Happy 1st anniversary to Sarazanmai!!!

It was on this day one year ago, 11th of April 2019, that Sarazanmai’s first episode aired.

I can’t believe it’s been a year already. So much has happened since then, both in my personal life and worldwide. To be fair, my Sarazanmai journey began two years ago with the first teaser trailer in May 2018, so can you blame me? Back then I had no idea what Sarazanmai would be about, but I knew that it would be my life for the foreseeable future. One year ago I still didn’t know what exactly Sarazanmai would be about, but it had become my life regardless.

It’s been an amazing time to follow the production, share thoughts and theories with other fans, and see the anime deliver. I still can’t believe that Sarazanmai managed to exceed my expectations with such a fun, emotional and crazy ride filled with memorable and lovable characters. I could go on and praise it for hours, but I think this blog speaks for itself with how much I love the anime.

To celebrate, I’m going to join Ikuhara and others for a rewatch. We’ll start in a couple of hours at 7pm JST. I hope you’re able to join us as well!

Sarazanmai episode 10 thoughts and impressions

The episode opens with Mabu’s view of Reo as he’s holding him in his arms while he’s dying, which we saw in the after credits scene in dish 6. Thanks Sarazanmai for starting so lightly. 

Mabu wakes up at the otter hospital and an otter greets him. I like how the kawauso phrase is used. It means river otter, but taken apart the word is a combination of river and lie. The way the otter says it highlights the uso part, meaning lie, so sometimes when the otter appears and says it, it’s like it’s commenting on how what we’re seeing and hearing isn’t the truth. I’m including this thought here, but it’s better applied elsewhere/throughout the whole series.

The fact that Mabu was always the person he used to be is killing me. They both love each other so much! (I wrote “loved” but for some reason spell check wanted me to change it to “love”. You’re right spell check, they LOVE each other).

We’re only two minutes into the episode and Enta’s lifespan is looking short. I don’t like that one bit…

Turns out that the weird cylinder Kazuki was holding onto in the PV was Keppi. He got jellyfied, although I always thought it looked more like a cheese. Just my preference lol.

I’m not sure if I should feel shock or immediate acceptance by the reveal that Reo and Mabu are kappa as well. This matches with the idea I had of Sarazanmai from long ago, sometime last fall, when thought that ReoMabu and the boys would be on the same side, but aiming for the same thing for their separate personal goals and thus have some conflict (similar to how several characters all had good reasons to get the diary in Penguindrum and were fighting over it). I gave up on that idea and never fully believed they would be otters, but I didn’t think they’d be kappa! I really like this development. I never wanted them to be otters so I’m very pleased that they aren’t. This raises some interesting questions in regards to the manga. Is it a sequel to the anime after all? Is that the happy ending they’ll eventually get?

We get confirmation that they were indeed working for Keppi. I believed so after dish 6, but then I wavered when they were so chummy with the otters in the following episodes. It’s weird to see Keppi, Kazuki and Enta be so …okay in Reo’s presence after what he did to Enta. I love Reo, but I would be a lot more visibly scared of him if I’d be there. I also find it a bit odd how Reo brings them along, although they do have the last plate that he needs so that explains it. He might also be pleasing Keppi.

The “elevator” scene screams ikuhara to me. Reo also says his “that’s hilarious” line from the Tsunagaru PV, which I’ve been waiting to hear in the anime!

“No one hesitates to give up their connections for the sake of their desires” :/

The next scene hurts a lot. It’s painful to watch. The only good thing about it is the promise of a song…

I have to add that while I think Sarazanmai looks amazing, the animation for Reo and Mabu could be a bit better. It looks a bit off and wonky and rough most of the time, at least when we aren’t getting close ups of them. Those are usually beautiful. 

I like how Keppi is yet another Ikuhara character who got turned into two beings. 

I don’t like that the otter enters Enta through his nostril. …I’m also not sure if it’s better than entering someone through their butt or not.

