I watched all 24 episodes in one day – I have a lot of free time, alright? And if that doesn’t tell you what I thought of the anime, then keep on reading.
It’s anime like The Pet Girl of Sakurasou (meaning Sakura Hall) that hold a special place in my heart with their realistic take on the hardships of life, and with excellent character growth that makes the friendships between them believeable and heartwarming, despite the arguments that they may get into. It shot to my second favourite anime of all-time, just behind Golden Time, which you can read my review of here.
The story primarily revolves around Sorata Kanda, an aspiring games creator, and Mashiro Shiina, a world-class famous artist, now turned Mangaka, who struggles to take care of herself. Sorata is given ‘Mashiro Duty’ at Sakurasou which consists of him making sure she abides to all social norms such as being properly dressed, what not to say, etc. Sakurasou is home to talented people with strange quirks, and was originally build to hone their skills away from the public and distractions, and Sorata is only there as he adopted a cat that he wasn’t allowed to keep at the regular dormitories of Suimei University of the Arts; once he finds an owner, he plans to leave Sakurasou.
Sorata finds it hard to leave however when he eventually ends up with multiple cats, and, of course, his growing attachment to Mashiro and that he enjoys looking after her and it makes him feel needed. The rest of Sakurasou consist of Misaki, a popular anime creator, Jin, who writes Misaki’s scripts, Ryuunosuke, who’s created an advanced computer program that behaves like a real person and Chihiro, who mostly drinks and is there as a teacher needs to watch over the students. They’re soon joined by Nanami, an aspiring voice-actress and Rita, Mashiro’s friend from when she was an artist in England. They’re all so lively and unique that it’s hard to dislike any of them, but due to the issues that Sakurasou tackles and how the characters react to these, you might find that they hit closer to home than expected.
I personally identified quite heavily with Sorata and his struggles in following his dreams, and how easy it is to become envious when someone else is making more progress than you in a much shorter timeframe. It’s hard to seriously break into fields such as journalism, games programming, etc, as they’re so competitive and almost anyone can attempt it nowadays, so being able to watch an anime where some of these issues are tackled and you get to see both the bad and good of it was an amazing experience to me, and might be eye-opening for others. It might not resonate with everybody in quite the same way, and I might be further along than Sorata was, but I’d originally started writing with a blog that got little traffic but now I’m here. Sakurasou focuses greatly on how important it is to follow your dreams, even if it is difficult and you stumble loads along the way.
J.C.Staff have animated three of my top five anime now, and their outstanding animation is one of the things that drew me to Sakurasou in the first place. I could just stop here and tell you to look at it as the visuals speak for themselves, but then I can’t gush! Being based on a series of light novels, J.C.Staff managed to bring the illustrations to life perfectly, with a pleasing colour palette and the realistic character designs reflect how the show aims to recreate what could be real life – well, Mashiro has some more unique traits including her orange eyes, but it is still an anime!
There’s a gentle glow to everything which adds to the already soft visuals, making it easy on the eyes – it’s almost like they tried to give everything a youthful glow as it essentially a story about growing up and everything that comes with it. It animates fluidly and there are some beautiful scenes presented, including the first time Sorata meets Mashiro under a cherry blossom tree, and the Sakurasou dormitory is homely, warm and invited – it makes me wish that my childhood were like this. Mashiro is an artist so it’s nice to see many of the artworks she’d painted before deciding to become a mangaka, and some of the things she creates in the series are beautiful.
It seems like there will never be an English dub as it’s already released on blu-ray in the US, and it only comes with Japanese subtitles but honestly, I don’t think I’d want to watch it in English as I fell in love with it as it is. The voice-acting is great but as someone who doesn’t understand Japanese, I’d be less likely to pick up on ‘bad’ voice-acting – all I need to know is what it makes me feel, and the voice-actors and actresses made me feel a variety of emotions.
Both the OP’s and ED’s are fantastic – it’s hard to pick a favourite as they’re all so good – and if you don’t believe me then find them on Google and be prepared to find some new songs to put on repeat all day. They’re just as good visually, and I really like how simple both the ED’s are but that they focus on Sakurasou as a whole, showing that they’re a team; I also like that the first OP is sung by the main three girls of the cast. The rest of the OST is great – I own it and have been listening to it, and wrote a lot of this review whilst listening to it. I struggle to find anything I actually disliked about the anime, so I won’t struggle and just accept that there’s nothing about it that I feel could be better. It excels in so many ways.
Being able to gush about an anime is the absolute best, and Sakurasou allows me to do that in abundance. Not only does the story have lessons to be learned, it’s also a great rom-com that fans of the genre shouldn’t miss. I remember it causing quite a splash when it originally aired but I dismissed it based on the name and that I had so much to watch – it wasn’t a priority. I was dumb. Whilst the name may sound silly to some and will turn some away like it did for me, it’s worth giving a shot as there’s something here for everybody, and I’m glad I didn’t wait years upon years to watch this, where I then could’ve regretted waiting so long. Sakurasou came at a great time in my life, and I think anyone can relate to it no matter your age.
I won’t go into spoilers here, especially as it’s not in relation to the anime, but it’s unlikely we’ll get a second season despite there being another handful of volumes to draw from. I love how the light novels concluded and have spoken about it at length before, but do know that the anime, in my opinion, ends perfectly and should satisfy you. It honestly has one, if not the best, credits sequence I’ve seen in an anime.
This is my second favourite anime of all-time, it’s something I’ll always think fondly of and I’ve rewatched good chunks of it since I finished it a few weeks ago. If any of the above interests you, or if you’re just looking for an outstanding anime to watch, then give The Pet Girl of Sakurasou a go. You won’t regret it, and it might just inspire you to do what you’ve always wanted to do.
“Opportunities wait for no one! If you let an opportunity slip through your fingers with an excuse like, “I wasn’t prepared.” You’ll never get another opportunity like that again! But it is your life. Live it the way you want.”
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