Remember last week how I said the plot of Fairy Gone wasn’t in the best shape and I was lukewarm about the series? Well, we’ve got another one whose plot is in shambles and I am LIVING for it. Sarazanmai is a show that I went into thinking “oh this should be cute. Boys turning into kappas.”
…yeah I should’ve finished reading the description. While the characters look super cute, and the first episode starts off fairly normal (well…by comedy anime standards), it quickly takes a turn for the absurd. And when I say absurd I mean ABSURD. Because YES. This is a show about boys being turned into kappas. But of course, it’s in the strangest fucking way possible. I honestly don’t know how to describe the transformation sequence…but let’s just say if you’re familiar with the kappa legends…it sticks pretty true to it. The kappa prince, whose statue Kazuki and Kuji (two of our three main characters) destroy, sucks their shirikodama out, gobbles them up and essentially births them into kappas (in a way that is as graphic as it sounds). And all of this happens in a transformation sequence directed by the same guy who did Sailor Moon. Already this show is a whole new level of WTF. The third main character, Enta, just so happens to walk in at the wrong (right) time and offends the kappa prince enough to be birthed into one too.
And then it gets REALLY weird. As kappa’s, the only way our heroes can turn back to their human forms is to take the shirikodama of kappa-zombies so they can collect these things called the dishes of hope. But y’know, those are minute details. The sequence in which they fight these zombies is always a song that they sing as they attack, and in order to get the shirikodama they literally must grab it in a fashion that…well, you can fill in the rest. The shirikodama will reveal the desire of the zombie and why they were obsessed with whatever they were doing. In order to truly defeat the zombie, they must perform the sarazanmai which they must do together, and while doing it, some of their own memories and secrets leak. Altogether, it’s a pretty straightforward monster of the week anime. It certainly gives me Cute High Earth Defense Club vibes, but its extreme level of absurdity makes it something that you won’t be able to get out of your mind. I hate to admit it, but I can’t get their fighting song out of my head and I hate (love) it.
The characters are surprisingly interesting too. Front and center we have Kazuki who seems like the most normal anime protag up until the moment where we learn that not only does he dress up as a famous girl and send selfies to his younger brother, he’s also willing to go to criminal lengths to make his brother happy (example A: STEALING A CAT). Then we have Toi whose first appearance depicts him breaking into a car. We later see him waterboarding someone and learn that his older brother is a criminal and he follows in those footsteps. Lastly, we have Enta who is actually the most normal of the three. He loves soccer, has a crush on Kazuki, but is super eccentric when it comes to daydreaming. Together, the dynamic of the three is pure gold. They are all extreme in some way which keeps them interesting. Out of the three, Toi is my personal favorite right now but that’s cause he’s my bias.
I think the one thing that really gets me invested in this (and not writing it off as simply ludicrous), is that while the plot is…not so much a plot as much as it’s a goal, is that there are times when the show almost seems profound. The main characters carry around boxes and inside are their deepest secrets they carry alone. But as they perform the sarazanmai, those secrets leak out and they’re forced to open up. In a way, they are becoming closer as they are forced to fight these kappa-zombies. So…the meaning is kind of cool even if it isn’t fully developed. Oh, and of course it’s art style is absolutely wonderful and unique. MAPPA always knows how to animate shows to fit their mood, and Sarazanmai is no exception. Stylistic, colorful, crazy. All of the above make it a delight to watch even when the plot is hard to grasp.
Overall, I actually enjoy Sarazanmai even though it is batshit crazy. It’s such a weird anime but it’s also wonderful. It’s not something where you get terribly invested in the plot, instead, you watch it for pure entertainment and to also say “WTF” every five minutes. But what do you all think? Have you seen Sarazanmai? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comment below! Until next time, these have just been my first impressions!
First Impression Rating – 7/10 Shirikodama’s to remove