The Disastrous Life of Saiki K anime review

  • Genre : Comedy, Slice of Life, Supernatural, Sci Fi
  • Episodes: 24
  • Studio: J.C.Staff

 

When you just happen to be extraordinary, it takes a lot of effort to appear average. That’s a disastrous reality that Saiki is all too familiar with. Having been born a psychic with an entire catalogue of wondrous powers, he dedicates each day to not drawing attention to himself. But life is hard when you’re forced to hear everyone’s random thoughts, when you constantly have to consciously limit your strength and speed, when you routinely get sucked into outlandish situations and all you want to do is eat your coffee jelly in peace. Thankfully, Saiki is surrounded by loyal (if a little annoying) friends and a loving (if very annoying) family so it’s not all bad…I guess…

Generally speaking, I don’t bother much with anime buzz. Even in the Otaku community, my tastes tend to be a little unusual and I rarely get that interested in highly anticipated titles. I wrote that with a straight face while drooling over Steins;Gate, thoroughly enjoying Megalo box and counting the days until MHA s3 is done airing so I can binge it. 3 of the most overhyped shows in recent memory…

The Disastrous Life of Saiki K anime review
I’m just gonna start with this pic for no particular reason

Ok scratch all of that. Let’s start over. I love comedies and had been hearing that The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. shouldn’t be missed for a while now. When it appeared on Crunchyroll (a few days ago from this writing), I actually did a weird little jump of excitement and immediately moved it to the front of my queue….

As you can gather from that previous paragraph, I didn’t so much watch this show as absorb it through osmosis. I usually have a limit to how many episodes I can watch in a single sitting but these just flew by me and before I realized it, I was watching episode 24 and using all my telepathic powers to make Crunchyroll buy season 2.

Part of Saiki’s innate watchability certainly has to do with its unique structure. Each 20 minute or so episode is a collection of 3 to 5 independent vignettes to have little to nothing to do with each other aside from occasional pt1/pt2 setups. Everything is essentially set-up, delivery, punchline. You don’t have time to get bored as everything goes by so quickly.

The Disastrous Life of Saiki K anime review
I didn’t know how to illustrate quick and I got frustrated

Characters are all supremely quirky so they can be established pretty much instantly by insisting on their one crazy trait, but all of them get organically developed as tidbits of personal information and background get dropped throughout the vignettes. Similarly, Saiki himself and the universe he inhabits, become clearer little by little without the need for lengthy exposition.

The production values may be somewhat modest but somehow fit perfectly with the anime as a whole. For instance, there isn’t much animation to speak of and it’s always a little jagged, but that frenetic movement is in line with the spastic storytelling and quick-fire narrative. Designs are fairly simple, but they are all very distinctive and play on common anime tropes so that the very look of the characters is part of the joke.

Similarly, sounds design is just a tad exaggerated to add a touch of parody to every scene and voice acting is exceptional but rushed. Boy does everyone talk fast in this show. It took me an episode to properly adjust and for those of you who dislike reading subtitles, the Disastrous Life of Saiki K. could prove to be a challenge.

The Disastrous Life of Saiki K anime review
thankfully some characters are telepathic

As for story, well it’s really just the goofy school life adventures of a super powered psychic and his eccentric group of friends. It’s both pure Slice of Life and pure comedy with only the characters tying the episodes together in any way. I could patiently describe every character and what makes that particular person great. For instance, how Saiki’s dour grandfather is a classic Tsundere and how fantastic it was to see the trope subverted in such a creative way. I could praise Saiki’s perfect deadpan delivery, a particular favorite of mine, that ensured the touching moments never got too sappy. I could try to convey the brilliant touches of tongue in cheek absurdism that litter the season. But you really won’t get it until you see it for yourself.

The best way I can define it, is that this is Anime-Gataris done right. The show is extremely self-aware. The fourth wall gets pretty much obliterated with nonstop meta references and dialogue directed at the viewers. Anime tropes are lovingly and relentlessly teased. This is a series meant for viewers who enjoy anime. You can feel the kinship through the screen. I’ve rarely felt a connection to the anime community like I have with this show. It really made be believe  that it was made just for ME. I wa laughing more or less nonstop.

The Disastrous Life of Saiki K anime review
something about this show just spoke to me

Once in a while, a show like this comes along. It’s extremely rare. My reaction to it is very visceral and subjective. The delivery and comedic timing are of the type I enjoy most. The humour is irreverent but never mean. The pacing was such that I never got bored and my mind never tired itself out either. I had to actively stop myself from watching “just one more” after having seen 7 in a row and it was early morning on a workday. Every episode just had my smiling within minutes. The last time I remember having a similar reaction to a show was with Nozaki-kun. (btw I Love Nozaki-kun).

You know what – sweeping declaration – go watch the Disastrous Life of Saiki K. Laugh a little. Stretch a little. And then start your day in a better mood.

The Disastrous Life of Saiki K anime review
such poise, such grace, such beauty!

Favorite character : Teruhashi (I love her so much….)

