We’ve reached the last chapter of Reo to Mabu: Futari wa Sarazanmai! This month it’s published in Rutile, although the tankobon was published on the same day so I got it instead (yay for saving space and money). In reality, however I’m checking out the e-book version because it’s easier. 

It’s been a long ride (almost an entire year!) so it’s both sad and rewarding to see it come to an end. Please enjoy the conclusion of the series!


The cover for chapter eleven is baby Sara looking cute as ever!

The chapter begins where we were left off last time with a grown up version of Sara appearing in front of Reo and Mabu.


Reo and Mabu are panicking. This person is Sara? Their Sara? Mabu checks the baby bed Sara was lying on and sees that it’s empty. What’s going on? Where is she and what happened to her?

Reo asks grown up Sara if she’s the one who was riding the plate which she confirms. Did several months and years pass for her? Why can’t Reo remember what she was like graduating from kindergarten, during sports day or during the school entrance and graduation ceremony? Mabu imagines what she looked like growing up and collapses while muttering “dad” and “Sara”. He broke down.


Sara’s starting to feel awkward so Reo apologizes to her and asks her to come inside. Then he commands Mabu to get inside as well. They’ll think about it all later.


It’s a bit awkward again… Reo’s apologetic how they’ve really done it now that they can’t remember her growing up. He tells her that her dads are really sorry for it (HER DADS!!!!!). Sara says that she always wanted the three of them to be together, but that they can’t be together anymore. Mabu asks her where she’ll go to, but Sara replies that she can’t tell them. Then she thanks Reo-papa and Mabu-papa for everything up until now.



Sara stands up and sprinkles something sparkly on Reo and Mabu. 


After the daze the cops look at each other and proceed to ask Sara who she is. These expressions are killing me…


Then suddenly this happens, Sara flies up or something and says goodbye.


Next up Sara’s floating over a river. There are a couple of mysterious figures in the background.


Reo comments on the man in glasses, isn’t that the person who visited them earlier in his pajamas? (Also, please note the crown and royal looking cape on the second figure, could it be Keppi who’s the self proclaimed ruler of the kappa kingdom?)


Sara waves them goodbye and they wave her back. Then Sara and her company disappears in a cloud of glitter.


On the next page we see Reo and Mabu suddenly wake up. A dream? Since when have they’ve been dreaming? Has everything that happened today been a dream? Or could they have been dreaming for even longer?

Then there’s a sound – it’s Sara who’s now lying awake between the two of them. Reo picks her up and sees that she has a runny nose. At first he’s scared she’s about to catch a cold, but then his expression changes. At least it wasn’t a dream that they got her. Mabu agrees and the manga ends with the image of the trio happy together!


Look how cute that is!!!! The manga got a happy ending after all, even if this dream business is extremely suspect and will most likely be brought up in the anime again in a less innocent light.

As a bonus there’s still one last image of Reo and Mabu with a text from Misaki Saito thanking the readers. I love how intimate it is!


And that was Reo to Mabu: Futari wa Sarazanmai, the spin-off manga to Kunihiko Ikuhara’s new original anime Sarazanmai. I hope you’ve enjoyed it! I’ve certainly loved getting the manga each month and writing these summaries for it, sharing it with others so that everyone else can fall in love with it too. I could definitely do something similar in the future as well with some other series.

Next you can look forward to an actual scanlation of Reo to Mabu that we are working on right now!!

Thank you for reading!


Sarazanmai Radio Translations/Summaries Masterpost

I stopped writing summaries for the PreZanmai radio show after the 4th episode (I was busy with other things and didn’t feel I had enough skills to give you reports that would be both relevant and accurate enough). Luckily Shipper’s been doing summaries on her blog! As of posting this they have done 9 episodes here:

I’ve copied them below since I don’t trust tumblr anymore:

In January, Ikuhara Kunihiko and Suwabe Junichi began hosting a weekly online radio show meant to promote Ikuhara’s upcoming anime Sarazanmai, which will begin airing in April, and since I haven’t seen anyone translate any of it, I decided to take matters into my own hands.

