28 CommentsFirst Impressions / By Scamp /

Sasami-san@Ganbaranai episode 1 – Chocolate Apocalypse Nonsense

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A quick recap of Akiyuki Shinbo’s career up until now by the totally unreliable Scamp. He started as an animator on Urusei Yatsura, because everybody from that era worked on something by Rumiko Takahashi. He then moved about a bit from JC Staff to Tatsunoko to wherever the hell he could get work as a director, including directing a whole bunch of hentai OVA’s in the early 00’s. He got a big break with directing the first season of Nanoha, but instead he moved over to the small studio Shaft and kind of took over everything when he started on Moonphase and Pani Poni Dash. From there he pumped out a whole bunch of needlessly obtuse heavy-otaku bait nonsense, dancing around his tiny budget with a vast array of animation tricks. Then came the turn of the decade and suddenly the success of Bakemonogatari and Madoka Magica meant he had all the money to do whatever the hell he wanted, sticking to his usual art style but now with money to have more actual animation.

Sasami-san feels exactly like the anime Shinbo would make after all this. A well animated pile of utter nonsense with tits.

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I like how Sasami-san looks, although I think by this stage I’m guaranteed to enjoy how any Shaft anime is directed. It’s small clever things that make it tick for me, such as placing Sasami’s eyes poking out of the covers as though she is in a giant duvet cake. Or the little silly touches, like the tricks they do so the male teacher’s face is never shown. The use of music is great too, and something Shinbo hasn’t necessarily been great at before. Again it’s simple things, like the music shooting up during some moments, timing the leaps with character movements. It all flows well, which makes the episode slip by like a good bowel movement.

As for the actual contents of the episode though, I’m not impressed. Leaving aside the chocolate apocalypse for a second, the writing is not good. Perhaps I’ve just grown accustomed to all this Shinbo visual fuckery with teenage girls speaking in riddles and witticisms with Nisioisin and the -monogatari franchise. By comparison, the girls in Sasami-san have nothing interesting to say. They’re generic moe-archetypes saying cutesy nothings at the male character, who in himself is a one-note character with nothing interesting to say nor and interesting way to say it. The closest any of the dialogue got to having some kind of direction was Sasami wondering whether her brother really loved her. Whoop de doop, we get some half-arsed incest plot. Apologies for not dancing with joy.

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Then there was the chocolate apocalypse, which certainly looked cool, but I hadn’t a fucking clue what the hell they were getting at. A physical form of Sasami’s inner thoughts about chocolate? The connection is wafer thin if it was, and by bringing it out in visual form did nothing for the narrative, which is a boring narrative anyway. I’d feel like I was missing something if I hadn’t seen some of Shinbo’s earlier works. You see, while I would identify as a Shaft fanboy, this is a recent development starting around 2009. It was then that Shinbo finally started to use his visual fuckery to aid a story rather than for its own sake. I’m not a fan of early Shinbo at all, and Salami-san feels like early Shinbo with more recent Shinbo’s budget. So we get a fine looking anime with a bunch of nonsensical bullshit all in aid of some boring twats and an incest plotline with some underage tits and ass. Colour me disappointed.

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  1. Posted January 12, 2013 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    I looked at Star Crossed (psgels’ reaction wasn’t pleasant) and saw people who probably read the novels justifying the episode by saying it had direct connection with deities and Izanagi/Izanami and other stuff. Maybe it’s one of those shows that takes two episodes to get the plot like Tatami Galaxy? ‘Course the characters are utterly banal, so I’m not sure if that theory holds much water.

    • Posted January 12, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      Oh and since you brought up Rumiko Takahashi, you ever look at her stuff? Super long, but really good (except for Inuyasha) is how I would describe them myself.

      • Erif
        Posted January 12, 2013 at 9:12 pm | Permalink


    • Posted January 12, 2013 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      That doesn’t bode well. I don’t remember which anime that scamp and co. covered here that has those kinds of excuses from its fans, but I think it kind of ended up shit.

      Sure sasami-san could probably stand on the weird ass animation alone, but SHAFT being SHAFT lately, that’s not enough IMO.

  2. matrixEXO
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    All I liked about the episode is the tit-expanding trap. WOW! Nobody’s seen a trap such as those before, and I bet nobody will!

  3. The Kenosha Kid
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    On the plus side, a lot of this was creepy as fuck, and anime has a hard time creeping me out with sex stuff (or really anything) these days. It’s probably got something to do with the facelessness of the brother—same thing worked for Upotte. So maybe that’ll be interesting.

    Oh, and I bet the chocolate was pretty much just Shaft showing the world that yes, they do have a budget now. Normally that kinda splurge for Shaft would mean the entire rest of the show would be long-distance still frames of characters’ backs with voiceover and random text.

  4. Kioku
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Post about symbolism in this show, if you’re so inclined to read the massive wall of text. It may or may not add some sense to the show for you. Personally I’m enjoying the nonsense. World=chocolate=WTFAMIWATCHING

    • matrixEXO
      Posted January 12, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      I read it. And it made a TRUCK load of sense! Scamp, read this! I assure you that you get a better understanding as well.

