Honestly, if there was a show I didn’t expect much out of it was Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo. Not exactly the most glowing way to start this off, but it’s true. I mean really, the synopsis just gave the impression of an average show that was just a variant on dozens we’ve seen before. The kind of series you may enjoy, but certainly forget pretty soon after it is over. The first episode didn’t really change my perception on that, but it didn’t take long for this show to really start taking off. At the very least it will end up being one of my favorites of this fall season and that’s something I did not see coming.

The setting is something that wouldn’t stand out too much. There is a pretty average guy living in a dorm that is full of odd individuals. Well as average as someone who keeps rescuing cats and adopting them can be…The guy just wants to move out and rejoin the normal members of society. While in the middle of that a strange girl gets put under his charge. Shiina Mashiro is an unbelievably talented artist, but that’s all she has. She throws herself into her work, but common sense things are just left to the wayside with her. Thus the first episodes focus on the male lead having to get this girl to dress herself, get crazy for school, and actually get there. She gives off the initial impression of someone who is completely dependent and thus you reach the pet title for the series.

It seems like the setting for your average harem or at least love triangle series. The main character will have to embarrassingly put up with the naive girl who doesn’t know any better and fanservice filled comedy will follow. But it really doesn’t take long for the series to really catch you offguard and provide more depth to these characters than I thought was possible. Mashiro might not act like a normal person, but she knows what she wants to do with her life. She wants to draw and she is damn good at it. It’s less that she doesn’t comprehend things, but that she doesn’t really care about them. Not a very balanced approach to life, but she is living with no regrets. Besides there are moments that she really does show that she gets things more than you’d think.

In contrast I was surprised to find how much growth potential there is for the male lead. This guy is someone who can be related to in so many ways for those of us in the world who are not remarkably talented. His reason for wanting to get out of Sakurasou Dorm is less about dealing with strange people than it is about how his views regarding himself. He certainly has some low points in these first few episodes, but frankly it only makes him more human. The series doesn’t abandon comedy and he’s a bit part of it with how he responds to the strange behaviors of the people living in that dorm. But it’s not just about getting laughs, there is story and character development to be found here.

So far this series really seems to be showing some comedy and initially giving into what you’d normally expect to see happen. But, I think a pattern is starting to develop where after that they really bring up the seriousness and create some depth in these characters. Already in only a few episodes I’ve seen more character development than some 13 episode series cover in their entire span. I’m really interested in seeing where these characters go and how they develop. The series has already delved into questions of talent, resentment, and self-worth.

It’s not just about Mashiro and Sorata either. The characters of Jin and Misaki have some real depth and interest to them as well. Caught up in those similar themes of genius, distance, and feelings regarding self-worth. You want to see where those two end up as they deal with the world in their own way. Especially Jin who is a great example of how not to deal with those feelings. The series really does have me wondering and looking forward to how he will develop.

Of course there is another love interest besides Mashiro, but Aoyama also gets some solid character development. They don’t just have her hanging around for long periods as this girl who is interested in the male lead and has nothing else going on in her life. Character development is key for this series and they manage to keep the balance between comedy and seriousness.

Visually the series has a very nice tone to it. Mashiro of course always seems to catch your eye. The quality hasn’t seemed to really drop, though maybe it has at times and I just never caught it.

The music really is a highlight though. There are just moments when the songs just perfectly fit and bring scenes up another notch. Have to give credit for some very appropriate musical selections.

OP [Kimi ga Yume wo Tsuretekita] by Ai Kayano, Mariko Nakatsu, Natsumi Takamori: (A+)

Honestly this OP can be addictive. I have literally caught myself singing along and trust me, my singing in languages I don’t speak is not something human beings should listen to XD. It’s a pretty fun OP to watch with a lot of movement and some good laughs. The song really is pretty catchy and I have no issues with watching this every week.

ED [DAYS of DASH] by Konomi Suzuki: (A)

The ED is pretty solid. The song is really enjoyable to listen to and has as much energy to it as the OP. The visuals are pretty fun to watch with all the characters running around with some crazy stuff happening in the background. So yeah, it’s a pretty fun ED all things considered.

Honestly, this is the one show of the season I would cover if I wasn’t already covering two series from this season. A good mix of comedy, but also some really serious stories. I think this show falls into a group of certain series that have balanced those two things well. It’s easy to be one or the other, but having both be prominent in a show without it just feeling awkward is an accomplishment. I would recommend this show to pretty much everyone. Also I would say give it a good 4 episode test. That covers the first ‘arc’ and should be enough to allow you to decide whether this is a show you want to watch or not. It’s my recommendation of the season, even though I won’t be able to blog it.

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An older member at 25, yet a new addition to Anime Evo. Recently graduating University and in the difficult point between school and a true career. Anime being a salvation and blogging a good way to put all those hours of writing essays to some use. Enjoys talking about series, yet not taking on so many that the quality dips. A Canadian who enjoys his anime and hearing what others think about the series he enjoys watching.