I know I’m mainly a Yoi blog but Ikuhara is known for LGBT themes in his anime, so I think his upcoming show will be of interest to you guys and also Suwabe voices Victor, so that’s enough of a connection haha.

The synopsis of the anime goes as such:
The stage is Asakusa.
One day, three second-year middle school students — Kazuki Yasaka, Toi Kuji, and Enta Jinai — meet a kappa-like creature named Keppi, who is the self-proclaimed heir to the throne of Kappa Kingdom. Keppi forcibly takes the students’ shirikodama (a mythical organ kappa steal through a person’s anus) and they are transformed into kappa. Keppi informs them, “If you want to return to your former selves, you need to connect in ‘that way’ and you must bring me the shirikodama of zombies.” Will the three boys be able to connect and take the shirikodama of zombies?
At the same time, two policemen, Reo Niiboshi and Mabu Akutsu, try to do something at the police box where they are stationed. 

I will try to update this post weekly as new episodes come out. Without further ado: (inserting a cut to preserve space)

Episode 1

Most of the show is just one of them asking the other a question and this time, Suwabe asked Ikuhara this: “What was your motive for creating Sarazanmai?”

Ikuhara: “The number one reason is… because I need to make a living.”

Suwabe: *laughs*

Ikuhara: “My anime have pretty bad luck [when it comes to sales, I’m guessing], so if I don’t keep making them, I’ll have nothing to eat.”

As his second reason, he said that he came up with it when thinking about experiences everyone could share in this ever-changing world. He wanted to capture the idea of “old” and “new” in the word “connections”. He said that now thanks to technology we can all connect with each other, but back in the day, it wasn’t so easy, so what will we do now and in the future with all these easy to make connections? That’s the question he wants to share with the viewers “What does it really mean to connect with people?”

That’s the gist of it (the episodes are only 8 minutes long lol).

Episode 2

In this episode, Ikuhara asked Suwabe this: “When voice acting in my anime, what do you pay attention to?”

Suwabe: “It’s so stressful to be asked this by the director when you’re sitting right in front of me! Huh…? I do my best to not catch a cold, does that count? Well, no. Of course, this goes for any project, but I put my heart into it and do my best, but when it comes to your anime specifically, like when I worked on Yuri Kuma Arashi, original anime with no source material, I feel like it’s particularly different, because usually you’ll have a sound director who relays the will of the director to the voice actors, but Ikuhara tells us what to do directly, sometimes asking us for some really crazy things. *laughs*”

Suwabe also said that before the recording of every episode, Ikuhara would enter the recording booth and explain the entire episode to the cast and he found that very unusual.

Ikuhara explained that he does it just because when he started working on anime, it was as a sound director, so he does the explaining not because it’s his own anime, but because he thought that’s what he should be doing lol.

Suwabe then said that he actually likes that Ikuhara is directly there in the studio so that he can immediately clear things up and answer questions if anything comes up and get straightforward feedback. He said he also likes that if them, as voice actors, feel like getting creative and going more all out, Ikuhara is often alright with that and doesn’t try to limit them.

Suwabe: “Before we actually started recording for Sarazanmai, Ikuhara-san told me ‘Excuse me, Suwabe-san, but we’re taking the approach of ‘everything goes’ this time around so don’t hold back’ and I was like ‘…what will they ask me to do???’ but I only said ‘I understand’.“

Ikuhara then said that he sees Suwabe as an artisan, and he’s impressed with it, but on the other hand, he looks for moments when he gets unprepared or careless and says something in an unintentionally funny way, since he really likes those moments and find them interesting.

Episode 3

This time, when Suwabe was introducing the anime, he asked Ikuhara “It says here, that the anime is planned to begin April 2019, but can I just say that it will definitely air in April?”

Ikuhara: “I wonder if you can say that… *laughs*”

Today’s main question was to Ikuhara: “What do you pay attention to while creating the draft for the anime?”

Ikuhara: “Well, the main thing I think about is ‘what would I think of this story if I were a teen?’, like how would I feel about it if I were in middle school or high school and someone showed me the anime, that’s the first thing.”

