Sansha Sanyou started as a four panel manga series by Cherry Arai. Just this year it received an anime adaptation by Doga Kobo, the same studio behind Yuru Yuri. Yeah, this is a pretty recent one, having ended at the end of June. Is it as strong as Yuru Yuri or is this the first negative review I’ll be doing of something Doga Kobo worked on. Of course, I have only reviewed series of Yuru Yuri from them, so I’m not exactly looking at a long and proud tradition that could be broken here. Either way, let’s take a look.
We open with Nishikawa Youko, a former rich girl who’s ostracised because she still has a rich girl’s sense of comportment in spite of her family having lost its money, is sitting outside for her lunch of bread crusts when two other girls, Odagiri Futaba & Hayama Teru, decide to join her. The three become fast friends and various shenanigans quickly ensue as they go about their daily lives. So, no real story to the whole thing. Let’s move right on to discussing the comedy.
The humour in this series is based heavily around quirky personalities interacting with one another. Like Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka, Azumanga Daioh, Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight or several other slice of life comedies. In Sansha Sanyou, the results are a bit inconsistent. It has some moments that are quite funny. some that are funny the first time but then get repeated basically verbatim twice or thrice. It’s one of those comedies where there are running gags that don’t have much variation in their occurrences. For instance, there’s a jape about an older student who has a one-sided rivalry with Futaba over which of them can compete bulk eating challenges faster and most of his scenes are the same thing repeated. I really shouldn’t be watching a twelve episode series and getting bored by the running jokes. To its credit, there were more moments that I was entertained and amused than moments where I was tired of the running jokes or where the jokes just fall short.
If you’re looking for deep, complex characters, this isn’t the right place. These characters are simple with comedic quirks. For a comedic work, they’re more than adequate. They have decent interactions and their quirks are largely entertaining. Which is pretty important since that’s the crux of the comedy in this series.
The character designs use a pretty typical slice of life style. It looks fine. The background scenes are actually really nicely detailed and there’s a lot of effort put into the various flora. In contrast, the fauna is done in a really simplified un-detailed style. I guess drawing flowers is easy, but drawing kittens is hard. Although, to be fair, they’re probably cuter as the semi-amorphous blobs we get in this series than they would be if they looked incredibly realistic and the realistic look wouldn’t work for animals given the style they use for the human characters.
The actresses in this give good performances. Kanazawa Mai, Wakui Yuu & Imamura Ayaka may all be relatively new to voice acting without many credits to their names, but they all do a good job. The biggest weakness is that Momokawa Rika’s performance is a bit annoyingly over the top. It’s like she’s trying to add a robotic quality to Sonobe’s voice. The music was handled by Mutsuki Shuuhei and it is a really nice soundtrack. It’s fun and has a lot of energy.
there’s a bit. Sonobe seems to be attracted to young ladies, although the series dances around the topic. There’s also a character named Sasame who seems to have an active crush on Youko. Honestly, I really like the dynamic betwixt the two of them. It’s cute. It’s like a more subtle take on the Sakaki/ Kaorin dynamic from Azumanga Daioh.
That’s Sansha Sanyou. Is it the best comedic slice of life work I’ve ever seen? No. But it is entertaining and has a charm to it. If you’re into slice of life comedies you’ll probably have fun watching it. That being said, it also didn’t grab me in the way that some others have. My final rating is going to be a 6/10. It’s a decent watch. On a side note, I’m rapidly approaching my 300th anime review. Next week I’ll look at Ixion Saga DT. Then I’ll take a look at Byston Well Monogatari: Garzey no Tsubasa and then it’ll be time for anime review #300. So, that’ll be fun.