Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo Review: Following Your Dreams and Moving Past Failure
Just finished watching Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo last night, and wow what a series that was. I actually haven’t watched all too many of the school rom-com drama type stories (with probably the only ones I’ve seen being School Rumble and Toradora, both of which I enjoyed quite a lot), and this is yet another reason why I feel like I really should watch more. Sakurasou is a brilliant mix of wacky comedy, touching drama, and various romantic developments, and though it might not seem amazing at first it steadily proves why it’s such a lovable story.
Sakurasou is a story about the residents of a school dorm of the same name. You have Misaki Kamiigusa (the high-spirited, over-the-top “alien”, as the protagonist likes to call her), Jin Mitaka (the extreme player who spends his time with a number of girls), Ryuunosuke Akasaka (the computer genius shut-in), and lastly, our relatively ordinary nice guy protagonist, Sorata Kanda. Of course, it doesn’t stop here, as an unusual girl named Mashiro Shiina also ends up moving into Sakurasou. Mashiro is almost completely unable to take care of herself as a regular person can, leaving Sorata as her caretaker of sorts. Add on many misunderstandings (especially when it comes to Mashiro and Sorata’s close friend, Nanami Aoyama), romantic tensions, and a wide range of individuals with their own goals to pursue, and you’ve got Sakurasou.
Sakurasou is quite an interesting story for a number of reasons. In some ways, it reminds me of Toradora in that part of it is wacky comedy and part of it is the heartfelt romantic drama, although with Toradora it seemed more cleanly split between the two halves of the series whereas in Sakurasou, both aspects make consistent appearances throughout. One thing about Sakurasou that I really liked is the fact that the main cast pursues careers involving all of those otaku-friendly sorts. From anime creation to video game design to manga writing, it’s neat to see characters around my age setting goals for themselves in areas such as these, which actually inspires me a bit as I’m still almost entirely unsure of what I wish to do careerwise but know that I have a passion for these types of things. In any case, Sakurasou is a series about goals and following your dreams, regardless of the failures and disappointments that come your way, and the fact that the main characters were not always successful in everything they wanted clearly displays the reality that life isn’t always so easy and that failure is sometimes inevitable. That said, however, failure is not the end and all one can do is move on and push forward with the knowledge gained from the experiences.
Sakurasou has a very diverse, unusual, and yet very lovable and relatable cast. Though the Sakurasou characters are definitely strange and over the top individuals, it soon becomes clear that deep down, they’re just like any other people: people who want to be loved, people afraid of rejection, people who hold valuable memories and work to enjoy life to the fullest. And this is the beauty of Sakurasou. Of course, it’s very easy to relate to Sorata and Aoyama, as they’re some of the few “regular” characters in comparison, but I found that I connected with the other characters as well, perhaps even more so. Mashiro develops significantly over the course of the story, becoming more in-tune with human emotions and familiarizing herself with the bonds she now has, which is why she’s my personal favorite of the cast. Another favorite is Akasaka, who seems cold and strictly logical but truly does value the friendship he has and understands people more than he would seem to. That said, however, all of the cast receives significant development and by the end I could say that I didn’t dislike any members of the main cast.
One of the big conflicts throughout Sakurasou’s story is the contrast between the “geniuses” and the more ordinary people. Of course, with Sorata and Mashiro being as different as they are, this would seem obvious, but this also applies to the other members of Sakurasou as well. In particular, the abilities (as well as the strange personalities) of Mashiro and Misaki distinguish them from many others, making it difficult for them to make true friends. Even with their lifelong companions at Sakurasou, it becomes clear that those close to them struggle with the obvious successes of those two in comparison to everyone else. However, one of the nice things about Sakurasou is how it presents the unity of such people. As mentioned before, though the people who have amazing talent may seem like they are in a world of their own, at the end of the day they are people just like everyone else, and this is something the characters work with throughout. Though each member of Sakurasou is different from the rest, the characters bond together very closely. Perhaps it is actually because of such differences that their friendships are reinforced immensely after all of the hardships they endure together.
Sakurasou is truly a beautiful tale that I would recommend to anyone. It has a nice mix of light-hearted, comedic scenes as well as both the heart-breaking and sweet moments. In particular, the second to last episode of Sakurasou made me tear up for reasons that those who have watched Sakurasou know and those who have yet to watch should truly see. Sakurasou is a story about people pursuing their goals, following their dreams, and discovering themselves while working with their own inner conflicts as well as the doubts generated by their interactions with each other. Appearances may be deceiving, but Sakurasou is one of the most beautiful stories I’ve seen in a while and something truly profound. All in all, I’d give Sakurasou a 9/10. Now I’ll just have to hope that someone will be willing to translate all of the light novels in the event that a second season does not come out, though I really hope it does.