Tag Archives: The Pet Girl of Sakurasou

Core Necessities for the Slice of Life Genre

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Hello everyone, welcome to one of my contributions for the Animanga Festival. If your unfamiliar with it, allow me to explain.

The wonderful Auri of Manga Toritsukareru Kon decided that it would be a fun idea to host an online festival spanning the month of October which includes various writing prompts, activities, games, and events. It is completely free to participate and some of the events even have prizes to be won. If you are interested in knowing more you can check out the link above.

Today’s activity is called “Core Necessities.”

Prepare a set of 2-4 manga, anime and/or webtoon each with a short explanation. But here’s the thing, they all have to belong to the same genre.
Create a starter set for someone new to the genre and get creative! Add in common tropes, cliches and enjoyable scenes.

For the activity, I decided to go with the Slice of Life genre. With all of that being said, let’s get into it.

The Slice of Life genre in anime can often be a difficult one to navigate. Often times people can wander into conversations about different shows, hear people singing its praise, and go home only to seemingly find a show about nothing, and while that is true to an extent, it does not reflect the full scope of the genre in an accurate way. For today, I will talk about a few slice of life series that I think are a great introduction to the genre and explain why they are worthwhile series.

The Pet Girl of Sakurasou

The Pet Girl of Sakurasou is probably the most entry level show on this list, and by that I mean it is the most Slice of Life on this list. A pretty simple show on the surface, but the show itself is a great exploration of the characters involved.

Its story revolves around Sorata who, after refusing to give up a stray cat he found, is forced to move into his high school’s Sakura Hall, made up of the more interesting characters at the school. Of the many he meets there, one recent transfer, Mashiro Shiina, stands out to him the most, and when he eventually is forced to take care of her, well, the story starts there.

Part of what makes this show such a great introduction to the genre is that it is a lot like other high school Slice of Life shows, in that it mixes in a lot of everything. There is comedy, romance, drama, all tied together in a neat, 24 episode package. It also introduces a lot of the common tropes found within the genre, such as the “main character misunderstanding” and more general fan service. On top of all that, it has got a pretty unique story line from most other Slice of Life shows, in that often time it explores the lives of all its main cast, in this case show how they are all working towards their goals of doing well in their respective fields.

From the outside, it may not look like much, just a seemingly generic Slice of Life, but for the most part it is not, and the parts of it that are actually serve to enhance the experience for newcomers of the genre.


Another to watch when getting started with the slice of life genre is Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai, or just Chuunibyou for short. This one is definitely a bit weirder than Sakurasou, but once you get past the purposeful cringe inducing moments, it actually becomes a pretty fantastic series.

Chuunibyou is about Yuuta Togashi, a high school student with an embarrassing past as the “Dark Flame Master.” The reason for this is Chuunibyou, a sort of disease in which the people suffering from it experience delusions, imagining things that do not exist. Luckily for him, this disease only lasted through middle school. However, for his classmate Rika, Chuunibyou never left, and now he has to deal with her and a few other in his everyday high school life, becoming ever more sucked back into the world of Chuunibyou.

The show puts the all to familiar feeling of middle school cringe at the forefront of its story, using it mostly for comedic purposes, and to advance the romantic plot line between Yuuta and Rika. For some, this kind of story might even be too much, and they may just want to turn it off. However I strongly recommend against this, because beneath the cringe surface lies a fun and interesting story about dealing with the past and societal expectations of what behavior can be considered appropriate. Not to mention that for many, including myself, the cringe worthy subject matter is actually fairly relatable and in a weird way nostalgic. It manages to bring back memories from times that were much simpler than today, when the world felt manageable.

That nostalgia, combined with the fun and quirky cast of characters makes it a much watch for anyone wanting to enter the slice of life genre.

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU

Lastly, who people appear to be on the surface and who they actually are often times to completely different people. The reality is that most people try and cover up their problems and insecurities with a more contrived persona, and this reality is not lost on My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU.

SNAFU’s story revolves around Hachiman Hikigaya, a high-school loner with a bone to pick with just about everything that has to do with high school. However, this nihilist attitude lands him in trouble with his teacher, and as punishment he is forced to join the Volunteer Service Club, an organization whose stated purpose is to help other students with their problems. Hachiman goes to the club’s meeting only to find their is just one other member, the girl known to other students as the “Ice Queen,” Yukino Yukinoshita. Together, the two of them, along with a girl named Yui, work to solve the problems of their fellow students, using rather unconventional methods.

