Yuri Anime: Sasamekikoto (English)

October 23rd, 2009

What an amazing year. Not only have we had a ton of Yuri in anime in general, we had the delightful and lovely Aoi Hana and now…unbelievably, in English, for free, legally streamed to our computers, the Yuri comedy-drama Sasamekikoto. It’s like a dream state. ^_^

In short, Sasamekikoto, the “thing that is whispered,” is a story about Murasame Sumika who is in love with her best friend, Kazama Ushio. It’s a hopeless love because, despite the fact that Ushio loudly proclaims that she likes girls, she only likes cute, petite girls. Tall, athletic, hypercompetent Sumi just isn’t cute and frilly, the way Ushio likes them. May I just editorialize for a moment and say Ushio’s an *idiot.* Sumi is perfect.

The first few episodes start off on a dour note, with Sumika pining away for an oblivious Ushio, who appears to fall for a new girl each week. The first few episodes follow the manga pretty closely, so I don’t expect too much change as the story goes on.

Sasamekikoto is surprisingly richly animated, well voiced by a mostly-new cast and is an interesting take on a variety of Yuri tropes. Best friend, one-sided love, cross-dressing, and more to come. (For all full breakdown of all the tropes, check out my review of Volume 2 of the manga.) Although the story is decidedly melodramatic, it has pretty steep ups and downs of comedy and drama to manage, which it does pretty well.

The only real negative I can muster for Sasamekikoto is that I suddenly realized – I don’t like Ushio. Yet. Sumi beating the crap out of the bag in karate made me realize that I really *like* Sumi and want to slap Ushio. It’s a sign of a good story that I’m feeling anything at all about any of the characters, so bravo for the anime producers.

And bravo for Crunchyroll, who continue to invest in Yuri! They’ve told me that they have a genuine interest in building up the Yaoi and Yuri audiences, and I’m very excited to see that they are putting their money where their mouth is. Now we, the Yuri-viewing audience, needs to do the same.

I know, I know, the licensing doesn’t cover huge swatches of the planet. Trust me – if they could get those covered, they would. But for those of us in the US and Oceania – here it is, Yuri. For Free. In English. One hour after it airs in Japan. Support this please, because the better their numbers are – the more they will get. It’s really *that* simple.

For the price of a sandwich a month, you get good Yuri like Sasamekikoto and Aoi Hana and really stupid Yuri like Koihime Musou and not Yuri, but really, like it needs to be any more weird than it is, like Book of Bantorra. (What? You’re not watching it? Oh, you should be…it’s absolutely dreadful. Laughably, hilariously so. And Paku Romi as Hamutz Meseta. There are no other reasons needed to watch this.)

Watch Sasamekikoto and collect the whole set of Yuri Tropes!

Ratings:

Art – 8, with a few obvious cost-saving measures
Story – 7
Characters – 7, but they will get better
Yuri – 8
Service – 2

Overall – 7.5

Teenaged girls with wildly roller-coastering emotions? Ridiculous.

Joshibu ahoy!

I like Tomoe and Miyako best, if anyone cares.

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11 Responses

  1. BruceMcF says:

    For some reason my favorite of the Fall Season is Letter Bee (even if anime set in class-division SF worlds are so “been there done that”, an anime with lines like this … what can you say?) …

    … Sasemekikoto is a wonderfully silly romp.

    And I don’t know if I am going to finish 11 Eyes, but Book of Bantorra is just to weird not to watch.

    Definitely worth just a buck over the savings of cutting back from 3 at a time to 2 at a time Netflix.

    Am I correct in assuming they do separate watchcounts of regular and subscribing members watching each series they carry?

    As an aside, on the sample of stream sources from the bootleg stream site that came up on twitter last week, Rupert Murdoch’s Myspace seems to be the most important source of free streams undermining the marketincluding, of course, Hulu, which Murdoch has a big piece of.

    He’s not just a Pirate, he’s a Stupid Pirate.

    Of course, once my free trial expires and I start paying for my super deluxe primo Crunchyroll membership (you even get to pick the color of your star), I’ll be an unsecured creditor – at an amount peaking at $6.99 and declining steadily toward $0 until the same day the next month – maybe I should start issuing C&D letters to Fox to protect my financial stake in Crunchyroll.

  2. Robert Kelly says:

    Of course, thanks to Crunchyroll’s wonky licensing practices, however, it turns out that Sasamekikoto is one of the few anime that us British are barred from seeing. Unlike Shin Koihime Musou, Book of Bantorra or Charger Girl.

