Once again it is Guest Review Wednesday and I am so excited to be able to welcome Jennifer L. back to Okazu to give us a final end of season review about Sakura Trick with a decidedly different take on this popular Yuri anime (that can still be streamed at Crunchyroll and Hulu with some regional restrictions.) Take it away Jennifer!
I am delighted to be invited back to Okazu to do a post-season review of Sakura Trick. Jocilyn did a good job of introducing it at the beginning of the season, but now, the twelve-episode run is concluded, and I asked Erica if I could say a few things about it.
Sakura Trick is an open and unabashed Yuri anime. It is all about girls, and their relationships with each other. And yet, I understand completely why Erica declined to watch it. Like Vividred Operation, though to a lesser extent, it suffers from “perverted camera operator” syndrome. There are many almost-upskirts, fig-leafed only by the girls’ own calves. And
there’s a great deal of bouncing boobage under school uniforms.
But… I love this series, anyway. It’s set in the first year of High School, though in many ways, it feels like it should be about junior high school, a time when girls start to become aware of our bodies, and of the desires of the body. When we want that special person to kiss us. And in this category, showing the awakening of love and physical desire, the show excels, while still remaining essentially innocent.
The show centers around Haruka and her best friend, Yu. On their first day of middle school, they cement their status as best friends by kissing in a deserted classroom. At first, it seems that Haruka is the driving force of the kissing hijinks, but as the school year goes on, and episodes roll by, Yu makes it clear that she is in no way being taken advantage of. She’s a partner in the business, and she wants the kisses, and Haruka, as much as Haruka wants her… and that this is more than just a pairing of best friends.
The hijinks, and the plans for the future that the two girls make, are absolutely on the level of junior high school girls. There’s silly “how can I get her to kiss me?” games, and “really, I just want to make with the kisses all the time” games. There are “if you do this for me, I’ll reward you with a kiss!” games. I was not fortunate enough to have that first love experience until college, but all of the games that Yu and Haruka play together ring true to me. The insecurities that they face about their meaning to each other rings true to me as well.
Throughout the entire series, the only aspect of Haruka and Yu’s story that didn’t ring true to me was Yu’s instant acceptance of the idea that she and Haruka were going to get married… and even that is only a mild botheration, and the situation is only an exaggeration of the kind of plans that girls make when we’re young, and in love, and believe that we’re going to be with that special person forever.
And as for the bouncing boobage… well, I remember that from High School, as well. My body suddenly started changing, and for a couple of years, I, too, was constantly noticing the bodies of other young women; I was obsessed with boobies. From that standpoint, I can almost forgive the perverted camera operator.
Art – 5 Nothing outstanding, but better than Dragon Ball Z.
Characters – 8 Each of the girls in the series was someone I wished had been in my Junior High classes.
Story – 6 Stirred up memories for me of my awakening as a romantic being.
Yuri – 10 These are girls in love; it’s made clear that it’s love, not just lust, and that it’s not a passing phase.
Service – 8 A lamentable aspect that will keep many people from watching this fun series.
Overall – 8… 8.5. I loved the story, I loved the characters, I loved the way it made me remember my own first love.
Jennifer Linsky is a nurse in the American South. More of her writing, including fiction and occasional thoughts on real life, can be found at her sporadically updated blog.
Erica here: Fantastic perspective Jennifer! This is pretty much why I can read the manga, but not watch the anime. I’m not a oogling sort, but the innocent first love is nice and with the manga I can cut the time and attention spent on service to a bare minimum, while enjoying the parts of the story that work for me. Thank you again for a great post.