So the otter shape shifted into Kazuki! It’s sweet that Enta’s able to break the trance because of how strongly he feels about his connection to Kazuki. I also wonder if what he’s saying is supposed to mean that he has no interest in a relationship with Kazuki. I know that Sarazanmai or Ikuhara doesn’t shy away from gay relationships, but a lot of anime do this thing where they have gay characters be okay just staying by their love interests side, and I’m not a huge fan of it, although that’s literally me haha.

Kazuki tries to sacrifice himself for Enta, but he’s not having it. GOOD. 

I love how Reo shows up at the right time to collect all the dishes. The scene where Mabu falls down and looks at Reo breaks my heart. No music and it’s prolonged, like torture. But ah, how good!

We get the eyecatch and I can’t believe we’re halfway through the episode. So much has happened, but it doesn’t feel like that much time passed yet. The item for this episode is ningyou-yaki. Mabu’s obsession and Reo’s treat.

Mabu’s judgement falls on desire so he gets turned into a zombie. 

Shoutout to the pose Reo makes, ass out for Keppi to turn him into a kappa. I enjoyed that and the yelling. “Sing that song!” has me so hyped. Oh how I’ve missed Sarazanmai no Uta!!

I’ve seen fanart of Reo as a kappa and it looked just like he actually does! I’m quite amazed by this. 

I love that Mabu’s backing his singing. It’s both cool and sad how they’re singing together, but as a kappa and a zombie, so they’re not really a pair. This scene makes me so emotional. I can feel myself crumple up, my heart is hurting and I’m forgetting to breathe. Watching Sarazanmai is a health hazard. 

Mabu’s desire is revealed to be staying by Reo’s side. In order to do that he had to give up his connection to him. He has always been the same old Mabu. Can you believe how much he must’ve hurt not being able to say anything to Reo, while Reo’s been rejecting him? Classic misunderstanding, Reo comes in at the wrong time, hears and sees the wrong thing. At least this wasn’t an instance where an explanation would’ve helped. It would’ve literally killed Mabu.

I can’t believe that we get to witness otter-Reo climb into bed to fool around with Mabu. I like that we’re getting both words of love and acts of lust for them, even if the circumstances aren’t optimal to say the least. It’s just nice to see their relationship, or what was/could’ve been their relationship confirmed like this. 

Mabu turned into a kappa as well! I really like these kappa, how small and kinda clumsy they are. Especially the sound effects of them dropping down. 

Reo’s whole world has been turned around and Mabu’s focused on their mission lol. Then the two of them connect through sarazanmai. “Reo to Mabu Futari wa Sarazanmai”, Reo and Mabu together they [connect through] Sarazanmai. Now we understand the title of their spin-off manga!

The leak gives us flashbacks that we’ve seen before. Reo sees and misinterprets the scene at the hospital, Reo doesn’t accept the new Mabu, and talks about Mabu betraying him.

Mabu is finally able to tell Reo that he loves him. My heart… MABU’S HEART! It blows up and Keppi assimilates Mabu’s desire. Now they get a new silver plate to replace the one Enta broke, so that’s good, but the world is looking bleak for Reo. 

There are some interesting things to be said about the rings, but it’s 3AM and I don’t have the capacity to go through them right now. 

I like the very amphibian/reptilian traits they’ve given Keppi. He falls on his back and has trouble turning around!

Reo goes crazy, and then the inevitable happens. Mabu was erased from this world so he’s starting to forget about him. This is just heartbreaking to watch!

There’s a gunshot sound and Reo falls down. I was almost expecting him to take his own life in his desperation, but it’s Tooi who shoots him. 

Fun fact about character names and romaji. Back when the Reo to Mabu manga was first announced I had to basically flip a coin and decide whether I should use Reo or Leo to refer to my favourite character. I picked Leo, because I thought it was more reasonable and likely to be used. If you go through my blog archives you can find some post where I use it, most notably the synopses I wrote for the chapters as they came out. I changed my mind sometime during the fall when few people and no official sources were referring to him as Leo. That was a good call on my end. However I have do a little cheer now when the レオ ring says Leo. Ha! That’s what I used to use for him!