    Thanks, Crunchyroll.

  3. @Robert Kelly – You’ve missed the point. They would license it IF THEY COULD. CR is not the bad guy.

  4. darkchibi07 says:

    At the rate the anime is adapting from the manga which is pretty much 1 manga chapter per episode, they’ll certainly have enough material for a season 2. Hopefully this will get solid DVD sales to justify it.

    On another note, I was rather surprised that Zac from ANN was the first one who posted his positive first impressions on the first episode ont that Fall Preview Guide. Unfortunately, according to today’s podcast, the appearance of that trap Masaki killed it.

  5. Its funny you should mention disliking Ushio, because in watching the show I’ve realized I’m not really fond of the thing because of Ushio. She’s so stupid and flighty. Its a really bad sign when I’m pulling for the guy in a Yuri show… at least Akemiya recognizes how awesome Sumi is.

  6. Cryssoberyl says:

    Agreed about Ushio, and to be honest, Sasameki Koto has always had an unpleasant flavor to me because of her.

    I mean, I get it. She’s a teenager, childish and self-absorbed, and we are here to witness her VERY gradual shift away from that.

    I approve, but let’s hurry up and get to it, because chapter after chapter of her shredding Sumi emotionally – first with obliviousness, then later with cowardice – is wearing on me.

  7. Zefiris says:

    I know, I know, the licensing doesn’t cover huge swatches of the planet.

    If it’d cover my area (which, so far, it never did with any Yuri anime worth the time) I’d support them in a heartbeat. Alas, can’t have it all, and I realize it’s not their fault.

    It’s still sad, and it’s still legitimate to point it out since people [not you] have already started harping against people who, oh my, don’t support Crunchyroll.

    Some of us can’t. The Yuri fandom isn’t only an US-American one. Sadly, most people don’t realize that.

  8. Ash says:

    Sasamekikoto is fun, but the producer of many a forehead slap during the course of each episode. Sumi truly is the most awesome of its characters.

    It’s fantastic to know I’m not the only one watching (and enjoying) Book of Bantorra, for all its crazy strangeness.

  9. shanejayell says:

    It’s funny that Ushio becomes much more sympathetic about 15 chapters in. I rather like her NOW but it took a long time to happen.
    *lol*

    LOVING the anime.

  10. Anonymous says:

    It’s not Crunchyroll’s fault that no European company started doing what they do. Of course that doesn’t change anything for me since I’m in Europe.

    Obviously I would also support them if I could and can only hope that someone here has the same idea or wait until Crunchyroll expands to Europe because they are that successful ^^

  11. BruceMcF says:

    It’s still sad, and it’s still legitimate to point it out since people [not you] have already started harping against people who, oh my, don’t support Crunchyroll.

    Of course they have – since we are all people, and people are idiots at times, projecting from our situation to those we come in contact with (but it also reinforces what spoiled brats many of the US based pseudo-fans are in leaching from bootleg media when they have such a broad variety of legit streams of new series available compared to other countries).

    Crunchyroll licenses what is available for streaming license in the US, and then tries to obtain the regionally broadest license available. Whatever “wonkiness” comes out of that is due to the patchwork quilt of rights, as people stitching together a variety of broadcast and DVD release deals at various levels and at various times have streaming rights included, either deliberately or due to national copyright laws.

    Which suggests that it depends on the detailed “lay of the land” in that patchwork quilt whether there are opportunities for a “Crunchyroll/Europe” (of whatever name) to license some titles that are not available for US streaming license but are available to be licensed for European streaming. It will still have much the same patchwork quilt of nation-by-nation rights to step through – simply would start from a different point.

    That “CR/EU” would also be in a position to accept community contributed subs to provide subtitles in a broad range of European languages – if the creators contribute just the subtitle under, say, a Creative Commons license, and the streaming site has the right to stream the media being subtitled, the conventional copyright problem with fansubs stops being a copyright problem.

    In order to avoid further balkanizing the market, it would probably be best to focus on obtaining rights to those titles that are not available in the US but are available in some or all European nations. Where Crunchyroll has the rights, it would make the most sense to work out some kind of subfranchise with Crunchyroll for those rights that CR has, and try to work with the other rights holders for those countries where someone else has prior rights.

    The big part would be finding some very popular title that has streaming rights that are broadly available in Europe but not in the US, and then try to build from there. I haven’t the vaguest whether any such title exists.

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