectations of a romantic comedy slice-of-life anime; it truly is a fantastic production. Rarely can anyone recommend an anime of this genre as a must-watch for anime enthusiasts of all kinds, but that is exactly what I’m doing with Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo.
"Everyday was the same. Deep down, I felt bored. I wanted to blame someone for my being bored." - Kanda Sorata
The very first line in the anime coming from the protagonist himself. Frankly, I felt exactly the same after watching the first dozen episodes of Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo. J.C. Staff, a studio which animated numerous titles such as Toradora, Zero no Tsukaima, Toaru Majutsu no Index, now it's Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo or in English, 'The Pet Girl of Sakurasou'.
Story? Kanda Sorata was told to move to a place called Sakurasou, a dorm where the problem students dwell in. One day, Shiina
Mashiro, a genius, moves to the Dorm. And so, Sorata's dorm mates given him the task to take care of Mashiro. So there ya go. You can probably predict the outcome of the show before you even watched it.
Sakurasou is a somewhat-more-than-generic romance/comedy anime. So, what are the common features of rom coms? Generic protagonist lives alone, story set in high school, extraordinary female protagonists, transfer students, probability of the transfer student living next door, childhood friends, imoutos having brother complex, beach episodes, protagonist is a chick magnet and lots of other distinctive features. It's those shows where you watch simply because you're too bored. Sakurasou is no exception.
However, Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo is slightly more different than the usual. While it does have most of the features mentioned, but this time the protagonist lives in a dorm, filled with problem students and Sakurasou have a slightly better plot...and I guess that's pretty much it.
Since it's a romance/comedy anime then you're expecting some humor. Regrettably, the "comedy" part is appalling. Sakurasou provides the viewer with lots of humor throughout the series, but none of them were hilarious. All in all, Sakurasou fails to be entertaining in terms of humor.
In most cases, ecchi scenes and fanservice in these kind of anime are tolerable, as long as there are few but if too many, it affects the quality of the show. Indeed, I knew there were going to be ecchi in the series, but Sakurasou has more than expected.
Finally, it's the story. Sakurasou starts off as boring, tiresome, especially the beginning and it may also be the biggest flaw of the anime. Brace yourselves, because boredom strikes very early. The starting episodes may give a bad first impression to the viewer and some may even stop watching the series solely because of that. Sakurasou is one of the few anime I've watched that left a terrible first impression.
However, once you've covered the dull early episodes, at one point Sakurasou eventually starts becoming more intriguing later on(if it ever does for you). Personal point of view: I might have enjoyed Sakurasou more if it only had 12 or 13 episodes, not with 24 episodes. Why? for me, it starts becoming more interesting roughly at episode twelve. Some of the characters' past were interesting to watch such as Shiina Mashiro's however the enjoyment only lasted for couple of minutes. Sakurasou did have some memorable moments; both happy and sorrowful, but most of them were in the middle or near the end of the series. Luckily, the ending was pretty decent. Not the best ending I've seen, but still it's ok.
Character? I'll show you in a list.
These are the characters who dwell in Sakurasou Dorm.
Scores are out of 5. Lowest(1) being Hated. Highest(5) being Loved.
Kanda Sorata:(1/5) Boring male protagonist; essential in most rom coms. Now, only more irritating.
Shiina Mashiro*:(3/5) Female protagonist. Neutral.
Aoyama Nanami:(3/5) The common tsundere type. I feel sorry for her at the end of the series.
Mitaki Jin:(3/5) Looks like he lost his virginity years ago.
Kamiigusa Misaki:(2/5) Energetic, noisy type.
Akasaka Ryuunosuke:(3/5) A Hikikomori.
Chihiro Sengoku:(3/5) Dorm teacher of Sakurasou.
A couple of supporting characters.
Kanda Yuuko:(1/5) She has brother complex. I'm not surprised. Most of the imoutos nowadays have brother complex anyway.
Rita Ainsworth:(3/5) Kawashima Ami...is that you?
From the list above, any scores below 3 means they're disliked. None of the characters were interesting. Of course, all of the scores above are just my opinion. Though, it's nice to see character development going on.