While I was okay with switching to Reo to accomodate to the rest of the fandom, I’m still pushing hard for everyone to start using Tooi. Leo/Reo was a choice, but Tooi is just a fact.

Anyway back to the episode, Keppi says that ReoMabu can finally get some sleep, so that indicates that they’ll be back. Hopefully. Otherwise a lot of people will be mighty upset. 

I had no idea the sara accessories were actual plates. Does that mean that Sara’s could be a wish granting one that will come in handy? 

The last scene is so incredibly intense. For some reason I never really considered that Tooi could actually come and try to take the plates from Kazuki and Enta in order to save his brother. Well, in the end he didn’t do that and was very understanding of the situation which I gotta give him props for. 

The ED changed again, now that which used to be 3 and got turned into 2 is down to 1. (Shadow and seagull)

The after credits scene starts and Enta’s back! Thank the Great Kappa. Poor Tooi though. Dark Keppi is pretty terrifying. 

This has been a rough night. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but damn if I haven’t been through a lot to get there. 

Only one episode left and then my life will be over.

I seriously don’t know what I’ll do after that. Cry?

Cry and rewatch everything again. 

Sarazanmai 10th episode PV thoughts and observations

The second to last episode and episode preview. It’ll be an intense episode, according to the synopsis Kazuki infiltrates the Otter Empire hideout, Reo catches Keppi and the secret Reo, Mabu and Keppi share will be revealed.

This is the final stretch of this Ikuhara wild ride, hopefully we won’t crash and burn too badly.

The PV begins with Kazuki hugging Enta, which would be really sweet if not for the fact that Enta is dead and might be gone for good if the timer runs out before Kazuki is able to save him. This image radiates stress. At least I’m happy Kazuki’s showing that he cares for Enta!

Both of these shots seem to be from the Kappa statue square.

That means there’ll be multiple Reo and Kazuki interactions throughout the episode, because next up they meet at the hideout. Reo’s pointing a gun at Mabu, Kazuki’s holding on to something, I’m not sure what.

Reo’s pretty far gone. I get that he’s hurt and upset with Mabu, but I wonder how they got into this situation, especially with Kazuki and Enta there, standing next to him not that seemingly worried for their safety. I don’t see Keppi and I wonder if he’s in that package Kazuki’s holding on to (captured by Reo). This is the same place where Keppi talked about saving Haruka through a shirikodama transfer in episode 6, but I don’t see these characters be cooperative enough to go through with it.

Reo’s probably taunting Mabu again, and then he gets emotional.

Mabu’s showing some emotion as well! Aaahhh!!

Enta goes flying and Reo’s holding on to four silver plates. His gun says “fire” so it’s in the same mode as when he shot Enta. There’s smoke coming out of it so it’s been used. Did he (try to) shoot Enta again?

Whatever happened Kazuki catches Enta. There’s been another scene change, they’re running around in the hideout.  

Both Dark-Keppi (Black-Keppi?) and the otter shows up. 

The signs here say “Judgement: Desire”, so unlike with Haruka Mabu(?) will be accepted and won’t return?




Kazuki has a red sheen to him, same as this football. I’m thinking this could be an illusion where he’s playing with it, or maybe he snaps or gets turned somehow and they’re glowing red because of the fire that’ll show up in a sec. They’ve also changed location again, this from the river and Azuma Bridge area.

This performing otter showed up last episode when Reo was having his delusion (at least that’s my interpretation of the scene), so this could indicate another similar situation. The otter could also be joining the fight since it want to protect Dark-Keppi.

Tooi’s upset in the rain. I don’t think we’ll see that much of him in this episode, but I’m assuming he’ll return to Asakusa. I hope that he’ll make it in time…

There’s an explosion on the bridge. I wonder if anyone(/Mabu?) got turned into a zombie since they’re here and the judgement fell on desire? I don’t think it’ll be a typical fight though.

Reo cries some more, Mabu’s serving us this look. Is this from before or after the explosion? I have a lot of questions regarding Mabu’s fate.

