Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: October 6th, 2015
Retail Price: $59.98
The anime series Sasami-san@Ganbaranai is based on a series of light novels beginning back in 2009. Sasami-san@Ganbaranai begins by introducing us to a teenage girl named Sasami Tsukuyomi who lives at home with her older brother named Kamiomi. When we first meet Sasami, she encompasses the attributes of a full-blown otaku. She remains in her room with dim lights, gaming, web browsing, and watching TV (or her “evening anime”). Sasami doesn’t like to do things for herself and depends on her brother to do almost everything she should be doing. What makes the situation slightly more bizarre is his face is initially covered…entirely. With his scenes he hides behind a briefcase, bucket, or anything randomly needed to keep his face a mystery. In the first episode, you are trying to piece together what is happening when the world begins to turn into chocolate (it’s Valentines Day) and how certain characters are so accustomed to the random events.
What you later realize is that in this world, everything carries a divine connection, and Sasami was once a god, or a being who carried the abilities of a god. She explains that this was transferred from her to her brother in recent years, but he is actually completely unaware of his capabilities. As a god, whatever his desires may be actually come into fruition which explains the first episode in fuller context, and creates other stoylines in the 12 episode series. Sasami takes full advantage of her brothers supposed position of power, and even notes that with is main goal being to make her happy, that she can continue to live a carefree life as long as possible. The relationship between the two is extremely tight knit siblings, with oddly used Japanese humor that can be confusing during moments. You eventually learn that there is more to the higher being position, and a lot of responsibility falls on Sasami. Whether or not she uses it justly is up for debate.
In addition to the two god-powered siblings, there are another three characters that share a bloodline and importance to the ongoing plot. Three sisters named Tsurugi, Kagami, and Tama Yagami, ranging in age from 9 to 31. The personalities and appearances of the Yagami sisters doesn’t always match up, with the youngest having an older body, and the older sibling appearing to be a child. Each Yagami sister feels like an original character, with each offering their own stories and quirky behavior. The siblings’ real focus in Sasami-san@Ganbaranai is to maintain the world’s stability after the accidental havoc that can be sparked by Kamiomi. In the climactic arcs their friendship with Sasami strengthens, and they find themselves in dangerous situations because of their dedication. They often provide much needed laughter in the random humor of the anime (by the end I really like them), but the MVP of the series is definitely Sasami. Her relatable otaku qualities are all too real for certain anime fans and her strength yet lack of motivation is something that feels like a successful inclusion to the series.
While a major portion of the series is geared towards finding situational comedy, things begin to take a more serious twist when Sasami’s mother appears and you struggle to label her as helpful or problematic. The relationship with mother and daughter quickly takes center stage and in the beginning you can’t help but feel a negative outcome is building – but in an unexpected turn of events, they begin to seemingly iron out their issues. Sasami noticeably experiences a good deal of growing up by the series end and facing situations she has avoided, but she never strays too far from her original roots. The series does have interesting plot elements like the right and responsibility attached to power and the loyalty people can inspire, but sometimes falls short because of the random oddly suggestive scenes between particular characters. In the end, Sasami-san@Ganbaranai uses unique art and color schemes with interesting ideas, but finding a consistent direction seemed to leave room for improvement. On an artistic scale, the anime series is like no other and creates some of the most visually appealing sequences in anime. Overall, there are pros and cons to Sasami-san@Ganbaranai, but you can check out the vibrant and unique series out for yourself on DVD and Blu-Ray to find out!
Overall Score: 7/10
Aedan’s Final Thoughts:
-The spectacular art has your eyes wandering the screen to soak in every detailed expression and splotch of color.
-The relationship between Sasami and Kamiomi starts out…peculiar, and ends up even more peculiar on his part.
-The Yagami sisters really grew on me before the ending of the anime with better time to explore their differences.
-The ending really left me confused, and I couldn’t come around to accepting Jou as well as the others had, their ending feels like an ominous lead to an ongoing manga extension.