*In some of the scenes, Shiina Mashiro really reminded me of Akemi Homura, a character which I really love in Madoka Magica. Perhaps the last two episodes of Madoka Magica are simply too memorable...
Art/Visuals? Overall, it's great. Colors are bright and artstyle is gorgeous. Backgrounds are nice and Shiina Mashiro's artwork are incredible.
Sound? Voice acting is pretty good(Sorata yelling almost every time is rather aggravating). OP and ED are all J-Pop themed songs and I've only bothered to listen to them once. I do like J-pop songs, but only selected ones. There's some very beautiful background music being played during the sad scenes.
Conclusion? Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo isn't the worst rom com I've watched and its far from being the best. To sum up, it's pretty average, despite the number of flaws it has. Unfortunately, Sakurasou just didn't live up to my expectations. Not even close.
"Over the last three years here at Sui High, I've made many dear friends. And what allowed me to meet them... was a student dorm called Sakurasou." - Misaki
The Pet Girl of Sakurasou. When I first read the little summary of it on MAL I got the horrible feeling in my stomach it would be very sexually forward with a lot of fan service and very little plot/char. development. I thank God today that I'm terrible at guessing plots to anime, and I will take this second to simply say "I apologize" to the writer for having low expectations. Because I could not have possibly
been more wrong.
This story is about a group of what I can only describe as misfit geniuses. These are the rejects of the school, and at the same time some of the most artistically gifted students at Sui High. For various reasons, be it financial or social, they each have ended up in the cheapest and fairly rundown Co-Ed dorm at the school, Sakurasou. Kouhai (The main male protagonist) was forced to move into the dorm after he tried to take care of a stray cat he found, however dorm regulations forbid him to keep it unless he moved. So of course, he decided to move until he could "find another owner for it". However, by the time the show opens up on the present at the start of out story, rather than him making any progress, he has actually taken in like... 10 more cats. As I said, so at the open of the show Chihiro sensei (runs the dorm) asks Kouhai to go pick up a transfer student who will be moving into Sakurasou. That transfer student is none other than the beautiful, quiet, legendary artist Mashiro. He comes to find out she is essentially incapable of taking care of herself on her own, so in the same nature as his cats, he takes on the responsibility of being on "Mashiro duty".
The misfits have many little adventures and antics and overcome many trials during their time at Sakurasou. As time passes friendships form and grow, bonds grow stronger, fights, love, tears, all come into play among the six friends of Sakurasou.
Now Ill do that thing where you separate it into sections
Actually, even though I'm not big on being able to tell huge differences and intricate details between different anime, this show's art really stood out. It felt smooth, clean, and beautiful. I daresay it was made to look so as to reflect the fact that they are all artistic students in their various fields, to match the level of beauty they themselves can create. The only other anime I know of with animation better than this would be Nagi no Asakura. So that's pretty darn good. I appreciated the high quality.
Not a pro on music, I can basically tell you whether I
1. Liked the OP and ED. (I really did)
2. thought the music distracted me from the show or helped to amplify it. (It blended well and I liked it just fine. Nothing to report back negative on.
Story Quality/ Why I Enjoyed It
This has to be one of the best stories of friendship and love I've ever seen. Now when I say love I mean it in a universal way. Not JUST romantic love, although there is plenty of that. I mean also the love between friends. Best friends. Think of a friend of yours who is the absolute most important friend you don't want to have to be without. Now take six of y'all and go live in a dorm together. That's in essence what you have here. The plot was paced very well, nothing happened too quick or too slow. The pain and struggles each character went through had me feeling like I was right there struggling with them. Is that not a powerful thing? When a story can draw you in so much that when something big happens, whatever it may be, it has the power to make you FEEL emotion. And no I'm not talking about "man I'm so pissed the plot went in this direction". No... I'm talking about when you see a character get their heart broken, you feel for them, you cry with them. It's really not easy for an anime to do that. But for me, this did.
I'm telling you, Misaki's graduation speech TORE ME UP (that means it made me cry).