Ikuhara then went to say that original animes always take a long time to make, especially all the necessary preparations, and that when deciding what he wants to do, all of that relies on a lot of people who are essentially sponsoring the project. So when people tell him no, he said that knowing when to keep pushing for something, when something is important enough of a subject to keep fighting for it is also important.

When Suwabe asked him if originality is important to him, Ikuhara said he doesn’t really worry about it and to him it’s more about staying true to himself, and he only cares about personally finding the anime interesting. Ikuhara also added that anime isn’t something he can make on his own, and sometimes it’s a three steps forward, two steps back thing, like he’ll have a very clear idea but then the people he’s working with will tell him it’s impossible and he’ll have to figure it out all over again. He said sometimes it’s even “three steps forward, five steps back”.

Suwabe: “Does that upset you, when that happens? What do you do to cheer yourself up?”

Ikuhara: “Me? I… look up sites with sexy contents and stuff.”

Suwabe: *laughs*

Ikuhara: “Most guys do that, I think.”

Suwabe: “You cheer yourself up with something sexy? I see. *laughs* Do you also drink a lot of alcohol or cry or yell or something? Do you let your feelings out or do you keep them in?”

Ikuhara: “No, I don’t think I can do that, I keep it in. Do you let them out? Like do you drink alcohol and then lose your cool?”

Suwabe: “No, I don’t really do that, but drinking or eating something nice usually helps. Though I do complain sometimes. But I’m not the type to dwell on anger.”

At the end of the show, they also had this exchange:

Suwabe: “This anime will air in April… right?”

Ikuhara: “…probably. *laughs* I hope we make it in time.”

Suwabe: “Alright, then Sarazanmai, airing probably in April.”

Episode 4

In this episode, Ikuhara asked Suwabe this: “What did you honestly think of the Sarazanmai script when you read it for the first time?”

Suwabe: “Wow, to be asked this so directly as the director himself looks me in the eye, this is so stressful. What am I suppose to say here… Well, I definitely got the ‘it’s an Ikuhara world’ vibes. Just reading the script for episode 1, with no visuals, there were some scenes I couldn’t imagine, like ‘what’s going on here?’. I needed an explanation from the director to get the full idea sometimes, and even then I didn’t really get everything, but well, with good communication, everything falls into place eventually. I think it’s best to not try to look for logic here – I mean it is logical, but rather trying to understand it with logic, I think it’s better to appreciate it emotionally. Though there are some plot twists that will make you go ‘what’s this, where’d this come from???’, I feel like working on Ikuhara anime always feels like opening a box of surprises, watching them might be a similar experience. Hearing that, does that upset you?”

Ikuhara: “It does irritate me. No, I’m kidding. But even coming from me, I must admit that for anyone reading that script, immediately understanding it would probably be impossible.”

Both: *laugh*

Ikuhara: “If they immediately said they got it I’d be convinced they were lying.”

Suwabe: *laughs*

Ikuhara also said that he used to think that being different was his most important attribute, but as time passed he realized the most important part of creating anime was making sure the audience could sympathize with the characters because without that, you can’t write a story, and he’d only realized that recently.

Ikuhara: “I’m surprised I made it this far without having realized that earlier. *laughs*”

In the end, Ikuhara asked again: “So honestly, what did you think of the script?”

Suwabe: “No, it was fun.”

Ikuhara: “Really?”

Suwabe: “Though I felt like I got a taste of something strange. Like ‘Kappa? Shirikodama?! What’s this about?’ and reading the stage directions in the scenes I’d be like ‘Can this be aired on TV???’”

Ikuhara: “No no, it will air on TV! FujiTV is up to the challenge.”

Episode 5

Suwabe opened the episode by asking Ikuhara about the April premier date again: “Are you confident about it?”

Ikuhara: “I wonder what’ll happen…”

Suwabe: “It’ll be fine! Or, that’s what the producers should be saying, because we’ll be in trouble otherwise.”

This time again, Suwabe was asking Ikuhara the main question of the episode: “While creating anime, do you worry about its reputation in the industry and among fans?”

