I’m forsaking my usual review strucure for this blog post, but here we go. Oh, and there are no spoilers for Sarazanmai episode 4, and only one spoiling comment on episode 3, written here.
Episode 3: I Want to Connect, But It’s not Meant to Be
In my post about Sarazanmai episodes 1 and 2, I felt like I had to write out what had happened in order to make sure I understood everything, but by episode 3, everything is pretty formulaic and easy to understand if you’re paying attention. The fabulous cops Niiboshi and Akutsu are creating zombie-kappas that cause mayhem in the city. Keppi stops them by sending in the three kappa boys to extract the shirikodama, or desire, from the zombie-kappa. With the power from eating the shirikodama, Keppi turns the boys human again and gives them a magic dish.
I expected, as usual, for episode 3 to have some kind of powerful or intriguing plot device to hook the audience. However, there was nothing like that. The third episode was pretty much exactly the same as the last two, following the pattern of learning about the next zombie, turning into kappas, having one’s secret revealed, and extracing the shirikodama of the zombie. It was a silver dish this time and not a wish-granting gold one. The only thing different this episode was that the character with the secret was Enta Jinnai instead of Kazuki.
We got to know Enta better, but that’s about it for character development. Also with regards to Enta, he never told Kazuki that he’s in love with him, which was slightly irritating, not because I think they’d necessarily work out as a couple, but because now it’s going to be like one of those school rom-coms where the character spends the whole show with their crush but never confesses their love. It’s episode 3 and we still don’t know anything about those cops. There was one reveal concerning Haruka, interesting because it influences the character of Kazuki.
The art and sound for Sarazanmai episode 3 wasn’t as striking as last time, because there was a lot of repeated footage. Then again, there was also a lot of that in Revolutionary Girl Utena and Mawaru Penguindrum, so that’s not necessarily a sign of a poor anime. The songs of the kappas are just slightly different each time, but I can’t tell if that’s true for the song the cops perform. (I wasn’t paying as much attention I guess.) The voice-acting is great, though. I like all the seiyuu and the way they portray their characters. Though, I like Uchiyama Kouki (Kuji) and Murase Ayumu (Kazuki) better than Horie Shun (Enta), in terms of general performance. As a character, I like Enta quite a lot.)
Enjoyment was not so high for me this time, I guess because episode 3 was so predictable, and the Kisu/ Kiss puns stopped being funny after the first few minutes. 😛
Episode 4: I Want to Connect, but You’re so Far Away
If you think about the story given that it’s only going to have 11 episodes, the pacing isn’t so great. That, or else this is simply a very episodic or formulaic series. By episode 4, I expected to see some key points of the over-arching plot, like why the cops are creating kappa zombies and who they’re working for, or how the boys’ friendship will be tested when there’s real danger or drama, or more about Haruka. There’s very little of any of that in Sarazanmai episode 4. Kazuki did say something at the end about the third item; about the second, maybe their test is coming up. Things are bound to change after the reveal of Kuji’s secret.
As with ep 3 being about Enta, the only character development in ep 4 was for Kuji, the one who had a secret to protect and a reason to fight the zombie kappa. I guess you could say there was a tiny bit of insight into the other boys, too, based on their reactions to Kuji.
The art is enjoyable but not excellent when I compare it to shows like Bungo Stray Dogs, One Punch Man, or Carole and Tuesday. One small thing I noticed was that cheap backgrounds are used sometimes. Though there is repeated footage, the scene of the kappas fighting the zombie was slightly more creative this time, inserting a few new shots. In general, I love the style of the animation and characters. As for auditory elements, it’s pretty much the same as it was last episode, which is pretty great. I like the cast, with Mamoru Miyano as Reo Niiboshi and Ayumu Murase as Kazuki. I meant to note this last episode, but Haruka is voiced by Kugimiya Rei. (Look her up if you don’t know.) The songs are all good and/or catchy, from the fun theme song of the kappas to the beauitful ED and the upbeat opening song, “Massara” by Kana-Boon.
Compared to episode 3, my enjoyment of this episode was higher. I like Kuji and it was exciting to learn more about his past and his motivations. Also, it was hilarious when he sang as a kappa.
Scoring the show so far: 7.4/10 Good
Let’s see. For episodes 3 and 4, I think these would be my ratings. Story: 7/10. Art: 7/10. Sound: 8/10. Characters: 8/10. Enjoyment: 7/10. I come up with an overall score, so far, of 7.4/10. That’s a bit lower than my score for the first 2 episodes, which was 7.6/10. It’s still a good rating, though. I’ll definitely keep watching Sarazanmai.