Home is where the heart is
Here I was getting all excited about uploading the 1st review for Sakurasou and two people beat me to it... that's what I get for waiting a day (bastards, *cough*). Anyway, Sakurasou is in my view one of the truer rom coms I've seen in quite a while. By which I mean, it emphasized both the com AND the rom elements. You'll notice I've reversed the order to point out the rom component. Let's face it, most things nowadays that people call rom coms are really just bad VN adaptations (harems) and ech coms. This is why I feel it necessary to emphasize Sakurasou as a rather true rom com. And the only reason why I use the modifier rather is because the last 6 eps or so of the series are a little more SoL than rom com. So not quite a Toradora level rom com, but if you ask me the first thing Sakurasou reminds me of it would absolutely be Toradora. I do mean this to be very high praise and it's well deserved. While Sakurasou doesn't quite stick to the main coupling as strongly as Toradora, at its best it really is at that level. The emotional moments in this series, are really emotional. These moments hit home hard and become instantly memorable. But let me reel things in a bit here so I don't start going crazy with spoilers. In the broadest sense there are two very significant elements to this series, one being the romances (plural) and the other being the camaraderie of the dormmates of Sakurasou (see title). I have to admit when they kept pulling the Sakurasou card down the stretch I was concerned if the romance element would fizzle out. But thankfully this was not the case. I don't know if maybe I'm biased as a fan of SoLs, but the whole Sakurasou community vibe down the stretch really appealed to me. How could it not after Misaki's dramatic speech? I was practically in tears not even halfway through. As I said, this is a moment series and there are several that stand out. And what allows this to be a moment series are the fantastic cast of characters. And the only place to start with the characters is Mashiro. If you were to go on my prof and check out my Lists page, you would see that I have Mashiro in the top 5 of my top 10 fav female characters ever. And I assure you, this is a very difficult list to break into at all. What makes Mashiro's character really spectacular is her range of personalities. On the surface she's a lost tabula rasa type but as her character evolves we see a certain world-wiseness out of her and most impressively we come to know this delicate emotional side to her that really pushes her character over the top. Mashiro's emotional moments for me were truly unforgettable. I swear I can almost relive these moments in my head to the letter. To play on one of her memorable quotes, Mashiro don’t get out of my head! One final note before I proceed further, I think Mashiro's seiyuu (who you may recognize as Inori from GC) deserves tremendous credit for her performance. Moving along, as we all know a great pairing requires strong characters on both ends. And while by no means the equal of Mashiro, Sorata does a great job as the male lead in Sakurasou. Once again, something that really impressed me about Sorata was his range. He’s your average joe type and while having to deal with all the chaos at Sakurasou he transforms into an extremely caring and loyal personality with the tendency to have very strong emotional reactions. Some of Sorata’s more emotional moments are made really heavy by all the burdens and misfortunes that befall him. You can’t help but feel bad for the guy and you keep wanting him to succeed. The other character that I’m required to make note of here is Nanami. She’s the default childhood friend character that’s always secretly liked Sorata. Only one thing, she’s actually not a terrible character! Nanami actually adds some really nice plot depth and some more great emotional moments in this very emotional series. And this is a great compliment, the worry you always have with these childhood friend types is whether they’ll detract from the main pairing. But Nanami doesn’t do that at all, in fact she even supports Sorata and Mashiro’s budding relationship. Also I love when Nanami gets flustered and goes into that slang dialect. So thumbs up on Nanami as a strong supporting character. I won’t get exhaustive with the other characters, I’ll just mention the side pairings (I did say there was more than one romance). The Misaki x Jin pairing is so cute and adds significantly to the depth and likability of the series. Then there’s the hilariously mismatched Akasaka x Rita pairing which is all in good fun. Though Akasaka is kind of an ass through the majority of the series. But I digress. I won’t go into the story since you can just read the plot description. Let’s see, the music’s not too great but it doesn’t detract from the series. Animation is good but nothing particularly amazing. So yeah, general mention of the ending. Most of the time when you hear people say “I hope there’s a 2nd season” it’s just baseless fanboy talk. But the last ep of Sakurasou certainly seemed like a setup for a 2nd season or some other form of significant additional content. That’s not to say the ending’s bad or that it’s not definitive, but I think there’s more to come from this series (eventually). And I know, it is a rarity in a 24 ep series but in way it’s a further compliment to the series that you want to see more. Oh, can’t forget the obligatory rage dump. FUCK YOU YOU FUCKING CAT! lol. Anyway, overall Sakurasou I think is a special series and a great watch. It's not a true elite series as it doesn't bring that level of consistency with each and every ep. And the shying away from the rom content towards the end does detract some. Frankly my personal enjoyment of this series outweighs the rating I'll give because the best moments are at such a high level. And so putting my critic's hat on, I still give Sakurasou a very respectable 8 out of 10. I've been contending a bit with the lack of completeness, but the quality of the character interactions way overshadow any of that talk. Absolute watch for those of you who like roms and fun-but-emotional SoLs like me.