Sasameki Koto

Title:Sasameki Koto
Whispered Words
ささめきこと (Japanese)
Keywords: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - AIC Spirits
Sasameki Koto is the story of Murasame Sumika, an intelligent and athletically gifted girl who just happens to be in love with her best friend, Kazama Ushio. Unable to confess her feelings, Sumika can only stay by her side and watch over her. After all, the biggest obstacle to her love is something that she can't change. It has nothing to do with the fact they're both girls; Sumika just isn't Ushio's type!

Ushio is only into cute girls and Sumika's cool personality just doesn't fit the bill. Much to her friend's dismay, Ushio is always eager to share news about her latest crush. With the duo's knack for attracting trouble, it looks like Sumika's trials have only just begun. (Source: ANN)

13 TV episodes (~24 min), adapting the first 2 of 9 manga volumes (the final one released in 2012).
Image left to right: Aoi Azusa, Torioi Kiyori, Kazama Ushio, Murasame Sumika, Taema Miyako, Hachizuka Tomoe.
Read the translated manga online at MangaFox.
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent 7 8 8 7 8 8 Devil Doll [series:2195#752]
[Score: 77% = "Rent"; recommended shoujo-ai story: Aoi Hana]
A shy shoujo-ai romance (nothing beyond one kiss between girls) providing an equal mix of girly tears and slapstick fun, featuring nice and lovable characters; almost all good episodes (6, 8-11, and 13) are during the second half, with the character relations finally developing due to the use of several catalysts (most notably Azusa the doujinshi author). The manga is much better than the incomplete anime though.
Ushio confirms being a lesbian explicitly from the start and both of her best friends know about it, so don't expect a lot of taboo issues (actually there is one episode dealing with their classmates' acceptance of lesbian couples). The core theme is how long it will take Ushio to become aware of Sumika's crush on her as the large meganekko won't dare to say it by herself given Ushio's tunnel vision on 'cute' girls. So the likely ending is obvious but the characters are interesting enough (Sumi-chan's spin kick out of nowhere in episode 1 was quite something), and the two girls' best friend Kiyori is a nice add-on while actually Tomoe and Miyako, the official lesbian couple of their class, are a lot more important for the story development. Despite attending a co-ed school there are no boys in the mix (except for Akemiya, the one with a very special hobby).