If you don’t drink, how will your friends know you love them at 2 a.m.?

Suggested drink: Psychic Venom

  • Every time the 4th wall breaks – take a sip
  • Every time Teruhashi sparkles – gasp
  • Every time Saiki tries to avoid standing out in social situations – take a sip
    • if he succeeds – take a big gulp
  • Every time Saiki turns out to be a nice guy – awwwww
  • Every time we see Hairo’s derrière – screencap
  • Every time we see a ghost – take a sip
  • Every time Saiki’s parents are romantic – squee
  • Every time anyone looks like Nendou – take a sip
  • Every time we see coffee jelly – get a cookie
  • Every time anyone Saiki says yare yare – take a sip
  • Every time Kaido’s chuuni delusions come true – take a sip
  • Every time we see Aren’s past – take a sip
  • Every time the go to a restaurant or café – have a snack
  • Every time Teruhashi tries to make Saiki go ‘oh’ – say “oh”
  • Every time Mera is eating – get some carrot sticks or something

The Disastrous Life of Saiki K anime review

40 thoughts on “The Delightfully Disastrous Life of Saiki K.”

  1. “As you can gather from that previous paragraph, I didn’t so much watch this show as absorb it through osmosis” Brilliant ! 😂😂
    This review by the way is really tempting me to watch this despite the fact that I really don’t like comedies. But you might have just convinced me to watch this anyway. Crap..as if I did not already have enough thing to watch 🤔🤔

    1. well it’s a good place since technically you can just watch 3 minutes here and there. Minimum commitment!

  2. I only watched the first episode, mostly because I had enough other things to watch that season, and I can’t stand the colour pallette. I haven’t given up on the show.

    When I say “first episode”, it’s perhaps important to say that when the show first aired it was a short (don’t remember how long, though my guess is around 5 minutes an episode – ). So what I would have seen is probably the very first vignette of episode one. I didn’t know they edited these shorts together for a re-issue, so I was surprised about the 20 minutes (Wikipedia tells me there was one episode a day [5 a week], and then a compilation episode to cap off the week – interesting release method).

      1. Sadly, I’m slightly photosensitive (my screen settings are always pretty dark), and I also tend towars motionsickness, so every now and then there are anime that range from mildly unpleasant background feeling to full-on sickness. (Last show I could watch was Tanya the Evil, mostly for some colouring effects during certain scenes: they come on and after a few seconds or so I’m violently sick. Saiki is on the very end of the scale, with no physical effect yet but still a mild background unpleasantness – it has to be that much better than other shows to achieve the same likability status, but it’s definitely still watchable.)

        1. I will be honest – I really enjoyed the show and will happily push it on everyone but with what you describe certain episodes will likely be very unpleasant. As I said the animation that is present tends to come in frantic spurts and there can be a lot of jagged mouvement on screen

          1. Ah, that doesn’t sound promising. On the other hand, I’m sometimes fine with things i shouldn’t be able to take. Only way to know is to actually watch the show.

  3. Okay, your recommendation tips the scales. I’ve been eyeballing this on Netflix, but so far every anime that Netflix has heavily promoted to me has turned out to be 99% fan service, borderline hentai, NSFW. Which is fine if you like that but I more endure it for the sake of a good story now and then. I also often find that heavily promoted, much buzz animes leave me completely cold, so to this point nothing actually recommended Saiki to me at all. I have now started Ajin on Netflix and it’s fantastic. I’m pretty sure I could binge it all in one day. Thus I’m a little more inclined to trust them on another anime. Let me just go add this to the queue…

  4. This one has been floating on the top of my Netflix for awhile and I was wondering if I should give it a go. I’ll have to watch it now since I’m always ready for a good laugh.

  5. I love Saiki; both the show and the boy. I am not much of a comedy fan really buy Saiki has a special place in my heart.

    I started to watch this in subs but I quickly switched to dubs because I couldn’t keep up with the dialogue and a lot of it got lost in the subs I think/suspect. I usually chose subs but the dubs aren’t so bad.

    1. Another not a comedy fan huh. You’re in good company, a lot of my favorite bloggers feel the same way. It’s one of my favorite genres though.

      They do talk really fast. I got use to it but I did need to rewatch a few scenes in the early episodes.

      1. It’s interesting. I wonder if I might be someone who just have decided that I don’t like comedy. 🤔 I love Nozaki-kun and Ore Monogatari. My humor is somewhat dark when it comes to real people comedy and I am rather cynical when it comes to life so I mostly get annoyed by the high school cute girls comedy. So I haven’t really actively searched for the genre since I “know” I won’t like it. 🙄 You should write a post about comedy anime for people like me who thinks they don’t like comedy but really do like it. I am open for suggestions as long as it isn’t something like Comic Girls.

        1. I have both watched and reviewed. I found it was better in concept than execution but I’m one of the few that really liked the rotoscoping.
          It’s a really interesting show to contrast with comedic slice of life – I like the way your mind works good sir!

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