Sophisticated, suave, sublime; all words which describe the exceedingly handsome and patently perfect Sakamoto. Though it is only his first day in high school, his attractiveness, intelligence, and charm already has the girls swooning and the guys fuming with jealousy. No one seems able to derail him, as all attempts at tripping him up are quickly foiled. His sangfroid is indomitable, his wits peerless. Will any of Sakamoto's classmates, or even teachers, be able to reach his level of excellence? Probably not, but they just might learn a thing or two trying...
“Who.. are you?”
“Haven’t you heard? I’m Sakamoto.”
You’d almost wish it started out like this, there’s that perpetual gnawing going on in the obscured depths of your conscience that bugs you for some normality, some profound simplicity in going about an anime you might never have even heard of. This auxiliary introduction to this mysterious, clean-looking man, unfortunately, doesn’t exist.
Why, of course, would there be such a need?
One does not introduce Sakamoto.
One does not simply require the induction of any mainstream preface to unveil such a magnificent being.
It is without question, almost as splendidly visceral as how the gleam in his eyes decimates the wobbly
heart of every female and non-asshole male in his vicinity, for everyone to instantly fathom that this man right here, Sakamoto, superabounds over what it takes to be the chef d'oeuvre of all characters, a resounding existence amongst those who don’t exist, in an even more resounding, deafness-impelling, heaven-shattering pièce de résistance that goes by the splendid title: Sakamoto desu-ga?
It’s quite simple, especially for a thoughtful Solomon who would scrutinize and deeply consider the 2nd last, 6th and 6th last letter of every title of every anime before concluding on a score, to assign Sakamoto desu-ga an objective semblance of pure perfection. While the masses do revere icons and symbols of divinity, others of heuristic agnosticism, few can appreciate the enrapturing coalescence of the two. Such is the misappropriation of the essence and cachet withheld by some for Sakamoto desu-ga. Allow me to hereby inscribe the holy scripture of seraphic diagnosis with respect to Sakamoto, and why any of this information should be not be reprised.
i) Story - Simple, yet revolutionary
Consign GTO’s Onizuka Eikichi and his biker-educational-reformation to oblivion. It’s a simple explanation in real life, really: Panty and Male equals to, well, Jail. Forget One Punch Man’s Saitama just like how everyone he’s saved belittles his bald existence. You’d be fighting incredulous monsters every second and be damned to well, a bald existence.
This story’s premise doesn’t stink with excessive quixotical nihilism, or a spectrally-antithetical cosmic flamboyance, nor is it ostentatious in budget-cramped explosions or drenched in senseless sexual innuendo.
Instead, this story presents that of one we have all experienced, through sweat and tears, through journeying a school life so mundane and arduous, through all those lonely and embarrassing moments, and to this day we still ponder what had ruined it all. That’s right, the omission of a Sakamoto in our lives. Someone, who epitomizes vigor, strength and intellect, that inspires and unbounds the coolness deep within our own individuality. With the absence of such a character, our stories were tasteless, and this story, just like ours had been, would be so too, with a convolution of archetypical dense leads as dense as lead, busty brainless “supports”, conventional franchise-driven, product-advertising, cash-grabbing studios dragging sideways an unrealistic rendition of what COULD have happened in our youths, hence pandering to the lowest, albeit commonly sought-after pubescent demographic. Lay everything bare with your eyes, and you’ll see how all this dirt and grime have long since insidiously buried the savior to all this banality, the deity and student of class 1-2, Sakamoto, and how HE truly deserves to lead us back to a path of greatness that anime has long since been led astray.
This story, is how it all begins.
ii) Characters - Sheer, harmonic opulence
Why have characters when there are no characters at all? With the respectable, sensible judgment upheld by numerous veteran critics, the characters of animes in vogue are plethorically referred to as “cardboard cutouts”, “lifeless”, “fictitious”, “not-Sakamoto”. There are no supporting characters in Sakamoto desu-ga, simply because Sakamoto himself supports everyone else. He never imposes; he does not instruct; he only exemplifies the genuity of coolness, and he blows both the animated plebeians and you away with way more than whatever renewed apocalyptic jutsus in Naruto Shippuden are ever canonically capable of achieving. Sakamoto need not amateurish fillers, what for? He is filled to the brim with untainted swag, and instead of receiving fillers he fills everything around him with nothing but the truth. Critics lament and exhort producers and animators to fix their messed-up characters. Well then, Sakamoto’s very much heard enough, so he fixes his own goddamn characters, he gives the very meaning to life as it should be, it’s the raison d'être of his existence. What else, then, are the characters in Sakamoto desu-ga but an ethereal assemblage of life itself, with all its beauty and flaws intact?
