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Sasami-san@Ganbarnai attempts to have the same visual and storytelling styles as Shaft's popular Bakemonogatari franchise in its focus on the Yagami sisters trying to retain control of the powers of Sasami Tsukuyomi, who is descended from a line of powerful priestesses with the power to call upon the power of the gods. While having its creative moments milking Japanese folklore for a number of its story elements and some nods to anime, the series does have a tough time at many points trying to sort out whether it wants to be a serious drama delving into Sasami and the Yagami sisters' conflicts with supernatural threats or comedy coming from the over-the-top quirks of the characters, the latter of which is mostly hit-and-miss with effectiveness. The reliance on long conversation scenes to explain series lore that this series uses from the Monogatari franchise at points also isn't so effective here as it did lead to instances where I actually tuned out of following what was happening because of how dragged out they usually got. While I give the series some kudos for trying to be creative with its storytelling and humor, it lacks a good balance to strike between the two to be a cohesive package as well as much of the Monogatari franchise is known to be.
Last updated Tuesday, February 05 2019. Created Tuesday, February 05 2019.
(Ten episodes watched):|
An odd show. Sasami seems to be a shut-in who insists she can't attend school. Why? Agoraphobia? a 'stumble' incident? It's not clear. But whereas numerous shows of this Winter season haven't come anywhere near grabbing my interest, this one does, with unusual visuals and intriguing characters--except perhaps for Sasami's slavishly adoring brother, who is deliberately kept about as uninteresting as possible. Some shows are just frustrating, but I want to make sense of this one. What I was really hoping for was a sort of frame of reference to allow me to tell what's real and what's imaginary, because some pretty weird stuff happens here without any clean break from the real world (maybe everything is imaginary). But thast wasn't forthcoming and I found my attention wandering during a bizarre battle against chocolate in the second half. If only this had made some sense rather than gotten weirder and weirder! Still, this is clearly an unusual show with a lot of effort and talent put into it, and I'll be watching. It might even be the most interesting new series of the season. I just pray it doesn't drift so far into madness that I get completely frustrated with it.
Well, I'll be damned--that chocolate business wasn't just a psychadelic delusion, no, apparently it really happened, in the real-world. It was possible because Gods themselves are involved somehow, and are using a very unlikely person as their means of expressing themselves. On the one hand, calling Gods into play explains how such a thing could happen, but on the other it opens a big can of worms in that anything can happen from here on, so it will be hard to get a grip on where the story is going. Many shows don't try hard enough to amaze us and be original, while a few try too hard and leave us with scrambled brains looking desperately for something rational to hold on to. I hope this one doesn't go that way. Actually, episode two made more sense to me and was more fun than episode one.
Okay, I think I may finally have a grip on this: The red-haired girl is the real Goddess, her two 'sisters' are sort of demigods that assist her, Sasami is sort of her intermediary between herself and humans, and Sasami's brother has no real powers at all--he's just Sasami's prearranged husband, to keep the powers concentrated in the family. One problem with all this bizarrity is that it makes it hard to tell what's funny and what's not. If things are humorous when they make sense in an unexpected way (as I like to think), then you need to know what is to be expected and what isn't, and that's hard in a strange show like this. Who knows what Gods and demigods can and can't do? Still, this has got to be the most inventive and original series of the Winter 2013 season, and I intend to watch all of it.
I had little trouble enjoying episode four, fortunately. Sasami finds that the Goddess' minions have been shadowing her, cam-cording all sorts of embarassing things she has done. But why doesn't she remember going to these places and doing these things? Each episode seems to take a fairly different approach to working laughs out of the strange premise. This seems like a good idea, since it keeps things original and helps my memory keep track of what has happened in an organized manner rather than being totally confused as I had feared might happen at the start.
I thought that episode five was by far the best one yet. It involved Sasami, who has always lived a reclusive life as a semi-divine Miko, looking for a friend and starting off with Kagami, who is basically a robot. It was touching and made perfect sense--again, something which I had feared episodes of this odd series might not do. The thought occured to me that this series reminds me of MOHS--both include a seemingly ordinary girl who is actually a Goddess or something like that.
Episode six was completely different. Sasami's long departed mother is back from the dead, and doesn't take kindly to Sasami neglecting her supernatural duties. But the episode seemed scary and confused--does mother regret being too harsh on Sasami, or is she angry that Sasami isn't doing a good enough job? And when we have no idea of what the various deities and semi-deities are capable of, a fight is confusing as well. This tale was a two-parter, whereas most episodes tell stories which are more-or-less self contained. In part two things work out OK, but in the end I can't help wondering what message (if any) the show was trying to send to me. More episodes like number five, please.
Episode eight didn't particularly thrill me either. I feel that this show is getting too wound up in supernatural mumbo jumbo instead of having fun with the interesting characters and strange premise. It seems like it is trying to be a dramatic story about the conflicts between Sasami and her allies and her mother and others. But I would much rather the show played around with the inherrent conflicts involved in being both a semi-divine priestess and a hikkimori. Come to think of it, has the show even explained why Sasami is so reclusive? It just goes to show how little attention is being paid to that side of the story. This show isn't quite as novel and adventurous as it had first seemed. Still, a little novelty is better than none at all.
Episode ten was more like number five, that is, more humorous. But Tsurugi's tendency to fondle girls' breasts seemed like a very cheap shot that seriously demeaned this show. And there was nothing really touching about this episode; the basic problem was far too risqué for that to happen. So, eh. I can't remember whether I watched the last two episodes. What I do remember is that this struck me as a show with a novel premise which unfortunately was also confusing and frustrating. It seemed like a slog to struggle through an episode, which might be why no reviews of episodes 11 and 12 are present here.
Last updated Wednesday, February 06 2019. Created Wednesday, January 16 2013.