6 CommentsFirst Impressions / By Inushinde /

Sakamoto desu ga? Episode 1: Sitting on an Atomic Nothing Waiting For It to Go Off

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It’s amazing what an injection of self awareness can do for making a shitty trend palatable again. I find it way better for the show to want me laughing at its lead, rather than it unintentionally encouraging me to do so. At least then I know that an adult had a part in writing it.

Sakamoto desu ga? is a show that runs off of one joke: High school student Sakamoto is basically the most perfect person ever, and everyone around him either can’t help but admire him, or succumb to jealousy at his mere presence. What makes it work is a more hands-off approach to the comedy that (mostly) lets Sakamoto’s preternatural ability for turning any bad situation into a good situation, and any good situation into a perfect one, speak for itself. Most of the episode has less to do with Sakamoto himself, and more to do with how others respond to him. He’s less a personality than he is a force of nature that reminds others of their comparable inadequacy. He’s your average near-perfect generic lead driven to its logical conclusion.

For the most part, Sakamoto desu ga? knows exactly how to make the best of its self awareness to deliver the jokes. There are some instances of dipshit straight-men explaining the joke, but it’s only done as much as necessary for what’s happening to be understood. This isn’t a D-Frag situation where a semi-decent gag is run into the ground by a guy that doesn’t know when to shut up. It’s difficult for a show to be aware of its own ridiculousness without being insufferable, but Sakamoto desu ga? maintains the balance exceedingly well.

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While it’s the response of the world around him that drives most of the show forward and provides unexpected levels of pathos, Sakamoto’s perfection is sometimes excellently used for its own sake. The highlight of this is a solo, high intensity effort to save a bird caught in hurricane-force winds, using only his godlike physical abilities and a cheap convenience store umbrella. It taps into the slapstick that anime tends to do well, without explaining the joke in excruciating detail, piling on the absurdity at just the right time without overwhelming everything that comes before it.

I doubt that the overarching theme of Sakamoto doing ridiculous shit to the astonishment of others will hold water for an entire series, but the variety that made up the first episode gives me hope that I’ll be wrong. It’s a sign of a good premise that I can know what will happen, but am still eager to know how it will happen.

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6 Comments

  1. SiberDude
    Posted April 11, 2016 at 12:29 am | Permalink

    Amen for the lack of Sakamoto’s internal monologue.

  2. Varyn
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Reminds me of GTO, the whole gradually winning individuals in the class over through beating dumb traps they make for him. Onizuka was more enjoyable though.

    • Inushinde
      Posted April 14, 2016 at 3:44 am | Permalink

      To be fair, GTO has more than one (albeit malleable) joke.

      • Jubilee Gem R. Bocob
        Posted April 17, 2016 at 4:14 am | Permalink

        sakamoto reminds me of old school bugs bunny injected with 9999 gallons of swagtonium who always one ups whoever he’s pitted against

  3. Posted May 25, 2016 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Damn shinde I remember when you jumped over from the old shinde iie blog and joined this blog. Your writing stuck in my mind so much that, what, 4 or 5 years later I still remember it. Amazingly this site hasn’t changed its look at all. What a world we live in.

    • Inushinde
      Posted May 25, 2016 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      As far as I know, The Cart Driver will maintain the same semi-Geass colors until the heat death of the universe. And that’s legit one of the best things said about my writing in I don’t know how long, thanks!

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