iii) Production - A team of legends
Animation: Studio Deen
The beginning of Sakamoto heralds what will be known as the timely Olympian peroration of Deen-animation jokes. “Deenimation” budget might have once been a joke. However, this very production itself, is factually no joke. Sakamoto visualized in motion picture spells an unequivocal merchandisable disaster for financially acclaimed studios such as Madhouse and ufotable; Sakamoto’s rendition is simply too gorgeous, invoking too paradisiac an animation quality requirement for even the likes of so-called Unlimited Budget Works to sustain. Before Unlimited Sakamoto Works, everything else’s reduced to a marginal and pathetic joke.
Director: Shinji Takamasu
Superseding School Rumble, Gintama and Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou, comes a man of wit almost as cool as Sakamoto himself. One can only admire his wisecracking craft as much as Sakamoto desu-ga is to be admired for its gag-propitiated comicality. Accordingly, I place utmost value on discerning the first, third last, seventh, fifth last and fourth letter of the names of every director before contrasting it to the former analysis of the very title of that anime. Naturally, you can barely even perceive how powerful this matchup is; what else, would Sakamoto be deserving of if not the best?
Voice Acting: Hikaru Midorikawa as Sakamoto
Heck, you might have watched Gintama, some Great Teacher Onizuka, maybe Code Geass, perhaps Angel Beats, or Fate/Zero, with an off-chance of Mononoke, and this guy’s been in all of them and more. You’ve probably never even heard of him, he’s never been in the spotlight, but now that “supporting role” entirety is gonna change. As Sakamoto himself, he holds nothing less than the God’s Tongue and the voice of heaven, auralizing an indescribably lustrous overtone that defines perfection. What more can you ask for? Beethoven? That's on appallingly divergent levels. Sakamoto’s voice entails the ascension of every composed and uncomposed orchestral symphonic masterpiece to date. Right here, it’s Sakamoto Flows In You. Beethoven, on the other hand, has long since been decomposing.
Opening/Ending Songs by Customi Z and Suneohair:
22 times. That’s the total number of different stances that Sakamoto has stylishly taken in the opening sequence, COOLEST. It’s almost as if the song was made just for Sakamoto. Can you believe that? Simply amazing.
Unabridged and sporting a melancholic transience, Suneohair’s exemplar of an ending song is contemporary to that of an angel’s hymn. With luster and class, Sakamoto is splashed with an aural paint of sublimity in an everlasting interlude between his work days of delivering more COOL to the mortal realm and heightening levels of SPECIAL in the progression of civilization. In the lateness of day, even the sun begins to shy away from overexposure to Sakamoto’s dignified existence. It is thanks to this hymn in great taste, that we can observe Sakamoto in his natural habitat, partaking in elegant recreation alongside a beauteous sunset.
Should you watch Sakamoto desu-ga?
I am afraid I would have to say no.
It is beyond tangible excruciation for me at this point of writing to even delineate the consequences of watching the first episode of Sakamoto desu-ga, which include:
3) Killer moves
4) Another reason to watch Sakamoto
5) Macrocosmic indulgence
6) Obstruction of negativity
7) Titular charisma
8) Over-the-top greatness
Very much 8 tragic mortal weaknesses, withal the 8 tenacious symptoms of perfection.
Should you be slightly confused or bewildered at this point, I greatly sympathize with the below philosophical postulation:
“Do you think God stays in heaven because he, too, lives in fear of what he has created here on Earth?”
Sakamoto however, parades the mortal realm with no fear of himself.
Undoubtedly, you should fear and stray away from such an absurdly brilliant creation. You should fear perfection, when perfection perfectly clones itself and stares at it like it’s nothing.
Unless, you, are different?
Might you have actually embraced the abstraction altogether, pieced en masse the very construct of valuation and grasped perfection since the start, from the very first moment?
No, how could this be??
Who.. are you?
Haven't you heard? I'm Sakamoto
Long before my life on this earth began, my family's lineage has been devoted to studying and teaching the ancient manuscript of Swag: a primordial order committed to deciphering the body's hidden aura, in an attempt to understand what makes some people "Da COOLEST." As per custom, this responsibility is passed on to the next of kin, and in order to uphold this age-old tradition, my long rigorous undertaking of Swag began.
