By: Matthew Maravilla
I have a very particular taste in anime. First off, my favorite shows need characters to whom I can relate. Second, those anime have a sense of drama or climax, like a crazy character betrayal, death, or a really good love triangle. Lastly, and most importantly, my favorite shows are able to inspire me. From 2012’s fall season came a show that met these three requirements: Sakurasou No Pet Na Kanojo, or its English translation, The Pet Girl of Sakurasou.
Sakurasou No Pet Na Kanojo is an anime by studio J.C. Staff, creators of shows like Honey and Clover, Little Busters, Waiting in the Summer, and Toradora. Saying this, it isn’t surprising that there will be drama and tears flying everywhere.
Sakurasou No Pet Na Kanojo takes place around the Suimei University of the Arts. In this particular school, there are two kinds of dorms: one for regular students, and one for the odd and unnaturally talented, the Sakurasou dorm. Students don’t want to live in Sakurasou, but due to his luck of finding stray cats, the main character Kanda Sorata was forced to move to Sakurasou. She soon meets Shiina Mashiro, a master artist but an airhead, as she moves into the Sakurasou dorms, and proceeds to help her adjust to normal life. Other characters include the hyper and super creative Kamiigusa Misaki, the ladies’ man Mitaka Jin, the hardworking Aoyama Nanami, the stoic yet calculating Akasaka Ryuunosuke, and a couple more faces with whom you’ll meet in later episodes.
I believe that Sakurasou No Pet Na Kanojo was one of the hidden gems outside of Japan of late 2012 and early 2013, beaten out by Kyoto Animation’s Chuunibyou Koi Ga Shitai and A-1 Picture’s Sword Art Online. But unlike those two, there was definitely a sense of realism in Sakurasou’s writing. Sure, it doesn’t have the scale of Sword Art Online or the comedy of Chuunibyou but its writing makes it my anime of choice for 2012 and 2013. The show balances its highs and lows so well that each character isn’t overbearing, but has enough detail to make you care about their situations. I feel the pain and sorrow of the characters at their lows. I’m happy for them at their highs. From Mashiro’s airheadedness and problems from dealing with the jealousy of those around her, Sorata’s issues with being surrounded by talented people, Aoyama’s hard work not always being able to help her, Jin’s feelings of being a hindrance to Misaki’s work, and Misaki’s feelings for Jin, every character has their dreams they want to achieve.
The themes of dreams, hard work, and talent are huge parts of the interactions and relationships of the characters of Sakurasou, and they aren’t overbearing or over-exaggerated. These ideas were able to make the emotional highs and lows more relatable and realistic. Every tear shed in Sakurasou was probably a tear we’ve all let fall in our own lives in one way or another. The story’s primary plot isn’t about a girl who can’t take care of herself, but about people dealing with their hopes and dreams in a pool of over 6 billion people trying to do the same things.
Final Thoughts: Should you watch this show? I definitely say yes. In terms of the show’s writing, it’s something I didn’t expect, and when it happened, I was glued. I would definitely recommend this show for people dealing with a sense that they haven’t gotten anywhere in life, because this show definitely makes you look into yourself. What makes this an even better package is that you only need to watch this show once to understand all of what it has to offer. It’s available for free streaming on Crunchyroll.
image source: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-zQS-YA_XWY0/UWfv9kuDG7I/AAAAAAAALWM/Uvr9WUnhqZc/s640/rori-Sakurasou-no-Pet-na-Kanojo-23-FA9F9E5B.mkv_snapshot_20.02_2013.03.20_22.43.22.jpg