With so many stories of this type my rating depends a lot on whether they manage to tell a story or end up with an unfinished fragment; the manga being ongoing limited my hope a bit but the potential of a "Rent" rating was obviously there, despite mediocre scores for all technical attributes due to boring songs (I skipped both OP/ED and most of the slightly spoilerish episode previews during my first pass) and a lot of SD faces.
  • Episode 1 (0) was interesting enough to make me watch this series to the end.
  • Episode 2 (0) shows that this is a lot more comedy than Aoi Hana, but despite Akemiya acting like a weirdo the character relations work well; at least Sumika has a confidant now.
  • Episode 3 (-) is the weakest one so far, not because of the increased comedy level but because of the embarrassing scenes of lead characters daydreaming and speaking their forbidden thoughts in front of the whole class. With Ushio being so clueless and one-dimensional, Sumika has to carry the load of this story all by herself, and this was not a great episode for her either.
  • Episode 4 (--) is horrible, with more cross-dressing and even blackmailing. Downgrading this series to "Watch+".
  • Episode 5 (0) is slightly better, with good mood amongst the new group of "friends", at the expense of a lot of slapstick.
  • Episode 6 (+) is enjoyable, finally getting the focus back to character interaction instead of lame jokes.
  • Episode 7 (-) is weak again, with Akemiya's perverted sister and a completely weird date; only the few Ushio moments were worth their air time. Until now this show is little more than wasted time. Downgrading this series to "Watch".
  • Episode 8 (+) is the best one so far, coming out of nowhere and triggered by another weirdo classmate Azusa, suddenly giving the relation between Ushio and Sumika a new perspective.
  • Episode 9 (+) is another decent one, with Azusa the doujinshi freak getting carried away in delusions only to face the harsh reality later. A melodramatic turnaround, and Ushio's reaction at the end of this episode is quite telling: Did she get the message already?
  • Episode 10 (++) is full of summer holiday events, funny as well as serious ones, regardless of how unlikely certain events during the book production may have been. This show is running in full steam now, and with the third fine episode in a row and Ushio finally being aware of the core issue I'm upgrading this anime back to "Watch+".
  • Episode 11 (++) is the highlight of this series, with Kiyori playing a crucial role for the first time and Tomoe finally becoming the wise senpai despite her unfortunate interlude as swimmer. And Azusa shines! Upgrading to "Rent-"; now there's just one thing left in this show...
  • Episode 12 (0) is a mere filler (and written for the anime, i. e. not part of the manga), with nice ideas but absolutely no progress, and as such at the wrong place within this series.
  • Episode 13 (+) is a silent but beautiful ending, not the drama powerhouse but with twists and turns and even nice music, and those who are able to read between the lines get what they were waiting for. And this show earned a "Rent" rating from my side during its second half.
Did I write so many episode summaries almost echoing Xenoknight's impressions ever before? I fully agree with him that taking Sumika for granted was the obstacle for Ushio to see how much she actually needed her friend, and Azusa as catalyst did her job quite well. Call that generic if you want... it worked once again.
12 of the 13 episodes of this series are telling the first 12 (of 53) chapters of the manga, thus providing an adaption very close to the original story, just fleshing out each episode with more details and movement (the narration style of the manga-ka is focusing on the important scenes only).
The manga story (which has been completed as of 2011 and become one of my manga favorites) goes way beyond the anime, with an important additional side character (Lotte) in volume 3, the "Girls Club" officially turning into a Girls Karate Club at this stage, many flashbacks to the time when Ushio and Sumi-chan met each other in middle school during volume 4, two kouhais (Koino and Mayu) joining the Karate club and adding more romantic confusion to the show, and more drama and suffering by both lead characters. During the later volumes Ushio turns out to be way more interesting than in the anime. Nearly all issues that Stretch named in his review (Akemiya the crossdresser, the Girls Club, Ushio's brother) are resolved in the manga, with the exception of Azusa's career as writer.

Last updated Saturday, June 15 2013. Created Monday, February 14 2011.
Watch 7 6 7 6 6 6 Ggultra2764 [series:2195#1552]
Sasameki Koto is a yuri rom-com focused on the chemistry between Sumika and Ushio, both schoolgirl lesbians with the former having romantic interest in the latter, who is oblivious to her friend's feelings as she is fixated on wanting to fall in love with cute girls. The decent elements to this series mostly fall on Sumika's character who tries coming to grips at points with the frustration she has over Ushio not realizing her friend's feelings for her and realizing how her feelings toward Ushio usually get in the way of things for her in both comical and serious moments. Some developments involving an underclassmen later in the series help lead to advancement in Sumika and Ushio's relationship as the latter comes to realize the feelings Sumika has for her. Other elements of the series mostly struggled at catching my interest as many moments of comedy fell flat for me, other characters beyond Sumika were flat in personality and had some really jarring moments involving Akemiya's character as a cross-dressing model and the title's resident male doormat. Overall, this was a rather forgettable rom-com for me, even having rewatched it entirely since dropping the series years earlier. Shoujo-ai/ yuri anime fans may be willing to give it a shot, but your mileage may vary with it.

