Barely Filled Desire
Series in a Sentence
Three boys (Kazuki, Toi, and Enta) must combat “Kappa Zombies” by themselves becoming Kappa in order to end the weird happenings of their town and figure out how to connect with those around them.
What I liked
As I stated in my spoiler-free review, I loved the quality behind this series. Animation quality in the “sarazanmai” scenes, shirikodama extractions, and desire dances stand out as extremely fluid and amongst the highest quality of all shows this season. Likewise, each permutation of the “sarazanmai” filler song was catchy and stood up to the great opening and an ending that was my favorite ending song of the season. Character-wise, the story arcs of Kazuki, Toi, and Enta were all unique enough to stand out in the show and were written well enough to highlight the issues of self-hate, familial loyalty, sexuality, and criminal activity presented. Toi’s struggles with moving beyond his brother and his past, in particular, caught my attention (though Enta’s overarching story arc of struggling to express his sexuality facilitated some truly funny and sad moments). Perhaps my favorite part of the series, though, was how focused it remained on the main cast. Yes, there were villains of the day, but no villain or side character felt like a distraction. What I’m trying to say here is that the show knows which characters count, knows which characters have enough development potential, and does well to focus on them. The ending, in which we saw a look into the future rather than the past for once, really hammered that home.
What I Didn’t Like
Unfortunately, Sarazanmai knows where its budget generally went and really wants to show people that. By this I mean that there are a lot of repeated scenes. I loved the quality behind the scenes I mentioned in the preceding section but I didn’t love having to sit through them over and over again. While the repetition made the end-of-the-show mix-ups to these scenes enjoyable, repeated scenes can never feel like anything but a slog after a while. This was especially apparent considering that each episode had the same general structure and the same general pacing issues. I knew would get an early flashback, I knew I would get an enemy transformation scene, I knew I would get a “sarazanmai” sequence, etc. but in the show’s attempts to mix this up pacing suffered. Scenes were commonly left out or skipped in order to show later for shock value and this was apparent from episode one. A stylistic choice? Yes. Confusing? Of course. Also, I feel as though I would be remiss to leave out how NSFW some scenes are. They serve a purpose, sure, but also feel like a bit too much after seeing them multiple times over. Again, it’s not really an issue because of the purpose but I can’t lie and say that they didn’t wear on me after a while.
While not a must-watch show (as I said in my spoiler-free review) Sarazanmai honestly surprised me. Themes were deep, well explored, and varied, the main cast had ample opportunity to shine, and the main plot had good focus. However, while the show was focused on what it wanted to show, the way that things were presented felt muddled and confused at times. Coupled with not safe for work imagery and some important scenes being relegated to post-credit status, the entire packaged ended up feeling a little scattered despite its predictability. Nevertheless, Sarazanmai’s overall story and themes were enjoyable and will find an audience; it just isn’t for everyone. Desires can sever connections but tossing them aside for honest relationships is never out of the picture.