Friday, January 22, 2010

Final Impressions: Sasameki Koto

 Whispered words.

The Sasameki Koto anime isn't a perfect, or even "great" series. One could never mistake it as such. It doesn't have the same level of comic "snap" as the original manga (indeed, it made me appreciate Ikeda Takashi-sensei's knack for threading together laugh-out-loud-worthy comedy and romantic drama as seamlessly as he does all the more), sunsets abound to the point of almost seeming comedic (mostly in the early episodes, though; it isn't a negative, just a weird little quirk that makes me think "goodness, aren't there a lot of sunsets in that it supposed to be symbolic?"), a few other artistic decisions left me scratching my head (like the crowds of people who weren't colored or otherwise filled in- it's okay in the manga, but it looks cheap in animation), and, as with the Aoi Hana anime, we never see the two leads actually get together, even though we know that they will eventually. (Admittedly, Aoi Hana's ending isn't as obvious- especially for those who aren't following the manga or haven't seen the Aoi Hana fanbook cover. :) )


It was a good series and I enjoyed it. Some of the middle episodes dragged a bit (as in the manga, the "Akemiya date" story was the weakest link, albeit largely because I don't like Manaka and Akemiya is one of the less interesting characters), but the overall package was satisfying and heartfelt. I loved the ending, and how it evoked the series' title ("whispered words") while reinforcing the general theme of the series- communication and the opportunities and connections that one can gain (or miss) via communication (or a lack thereof). The anime adapted the first two volumes of the manga, ending with the story in which Sumi visits her extended family and isn't able to call Ushio, as she had promised. Ushio grows increasingly anxious, to the point of worrying that Sumi might have gotten in an accident. The series ends just on the cusp of Ushio realizing how much her besotted best friend Sumika means to her.

There were a few other things that I especially liked:
  • While I pretty much liked all of the characters (gosh, I hope poor Akemiya gets a crush on a girl who does like him back at some point in the manga ^^;), I love Sumi as the lead character. Sasameki Koto could be a series about wood-whittling, and if Sumi were involved, I would probably still watch it. Some of my favorite bits were her fangirling moments over Kazama. (Ushio's awfully dense. Can't recognize her own squealing, crushy behavior when somebody else is doing it.)
  • The yuri-otaku humor, mostly courtesy of Aoi. Unlike a fair amount of SK fans, I like her quite a bit- because she's a geek. (Solidarity!) Seeing Utopia Yuri-Fes animated was fun, too. In the interest of transparency, I'll admit that wink-wink-nudge-nudge self-referential otaku humor (a la Genshiken or Ouran) is to me what catnip is to cats.
  • The random Engrish. (Most noteably in episodes 5 and 11.)
The one episode not based on the original manga was enjoyable as well- the characters remained in-character and it felt like a nice final hurrah for seeing the entire cast together before the end of the show.

The final episode had a largely introspective, somewhat melancholic feel (like much of SK), but in the end it was sweet. A good ending for a good series. (Although a second season would still be quite nice.)

Story: B
Art: B-
Overall: B+

After wondering earlier today about when we'll see another yuri manga green-lit, I decided to create two polls on the top-right area of this blog. I hope you vote. ^^


Nelligrand said...

Wow, how's that for timing? Browse through my list of RSS feeds before bed and there's something new posted here to read.

Though it might not be a great series it certainly is a fun series. Fun... and a bit melancholic. It would be nice to see them get together and explore what happens after that point, but alas. Perhaps someday we'll get a second season (though a second season of Aoi Hana would [should?] be nice to see first).

Overall I think the first episode was the best of the bunch, pulling at heartstrings in expert fashion. Your thoughts on an overall "best" episode Katherine?

(Side note: Poll format is wonky, the title text falls into the radial selections obscuring some of the text there [using current version of Firefox])

Katherine said...

@ Nelligrand- I thought that the first and last episodes were both pretty equally the strongest in the show. The final episode was the most satisfying for me, though, since it shows Ushio reciprocating Sumi's feelings. (Even if she isn't quite aware of it yet. :) )

And I'm sorry about the poll format being weird. I tried fixing it, but I can't change anything about it after people start voting (aside from when the polls close). Thanks for mentioning it, though.