Ikuhara: “In the past, by which I mean, like 30 years ago when I enter the industry things were much different, I feel like the distance between the creators and the fans has been greatly reduced recently. In the past, when I worked on anime, what mattered most was ratings. Like every Monday we’d get the results and have staff meetings discussing them. I think that still happens, but not as much. I mean, my recent anime all happen to be late-night anime so ratings don’t matter. But the main thing in the past was that most of the reactions from fans came in the form of postcards, and sometimes maybe they’d publish some opinions in magazines, that was all. And then in the 90s online forums became a thing and people started discussing anime there, and actually having deep conversations and stuff. And the mode of communication really changed from there.”

Later, Ikuhara also added: “You know, back in the day, I had to look for people’s opinions, but now, because of the internet, they appear even if I don’t ask for them.”

Suwabe: *laughs* That’s true, whether you like it or not.”

Ikuhara: “Because we’re all connected.”

Episode 6

Suwabe began the episode by saying: “This radio show probably has the highest average age on this network.”

Ikuhara: “The old menz.”

Suwabe: “Some may say we’re like vintage wine.”

Anyway, this episode Ikuhara asked Suwabe this question: “As a seiyuu, do you worry about the reputation of the animes you starr in?”

Suwabe: “Do I care about it? Of course I do, there’s no way I wouldn’t care about it. Well, there are different types of people out there, some seiyuu feel like their job is over the moment they finish acting. I mean of course we also have to do some promotional events, but there are seiyuu who feel like their job begins and ends in the recording studio. I mean, they’re happy if the anime is praised, but once they finish acting, it’s not really their problem anymore. But personally, I care a lot, actually. And you know, when we voice anime, the animation isn’t at all complete, and there is no music or sound effects, so seeing how the anime turned out, including our voice acting and everything else, is really interesting to me and I watch the anime to see that. And I’m really curious how people received it, so I often read people’s opinions online and any letters I receive from fans. It’s a good reference for my own approach to acting, and it’s interesting how people interpret your acting, whether or not you were intentionally trying to convey the emotions they hear there, and I appreciate them thinking so deeply about it. But there are also some times where I think really hard about conveying something and do my best, and reading the comments I realize it didn’t come across at all. So, considering all this, I wonder how all of you will see Sarazanmai when it airs, since it’s a really problematic anime. *laughs*”

Ikuhara: “Someone said it opened a new door, right? *laughs* Opened a new door within Suwabe Junichi.”

Suwabe: “When I got involved in this anime, he told me ‘everything goes’ and I was like ‘what does that mean??’, well, you’ll see what it means.”

Ikuhara: “You know, I’ve heard it from many people now ‘is it okay to air this on TV?’”

Suwabe: “*laughs* Will it be okay though?”

Ikuhara: “It will! It’ll air from April!”

Suwabe: “Because you know, from episode 2, things get…”

Ikuhara: “Maybe it’ll be all bleeped out. *laughs*”

Suwabe: “Anyway, the answer is: yes, I do care about the reputation of the anime I starr in.”

Episode 7

Today’s main question was to Ikuhara: “How did you come up with the three main characters of Sarazanmai?”

Suwabe: “They’re all 2nd year middle school (8th grade) boys, right? How did the creation process go?”

Ikuhara explained that it started with getting the idea, and then drawing a simple sketch of both the boys and their kappa forms. Then he would search for a mangaka that could properly draw the characters out. He also said that creating their personalities went side by side with writing the story itself, and that it’s difficult to focus on just the story or just the characters at once. He also said that since anime is something you make as a team, while creating a character, you may end up with different staff members having different characterizations of the same characters and that may cause conflicts.

And that’s basically that – this episode was a bit hard to understand but I did my best and that’s the gist of it. Ikuhara sometimes goes into more detail but I think this gets the main message across.

Episode 8

This time, Ikuhara asked Suwabe this question: “What did you pay attention to while voicing Keppi?”

