Jul 1, 2016
ZephSilver (All reviews)
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.

Enjoyment: 8/10

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.

Overall: 7/10

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.