      • Raiphin
        Posted January 12, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        Omigod, you’re right. Somewhere my Japanese religions teacher is super sad with me, right after he finishes being squicked out by the bath scenes.

        Come out of the cave, Ameterasu!

    • Scamp
      Posted January 12, 2013 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      Read it. It has done nothing to my enjoyment of the series.

      • matrixEXO
        Posted January 12, 2013 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

        Maybe not. But at least it gave you some insight as to what went down, no?

      • Scamp
        Posted January 13, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, a bit. Although it does remind me more of calling your characters Adam and Eve, such as that Hells movie that came out recently. It did little to add to the story

    • Cirith
      Posted January 12, 2013 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      Something being symbolic rarely improves it for me since I derive no enjoyment from analyzing symbols. Anyways I often have the impression that people give anything told through symbols far more credit than the same things when they are told or shown directly.
      I don’t think that the symbols mentioned make this episode more interesting.
      Well I will witch the second episode to see whether it becomes more interesting, the animation isn’t enough if the characters don’t get more interesting.

  5. Posted January 12, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    I agree with you, Scamp, but only that I’m not disappointed, much. Story wise, I’m fairly content with having three carry-over anime: JoJo, Psycho-pass, and to a lesser extend R;N.

    I’m just happy to have the crazy shit happening for no apparent reason, since Nekomonogatari is too short for the SHAFT goodness. But considering three of their latest anime (Neko-, Nisemonogatari, and Madoka…?) all of them have crazy animation and still have some narration. I bet if JoJo, Psycho-pass and R;N didn’t exist last season, I’d be more disappointed by this.

    Also maybe I’m just too much of a recent-SHAFT fanboy to admit that this anime has nothing but crazy animation that runs on the Rule of Cool.

  6. Ramiel
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    True, there wasn’t much story building in this episode, but you should also be aware of the source material before writing this off as plotless. From what I’ve heard this will be kind of like SHAFT does Haruhi…sort of.

    • Posted January 12, 2013 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      This is actually more like SHAFT does Evangelion.

      Except Shinto, not Christianity.

      • Scamp
        Posted January 12, 2013 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

        So a bunch of random references to religion that have nothing to do with the actual story because they thought it looked cool?

        Like sure, I’m open to the idea that this is all referencing something, but the story is pretty boring on a surface level anyway, which is a much bigger problem

      • dk
        Posted January 12, 2013 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

        From what i heard , Shinto play a huge part in the novel, not just some random references and the story is quite complicated.
        Someone from 2ch said that there will be too much information needed to explain in one anime episode (especially the 1st one) that might bore newcomers so Shaft probably gonna explain them little by little in later episodes.

    • Ramiel
      Posted January 13, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      >This is actually more like SHAFT does Evangelion.

      I thought that was Madoka, lol

  7. luffyluffy
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    I am literally going to keep watching this because Yazan the Violator voices the brother.

  8. Inushinde
    Posted January 13, 2013 at 12:22 am | Permalink

    I was expecting the chocolate apocalypse to be close to a Seizon Senryaku moment, where the first episode is decent/watchable up to that point, but that really catapults it into enjoyment territory. Didn’t quite make the jump, but hey, tit-guns.

  9. Lucim
    Posted January 13, 2013 at 3:00 am | Permalink

    This anime appears to be another hikokomori syndrome anime, attempting to reach the greatness achieved by NHK ni Youkoso.

    I thought the chocolate apocalypse was merely the main female character being psychologically unable to escape thoughts relating to valentine day chocolate. If so, I think it’s likely that this obsessiveness indicates that the girl is motivated to get things done outside of her bedroom.

    If so this motivation could likely be developed to get the main female character past whatever has made her a shut-in. After the first five minutes I began to skim through this episode though, so I’ve probably missed something.

    • Cirith
      Posted January 13, 2013 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      Or it’s simply reality bending. Occams razor is on my side!

      • Lucim
        Posted January 13, 2013 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, but you can’t blame me for trying to read something from it. Ockam seemingly never watched a boring anime for entertainment.

  10. Vince
    Posted January 13, 2013 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    I wanted it to be like Soredemo Machi Ga Mawatteiru but what I watched I can’t really comprehend. But well hey more moe can’t be bad.

    Beside I guess this is surefire way to earn some more profits.

  11. Shadow
    Posted January 13, 2013 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Sasami-san feels exactly like the anime Shinbo would make after all this. A well animated pile of utter nonsense with tits.

    That’s the quote of the year!

  12. Posted January 13, 2013 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Non-sequiturs are funny… as punchlines to setups. In Sasami-san, there is no punchline; there is no setup. Hence, the non-sequiturs fail.

    • Scamp
      Posted January 14, 2013 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      I wouldn’t say non-sequiturs are always funny as punchlines, because then you get into a situation like Nichijou where all the punchlines are nonsense and it stops being funny. But otherwise yeah, I get where you’re coming from

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