Last updated Sunday, August 31 2014. Created Saturday, October 10 2009.
Rent Stretch [series:2195#628]
(All episodes watched):

Well, episode one of this new GL show didn't blow me away with it's awesomeness, but it seemed interesting and the course which relationships follow made a good deal more sense than had been the case in the previous season with Aoi Hana. Afterwards it was hard to say where things would go from here, but wherever it was I felt confident that it would be fun. Episode two seemed to veer sharply back towards comedy instead of the romantic drama which episode one had led me to expect. The odd plot was amusing even if there didn't seem to be many LOL jokes. This was worth watching, but early on it seemed relatively unexceptional. Would the plot of the series as a whole have any depth to it, or was it just a framework for so-so humor? A couple of attempts were made to "touch" the viewer regarding Kazama and Sumika's relationship, but I was not impressed. Kazama seemed rather shallow what with her attraction to only "cute" girls, regardless of their feelings.

The OP sequence of SK seems mournful and dramatic while the show itself seems more like a silly comedy; a reference to Sumika's unrequited love. Episode four seemed an improvement. It was modestly amusing and the formation of the Girl's Club made me sit up and take notice. I was hoping that the series had finally found a good premise, what with this six-member club containing one girl who isn't a lesbian, and one member who isn't even a girl. It could be hilarious and/or touching; I had my fingers crossed. Episode five was a pleasant surprise. The club members spend some time at Sumika and Kazama's homes, get to know each other better, and end up more like friends and less like rivals. Plus, it was funny. That was nice; maybe this show really had finally hit it's stride.

Episode seven, in which Murasame and the crossdresser Akemiya go on a date, was fun; I like it when shows take a break from the usual premise and gives a supporting character the spotlight for awhile. The jokes weren't killer, but the situations which the two found themselves in were amusing. The goofy, spirited characters were a plus as well. The episode seemed to end abruptly, though. In episode eight, hints abound that Kazama is finally falling in love with Sumika--but why? They've known each other for years, why should Kazama come around at this moment when Sumika cannot express her true feelings at all? I didn't notice any major change of character on either girl's part which would explain this; character development in the series as a whole was slow and stealthy. Still, a fun show which I was enjoying.

However you feel about Yuri, it's hard not to like the girls of SK. They really want nothing more than a close friend to share their time with, and things never get erotic in the least. They never get particularly unrealistic either, if you can accept the guy posing as a girl. In episode nine I couldn't help feeling sorry for Aoi, the shy girl who had jumped to the conclusion that Sumika would help her with her doujinshi (fanzine) project. It really mattered to me whether or not the problem would be resolved without her getting hurt. Personalities must have developed fairly well since the beginning of the series. I wish we had gotten a more clear message from episode ten about whether after all the hard work the doujinshi had been a success or not. The wacky string of unlikely events which almost spoiled the project made me cringe, and not being told how well it was accepted to boot was especially annoying. Was it unpopular, or were the girls just so exhausted that they fell asleep at their booth? The final episode was nice--a subdued story of the loneliness which Sumika and Kazama have come to feel when apart. This is another example of a series which could end satisfactorily here or continue. Although Sumika and Kazama's relationship has progressed, there hasn't been a dramatic confession by one to the other. Lots of minor threads are still dangling--like the crossdresser, the Girl's Club, Kazama's writer brother, and Aoi's career as an amateur writer herself (and maybe feelings for Sumika). At the beginning I had thought that this would be a not spectacular attempt at drama, but it turned out to be mainly comedy with some quality drama as well. Whereas early on it had seemed average and unexceptional, some very likeable characters had subtly developed with the result that I considered knowing what would become of them to be highly important. I'm glad it worked out the way it did.

Last updated Wednesday, January 06 2010. Created Saturday, October 10 2009.
Watch 7 8 7 5 Xenoknight [series:2195#2967]
watching now... 12 eps watched...

Ep 12: An episode unfit for it's place in the series. The Girl's club stumbles upon an interesting mystery and they take it upon themselves to solve it. This ep did nothing in the ways of romance for the lead couple and that is simply unacceptable for the second to last ep. The events themselves were fine (interesting even), but gravely misplaced. It only leaves the last ep with a limited amount of time to justify the season and reward the viewer with a plausible ending. This was not what I wanted to see so late in the series. Disappointing ep...

