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|Overall||Art||Animation||Character Design||Music||Series Story||Episode Story||Reviewer|
I'm not too big on older anime, but I thought this might be interesting.... but......|
Art, Animation and Character Designs
The art and animation was.... old school. Then again, considering the date of its release ('97), I can't knock it down. So based on it's time period, It doesn't look bad at all. Animation is average. The character designs were not my fav.... but it was bearable.
The OP wasn't too bad. It was a soft, alternative piece. It was pleasant to the ears considering the usual high-strung, high-pitched pop tracks found in many other anime. The ED was a country-ish piece that was sorta catchy.
Series and Episode Story
I had a problem with this story right off the bat. It started off ecchi... which wasn't the problem. The problem was, I had a hard time believing that old "cousins" who hadn't seen each other in years, would "reunite" using such a method as portrayed in the first few minutes of the first episode. After the initial issue, the rest of the story wasn't bad. As for plot, it was pretty flat and as AstroNerdBoy said below, it tried to keep you interested by introducing a lot of unwarranted ecchi moments. However, it wasn't a total loss. It had a few laughable moments (even if it was all for the wrong reasons), and I did grow to like Urara... sorta cute after a while.
Overall, it wasn't that great but lightly enjoyable. Oh by the way, I had the horrible luck of watching this dubbed. For the life of me, I couldn't get the subs working.... which is my preferred choice. And my god! Those dubs were soooo horrible and every name was horribly mis-pronounced... not that I even know Japanese. But I do know enough to not butcher it! So, avoid the dubbed version if you can! You'll thank me later.
Last updated Thursday, February 26 2009. Created Thursday, February 26 2009.
|Unevaluated 4||Devil Doll||[series:55#752]|
I tried to watch this anime but the first two episodes disappointed me so much that I aborted the project. Maybe I'll revive it if I have nothing else to do but so far I wouldn't bet on it.
Last updated Saturday, April 01 2006. Created Saturday, April 01 2006.
I rather enjoy anime romantic-comedies (Maison Ikkoku, Ai Yori Aoshi). I rather enjoy seeing the happless rounin tyring to pass the entrance exams while dealing with love issues (Love Hina, Chobits). Sadly, this title falls far short of the marks set by other titles in the genre.
The first problem here are the characters. Tounma's character doesn't have the likability of a Keitaro, Tenchi, Keiichi, or the like. Urara's entrance as a high school call girl doesn't make her a likable character. It makes her a simple sex object and nothing more. Further, she's Tounma's 1st-cousin and her obsession over a meeting when they were children doesn't work here. Meiko-san, as the rich ojousama who uses Tounma a few times for her own purpose, also doesn't come off as likeable -- more like a rich girl who is nice, but not someone you'd want to fall in love with.
The writers desperately try to follow formulas of successful romantic comedy series but continue to fail. So it wasn't funny nor fun to see Tounma lying to Meiko-san about his getting accepted to the same university as her. We already know where this will end up which leaves us with the ride there. However, the ride there was just as boring. We also know where the ride with Tounma and Urara will go too. So as a romantic-triangle, it doesn't work. In fact none of the so-called romance in this anime works. No ammount of forcing on the part of the writers can make it work as it was laid out.
Could this have worked in the hands of a non-hentai creator like U-Jin? Maybe. Certainly there are realistic elements of unrequited love and lust which in the hands of a better writer (not intent on ecchi content) could have been sculpted into a more interesting story. However, that did not happen.
The ecchi content here is annoying. I tollerate a lot of ecchi content if the story and characters are likable (Ai Yori Aoshi) but we don't have that here. So now we are left with are desperate attempts to keep your interest with fanservice and other ecchi content. Sorry, but if that's all you have for sale, you don't have anything.
Additional: I took some time to track down some of the original manga. No wonder this doesn't work -- the original manga has even greater ecchi content and becomes hentai at times with a lot more going on that just the Tounma-Urara-Meiko triangle. While there is the "romance," everything is much more sexually situated and Urara's actions in the anime (naked apron, call girl) are thus explained better. It might work as a hentai title with a story, but it doesn't work as a romantic comedy or a romance story, which this anime tries to make it.Bottom line: It is no wonder ADV is hurting financially when they license stuff like this. Ecchi content and a marketing scheme to try to sucker fools into buying something for erotic content may work initially, but it will burn you in the end. Thus ADV is burned and rather than have you suffer in the fire, watch one of the other titles I reference in this review instead.
Last updated Sunday, April 09 2006. Created Saturday, April 01 2006.