I highly recommend this show to anyone who loves a good story about the bond between friends. And young love. This show is as funny as it is sad, as it is heartwarming as it is beautiful.
Once in a while, it's nice to be pleasantly surprised. Going into something with a synopsis like Sakurasou, I honestly wasn't expecting much, but the end result was nice way to finish such a great series like this.
Keep in mind this is my first review. I'm not going to dive into why I picked numbers for each category because I find it pretty repetitive, but more strictly my enjoyment and impressions I have towards this anime. So by all means, I'm no expert in anime, I just watch what seems enjoyable for me.
One of Sakuraou’s most redeeming factors is
the atmosphere from the characters/ setting. Sakurasou is not a typical setting like your group of friends or a school club. Our setting is that of Sakurasou, a rather different dorm that is home to individuals that are quite “unique” yet extremely talented. However, it’s in this sense that Sakurasou offers a large and diverse, and while rather cliché, cast that provides a lot of depth and humor.
Most noteworthy is our oblivious and rather emotionless female lead Mashiro, who brings the concept of a girl who has for all her life painted pictures and has no clue how to take care of herself. Her character overall works well with the over exaggerated actions of the male lead in charge of her, Sorata, and provides a humorous dynamic that many slice of lifes lack. The many other residents also play a vital role in this series, ranging from the tsundere friend who also likes Sorata, Nanami, to the random, jubilant, and talented animator Misaki. All of these characters complement the duo rather well, and are accompanied with their own meaningful back stories.
So by reading this far, it seems all this anime would have a rather shallow plot with the normal cliché characters. That’s where I was largely surprised by this anime. I was fearful of this anime just in the sense that it had 24 episodes, which always suffers from pointless fillers that deters viewers from watching it. However, this anime is unique in the sense that it juggles many different ideas and maintains it well.
Although the first three episodes were quite slow and lacked much plot movement, episode four was one of these first indicators that showed that even a show like this can have depth, and displayed drama and development that some series take 12 episodes/finales to reach. The introduction of Sorata’s ambitions at the start to be a game maker contrasts beautifully with Mashiro’s brilliance. While Sorata faces the hardships and realities of being a newbie game maker, Mashiro eases her way to the top as new manga artist. And Sorata experiences those feelings of when somebody is better than you.
Jealously. Hatred. Frustration.
I found it to be quite relatable and understandable. Does one give up if they can’t be successful at something? Or is there something beyond failure? Many of the characters of this series meet this question and ask themselves the same thing.
Sakurasou’s pacing is pretty solid, allowing it to nail its melodrama while also maintaining its comedic feeling. While I’m not a huge fan for melodrama because it’s always overdone and cheesy, I felt a lot of drama in Sakurasou was on-level and believable. The balance of comedy and drama, switching from serious moments to ones full of sexual innuendos and jokes, really helped the pacing out. The comedy is revolved around the character’s personalities, so if you have a liking towards all the characters, you’ll enjoy the sexual and awkward moments of Sorata and Mashiro or the embarrassing outburst of Nanami.
As you would expect, you’re going to have your moments of fan service and perhaps overdramatic moments to the point where it’s silly, but I don’t think it really deters the series as a whole. Yes, sometimes the fan service is a bit silly and unneeded, but as long as we’re not getting panty shots every 5 minutes, it doesn't affect the series as a whole. As the series progresses into a more serious mood, the quite attractive scenes of Mashiro fade out (sorry if you enjoy them). And yes, Mashiro is a love and hate character. If you hate her, you probably won’t like this series.
End result? Something that catches you off guard. A romance comedy with a unique feel that truly hits home. Great atmosphere of characters and cast, and solid pacing that intertwines comedy and drama. If you’re a romance comedy fan, by all means watch this if you want something with a change of pace.
Sakurasou no pet na Kanojo was quite the ride and I’ll sincerely miss this series. Even though it won’t happen, I’d love a season 2.
Thanks for reading my block of text, and if you survived this far, please leave any comments or criticism on my profile so I can improve my future reviews.
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