"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!