What makes this show a necessity in the Slice of Life diet of any anime fan looking to get into the genre is the way it approaches the story of its characters. Most of what the show’s main characters deal with is the dysfunction of their classmates, dealing with their problems on a somewhat episodic basis. Each dive into another character’s problem often reveals the true personality of that character, and the troubles they face both as high school kids and as people. However, it does not just deal with their classmates problems. For every episode in which the problem of a classmate is seemingly solved, the psychology and problems of the main cast comes more into frame, revealing more of the reason behind Hachiman’s nihilistic world-view.

In structure, the show is still very much of slice of life, but in content, the show differentiates itself from other by offering a sort deconstruction of the typical high school slice of life show.

What other shows would you put on a list like this? Let me know in the comments below.

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Final Thoughts: The Pet Girl of Sakurasou

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Another anime, another final thoughts. However, it would be a lie to say that this show in particular is just another final thoughts, because, in reality, The Pet Girl of Sakurasou is a show that I don’t think I will be forgetting for a long time. In fact, even as I am writing this post now, I don’t know if I could find the right words to describe it. Emotional gripping might be the best way to describe it, but even that fails to express fully just how much this show made me feel about myself and about what it is I want out of life. With that being said though, here are my final thoughts.

Sorata and Having a Unique Main Character

One thing I will absolutely admit up front is that my initial impression of the show was far from accurate. By far one of the things I like most about this show is just how much more interesting the main character is than most other slice of life romances I have seen. Sorata definitely gave me a bland, uninteresting taste in the first episode, but as the series moved on he developed into an equally interesting character compared to those around him.

More specifically, I appreciate that a lot of the focus around not just Sorata, but all of the show’s main cast was there focus on achieving their goals and pursuing their passions, even to the point of compromising their own sanity and health sometimes. Now, I am not advocating that people literally kill themselves over trying to accomplish their goals, but it is was definitely preferable to have seen a cast of characters all passionate about something rather than just a bunch of bland high school idiots running around and almost confessing their feelings to each other, which brings me to my next point.

The Romance

As Karandi of 100WordAnime commented on my first reaction post, romance in the show is a lot less relevant to its overall story and themes. However, the romance that does exist in the show is actually extremely compelling, and at some points in the show, the most important things underlying their current problems.

One good example of this would be Jin and Misaki. Both of them have known each other for basically their entire lives, and it becomes fairly obvious early on in the show that the two of them like each other a lot. However, because of this, Jin puts off his feelings for Misaki during most of the show because he fears being separated from her when they graduate. This is because while Misaki plans on going to the local university, Jin wants to go to Osaka, which is about two and a half hours away.

Finding a Purpose

The last thing which makes this show so emotionally engaging to me, as I touched on above, is the way that all of the show’s main characters have something that they are passionate about outside of the usually “I love that were all friends and want to be together” thing.

To me, what makes Sorata and the rest of the cast so relatable is that, not only do they fail multiple times throughout the show, they also acknowledge in their failures that life is not fair, and will not ever be fair. The reality of life is that some people are born with more talent or more connections and are able to do things that people who are poorer or who do not have those connections need a lot more work to accomplish. Hard work is not satisfying because it is guaranteed that at a certain point you will accomplish everything you set out to do, it is satisfying because most of the time the goals people are working towards are not guaranteed. It is not guaranteed that I will ever get a book published, but I am going to work at it because I know that if I can accomplish it, I will be able to really feel proud of myself.

The Pet Girl of Sakurasou is truly an amazing show. What in the beginning looked like it was just going to be a somewhat serious gag comedy about an artistic genius ended up being a very serious thematic contemplation of what the real meaning of hard work is, and also a story about friendship and realizing goals together.

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The Pet Girl of Sakurasou Episode One Reaction

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If AMVs on YouTube tell me anything, its that a surprising amount of people seem to like The Pet Girl of Sakurasou. Even before I knew what the name of the show was, I would see it in virtually any anime-related edit or really anything of that nature. All of this made me extremely curious, and so I decided to check the show out for myself.

Source: Crunchyroll.com

To be honest, though, I actually do not know how much there is to say about this show. For starters, you have Sorata, the high school boy main protagonist, his friend Nanami, who looks to be a love interest of Sorata, Mashiro, who is the new girl in town, and everyone else in Sakura hall who all seem to be extremely socially inept. I say this not to leave out any description of their personality, but to point out that it feels like they do not have any personality.

As someone who has watched enough slice of life romances to know where this is going, I can’t help but feel like I am setting myself up to be disappointed. If Pet Girl of Sakaurasou is like those other romance shows, Sorata will spend a bunch of time with Mashiro, fall in love with her, and then the show will end without any actual progression.

However, maybe I am being a bit too cynical with my episode one analysis. After all, there have been other shows that did get to reach a romantic conclusion, like Toradora. Overall, though, my expectations are fairly low, but I am also opened to being surprised by this show. Maybe Pet Girl of Sakurasou will give me something I was not expecting.

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