Ep 11: A pleasure for the eyes as well as a romantic treat for the heart. This ep was great. Simple, yet filled with the inner desires of love. The gang has another chance at relaxation at a water park and Sumi couldn't contain her happiness to finally spend time with Kaza. The other girls posed a slight problem, but the innocence of Kyori was able to fix that (LOL). All that really happened was slow events filled with dialogue and plenty of fan-service in the form of fantasizing. As the ep progressed, the other girls finally came to notice the special bond the lead couple shared. The best realization was Aoi as she understood just how much she was in the way of their happiness! The scene on the train ride home was good insight as to the trials and tribulations the viewer had to endure to arrive at this point. Only two eps left now. Great ep...

Ep 10: A wonderful episode. Sumi and Aoi go hard with trying to finish their fanzine. The whole ep is spent with Sumi thinking about seeing Kaza at the beach in a bikini (^_^) and she rushes to finish the ordeal as quickly as possible. On the other end, Kaza and the girls club go to the beach and things don't go as planned (car crash and transportation issues). Kaza thinks of Sumi while there as well ("Absence makes the heart grow fonder"). As the all-nighter came along, the bookworms notice a miss-spelling and Sumi goes nuts to fix it and reprint it. On the return trip, she trips and avoids a big crash, only to scatter the pages all over the place. After that, Aoi's mother comes in with some drinks and slips on the scattered papers, spilling juice all over the place (LOL). Aoi despairs but Sumi picks up the pieces and they work together to make the best of the situation. At the event, Sumi sees Kaza and she tells her a secret that had her out of commission (LOL). It sees that Kaza's heart has made the official decision we've been waiting for. Being so close to the end of the series, it's not what I would say is very form fitting, but it was a wonderful episode nonetheless. I laughed quite a bit. Wonderful ep...

Ep 9: More double-edged developments for Sumi and the girls. On one hand, we have a terrible episode with a pointless focus on the support character, Aoi (the one who loves yuri stories but claims not to be yuri herself), and her struggle with writing an original novel of her own to share with Sumi. Sumi herself has other things to deal with and doesn't give Aoi the attention she was hoping for. Boring situations result with her spiraling into tears, false hope, and dealing with the hardships of rejection. Sumi notices her mistake in neglecting Aoi and makes things right again. On the other hand, all this attention Sumi is giving to other girls is having a negative effect (positive for the viewer) on Kaza, who is seen constantly alone. This can only make her see Sumi in a different light and confirm the old saying, "you don't know what you have until it's gone." I won't hold my breath for this title, but I do wish for a worthy ending and a good release of all this stored potential that is being withheld with each episode. Double-edged ep...

Ep 8: A somewhat good comeback from the recent disaster. The issue of being a lesbian is a matter for personal discretion, but some people don't think of it in this manner. After a few shocking developments, Sumi is seen on top of another woman (misunderstanding) and is caught by Kaza! For some reason (that will benefit us all), Kaza begins to tear up and can't refrain from crying. This can only mean one thing as both characters, Kaza and Sumi, try to avoid the obvious truth. A unique boundary is set between them, almost as if the male and female roles became official and things that were so easy to say and do before became awkwardly shy moments. The other parts include Kaza's brother having his first fan and another pointless all-girl meeting. Keep your fingers crossed for the story to take the desired direction. Good ep...

Ep 7: ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

With only 5 eps left to make or break this series, they throw with crap at the viewer! What a FU#%ING retarded episode! Akemiya, the cross-dresser, and Sumi go on a date (?) to try to find some manly quality in him and to prove a point to Sumi. His sister practically hosts the date since she plans out their day to the 'T'. The part in the cafe (the only saving grace of the ep) was interesting enough with the sexual/comedic/satisfying intention of that scene being something Sumi will never be allowed to experience, due to her being a female and all ... unless she likes to ... well ... I'll just let your imagination run with that idea. Kaza, on the other hand, wastes the whole day since she wanted to spend it with Sumi (the real episode we were supposed to see for crying out loud). The whole time was spent with uncomfortable moments with Sumi being stuck with the super feminine Akemyia and his/her sexual confusion. The last part with the freaking crazy ↗Stay-puft-looking camera men was so stupid that I turned my chair around, as the ep was still playing, and started to watch normal TV! I haven't done that in quite a while mind you. What a waste of time!!! Terribly fu#%ing stupid ep...