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  • Algirdas Lekavicius

    I just started watching this anime yesterday. Just finished the first episode and my reaction was that it was promising, but I was unsure if it would be any good, since the harem animes tend to do too much fan service or just forget about the plot and have back-and-forth banter for half a season as you mentioned in your article.
    I’m actually quite relieved to hear that it only gets better, as just from the first episode I’ve already fallen in love with a lot of the characters (even though I’m still a bit weary of Shiina, as I hate the helpless female characters who need someone to rely on a lot of times, though she is super cute… >_> )

    • FlareKnight

      Yeah, this was honestly a series I didn’t expect to think much of. But it really did end up surprising me. They really do a good job keeping the story in perspective and pretty regularly deliver some amazing moments that make you want to keep watching more.

      I’ll say for Shiina that there is definitely more to her than I expected to find. She’s definitely not a normal person, but there is an unique strength there. I can’t say how you’ll like her going forward, but she definitely became a favorite character of mine as she developed through the series.

      • Algirdas Lekavicius

        Thanks for the reply, you got me pretty excited about the series now 🙂

        Just need to make some time for it as I’m now trying to juggle five animes after visiting this site 😛

        • FlareKnight

          Yeah, the challenge is always finding the time to actually watch all the good series out there XD. At least since it’s over can always watch the show in batches whenever you have the time.

  • Algirdas Lekavicius

    Aww hell, I finally finished this anime and after tugging at my heart strings for 20 something episodes, it just all came crashing down at the very end. I can’t believe that they wanted to leave the anime this open ended, we never get satisfying conclusions to the characters, it just wants to keep going, introducing two new characters at the very end, bringing back the lost love interest when it was clearly over, never getting anywhere with our main heroine… What the hell? That’s all I have to say at the end of this anime, it was sooo good all the way through, but I feel like I got shat on for the last episode.

    And this isn’t even the worst of it. I thought maybe the light novels did it different? Surely they must be better? Nope, I read the summaries of all the volumes and it just angered me more, as the characters just become a complete mess, acting against everything they had stood for, doing more of the pointless back and forth. Ah to hell with Sakurasou, they shoud’ve torn it down when they had the chance!

    This has to be near the top of the most unsatisfying story endings for me, I’ve seen some stinkers, but this just made my blood boil. If anybody watches this anime, do yourself a favor and watch everything up to the last episode and leave the rest to your imagination, you’ll be a lot happier than what you will actually get on episode 24. Oh and don’t even bother with the novels, seems like this is a rare case of an anime doing better than the source material.

    FlareKnight, how did you feel at the end? Surely I’m not the only one outraged? >:(

    • FlareKnight

      When it comes to the ending suppose I felt less outrage than a desire to see the rest. I knew being a light novel adaptation there was a few ways it could go. Anime original, rushing through the material (depending if the novels are done), or finding a decent enough stopping point and hopefully getting a sequel eventually.

      Though have had quite a while to let it sink in so maybe I felt more intensely about the ending back when it happened. Though hearing some of the issues with the light novel maybe the way they ended it here was a decent way to handle it. A kind of “life goes on” ending showing the passage of time and giving hope that things will turn out alright with the main characters.

      I’d say the anime overall was still a great journey. The emotional ups and downs made it one heck of a ride and far better than I ever predicted it would be. The ending itself I thought was ok. Could have been more definite and maybe didn’t live up to the best points of the series, but I’ve seen so many worse endings that I can’t really lay into this series for how it wrapped things up. At least you have hope watching the last episode that things will turn out fine.

      I don’t know, for some reason I just wasn’t that outraged. The journey itself just felt worth taking. Not that I don’t think there’s a problem with being outraged. Might be something that hits you harder when you watch a series in a more condensed sitting than week to week.

      • Algirdas Lekavicius

        Now that I’ve had a week to let everything sit, I guess I agree that it could have been worse. I just wanted to see the emotional payoff with Shiina which we have been dancing around for the entire season and was left very unfulfilled by the end (at one point I thought the anime would have been better off if it would have ended with Shiina falling on the train tracks and getting run over when Sorata was confessing his love LOL). Seeing how the light novel ended however, made me appreciate the anime so much more though, because it could have been worse.

        Contrary to a lot of fans, I don’t feel like there’s a need for season 2. Unless they only loosely follow the novels or go in their own direction altogether (probably won’t happen). You’re right though, the ride was definitely worth it. The development we got with Aoyama throughout was very heartfelt and the ending while tragic for her felt realistic and made her character that much more admirable for me (that’s why when they brought her back at the end, still wanting to chase Sorata even after everything that happened I blew a gasket).

        This is going to make me reluctant to watch more romantic animes; after the way Toradora ended and now this… My heart can’t take much more 🙁 Still, I’m thinking about watching Golden Time, at the same time fearing the same problems. Is Golden Time based on a manga or light novel? Maybe one with a known good ending? I’d like to at least watch one anime that you’re covering this season, so would you recommend that or something else that you’re enjoying? (I’m looking for another show to start following this season after finding Coppelion to be a bore). Let me know and sorry for the comment spam for this article :/