Review: Sakurako-san Episode 3 – A Waste of Potential

The third episode! Now that Sakurako-san has had two episodes to settle down and get comfortable, it’s time for the plot to really kick in, this is where the rubber meets the road, where Sakurako-san shows its true colors. And how did the show fare??? Not well.

Spoilers

Before we get to the bad, let’s cover what this show did right. First of all due to finals and all, school shouldn’t have much of a presence on Sakurako-san. Instead the focus will be Sakurako and her bone obsession. This isn’t too much of a surprise, but it’s a nice confirmation.

Second, the show still looks gorgeous. The backgrounds are detailed, motion is mostly fluid, and the character designs are fantastic. The only issue the visuals have is the over reliance on CG for the bones, especially when some skeletons aren’t CG and they look a million times nicer.

Now on to the bad stuff, first I’ll cover all of the little nitpicks, of which there are many, I had to filter out many others, then to the bigger issues.

One of the smaller things that really bugged me was the sexual tension when Shoutaro and Sakurako are in the cave. This was completely unnecessary, seemed out of character, and detracts from the relationship Shoutaro and Sakurako currently have. If they never touched it again after this it wouldn’t be too bad. Just an odd moment, but it seems to hint at a romance developing later in the series. This would completely destroy the chemistry Shoutaro and Sakurako have together. One of the best elements of any Watson-Sherlock relationship is the lack of romantic elements, it’s best when the two are friends, or have a mentor-type relationship.

When Shoutaro and Kougami were having cake at the cafe, Kougami says “You found my Grandma’s bones.” This is a really weird and stilted way of saying this. It would have been much more natural to say, “You found my Grandma’s body.” Or “You found my Grandma’s corpse.” It’s possible this is a translation quirk, but I think it’s more likely that Sakurako-san is just as obsessed with bones as Sakurako herself.

When asked, Shoutaro described his relationship with Sakurako as a ‘guardian,’ which, apparently, is him. The problem with this is that Shoutaro has not acted like a guardian at all. He doesn’t take care of her at her house, that’s the old woman’s job, he doesn’t determine what they’re agenda is, Shoutaro is not the one with power in their relationship. Shoutaro is actually just along of the ride. I guess a better word to describe their relationship would be ‘freeloader,’ Shoutaro, of course.

Kougami is really, really, overly dramatic. The show as it’s moments (such as the “It’s your duty to live, as one so young.”) But to the level that Kougami reacts to everything this episode in particular. Felt very… anime. That’s not a bad thing, some shows, such as Anohana, Clannad, and Shigatsu, also have this over-the-top drama. But so far Sakurako-san doesn’t have that style of drama, so Kougami as a whole feels kind of out-of-place.

This episode has confirmed that the bone parade scene is here to stay, and probably will show itself every episode. It’s pretty annoying. There is way to much CGI, and it feels empty. The purpose of the scene is obviously to get us excited about what’s about to come, Sakurako’s observations and clues to solve the mystery. The problem is we don’t care. The bone parade happens right after the body is found, Sakurako-san fails to get us invested in the mystery. Because of this, the bone parade scene lacks any of the excitement that it’s supposed to.

Before I move on to the big, troubling issue, I would like to clarify a mistake I made last week. In the article for the second episode of Sakurako-san, I mentioned the episode having a fresh corpse, thus adding to the stakes, unlike the first episode, however the first episode did have a murder to solve. The couple killed and tossed into the ocean. While this is an error on my part, it doesn’t bode well for the show if I’ve forgotten the meat of the episode less than a week later.

As for the big issue Sakurako-san has, it’s beginning to feel unrealistic. This is due to two majors flaws with the writing. One, Sakurako’s observations often make no sense. First she is a true Sherlock with her observations, seemingly knowledgeable in all fields, even though she’s only obsessed with bones. The show has never painted her as anything other than a bone fanatic, so how does Sakurako-san know so much about sailor knots?

That’s easy to answer, she doesn’t. In the first episode, Sakurako made an observation claiming that due to they way to knot was oriented it would be impossible for the male to have tied it with his dominant right hand from his position. However, this isn’t true. The knot can be tied to that orientation from that position, you just have to tie it a little differently. And based on the lack of background known about the male it’s impossible to know whether he would have the knowledge to tie it this way, if at all. To sum up, Sakurako’s knowledge is far beyond what she has been known to… know, and her observations are really just bogus delivered with lots of confidence.

Also, the ‘Soutaro’ plot line I had mentioned last week has shown up this week as well! But, Soutaro was just Sakurako’s little brother. It’s not surprising, but it is disappointing. The clich√© set up of this plot line combined with the shows willingness to shove any emotion there under the rug does not bring promise.

Sakurako-san Body 1
A proper reaction to this episode

To sum up, Sakurako-san is a gorgeous and flawed show. It has it’s good aspects, but the negatives far out weight them. Ultimately, Sakurako-san isn’t bad enough to drop, at least not yet, but if nothing worthwhile comes out of this by episode five, I’m done.

GJ Corban
GJ Corban
Hi there, I'm GJ Corban, that stands for Gregory Jr., but I've been accidentally called CJ, DJ, JJ, and even Jesus... thrice. Other than that I'm just a guy obsessed with storytelling and the culture and news that surround it.

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