Reo kicks Kazuki. With each episode he strays further and further away from being the loveable goof he was in Reo to Mabu: Futari wa Sarazanmai. I’m both interested and scared to see how fans are taking this. I still like him. I tend to like villains and my top list of favourite Ikuhara characters is filled with them. It’s not that surprising considering how many Ikuhara characters are villainous…

A good thing to note here is that Kazuki’s still holding on to the last silver plate. RIP Keppi. We don’t see Mabu in any of the shots from this scene and that’s worrisome. Did Reo actually shoot him? 

Now Reo’s gun is set on “Blood”. That’s new. 

You could interpret it as in he’s out for blood, but why did the setting change from “fire”? Will it gather blood for a transfusion? Does it have something to do with blood connections that get mentioned in the show? As a neat little detail I also want to mention that the kanji for blood 血 looks very similar to the kanji for plate 皿 so this better be good. They must’ve been saving it for the pun/meaning.

Enta’s incredibly close to dying. The red indicates his lifespan and it’s almost run out.

The second set of Kuro Keppi System signs say “Despair: Release”. I’m definitely looking forward to see what that’ll be about. 

Looking at the synopsis again, there’s one image of Mabu in the hospital, which I think relates to the reveal of their secret. The rest of the images are from the Azuma Bridge area and I want to mention buff Keppi, because, well, that’s a sight. I wonder if Keppi’s the one to cause the explosion? Maybe that’s him expanding and blowing up? It doesn’t look like it helps much though, I think that might bring in some slight comic relief into the otherwise very dark episode. 

Sarazanmai PV – tenth dish

Sara: Sarazanmai, the tenth dish.
Kazuki: It happened earlier, but we became kappa.
Tooi: In order to turn back into humans we need fresh veggies.
Kazuki: Please don’t say that. We won’t become kappa, but useless members of society.
Tooi: Why is there a hole here, oh there are some fresh veggies in it.
Sara: The sound of eating, crunch crunch crunch crunch
Kazuki: Aaah I’m feeling good. Oh, something came out?

Sarazanmai – Tenth Dish

STORY: Kazuki decides to infiltrate the Otter Empire’s hideout once more. Immediately after that Keppi is arrested by Reo. What unknown secret does Keppi, Reo and Mabu hold? Will Kazuki be able to get back the plates and save Enta?

Script: Kunihiko Ikuhara, Teruko Utsumi
Storyboard: Masayuki Kurosawa, Katsunori Shibata, Kaneko Shingo
Episode director: Noriko Hashimoto, Kaneko Shingo

Sarazanmai 9th episode PV thoughts and observations

Only three episodes left, but so much that needs to happen and so much that will happen looking at this PV. 

The PV starts with a shot taken from the boat Tooi went on together with his brother. We’ll be getting another direct continuation from last episode’s events.

They’re watching Sara’s TV show. 

“A conflict in this peaceful city!?”
“Sara report – Sara will never again put pepper in ramen dish. Never again sneeze dish. Never again […] important day…”

Sara’s secret message is about her screw up last episode. The news are about a series of shooting incidents and it looks like Chikai is the prime suspect. 

Tooi is worried.

Chikai just gives him this look. Wow…

Kazuki meets up with actual police officers.

Never mind that they’re under mind control by the otters… Whatever they tell him it’s not good news… Hold on I need to post more shots of him crying.

I’m loving the crying in Sarazanmai, it looks incredible! 

This entire small snippet has such a good dark hopeless feeling to it! How am I excited about it? It’s my survival strategy. 

Don’t interpret this the wrong way, but I love tragedies (with happy endings!!) so whenever I come across something really painful, I get really happy about the different feelings I get to go through, and seeing how the characters deal with it etc etc.

Otone and her grandmother find out about what happened to Enta. The interior looks interesting, I want to know where this is from. 

Haruka and Kazuki comfort each other. It’s super heartwarming and I’m happy their relationship has improved!

Tooi and Chikai meet some random guy who I don’t think we’ve seen before? It seems like he could be an ally.

Then they meet more guys. I’m guessing this will be the culmination of the conflict the synopsis talked about. They’re pointing guns at each other and there’s another shooting. The results are unknown, obviously, it wouldn’t be a Sarazanmai PV otherwise. 