Through the deepest depths of the Amazon rainforest and the scorching heat of the Sahara desert, I traversed the lands in search of answers. Learning the forbidden tapestry of the Maasai tribe, as well
as dedicating 5 years of discipleship to the Caribs and Arawaks natives of Trinidad, I've gathered up enough information through extensive research and careful analysis to finally end this ancestral task. And so, after much deliberation, I've come to the conclusion that Sakamoto is, without dispute, the swaggiest character in all the land.
SWAGMOTO (often misspelled as "Sakamoto desu ga?") or "Haven't You Heard? I'm Sakamoto" in English, is the story of a Gary Stu maneuvering his way through high school, as he deals with the everyday pressures of growing up, as well as the burden that comes with having an excessive amount of swag and being absolutely fabulous.
With no one else to turn to, Swagmoto is forced to carry this heavy burden of "COOL" all by his lonesome, constantly being pestered into appeasing lesser beings by humoring or aiding them in their daily dilemmas. He's a God among men, our Lord and savior sent from the heavens to guide the uncultured plebeians. And when he isn't indirectly seducing men, women and grown-ups alike, Swagmoto is teaching his fellow man life lessons in absurd ways that only a true SwagLord of his caliber is capable of doing.
Sakamoto is what happens when you take an observational approach to an overused trope, while also deciding to view it through a comedic lens. And in this case, the overused trope being examined is Mary Sue/Gary Stu characters. With portrayals that often border on the implausible due to the nature of these type of characters being flawless, Sakamoto purposely pushes pass the already thin threshold of practicality associated with them, to enter a realm beyond logic or reason. It exaggerates an archetype that's already exaggerated, to begin with, resulting in what would usually be seen as idealistic features and feats in any other show, into laughter inducing comedic mishaps.
Any given episode sees the titular SwagLord modestly demonstrating his unparalleled COOLNESS in daily tasks at school and around his town, while also occasionally introducing other opposing characters that try to dethrone his position as the swaggiest character on campus. These naysayers often try desperately to outdo SwagJesus in some kind of task, only to have their plans backfire in their faces when his swag is proven to be 2COOL4them. And like everyone else that comes face to face with Swagdaddy, they too are assimilated into the fold as one of his disciples, admiring his fabulousness from afar, while desperately seeking out his attention and approval.
The story structure of Sakamoto is similar to that of comedies like Cromartie High School, but where that over-exaggerates the actions of high school delinquents, Sakamoto switches its focus to idealized characters. And while it should go without saying that comedy is highly subjective, it's still safe to say that if you like comedic stories with this kind of structure, then there's a good chance that you would find Sakamoto's offerings to be up to snuff. The protagonist's deadpan delivery, coupled with the range of reactions given by his peers, is the selling point of the show. But with no other offerings besides this joke, it doesn't take long for the misadventures of Swagmoto to border on lackluster. Like any other gag comedy with a central gimmick carrying it, there will come a point where the punchline doesn't hit as hard as it did before, and Sakamoto wasn't immune to this occurrence.
A joke that's become par for the course runs the risk of growing dull. You could always spice it up with different scenarios, but when the core reasoning behind the joke remains the same, it ceases to deliver the same results after some time. This is usually why most comedy shows have something other than its signature style of humor to keep the viewer's attentiveness. With a limited repertoire of comedic quips and material to worth with, Sakamoto often found its level of impact fluctuating on regular intervals. And while the scenarios are different, the jokes all center around the same comedic gag, which of course is Sakamoto's unnervingly perfect execution of everything he does.
But even when the show doesn't bring the laughs, you could still depend on Swagmoto to swoop in and save the day. If it doesn't hit its target on the first try, there's usually a follow-up attempt that does. This doesn't mean that our messiah was always successful at salvaging a dying joke, but his efforts did keep the show from becoming a chore to watch. With Jesus on your side, anything is possible. Even a measly comedic attempt is still capable of making you smile when Swagmoto is behind it. The Lord is truly great and worthy to be praised.
Another key feature of Sakamoto's sense of humor is just how upfront it is. It never feels mean-spirited about how it goes about masquerading any of these characters. Even when accounting for the fact that these type of characters presented are usually taken in a negative light. Mary Sue/Gary Stu characters are often detested by viewers, and rightfully so. Their presence usually indicates a sign of cheap writing on the creator's behalf. So when Sakamoto views this detracting feature as a glass half full, it opens up an avenue for a new look on the subject.