Every now and then I see a page here at Mikomi dedicated to a show I enjoyed, and which got fairly good ratings from expert critics, yet seems to be virtually despised by everybody at this website. This, I fear, may have the effect of turning away anime fans who know nothing about the particular show, and are unaware of the positive reviews it got elsewhere. Sakura Diaries is one of these shows. It has gotten an undeserved reputation as a sort of poor man's (or perverted man's) Maison Ikkoku. And though it certainly doesn't live up to the standards of that classic, I daresay I liked it. Yes, there's plenty of fanservice, which can get on one's nerves since this is a relatively realistic, slice-of-life sort of show, but those who turn to Sakura Diaries for the cheap thrills alone are liable to be disappointed. I think one of the factors which has soured people's opinions of this show is ADV's emphasizing (and exaggerating) the ecchi aspect in their advertising ("In this school, every class is sex education!"), and a general contempt for fanservice here in America, whereas the Japanese take a more relaxed attitude towards sexuality (another show which has suffered unfairly here at Mikomi would be Cutey Honey). But just give Sakura Diaries a chance and I think you may be surprised how well it comes off. If you don't believe me, take a look at these snippets from other anime websites:|
"Sakura Diaries isn't a completely original show, but it does strive to be a few steps ahead of the pack... Most of Sakura Diaries is a perfectly harmless little shounen romance that sports excellent animation and music" --Zac Bertschy, SciFi (Rating: 83%)
"...it manages to be funny, rather racy, and definitely erotic, without being either too silly or too dirty to marginalize itself. More surprisingly, it also ends up being a rather realistic romance and much more emotionally affecting than you'd expect." --Marc Marshall, Akemi's Anime World (Rating: 3.5 stars)
"While I found Sakura Diaries to possess an intrinsic charm, I realise this show is not for everyone... That said, I still think it's worth watching an episode or two, at least to see if Sakura Diaries will hook you the way it hooked me" ---Pete Harcoff, The Anime Critic (rating: 4 stars)
"Man, there's a lot to like about this show... It's really nice to see a title of such good quality that isn't about the typical swords n' guns n' robots fare." --Mike Toole, Anime Jump! (Rating: Dub, B+; Sub, A-)
"Sakura Diaries is a wonderful show... It's also hilarious. There are so many situations and so many great lines that it's hard not to laugh so much with the characters. It has it's serious moments as well, but in the end it produced nothing but smiles from us as we watched it." --Chris Beveridge, Anime on DVD
Within Sakura Diaries there is a well done romantic triangle, more complex and interesting than anything in say, Love Hina, for sure. In fact, the sophisticated plot, with intriguing, well-paced developments that left me eager to see what would happen next, did indeed remind me of Maison Ikkoku. I found all of the characters (except Mashu, that is) to be likeable, even Meiko eventually (I think Komi is my favorite). Some critics find Touma's sometimes selfish, often foolish personality to be intolerable, while I agree with those who find him an all too realistic character which you can't help sympathizing with. This story doesn't categorize characters as good guys and bad guys--instead, they're portrayed as *real people*. I watched the dubbed version, and though I had nothing to compare them to, the voices seemed fairly well performed (some people can't stand Urara's dubbed voice, but I didn't mind it). The more reviews I read, the more convinced I become that what I watched must in fact be a second-rate edition, with a dub that is inferior to the original voice actors, a significantly altered plot, and based on a censored Japanese TV edition to boot. But if I like a show with so many flaws as much as I do in this case, the original must have been damn near superb! Funny thing is, I originally got my tapes largely because they could be gotten cheap. Well, in this case I lucked out. Sakura Diaries is an overlooked gem which hasn't gotten the recognition it deserves. If you're an open-minded person who doesn't expect anime to conform to Western standards of what's right and wrong (why should it?) I recommend you give it a try. Look for the "Collector's Edition", but if the best you can get is the same version as I watched, it will still be worth it. Anyway, for a remarkably thorough analysis of the series, (including the concept of "chiralism") and the reasons why it amounts to more than you'd expect, read the review by Marc Marshall at Akemi's Anime World.
My favorite line: "But don't you see? Touma spent an entire day tortured by his guilt and inadequacies, and it was all because of me!" --Urara (feeling delighted with herself)
Last updated Saturday, March 26 2005. Created Saturday, July 31 2004.
TOTAL GRADE: F 58%|
Yet another boy(s) meets girl(s) anime where everyone is in love with everyone else but somehow, amidst the confusion, you find yourself routing for a couple of them to come together for various reasons. Sounds very formulaic huh? Well SAKURA DAIRIES, for the most part, is.
How is this formulaic, Courtney? Well, allow me to tell you.
First off, its one of those complicated love triangle deals where everyone loves people who arent in love with them and are trying to come up with a way to change that. Thus, complications and schemes develop to try to win the love of their adored. Of course no one said the path of true love runs smoothly, especially in an anime where a girl is madly in love with her cram student cousin whos trying to win over a girl who thinks hes a student at the posh Keio University. On some morbid level, this makes for a somewhat interesting plot, but I was less than thrilled with all the exhibitionist activities of Ururu, her exceptionally perverted true love cousin, and all else, which made me wonder if I had bought porn.
The only thing, in my opinion, that saved SAKURA DIARIES from an avoid rating is they manages to teach this old dog of a genre new tricks through mostly perverse humor, constant lying, and taboo love which helped to take an innocent it was the best of times feel off of this series. For those of you who read or watched MAISON IKKOKU, Rumiko Takahashis romantic serial did everything SAKURA DIARIES did, but with more heart, soul, wit, sincerity, and managed to still be just a little bit naughty without threatening a soft-core porn feel to it.
As far as romantic comedies can go, you can do better.
Romantic comedies you can do better with:
Last updated Saturday, March 30 2002. Created Saturday, March 30 2002.
|Avoid 4||7||7||5||3||3||Mark Clifton||[series:55#126]|
This is what happens to a Hentai Anime when it trys to go by a storyline instead of just sex and nudity... just god awful! |
Of course, part of it was ADV's fault for grabbing the TV friendly version instead of the more risqué home video version. But it's too late now, the damage has been done. And I don't think people are really that sympathetic to a virgin who wants to score with the biggest whore in town; only to be seduced by his own cousin. Yikes!
Last updated Tuesday, January 23 2001. Created Tuesday, January 23 2001.
|Japanese Series Web Site||http://www.5-ace.co.jp/sakura/|