Saturday, March 26, 2016

Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru review

Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru is another mystery anime that we have for Fall 2015. Compared to Subete ga F ni Naru: The Perfect Insider however, it is an episodic mystery anime, which each case span for 2-3 episodes. The reason I am intrigued at this anime is because the title character, Sakurako's love for bones. As a person who dedicate his life studying pre-historic, dead organism remains (or fossils to be exact), I can relate to her regarding how interesting and beautiful the remain of life is, despite the grim looking prospect of it. There are however, various critical issue that need to be addressed in this anime, especially on the execution of the story in this anime itself.

Shoutarou Tatewaki, a high schooler living in Asahikawa City, Hokkaido, meets Sakurako Kujou, a bone-loving ojou-san who has an ability to analyze specimen. Because of meeting her, he has to accompany her to various cases. (Source: MAL)

For a mystery anime to work well, it needs several different factors; a foundation, the problem, clues, piecing the puzzles, the big reveal and resolution. In this anime however, you can tell off right from the start that the story skips some important steps and rushed the whole case altogether. This is the most fundamental problem that Sakurako-san faced; the horribly fast pacing. The one thing that makes mystery anime really enjoyable is to actually get the audience to think for themselves and try to solve the problem. This anime takes away such pleasure by making the protagonist so overpowered in term of being a detective, that she could solve the case almost instantly just by looking at the clues, and tell what happened in such a short amount of time. The whole investigation and pondering phases are almost cut off completely. This also took away the tension as viewers would expect that Sakurako will undoubtedly solve all the cases no matter how complicated it is. The pacing aside, the story does not involve dialogue that are too heavy, but still manages to convey the feelings and thought of important characters. Some event are indeed touching while other can be forgettable, mostly because it is too short. There are some comedy factors here and there but it is not really significant, and don't expect any romance or anything in this anime at all. As for the mystery itself, I found that most of them are actually enjoyable. I learned new things from trivia spouted Sakurako herself and the way some scientifical facts used to solve the mystery is really satisfying. Every mystery involves bones and as each bone is different, there’s a diverse range of ways the series takes interest about itself. There is indeed a bigger mystery that tie in together some of the other mysteries the protagonist had faced previously, but the show ended up before it is even resolved. This left the viewer hang in confusion and ultimately lead to a rather disappointing ending. 

The things that keeps me watching this story is because of the title character herself, Sakurako Kujou. She is a beautiful woman with a level-headed coolness and possesses an intimidating intellect. Her fascination for bones is something that really amuses me to no end; it is something that only certain type of people will get it. She displays a sharp tongue with an intimidating voice when involved with cases or bones. Indeed, I totally agree with her that bones are eloquent and can tell the story of the past if you carefully examine it. That's the job of certain people (like me) to reconstruct the past itself. Indeed, you can call us as someone who that lived in the present but trapped in the past. Her trademark appearance, when she don her gloves with skeletal of animals marching around her reminds the viewer that she will come to save the day. Sakurako got what it takes to be the story detective, but like previously stated however she is too good at it. She can single-handedly solve all the case in a short amount of time, ultimately ruining the thrill of mystery anime itself. I have to blame the pacing of the anime however, as she should be given more time instead to solve each mysteries. Shoutarou Tatewaki is one of the most useless male lead in the anime I've ever seen. He is basically there just to be an audience, and his presence plays little to no consequences at all. He's better off being a secondary, side characters as the show itself seems to work fine even without him. As for all the other side characters, they are not really significant and mostly just there to play as a plot device for specific case. There is a teacher, police officer, or even a family dog. Yuriko Kougami, the supposedly love interest to the male lead is not actually one, which is a big shame really. Most of them underway little development, and to be honest rather forgettable.

The art and animation for this anime are well above average, utilizing bright and vivid colour palette. The setting also has a serene-like feeling to it with modern decorations and a few noticeable scenes are colored like an art. While it does look really beautiful, it can be a little off-putting considering the whole theme of the anime is mystery. Some details are immaculately shown such as the structure of the bones, which I had to give extra credit for. The character design are decent enough, simple and modern without too much exaggeration. Animation are mostly fluid; while not really stellar it is acceptable for this kind of anime. As for the music, The OP and ED are decent to hear, giving away some symbolism with hints about Sakurako herself. The soundtrack fits mostly with the scene and enhancing it to a certain degree, but not really memorable as a whole.

Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru is a decent anime which might be worth checking out if you are a fan of said theme, or have an interest in bones (or dead things) in general. The mysteries are mostly a miss; the engagement is just very low, all because of the episodic nature and terribly fast pacing. The show had a huge potential, wasted on a 12-episodes anime, which I think should be made longer instead. In retrospect though, this show rides on its premise mostly well with a mixed bag (of bones) for presentation.

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