Once upon a time there was a studio called SHAFT, which hired a man named Simbo Akiyuki and created one very good school comedy called Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei (SZS). It sold so well, it kept making more similar comedies, and even though none of them were as good as the first, they kept making money out of the fame they got thanks to it. And this is why we get Sasami-san at Ganbaranai at present time
What made SZS so good was the simple fact it had a character for every possible situation. They could deal with any issue they could think of thanks to it, and half the time it would even be about social criticism. All the later comedies though had a far more narrowed space to move, and without ever trying to flesh out their characters past the first dimension, or at least having a plot to keep you interested, they ended up becoming boring much sooner. This problem is inherited to their current comedy, which is about a shut-in girl. Just how long can they stretch this joke before it becomes boring; especially when SZS already had such a character? The very first episode is pretty much telling you “Not even 10 minutes.”
There are no characters in this show, unless you can call generic caricatures defined by one stereotype and one personality quirk as such. In case you do, there are 5 of them.
- One is a shut-in girl who spends her life indoors and stalks her brother with hidden cameras. She sees him as her slave and doesn’t want anyone to be interested in him; thus she is a spoiled, arrogant, selfish brocon.
- The second is said brother, a major siscon who does nothing all day besides trying to please her sister. He loves to hide his face from the camera for no real reason. Probably a parody of the faceless hero in hentai games.
- The others are three underage sisters who are all very interested in the brother. They do a lot of things to attract his attention but he is stuck to thinking only of his sister to care.
There, that was all I can say about them. Very eccentric in whatever they do based on the one and only stereotype they are made up from and absolutely nothing more. Oh, they are also supposed to be gods but this has as much importance as everything else in the show. Absolutely none.
There never was plot or development in any SHAFT comedy, and this one is following the tradition. It’s complete randomness. All you get is four underage girls messing with the life of a faceless deviant adult in a completely random succession of scenes and plots. And sure, reality keeps messing up because they are gods but this doesn’t add anything to the setting; it just excuses the randomness and shallowness. It doesn’t even attempt to criticize society or otaku culture like SZS did. In the contrary, it makes it look like it’s fun to be a hikikomori. It just oversexualized major social problems Japan faces and threw them in your face expecting you to find that funny. It isn’t.
Minimalistic, artsy, full of filters, but surely no longer that special after all the similar yet inferior to SZS comedies SHAFT made. Good voice acting, forgettable songs, the whole thing looks like a parody of hentai games.
A forgettable series. SHAFT must try something different if it wants to make money out of something else other than milking the Bakemonogatari franchise.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 8/10
General Artwork 2/2 (artsy)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic)
Backgrounds 2/2 (artsy)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 2/2 (artsy)
SOUND SECTION: 7/10
Voice Acting 2/3 (silly but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 2/4 (typical)
Sound Effects 3/3 (artsy)
STORY SECTION: 4/10
Premise 2/2 (interesting)
Pacing 0/2 (random)
Complexity 1/2 (besides getting all the game and culture references, there is nothing in it)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 1/2 (simple)
CHARACTER SECTION: 4/10
Presence 1/2 (generic)
Personality 2/2 (rather cheesy but well founded)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there)
Development 0/2 (none)
Catharsis 0/2 (none)
VALUE SECTION: 2/10
Historical Value 0/3 (none)
Rewatchability 1/3 (low because of too much randomness)
Memorability 1/4 (besides being artsy, there is no reason to remember it)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 1/10
Art 1/1 (looks artsy)
Sound 0/2 (sounds meh)
Story 0/3 (what story?)
Characters 0/4 (they are cardboards)
Sasami-San@Ganbaranai is definitely an under appreciated anime, but I can't really blame some of the viewers that decided to drop this after the first few episodes. During the first two, three episodes, Sasami-San@Ganbaranai was nothing but pure confusion and all you really thought while watching it was "what the fuck is this?!" After you get past episode three, everything really falls into place and you are given a touching, funny and overall intriguing story that you just can't look away from. Sasami-San@Ganbaranai is about a young hikikomori named Sasami who spends most of her time sleeping and playing video games. She lives with her older brother who NEVER shows his face and also has a sister complex (if you know what I mean). The entire anime is centered around Japanese gods with every character being related to some part of Japanese mythology so those who may not know much about Japanese deities may actually want to skip this show. Sasami carries the power of the Japanese god, Amaterasu which was passed down through her family and because of this, she also carries the responsibility of keeping the world intact. Eventually, Sasami with the help of her brother leave their shrine, no longer wanting to carry the weight of the world on her shoulders. The cast also includes a set of sisters which is Amaterasu herself and her "two sisters" who are actually like recreated clones of her. The three of them are named after the three Imperial Regalia of Japan. Over the course of the series Sasami is confronted by her mother who wishes to push Sasami into accepting her responsibility as a shrine maiden and embracing the powers of Amaterasu. Sasami, being the hikikomori that she is, doesn't want any of it but overtime she begins to accept her fate. Sasami-San@Ganbaranai is a great anime with a compelling drama shrouded in the wonders of Japanese mythology. With every character in the series, your first impression of them will definitely change by the end of it all. Don't let the first three episodes summarize the entire show, I promise you that the other episodes afterward will explain everything in full detail, allowing you to keep pace with every wild and crazy event that happens in this anime. Sasami-San@Ganbaranai contains a number of funny scenes but this anime is meant to be more of a drama centered on a young girl who is forced to carry a responsibility that should of never been imposed on a human being, let alone a little girl.