Even when Swagmoto appears to be giving someone the cold shoulder, in reality, he still has their best interest in mind. As stated by fellow reviewer RogerSmith2004, "Even when the other person loses, they never actually lose. Their encounter with Sakamoto is always a beneficial one. By the end of the segment, no matter how crazy it may seem... Sakamoto, through some means, helps them out." The lighthearted nature of Sakamoto gave the show a feel-good quality about it. It was ever-pleasant and always endearing, making it one of my favorite entries from 2016's Spring season.
Because of the potency of his swag, many often found themselves enraptured by SwagLord's presence. I found myself being one of those people. Just the memes and inside jokes the show generated around it kept me entertained. I couldn't scroll through a Sakamoto comment section without busting out in a fit of laughter. This saying nothing about the show itself, which constantly had me tearing up with just how funny it was. While the only progression that happened was him winning over the characters introduced one by one, I was never bored by it. No, the jokes weren't always as funny. No, it isn't going to be funny for everyone. But for my personal experience, Sakamoto was a title I looked forward to every week.
While the run-on joke didn't always remain fresh, there was certainly enough moments of comedic brilliance that kept the show afloat. As you would expect, it didn't take long before the shortcomings of basing an entire show around a Gary Stu to quickly become apparent. Even with that being said, it doesn't take away the moments when the show delivered a comedic home run. Had it been given a longer run-time, it would have inevitably crumbled under its own weight. Sakamoto was a novelty act that narrowly avoided mediocrity status, thanks to the antics of the titular character. Every time I thought the show finally ran its course, it was immediately saved by Swagmoto and some new absurd life lesson. And honestly, how could I not love SwagLord? He made me a believer. PRAISE HIM, PRAISE SWAGJESUS! And for those readers that haven't experience the bountiful blessings of our Lord and savior, I implore you to seek him out, for he is worthy to be praise. Amen.
Well, this is a different approach of the 3 episodes rule. If you watched the first 3 episodes, whether you liked it or not, you've seen everything the show can offer.
There is no story, no characters, just Sakamoto swagging around, overcomes his opponents effortlessly. It becomes repetitive and boring real quick. There are some minor plot twists in every one or two episodes, when you along the rest of the cast thinks Sakamoto doing something extraordinary, but it turns out, it's just a regular thing, like making noise or hail a taxi. It's creative and funny, at least the first 2 or 3 times, but
not enough. The sound and music are decent, fits to the series, but that's all. There is literally nothing to talk about this series because it's completely blank.
At the end the biggest flaw of the series is that how flawless the main character is. There is no excitement, no tension and the blunt jokes couldn't keep up my attention. It's bad show and a boring which is one a mistake a comedy series can not afford to make.
"And on that day, no fucks were given... only swag".
Make room for our new lord and savior... Sakamoto. Despite how much I enjoyed Sakamoto desu ga? I can fully understand this anime is not for everyone. However, I love comedy shows that don't take themselves seriously. Sakamoto took a similar approach to Nichijou in the fact that it didn't give a shit. It wasn't trying to cater towards a specific category of viewer and stuck to its repetitive yet effective style of humor, with its over exaggeration of daily, normal events. In doing so, it became the unsung hero of the season for me, and
made me appreciate the whimsical side of normalcy. For now, despite whether or not you agree with me, depress your mute button and let me explain Sakamoto's greatness to you.
Sometimes less is more, and I couldn't think of a better phrase to sum up this show. Sakamoto desu ga? flew onto the scene this season headed by the well known director, Shinji Takamatsu (Gintama, School Rumble). The setting is simple, a standard Japanese high school with your pranksters, babes and nerds. But what makes this high school different is that it's enrolled the embodiment of perfection that is Sakamoto. He's tall dark and handsome, and can do no wrong. He performs every task quickly and concisely, emulating a smirk that would drop panties from a mile away. Whether he's an alien or robot doesn't really matter, since it would only add confirmation to the ridiculousness that this anime contains. Countless people wish to disrupt Sakamoto's greatness for one reason or another but constantly fail in doing so. The methods in which their feeble attempts are vanquished always seem to have me rolling. One minute Sakamoto is fighting a bee with a protractor and the next he's attacking people with soft drinks. The "Secret Techniques" employed in some episodes were a riot, most specifically the ones in the adult video episode. Some of those scenes were pure comedic gold. The important thing to remember here is that Sakamoto desu ga? was produced on a rather low budget, and although it doesn't do many things, what it does it nails. It truly embodies greatness through simplicity.
