Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo Ep. 1
Initial impression – could be fresh…could be stale…time will tell
Autumn 2012 to winter 2013 (24 episodes) (title translation – The Pet Girl of Sakura House) (more info)
Sakurasou starts off rather silly, but it’s tempered with the ordinary kindness of the protagonist, Sorata. Being the sane person in a sea of weirdos is familiar enough territory for anime, so instead I’m going to focus on what I think will be the make or break moment of this first impression for most viewers. It starts when our protagonist is put in charge of taking care of Mashiro, the newest addition to the Sakurasou dorm. She seems ordinary enough until she drowsily has to be coaxed into dressing and taking care of her morning grooming by our embarrassed male lead. Some people discredit ecchi very easily as little more than shallow-minded fanservice with no purpose other than attracting attention of a male audience. This could easily be the case for people who see Mashiro naked at the end of the episode and being dressed by her shy male classmate Sorata. There are series that are perverted in a lewd way and there are ones that are perverted in a fun way and so far Sakurasou is a lot of fun.
It seems to me that Mashiro is one of those child prodigies whose mother took care of all her domestic chores so she never learned to take care of herself—instead devoting every waking moment to the pursuit of her talent. I’ve read biographies about these kinds of celebrities and while I may be jealous of their ability, I can understand the mindset of being so involved in your passion turned profession that the time to learn domestic chores and responsibilities falls to the wayside. And I think that’s the reason I’m interested in seeing how this awkward relationship will develop.
I’m not ready to give Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo my seal of approval just yet because Sorata is one of those overreacting young men who behave irrationally at the sight of a naked woman as if someone poked him in the butt with a cattle prod. Overall, it’s not yet a stand-out anime, but it looks nice and the characters are kind, open and most importantly funny in a natural way that doesn’t feel like a carefully constructed cast of stereotypes for the purpose of telling a story—more of a random group of young people who just happen to be going to the same school and living together in a dormitory.