Friday, 10 January 2014

Sakura Trick - Episode 1

To begin, an informational announcement: Sakura Trick is not Hidamari Sketch.  Just thought I should preface my discussion of this series with that important point, because boy does this show look like Hidamari Sketch in a lot of places.  That's what you get for employing a director who used to work at SHAFT, I guess.

Anyhow, we join this series on the even of the start of high school life for our two main characters - friends Haruka Takayama and Yuu Sonoda.  Although it's clear from the outset that this pair is close, from Haruka's point of view they're even closer than mere friendship; no wonder Haruka frets about not getting to sit at an adjacent desk to Yuu, or the fact that they tend to wander around with arms linked.

When a brief moment of angst caused by Haruka's jealousy leads to an empty classroom and a suggestion that the two should cement their unique relationship in a memorable way, you can probably guess where things head from here, and one kiss soon leads to more as the pair end up in some unexpected adventures around their new school, culminating in perhaps the most impressive defiance of gravity ever seen at a high school.

Forget the worries and dramas of Aoi Hana and its ilk, Sakura Trick's opening episode is really just a slice of life comedy that happens to feature a lesbian romance at its centrepiece.  Although aspects of the episode and the way it's framed feel a little exploitative, the actual relationship between Haruka and Yuu is really rather sweet - they bounce off of one another pretty well and feel like an authentic pairing, and their enthusiasm is fun to watch as a result.  This opener also has a few decent laughs within it, and a wider cast that seem likeable enough, meaning that everything points towards this being a "nice little show" - not the kind of thing that is going to live long in the memory, but one that will hopefully deliver enough entertainment week on week to get by.  If all else fails, I can just use it as a holdover until I get hold of the first season of Hidamari Sketch on Blu-Ray...

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