Are those slightly red eyes and tears? Is Tooi crying? Will it be about his brother or will he find out about Enta? I’d like to think that he’s be leaving his brother after all and this is their goodbye scene. 


REO’S BEING FABULOUS AND COPYING A DANCE FROM WEST SIDE STORY (thanks @lizvdaae​ for pointing that out!). Sarazanmai’s becoming even more of a musical and I’m living for it!!!

Worth noting is that he’s holding on to a bottle of wine and a box for dessert, which we’ve seen before on their twitter account! 

This was posted on March 2nd at 3:30PM JST and it says “Just now I remembered that it’s my birthday today -Mabu”. The box is from Tengoku which is the same café that appeared in chapter 1 of the manga, the place they went to to try their famous pancakes.

Maybe this is ReoMabu’s staple celebratory dish? They got the plates, but according to the synopsis the otters don’t seem to be that happy with them. Something will occur that determines their relationship… As mysterious as ever…

Lastly, we get another flashback with Kazuki and Enta. It’s very sweet, but will probably be extremely sad in a “why didn’t I appreciate you more before” way. 

The spotlight’s on Kazuki.

I’m amazed all this will fit into one episode. I also want to point out that this episode is storyboarded and directed by Nobuyuki Takeuchi, which you can tell from this short PV alone due to all the framing choices. I really love his style and I’m expecting something like Penguindrum episode 9 from this as well! I think the two episodes will share a lot of similarities since they’re both about loss and conflicts. 

I’m worried about Kazuki, I’m worried about Tooi and Chikai. I feel sorry for Otone and Enta’s grandmother. I’m excited to see Reo dance and curious what Mabu’s up to and how the otters will interact with them. It seems like Enta’s really dead, but I’m expecting him to show up again so I’m not too worried about that, except there’s a tiny voice in my head going “what if you’re wrong about that…”. I really hope I’m not because that’ll be painful. 

That’s about it for this week!

Sarazanmai 8th episode PV thoughts and observations

 Well this week we have a lot going on!

Kazuki’s upset over Enta’s betrayal. I wonder if he gets why Enta did it, or rather if he’ll actually address and process why Enta did it and how he has feelings towards him. It’s about time he did.

Tooi is wearing that SuperGroupies backpack, how cute!

Enta’s wandering around Asakusa sulking. He’s eating a lollipop just like Chikai. They’re about to meet this episode.

Enta’s grandma is with him as he’s playing Smart Ball at Mimatsu-kan, another real life location in Asakusa.

Chikai shows up. I wonder if Enta’s resentment towards Tooi becoming friends with Kazuki will drive him to turn him to the police? A happier scenario would be Chikai revealing something about Tooi that makes Enta soften up to him instead.  

Reo and Mabu are looking to arrest Chikai. It says here it’s for shikotama fraud. Shikotama can mean a lot of things (literally), but it’s written in katakana here to draw attention to how similar it is to shirikodama.

It seems like Chikai will be our zombie of the week and that the lollipop will be the lucky item. I’m worried, doesn’t that mean he’ll die? 

Mabu offers Reo some of the Ningyou-yaki, the ones he made last time.

I think he might’ve aced them. I’m hoping for them to taste the same as they did in the manga, that would be great thank you!

Sara and Keppi are on a date? Either they’re watching a movie and having fun or scheming something. 

A precious Tooi. I wanted to add this here for many reasons, one of them being to comment on how much I love how Sarazanmai draws eyes up close. Reo’s looks really nice as well.

Anyway, Tooi seems to be on the phone with Kazuki who’s freaking out about something. I’m guessing Enta rather than anything that has to do with Chikai, since Tooi is alarmed, but not panicking. 

He simply walks away. This scene takes place at the harbour, where he and his brother has been seen hanging out before. Maybe he’s waiting for him?

Both Enta and his brother are busy sneaking around. 

They seem to get along?