Suwabe: “*laughs* As always, being asked this by the director himself stresses me out. What did I pay attention to? Well, Keppi is a Kappa-like creature, he’s not human, not a normal human, he has his unique form, and when the story starts, you wonder what he’s plotting, what he’s thinking, what’s guiding his actions – I can’t say much more here – but there’s a lot of unknowns about him. I’d asked you, director Ikuhara, ‘What is he? What’ll happen to him? He looks like this, but does he have other forms?’ and I got some information there. There are also flashbacks to the past, so we will learn something about that, but basically… I tried to approach him in a ‘fresh’ way. I mean, this goes for any character, but I feel like here Ikuhara-san pushed me a lot, he asked me for some weird things *laugh* like ‘improvise here’ and I did my best, thinking what would be the funniest. I feel like sometimes it’s easy to get cornered in this case, like Murase-kun was. They’d be like ‘whaaat? W-w-what am I supposed to do here??’, the seiyuu of the three main characters.

Ikuhara: “They’d ask ‘what voice am I supposed to use here, how do I convey this?’”

Suwabe: “And the seiyuu for the characters that will appear later in the anime [that haven’t been announced yet] they were like ‘how do I do this??’, and reading the script I also wondered how they’d manage. There were many moments like that. It’s almost like a game between the writers and us, the actors. It really feels like we’re being tested, and we panic a bit, but also do our best to smoothly overcome that.”

Ikuhara: “I think being fresh is important. I mean, the longer your career gets, the better you are, and you gain experience, but also you lose that freshness, right? I think it’s best when you come in acting like you’ve debuted last month. *laughs* How long you can maintain that youthfulness and pureness is important and it might be difficult for those who have been working here for a long time.”

Suwabe: “That’s true. I think we always need to be on the offense, no matter what character it is. You really can’t afford to get complacent. Especially with a character like Keppi. It’s like, what voice do I use, a really low voice, a high one, a hot guy voice, my regular voice? Anything could fit here, so I need to get across the director’s image, it’s always a challenge but working on the characters is really fun for us, for me, it’s fun creative work.”

Ikuhara: “You know, during casting, we partly choose people who can most likely get the voices right for the characters, but also, we like to choose people based on thinking ‘oh, they’ve probably never voiced a character like this’. I like to surprise the actors like ‘huh, I’m voicing THIS?’, I like to get that response.”

At the end, Ikuhara also added: “Being ‘pure’ or ‘fresh’ is difficult, right? Even in my line of work, the longer your career is, the less you want to take apart everything you’ve built up. You want people to tell you ‘it has to be you!’ *laughs*”

Suwabe: “Oh yeah, we want that. We want to be the “only one”. I mean “number one” is ideal, but that one’s a bit difficult to achieve.”

Episode 9

This episode’s main question was from Suwabe: “How did you come up with the characters of Niiboshi Reo and Akutsu Mabu?”

Suwabe: “They’re mentioned in the synopsis, and they have a spin-off manga that depicts their story.”

Ikuhara: “They’re policemen, right? There are many genres with policemen in movies and dramas, and ‘buddy film’ is one of them. They’re popular even in Hollywood films, like ‘48 hours’ with Eddie Murphy or ‘Rush Hour’ with Jackie Chan. The idea is for two guys to partner up and solve a case, and when they partner up you get to witness the differences in their personalities. I always wanted to try creating something like that myself. And for a while, I’ve had it as a potential project, and now, instead of focusing on it, it just so happens that we have two policemen here, so I’m using jokes and stuff that I’ve been wanting to make for a while, I’d combined them. I’m happy I could do that.”

Suwabe: “So that’s why there’s also a spin-off where the story can go forward a bit, and they’re also in the anime, even if not as protagonists, they’re there with profound, hidden meaning.”

Ikuhara: “I wanted to make that spin-off manga from the very beginning. I wanted to tell a story of buddy cops solving cases in a downtown area. There were a lot of dramas like that when I was a child, like Tommy & Matsu, and I really liked that, I liked their dialogues and dynamic. And from American dramas, I liked CHiPs, I was wondering if I could do something like that sometime. CHiPs might be the closest to my idea, it was lighthearted and set in a downtown area, with no huge incidents, and them just solving light cases. I was attracted to that.”

Suwabe: “Did you create both characters at once or did you come up with one and then based on that made him a partner?”

