The Pet Girl of Sakurasou was a Sweet but Uncomfortable Experience

I’m trying to leave a or

  • Genre: Romance, comedy, drama, haremish, schol, kitties
  • Episodes: 24
  • Studio: J.C. Staff

Did you want to live on campus when you went to high school? I did. It sounds so awesome! Being able to pack your things up and get a bit of independence and freedom in your highschool days but without all the responsibility of paying rent or doing everything for yourself. It’s the perfect compromise. That is unless you are judged not admissible for regular dorms and get stuck with all the weirdos and troublemakers in the run down Sakura hall. But you know what, weirdos and troublemakers can be wonderful people. They sure tend to be more fun in any case! Sorata might have wanted to move out of Sakura Hall since the first day he set foot in it, but with the arrival of the mysterious Shiina, things may slowly be changing.

Yeah, it’s a romance anime. I watched another romance anime. But I have an excuse! I really like cats!

Kitties!!!!

I actually have another excuse. I thought The Pet Girl of Sakurasou looked really pretty. And I still do. In fact, after having watched all of it, it’s even prettier than on the first impression. It’s not so much the designs or art style that got me. I mean I liked the designs and art style a lot. You can see it in the caps. I also thought the backgrounds were pretty great and pleasantly detailed.

But what really drew me to the production were those amazing colour palettes and the use of light in the series. Both are consistently beautiful and lovingly rendered. And that, I’m not quite sure is getting across from the screenshots. It just might be something you have to see in motion to truly get. A few scenes had me straining my eyes wide open to take in as much detail as possible.

can you see it? I’m telling you it’s better in person

The rest of the production was good. I would call the voice acting competent but a bit too deliberate for my personal tastes. Just a touch theatrical. It does suit all those eccentric characters pretty well though. I’ll admit that I don’t remember the music and I thought the OP and ED were o.k.

If you’re new here, I’ll give my usual disclaimer. I don’t tend to enjoy romance stories in general and there are some classic romance tropes that get on my nerves. Characters being defined by their relationship instead of their personalities, love triangles, inconsistent emotional reaction – i.e. people getting suddenly very depressed or wanting to break up for no reason I can figure out. That sort of stuff.

And well, The Pet Girl of Sakurasou does have some of those. At least one of those. A love triangle is central to the plot. And the characters do get pretty emotional and have some weird issues with relationships. But I still liked it way more than most romances.

I generally enjoyed it a lot

For one, even though the latter half of the show has a ton of tears and the characters do react a bit intensely, the characters stay pretty true to themselves. It’s never to the point where I don’t recognize a character from their reaction, it just seems like a teenager having a bad day. So I felt like I knew these guys pretty well by the end and that is a big plus.

More importantly, though, romance isn’t the only driving force in the series. Indeed everyone in The Pet Girl of Sakurasou has considerations other than their romantic relationships, and arguably more important. They all have their own personal dreams and ambitions that they are pursuing their own sake. In fact, most of those tears and frustrations come from professional disappointments and fears rather than romantic ones. Their relationships were just one aspect of their lives and they spent just as much time worrying about proper friendships, their plans for the future and just finding themselves as people.

it got too serious for a second there

To me, that makes the characters more relatable and I really enjoyed the variety it brought to the drama. This is probably because I’m just not that romantic a person. I’m sure that someone who really prioritizes romance and thinks of it as the most important thing in their life might find all these other considerations distracting and resent that they take time away from the romantic plot. To me it made the characters feel more complete and it made me sympathize with their plight more.

In general, I found everyone in the show very likeable. Sure they are exaggerated and can be a bit much at times. It’s a show after all! But I nevertheless enjoyed spending my evenings with them

There is one thing though. I’ve sort of been brushing it aside but I did put it in the title. One aspect of The Pet Girl of Sakurasou can be a bit uncomfortable depending on your take on it. One of the main characters is Mashiro Shiina. She is one part of the aforementioned love triangle and potentially the most prominent character in the show. She’s very pretty and has a tendency to take off her clothes a lot.

who gave her a knife?

There’s also something not quite right with her. The central premise of the plot is that she is Sakura Hall’s advisor’s cousin and that is why she has been sent to live there for a while. She is also not capable of functioning by herself. As in, she is developmentally challenged in an undefined way. She needs someone else to help her dress herself or dry herself off after a shower. She needs help feeding herself or getting to school. Most abstract or complex issues escape her. I’m not too great with kids but I would say she is at the capacity of a 5 to 7-year-old. I have to stress that she isn’t that young. She’s either 17 or 18.

The show doesn’t acknowledge that there’s an issue with her beyond the fact that she’s unusual but everyone panics if she’s left by herself because they do acknowledge that she can’t really function on her own.