Another thing Sakamoto does well is the accurate transposition of its source material. If you're anything like me (being a primary anime viewer), you get tired of the phrase "oh, that's not how it is in the manga!" So when an adaptation executes well and I don't have to hear that talk, everyone is happy. Well done Studio Deen! They've been responsible for some rather big budget titles over the years (Fate series etc.), so to see them succeed with something on the contrary is impressive. With some anime the season, I went into each episode unaware of what I was going to get. Since I watched the series as it aired, I'm looking for something consistent that will bring me back excited each week. By the end of the first four or five episodes of Sakamoto, I sort of knew what to expect from it every Saturday. If I don't have the luxury of binge watching it, give me something to look forward to in each episode!
Similarly to the comedy, the negatives in Sakamoto are mostly preferential. For cultural reasons there were some jokes that went over my head but didn't necessarily deter me from finding them amusing. Also, episode six was an absolute bore. Watching a bunch of kids follow Sakamoto down a white line for 10+ minutes is not my idea of a good time. The elicit one-sided love affair with Sakamoto's friend's mom kind of made me nauseous at times. Fortunately enough, Sakamoto's tireless acts of evading countered my disgusted emotions quite well. As much as I hate to say it, this series could fall flat at times which probably hindered it from being an 8/10 for me. As previously stated, I can understand why people don't like the show. I can usually find most comedy styles humorous in anime, but slapstick and stupid humor are some of my favorite sub-genres. And although most of the jokes were way out of left field, instead of getting the forced vibe I did accept it as commonplace given Sakamoto's flawless behavior. Non-comedy fans may not "get" Sakamoto, and that's fine. This show was not geared towards everyone's perspective of what qualifies as funny. I do admit, even as someone who is a fan of this comedy style, I could feel myself losing interest in the last two episodes.
As far as characters go, Sakamoto is really the only thing that matters in this show. Sure, there are supportive cast mates strewn about, but none of them really make or break the show. Our lord and savior, Sakamoto sweats perfection, and makes even the manliest of men blush with a mere smile. Sometimes I'm not sure if I should laugh or be entirely creeped out by some of the character's reactions to Sakamoto's escapades.... But I'm not sure that it makes any difference. There has been a debate among the forums of whether he's an alien or not. Again, the over-analytic approach some anime fans have grown accustomed to will not translate well into this show. Coming from a reasonable critic, shut your brain off while watching this series and just enjoy the senseless comedy. Sakamoto is sort of a one trick pony, so there really isn't much development in him, and there weren't any instances of internal monologue or breaking the fourth wall. I think adding too much or maybe any development to his character would've been detrimental to the show's atmosphere.
The art isn't anything special in Sakamoto desu ga? Any slightly seasoned anime fan could notice the show's lower budget in its art. Aside from the OP, there aren't many instances of bright or vivid color schemes, and the character models are dull and slightly cloned (although you could argue that this was intentional). I did find the students who were drawn to look like they were in their 20's or 30's rather amusing, even more evidence that the writers didn't take the show seriously. The backgrounds are often recycled and bland, but in an anime mostly shown in a school, you can't expect much else.
The OP as mentioned above was my favorite of the season. The small animations were all to accentuate Sakamoto's greatness, and the music was powerful and triumphant. I loved watching the various props he'd use to sing with or use as musical instruments. The ED was a calming way to end the comedy from each episode, and it grew on me the longer I watched the series. The rest of the soundtrack consisted of a couple of recycled songs, most notably the ditty that played prior to each time Sakamoto swooped in doing something mesmerizing. I enjoyed it every time. Sakamoto's voice actor, Hikaru Midorikawa was quite brilliant in his classy portrayal. Kubota, played by Akira Ishida, was phenomenal. He was a large reason the character gave off such a creepy vibe.
So, to be fair, Sakamoto desu ga was the anime of the season for me. Its inflated representation of the "perfect" guy at school made me laugh constantly, and there was no way I could guess what he would do next. This anime is certainly not for everyone, and my score is entirely dependent on my preference. I'd recommend Sakamoto to fans of shows like Nichijou, Gintama or Chromartie High School, but if you're not a fan of mindless comedy I'd stay away. Unlike its main protagonist, it's not perfect by any means, and sometimes ventures too far to get a laugh, but overall I found it to be highly enjoyable. As always, thanks for reading and be sure to check out the rest of my Spring 2016 reviews!