Ep 6: A good episode. Kaza has to contend with the librarian that broke her heart in episode 1. The ep did have some stupid parts with Sumi trying to become more clumsy for Kaza's sake (which had me frowning in frustration), but most of the ep was about Kaza's depression and confusion. Sumi worries more and more about her and her recent issue with the librarian trying to apologize for what she did. The episode slows down with mundane developments as Sumi falls more in love with Kaza. The bath scene was hilarious with Sumi (a girl) having a nose bleed (how’s that for an anime first)! The following scene was also gold material with the two girls talking about Kaza’s problem, only for Sumi to end up saying the unthinkable 3 words in the friend context. I'll just say that Sumi didn’t sleep well that night (LOL). The talk did wonders for Kaza as well it seems. With a new confidence, she is able to address 'certain people' directly now! Perhaps this will speed up her rejection process and make her focus on the people who have been by her side the whole time. I had a plenty of small but sincere laughs with this ep. Good ep...

Ep 5: Yawn..... The girls get together to discuss the future of the girl's club. They go to Kazama's house and we learn more about her and her unique living conditions. The girls basically have a party with trying to cook and getting to know each other better. There are some good interactions between the characters - some funny, some sad, but none were enough to dispel most of the boredom I felt. Somewhat crappy ep...

Ep 4: The most disappointing ep so far. Kazama wants a girlfriend badly and will go to any length to achieve this goal. It's a shame the story has to suffer as a result. They discover the two girls that were kissing originally and get forced into an all girl club(?). Sumi pulls out all the stops to protect Kazama's innocence, only to end up with an even worse scenario altogether. Boooooooooring material overall. Pathetic ep...

Ep 3: This ep sucked. It starts out like ep one and fleshes out the details further. Kazama wants her first kiss and is willing to try anything to have it. She even wishes to practice it with masks on! Sumi is conflicted more than ever with her love not even paying any attention to her. After a huge misunderstanding, Sumi ends up practicing on a very familiar action hero mask from the past (good memories). She has a long way to go in this race we call love. Poor quality ep...

Ep 2: What an interesting ep. The first half is dragged out with Sumi thinking about Kazama more and more. She worries about being 'cute' enough for Kazama's standards while struggling internally with her uncommon stature and powerful physical prowess. Kazama, oblivious to Sumi's troubles, continues her pursuit of cute girls. A young boy tells Sumi what she wanted to hear for so long and gives her hope again (she was drunk with cuteness). After stepping out of her element for a better chance with Kazama, Sumi gets completely OWNED. Things don't go well at all and Sumi even loses out to a boy in attractiveness?! Better luck next time Sumi. Great ep...

First impression: A pleasant episode. It's always reassuring when new anime titles (select few) manage to know how to hook the viewer. We have good character introductions, simple but nice art and animation, and enough hidden clues to spark a fair amount of interest. Sumi and Kazama are the main female leads in this series and both of them have powerful personalities. Sumi is your realist that sees the bigger picture and can get physical when the need presents itself. Kazama is your 'yuri seeking missile' that will actively hunt down cute girls. She tends to get really shy and weak in the knees when confronted by this issue to anyone besides her friends. Sumi is attracted to Kazama (for reasons that escape her) and she knows that she will never even be considered with Kazama's high standards. This is where the clues come into play as the one-sided romance isn't as clear cut as it seems. After the failed yuri element in Aoi Hana, I'll watch this title with great hope for a better experience. 'The heart desires what is forbidden'. Great ep...

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Last updated Friday, December 25 2009. Created Thursday, October 08 2009.

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