Ikuahra: “Hhhh I wonder… Maybe Reo, I guess. A lighthearted guy and a serious guy – that was the setting from the beginning. Like if you have a playful guy you need a bit of an aloof guy to balance it out. Even in Japanese dramas, you get that dynamic a lot. It’s fun to think about buddies, there’s all sorts of pairings* there.” [*pairings as in literally he uses the word for “ships”]

That’s the gist of it, they also briefly discussed different buddy combinations like different personalities vs young cop, old cop etc. They also joked about “will the anime be finished for the release date?” with Suwabe saying “IT HAS TO BE, IT’S MARCH, AND IT AIRS IN APRIL”.

More translations/summaries coming when new episodes are released! The show airs every Saturday, so I’ll do my best to keep up.

Asakusa in Reo to Mabu: Futari wa Sarazanmai

Sarazanmai and its spin-off manga Reo to Mabu: Futari wa Sarazanmai both take place in Asakusa, a district in the Taito special ward in Tokyo, Japan. Asakusa is located in the North-Eastern parts of central Tokyo, next to the Sumida River which separates it from the Sumida special ward in the East.

Asakusa is most famous for the Senso-ji Buddhist temple and for being a former entertainment district (Shinjuku took over after WWII). It’s the home of many restaurants and kitchen & food related establishments and has a more traditional Japanese atmosphere than the rest of Tokyo.

Sumida is most famous for Tokyo Sky Tree and Asahi Beer Tower. Tokyo Sky Tree is a broadcast, restaurant, and observation tower. With a height of 634 meters it’s the tallest tower (and second tallest structure) in the world. Asahi Beer Hall is one of the buildings of the Asahi Breweries headquarters. It’s famous for the huge golden structure at the top which is meant to resemble a flame, but is often jokingly referred to as a turd.

Here’s a map of Asakusa and Sumida with a focus on the temple area. I’ve marked the most notable locations that we can spot in the promotional material and manga.


Identified locations in the manga

The first panel in the first chapter of the manga features a view that’s easy to recognize thanks to the giant chef’s head on the top of the building.


The building in question is Niimi Yoshokkiten (Niimi Western-style Tableware Shop), a kitchen tool department store. It’s located at the south of Kappabashi Dogu Gai (Kappabashi Kitchenware Town); a 800 meter long shopping street with over 170 shops specializing in kitchen & tableware.

This is also the location for Reo and Mabu’s Sarakoban, the “plate/dish” neighbourhood police station that they work at. In real life the station is located on the street across the chef’s head (under the teacups, white building with blue details), but here it looks like Reo and Mabu are standing in front of their koban right under the head.


Exterior shots of the koban, like this one from chapter nine compared to google street view images confirms the placement for it. I’m not sure if it’s simply an artistic choice or if something required the change (laws, regulations, the fact that it’s a sarakoban and not a regular koban).


Here’s another panoramic view of the area from chapter seven.

We see Reo and Mabu visit Kappabashi street in chapter three, when they take part in a summer festival lottery and win a scrubbing sponge. Unfortunately the manga doesn’t show us any locations that I’m able to recognize or look up, only a couple generic looking storefronts.

In chapter two Reo and Mabu go look for Sara’s parents around the temple area and we’re shown the famous Kaminarimon Gate, Nakamise-dori Street and the Main Hall of the Senso-ji Temple.


The Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate) is the first of the two entrance gates to the Senso-ji Temple. Its main features are the large red paper lantern, a statue of the God of Thunder on the left and the God of Wind on the right.


Following Kaminarimon is Nakamise-dori (Nakamise Street) which leads up to the second gate and the temple. Nakamise-dori is 250 meters long with around 90 shops on either side selling snacks and souvenirs.


Reo and Mabu visit Nakamise-dori several times throughout the manga. It’s depicted again in chapter four when Mabu is on the search for Ningyou-yaki(Baked Doll) cakes and in chapter eight when Mabu was visiting the temple before encountering another handbag thief.


The Senso-ji Temple is an ancient Buddhist temple. It’s the oldest and most famous temple in Tokyo, built around the year 600. It’s dedicated to Kannon.

Apart from chapter two we see the Main Hall in chapter eight when Mabu visits it to pray for good health and being able to keep Sara.


In chapter eight we also get to see the second entrance gate, the HozomonGate, viewed from the Main Hall. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture from the right angle, but you can still easily see and recognize the different structures, like the tree large lanterns and the two waraji (straw rope) sandals on either side of it that are there to provide healthy feet and safe travels for the visitors.

