- Genre : Romance, Comedy, Yuri
- Episodes: 12
- Studio: Studio Deen
You know what guys, I’m just going to play this one straight. After some type of devastating disaster has left the world devoid of men (they don’t say if it’s a Y the Last Man type of situation or anything, but everyone seems pretty relaxed all things considered) a class of high school girls all pair up and have happy passably sexy fun times together and some of them have older sisters but not parents. Everybody is really ok with the inevitable extinction of the human race.
I have been on a personal quest to find a good Yuri anime. And I mean Yuri. Not Shojo-Ai, not an anime that happens to have a lesbian couple in the cast, not girl on girl fanservice thrown in to keep hormonal teenagers’ ADD under control. Actual Yuri where the plot is squarely directed at two girls falling in love and the particularities and challenges of such a relationship within the context of the story. You could argue the Revolutionary Girl Utena is just such a show and I might agree with you but I think it would be ok to have a second one…
I watched Sakura Trick when it came out some years ago after reading an extremely flattering review on Kotaku. I was considerably more familiar with the Yuri genre in the Visual Novel context (maybe I’ll tell you about it someday) and was curious as to how an anime series would tackle the genre, and one more straightforward than Utena. Also, I wanted to stack it up next to Junjou Romantica and see which was, well better is not the word I’m looking for. Less cringey maybe.
The visuals here are cute. Not overtly sexy or seductive but not too uncomfortably underage looking either. A pleasant departure from the stock sex kittens and lolis I was used to. I remember really liking the blond to pink gradient effect in Yuu and her sister’s hair. I spend weeks trying to figure out how to get my hair like that. I failed…badly. Honestly this show looks good, bright color palette, nicely differentiated character designs, balanced figures – all my faves. I will say however that the backgrounds tended to be a bit boring and sparse.
The story follows Haruka and Yuu’s budding relationship which remains very innocent and consists mostly of hand holding and secret kissing. There’s a lot of general bobbie groping but that seems to be just something people do in the Sakura Trick universe…It’s rather cute and inoffensive. I’ve seen accusations aimed at this show stating that it was adapted specifically to titillate teenage male audiences and nothing more. I dunno what fetishes are like in Japan but American boys tend to be a lot crasser in their choice stimulation. I can’t see many of them sitting through this gentle, generally wholesome clearly romantic show just for a peek of two modestly drawn girls sharing a peck unless they were actually enjoying the story. Which makes it not what I wrote above… So no – this isn’t light hentai capitalizing on the Yuri label. Sadly it isn’t that great either. It’s not that funny or thought provoking. It doesn’t explore the girls’ dilemmas about their sexual awakenings in any legitimate way, whether in the particular context of homosexuality or in the general notion of romantic relationships at large. It really just shows a series of cute little adventures between two girls that like each other.
There’s nothing wrong with that but I would hardly call it special, and I’m not even sure I’d call it yuri. By eliminating every man from the universe, the girl on girl relationship becomes sort of a given. Now I know that men aren’t explicitly nonexistent but since we never see any, they might as well be. I’m not saying homosexual relationships are completely different or should be treated any differently than others but it’s shortsighted to think lesbian relationships don’t have some specific challenges (and advantages) that arise precisely because they are lesbian relationship, and I would love to see an anime look into those a bit more. Sakura Trick is also guilty of catering to one of my least favorite romantic comedies tropes and that’s to pair off every single character. It got pretty ridiculous and I hurt my eyes a bit rolling them.
So final verdict? Please watch this show if you happen to be my hairdresser. Otherwise, meh you’re not missing much.
Favorite character: Kotone Noda
What this anime taught me: If the pink is too light it will look orange which does not suit my skin tone….
A fine beer may be judged with only one sip, but it’s better to be thoroughly sure
Suggested drink: Sakura Martini (this is very delicious)
- Every time Yuu is sleepy – take a drink
- Every time Kotone nicknames someone – take a drink
- Every time Haruka is clingy – take a drink
- Every time Yuzu gets embarrassed – take a drink
- Every time Kotone teases/pranks someone – laugh
- Every time Yuu gets tsun about kissing – take a drink
- Every time Haruka ships two girls – agree
- Every time Kaede is a troll – take a drink
- Every time Yuzu acts like a tomboy – take a drink
- Every time Shizuku smiles – run