Then they run into someone from Yurikamome. The teeth are interesting! I suppose this expression is supposed to mimic the gulls their group is named after, but birds don’t have teeth. I’m guessing they’re spiky because he’s a bad guy and they make him look more intimidating, rather than it’s because he’s an otter, but who knows. Maybe there’s an overlap and he’s both of those things. He’s also more tan like Reo, so maybe there could be something here…?

Is he also a stabber?

I’m loving that we no longer have any novel spoilers to worry about, but people have been almost worse when it comes to chatting about the leaks from the pre screenings. I don’t want to hear any details from those. I’ve heard that this episode feels like a filler and I’ve heard that it made people cry. I can easily see how both of those statements hold true.

Sarazanmai PV – eight dish

Sara: Sarazanmai, the eight dish
Keppi: This is a cucumber spot kero
Enta: Yahoo so many! Oh? What’s that over there?
Keppi: That’s the cucumber of happiness that only those with beautiful hearts can see
Enta: I knew it! I wasn’t in the wrong after all! It’s good~ I can have countless
Sara: The sound of eating, crunch crunch crunch
Keppi: Oh? Something’s coming out kero

Sarazanmai – Eight Dish

STORY: Kazuki and Enta break up their friendship. Enta is sulking around the neighborhood and happens to run into Tooi’s brother Chikai. Can Chikai get away from Reo and Mabu who want him in for questioning? What are the important memories that’ll be revealed when their feelings mix?

Script: Kunihiko Ikuhara, Teruko Utsumi
Storyboard: Kaneko Shingo, Masayuki Kurosawa
Episode director: Kaneko Shingo

Sarazanmai 7th episode PV thoughts and observations

Episode seven will be about Kazuki, Tooi and Enta starting their summer vacation, being friends and cleaning up Enta’s beloved practice spot that got vandalized. We’ll also get Reo and Mabu’s backstory!!

The PV starts off super cute with Otone celebrating the start of the summer vacation. She looks adorable! I want a swim ring like that and i don’t even use/care for them!

Most of the PV shows us the boys cleaning up the practice spot. I feel like it’ll be a fairly short scene and that the rest of the episode will focus on Reo and Mabu. 

The boys are in a really good place right now. It warms my heart to see them smile and have fun, even though it sucks that something important to Enta got destroyed. At least I’m pretty sure the fact that he gets to spend more time with Kazuki will make up for it!

Look at all this lighthearted fun they’re having together. Also, I like how Kazuki’s wearing a striped shirt again. That was their family thing!

This honestly feels like another one of Enta’s delusions, this is so unlike what we’ve seen of Tooi so far. 

Sarazanmai’s mostly given us heartbreak and pain, I don’t know what to do with these new emotions??

I just have to share these images, they make me so happy. I especially love seeing Tooi blushing like that! There are so many smiles in this PV, they give me life!!

Of course the episode won’t be all laughter and smiles, we have the ReoMabu backstory to give us our weekly dosage of pain and suffering.

Reo’s in an otter hospital of some sort, most likely to be treated after whatever wounds he got in the war since the next shot we get is of Mabu not looking very lively

The otters are kinda violating him? I’m guessing this is from when they give him a mechanical heart.

It’s a bit morbid to end the PV with this shot of Mabu and the text “look forward to this!”. Then again it does look like Mabu’s enjoying it… Sarazanmai’s so lewd lol

This will be a super exciting episode! For the first time we don’t have a corresponding chapter in the novel to compare it to or to avoid spoilers from. (There’s only a short intermission that I’m hoping to see since it’s amazing, we get inside a character’s head and it’s super angsty and emotional but also kinda sweet – just the way I like it). Reo and Mabu have always been my faves so I’m really looking forward to their time in the spotlight and to finally find out what exactly Mabu’s gone through and on what conditions he’s still alive. 

This will probably be more from Reo’s POV than Mabu’s, the anime has given him more focus, although I could also argue that the manga was more on his side as well. I would love to see a flashback to their days raising Sara (I’ll literally scream out of joy if that happens). I’m also hoping to find out if they’re actually otters, simply on their side or forced to work on their side. It’s not super clear to me yet because there are arguments and counterarguments for all of those possibilities.