Chapter six takes place entirely at the Azuma Bridge, crossing the Sumida River. The river passes through several wards and has a total of 26 bridges crossing over it. The two we are shown the most are the red Azuma Bridge and the blue Komagata Bridge.


This photo is taken in Asakusa, by the Azuma Bridge looking over at Tokyo Sky Tree and Asahi Beer Tower

Azuma Bridge is iconic for Asakuza. It was originally built in 1774, but has been rebuilt several times over the years with the current one being from 1931. The red colour matches that of the Senso-ji Temple. It’s a popular spot for photos thanks to the great view of Tokyo Sky Tree and Asahi Beer Hall, as well as to the nearby park where cherry blossom trees bloom during spring. There’s a boat stop right next to the bridge which is popular among tourists.


Here’s Komagata Bridge viewed from Azuma Bridge. Komagata Bridge was built in 1927 to replace a ferry and it’s another popular spot for photos.


In chapter seven Reo visits the Taito City Office. It’s located about 800 meters west from the Sarakoban (and did not fit not on the first map). If you live in Japan you have to visit your local City Office to register various “life updates”, such as every time you move, when you get married, have children etc.


Here you can see where the City Office/Hall is located and refresh your memory of where some of the other major locations are.

Huge thanks to @leafpool121 for letting me use their photos. I’ve also used my own and had to turn to google for a few. Asakusa is a nice neighborhood, although it’s very busy with tourists and other visitors, it’s worth a visit if you ever get the chance to go to Tokyo. Especially now that you can follow the footsteps of Reo and Mabu!

Massara CM thoughts

Okay let me make a more coherent post about the Massara CM

First of all, Enta’s the one who we see the most of in it. I think that’s really interesting and at the same time I’m super happy seeing him in an active role. I like seeing all those expressions on him and I love that he doesn’t seem to be as happy go lucky naive as the Tsunagaru PV made him seem. Not that there’s anything wrong with that type of character, or that it would have been his only personality trait (I think everyone’s guess was that he’d be carrying some dark secrets and worries in typical Ikuhara fashion), but I definitely think I’ll enjoy this character more. I wasn’t super interested in him before so this is definitely a highlight for me.

Now let’s proceed chronologically. 

First we see the three boys as kappa. They make weird poses that I don’t recognize, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were taken from somewhere. They sparkle because that’s an important part of any Ikuhara anime. The backgrounds have traditional Japanese motifs, which I think suit both the setting that’s Asakusa and the kappa mythology. The traditional Japanese vibe was present in the key visual as well, it’s something Sarazanmai wants to play up. 

Since these are the only appearances of the kappa forms and the rest of the CM shows us the boys looking human, I once again wonder how this whole “got turned into kappa” thing will work out. Can they transform at will or under certain circumstances? Are all these shots from before they get transformed? Do they transform back quickly, or at least regain their human form while still being partly kappa?

Next up Kazuki makes some interesting fashion choices and Enta’s wearing a soccer shirt with the ア logo, because of course it has to be everywhere. The background art seems really colourful and pretty! This is so nice to look at and although I loved the innovative use of live action footage in the Tsunagaru PV I enjoy getting a better idea of how the actual anime will look like here. 

Then we get our first animated closeup of Sara who’s adorable! Then some more Enta running. Then we have Keppi doze off and not come across as the antagonist at all. I don’t know what to think anymore. Is he on the boys’ side or not? Is he a silly comic relief character who sometimes kinda helps them out? Despite also stealing their shirikodama in a kinda painful kinda pleasurable way?? Why aren’t the zombies shown? I get the feeling that they’re not really that relevant/present after all… 

Then one of the highlights is the introduction of a new character, Tooi’s brother Chikai. The resemblance is definitely there as he draws a blade the same way Tooi did in the Tsunagaru PV. I wonder what their relationship is like? Apparently they don’t live together, and Chikai seems to be working some shady jobs. Despite that I get the feeling that Tooi might be looking up to him? Or maybe it’s just that they have the same tough background that gives both of them the same mannerisms.

