Friday, 11 January 2013

Sasami-san@Ganbaranai - Episode 1

Sasami Tsukuyomi is a shut-in so short on motivation that she has her devoted older brother do everything for her - and I do literally mean everything, whether it's bathing her, dressing her or feeding her.

In fact, such is Sasami's obsession with her brother that no only has she bought him some Valentine's Day chocolate (courtesy of Amazon of course, the shop of choice for any self-respecting shut-in), but she also has an online surveillance network hooked up to watch his every move as he leaves the house to go to his teaching job - a job which seems to bring him into contact with all manner of other weird and wonderful girls.

When Sasami's brother gives away that lovingly bought chocolate just minutes after leaving the house, Sasami is none too impressed and sets off out of the house to give him a piece of her mind... except she can't make it past her own front doorstep.  Perhaps this is for the best as the world suddenly becomes over-run with chocolate; an issue that only those aforementioned weird and wondeful girls can resolve, and an issue that seems to stem directly from the ire of Sasami herself.

If you're reading the above and thinking that it sounds like some kind of drug-addled fever dream.... welcome to the world of Sasami-san@Ganbaranai.  To start out, the series looks like pretty typical fan service fodder, with a disturbingly fawning brother getting far too close to his disturbingly pliant shut-in sister.  It's the twist in this tale that really makes the opening episode of the series - utterly hilarious, deliciously self-aware (the episode as a whole boasts nods to Serial Experiments Lain, Saikano and plenty more besides) and completely, certifiably bonkers in terms of both plot and characters.  In other words, this is exactly the kind of thing that SHAFT know how to do best, and their style, attention to detail and sense of humour suit it down to the ground.  I have no idea what I just spent the last twenty-five minutes watching, but what I do know is that I want to see a whole lot more of it, which in turn has suddenly made Sasami-san@Ganbaranai my favourite show of the winter season at this very early stage.

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