At this point, you either see why this could get uncomfortable or you don’t. I was a bit squeamish about it but I got over it. For me, it didn’t destroy my enjoyment of the series but it probably lessened it on some level. Not having seen an alternative version, I can’t really tell. I’m sure that for some this will not be an issue at all and might in fact be part of the appeal. And then again, I think some people will just not be interested in a story like that and that’s o.k. as well.

there’s a lot of other stuff going on

Honestly, if that doesn’t put you off, then you should watch The Pet Girl of Sakurasou. It’s a very well made show with a lot of things to love about it. As for me. Let’s just say that I enjoyed it way more than I thought I would. There was a point towards the middle of the series, where the triangle thing really started to pick up where it took me 3 weeks to get through 2 episodes but that passed and I did like the final arc which was more focused on the kids trying to save the building they live in.

My favourite part was the interactive game at the school festival. That was great fun. I wish I attended a show like that!

Favourite character: Ryuunosuke Akasaka seems like a pretty predictable pick for me. Although, surprisingly my second favourite is a tie between Misaki and Aoyama

weirdly those shorter strand of hair disappear all the time

Suggested drink: Kitty Highball

  • Every time Mashiro fails to dress herself – take a sip
  • Every time Kanda ends up naked – take a sip
  • Every time we “hear” from Ryu – gasp!
    • if we see him – take a sip
  • Every time Shiina has bedhead – take a sip
  • Every time someone is playing video games – take a sip
  • Every time there’s a double entendre  – just me?
  • Every time Aoyama has to work – take a sip
  • Every time the cats get fed – get a snack
  • Every time Shinna wats food – take a bite from your snack
  • Every time someone dislikes Shiina at first – take a sip
  • Every time anyone has a contest or presentation – take a sip
  • Every time Kanda wakes up with a girl in his bed – blush
  • Every time Jin chases after a new girl – take a sip
  • Every time Misaki gets bummed out  – oh no!
  • Every time we see the school president – take a sip
  • Every time anyone mentions “aliens” – take a sip
  • Every time anyone wears a onesie – slip into your own
  • Every time Ryu eats a tomato – switch to a healthy snack

In case you’re new here, I have a Pinterest with all my screencaps (there are a lot!). If you can’t find a show you are looking for in my main boards, just go to Anime Screenshots. I move the shows I have reviewed there. Of course, I’m still going to add a few images here!

Irina

I'm much nicer than I seem, we should be friends!

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14 Responses

  1. David Boone (moonhawk81) says:

    I didn’t so much have an issue with Shiina’s issues as the fact that her care was primarily given over to a guy. I would have been a lot less uncomfortable with another girl putting panties on her, etc. It would have made a lot more sense. The show was fun and sweet and–you hit the nail on the head!–oh so beautifully colored! But the story was unnecessarily complicated by the fact that it was Sora taking care of her. . .

    • Irina says:

      Well Sora was super respectful and careful with her care. Honestly before Aoyama arrived he was by far the best suited to be taking care of her. I would have been scared for the poor girl if her welfare was the responsibility of any of the other hall residents. And after Aoyama arrived, she started taking care of Shiina for the most part except when she physically couldn’t.

  2. jarilissima says:

    Found it on Crunchyroll and will be watching it 🙂 I’m new to anime, so thank you for sharing. Oh, and if you have any suggestions for beginners, I would be happy 🙂

  3. Halsdoll says:

    I’m not really big on romance either. It sounds like that character you described need assistant to function might have mental disability. Unfortunately in real life there are people like that although in anime fiction world it does seem rather squeamish. I think I will pass.

  4. Dawnstorm says:

    Shiina’s issues… well, let me just say that before the show all I knew was the title, and given anime’s tendencies, especially in romantic partners, I expected a lot worse. From that perspective, I had no issues at all with her. In fact, I liked how they treated her, and by playing her off fussy beaurocractic care-taker Sorata, they made her seem more dependent on others than she actually is (though she’s definitely not going to get by without support). The moments when Sorata discovers things about her past are intriguing. Incidentally, it’s Sorata who started to grate on me the most in the show, especially when his “professional jealousy” started to show.

    I, too, enjoyed the show a lot more than I thought I would, and I, too, found the middle tough going (but since I watched it as it aired I kept a steady pace – by the nature of watching things weekly, heh).

    I really liked Nanami’s eyes; under the right lighting conditions they looked golden. And in Sakurasou, my behaviour would probably have been most like Ryuunosuke, but I’m pretty far from any of them actually. I did like the entire cast, though (even Sorata, and even when he was at his most irritating).

    • Irina says:

      I actually really liked Sorata as well. There was something that rang true to me about his insecurities and I liked that he didn’t always deal with them well at all but didn’t turn into a monster either. That was refreshing.

      You know, there were a lot of little things in Shiina’s behaviour that looked exactly like what I have seen in patients. Like not completely understanding the concept of buying things or not making the direct relationship between what you wear and how cold or warm you feel. It was to the point where I started thinking it might be completely intentional and that’s sort of cool. Like an understated message that people with developmental issue exists but they can still be extremely talented, have a great and relatively normal life with the proper provisions and even have a fulfilling love life. It’s actually a really wonderful message if it was intended. It’s just a little bit of a tricky issue.

  5. You made me want to watch this >.< I love the looks of the blonde girl!

  1. November 22, 2020

    […] The Pet Girl of Sakurasou was a Sweet but Uncomfortable Experience […]

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