To make sure that Sarazanmai with all it’s (forgotten) zombies and shirikodama stealing business doesn’t get too dark, we have a shot of Tooi and Kazuki kinda chill and silly looking, although I have to add that the knife cutting vegetables and moving over Tooi when it does so might symbolize something I don’t want to think about right now. Then we get some more Enta, this time being aggressive with Tooi, who I have to say comes across more passive in this video than in the last.

Then it’s time for another of my highlights, which is of course a split second of Mabu and Reo. They don’t really do anything we haven’t seen them do before and remain as mysterious as ever. That close-up of Mabu’s eye is alarming though, so sinister. Then we get even more Enta! This time he’s rushing somewhere, grabbing a shirt that could be his, or maybe Kazuki’s since they used to play soccer together. 

In true Ikuhara fashion the character animation portion ends with hands trying to grab on to each other but failing. This time around we have three hands, one boy trying to hold on to the other two, I presume. 

Then the CM gets interesting. 

There’s the ア logo again, pink, black and white like in the Tsunagaru PV announcements, with the same “ 欲望 /CHARGE” border that we saw in the teaser PV’s. The background has been changed to purple. It’s not quite Sara’s image colour as hers is more pink, so I think I’ll associate it with the zombies instead. Some weird red contours of what looks like technical imagery flashes on the screen. Also slightly reminiscent of the red that’s used for the zombie design. Maybe.

The next image is of the otter symbol, turquoise and black, rather than a solid colour like we’ve seen before. It also has the “ 欲望 /CHARGE” border around it on top of a pale greenish grey background that doesn’t match with any of the characters. The image colour they’ve given Chikai is golden brown, so it’s not his even though he was introduced here. There are also turquoise flashes of the same kind of technical imagery as with the ア symbol, that can be barely seen as they’re so quick and faint.

The next shots show us pictograms with humans flashing on screen faster than what can be perceived by the mere eye. I had to slow down the video and then quickly pause it to be able to catch them all. The first one is a ghost, then we have what I think slightly resembles a police officer. It’s a man with a uniform and hat. The third person is a man with a cane. All three people are facing left. Next there’s a woman dressed in pink traditional clothes facing straight ahead. Then a woman in white facing left and a nurse who’s part way facing left. Then there’s a man in what looks like regular clothes, a shirt and a hat and the last pictogram is of a man in blue traditional clothes facing straight ahead. It’s worth noting that all the hairstyles are traditional and not really what you see in today’s Japan, even though you still see traditional clothing and art etc. I wonder if this is to lead us to the past? Also all the pictograms are inside white circles and when you put them together they form a loop, like in the Sarazanmai logo which I think is pretty cool/might be what it’s alluding to! It’s all about connections after all… 

After the slideshow there one slightly terrifying image of different meters and gauges, surrounded by pipes and the 吸 kanji which stand for “suck” or “inhale”. There are a few different ways we can interpret this. Something seems to be getting absorbed, but what? Also, there’s a heart. Is this some kind of “living” machinery?

The final images of the CM show us a circle with an aerial shot of Asakusa in it. There’s a huge growing hole right in the centre of it. The hole is covered by the otter symbol, this time in red and white. A second white circle is getting drawn around the otter symbol, like a timer, also very reminiscent of the teaser PV. While that happens there are some red flashes over the destroyed Asakusa area. The otters are destroying Asakusa? Or is it the zombies, since this red colour and technological imagery is reminding me of them. Are they the same or do they work together? The zombies seem like henchmen to me, but who’s orchestrating all of this? Is this happening on its own/due to specific circumstances or due to someone’s efforts?

As usual the last shot shows us the Sarazanmai logo. This time with the red bridge in the background. We can see some pictogram people on it as well as Kazuki who’s carrying the kappazon box in his hands.

Overall I love the energy and all the information this CM gives us. The song doesn’t stand out too much, but fits really well with all the action that’s shown on screen. I like the combination of funny and silly and bizarre and sinister. It looks super promising and it’s getting me even more excited for Sarazanmai!!

I also have to express my excitement for how they brought back several things from the teaser PVs, it gives me more hope that everything really is connected and relevant.