Hello, you handsome gents and lovely ladies. I had several ideas of what kinds of things to post on the weekend. Manga chapter reviews was one, constructive lists of ways that anime, both good and bad, could have been better was another, editorials on various topics was another and then there was this idea. An in-depth look at the bad episodes in otherwise good series.
I’m going to try all of them at different points, maybe I’ll switch what I do based on my mood or maybe one of them will stand out and I’ll end up doing it every Saturday on a consistent basis. We’ll see.
I originally posted my Sasameki Koto review back in late January of 2013 as my last review for yuri anime month. It was transferred over to WordPress in early January of this year. Overall, I praised it for doing a lot of things really well and being generally enjoyable. However, there was one episode I pointed to as the big negative of the series, episode seven. So, what exactly is wrong with this particular episode?
We open with Akemiya posing for and then wrestling with his little sister in a really disturbing and highly suspect scene. This is supposed to be a comedy, People. We switch to the next morning with Sumika receiving a letter of challenge at school. Since Sasameki Koto isn’t an action-oriented show where that sort of thing leads to an action sequences, she has the good sense to throw it away. This is when Manaka, Akemiya’s little sister pops up and demands that Sumika answer her challenge. Sumika points out the ridiculousness of it. Akemiya shows up and drags his sister outside.
This is where the episode swiftly goes from kind of meh into its downward spiral. Sumika follows to find out just what’s going on and Manak demands that she go on a date with Akemiya. Saying that even she has trouble resisting him and they’re siblings. Again, this is played up as being funny. She threatens to spread embarrassing pictures of her brother if Sumika doesn’t comply. Akemiya manages to reign her in a bit and she starts crying, which makes Sumika feel sorry for her, for no adequately explained reason, and she agrees to go on one date with him.
Akemiya shows up dressed as a girl, since he knows that Sumika likes girls. Unbeknownst to them, Manaka is following them around while smiling creepily and she gets a nose bleed while thinking of her brother. Once again, I have to remind you all that this is played up for laughs. We get a brief scene of Kazama trying to call Sumika, and then going to her house to find her, while they’re in the theatre and Sumika’s phone is off. Don’t worry, Kazama won’t be in this episode much. She’s only one of the lead characters why would we want to see her when we could watch the little girl who is insanely creepy when it comes to her brother?
Sumika and Akemiya head to a maid cafe where Manaka disguises as a maid and tries to drug them with a love potion. that she bought off of the Internet. Okay, that could have actually been a funny scene given the absurdity of it if it had been executed better. Either way, she gets thrown out because she obviously isn’t old enough to work there. The two go clothes shopping and end up in the same changing room. It’s supposed to be funny because it’s awkward, I guess.
Manaka notices that Suimika has no eyes for her brother and calls in her secret weapon, three bespectacled, sweaty fat guys with cameras. Apparently she promised them an action shot of a current elementary school student, probably herself. The three corner Sumika and she uses her karate, which only makes them happy. Akemiya lures them away from her and reveals that he’s actually a guy, hoping that it will convince them to go away. But the three are still interested and close in, possibly to sexually assault him. He runs away while Manaka and Sumika watch awkwardly. We cut to night and Akemiya tells Manaka to never do something like that again. The episode finally wraps up with Sumika realising she missed calls from Kazama and hurriedly calling her back.
So, why is this episode so horrendous? Let’s start with the attempts at humour. Most of them are just really disgusting and have horrible implications that will never be explored or mentioned again. Add that to the ultimate pointlessness of the whole thing. Nothing that happens in the episode influences anything else in the series. It’s also hurt by the fact that Sumika’s motivation to go along with this is really weak and it really infuriates me that Manaka, creepy little brat that she is, doesn’t see any real consequences for any of the horrible things she does over the course of the episode. She almost gets her brother assaulted and all she gets is told “don’t do it again.” We also have a real problem with tone in this episode. It really doesn’t mesh well with the rest of the series.
I still recommend Sasameki Koto as a whole, but I would advise against watching episode seven. It’s unpleasant and does nothing.