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 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 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. 

Sarazanmai episode 4 thoughts

The episode starts with a flashback involving guns, blood, a young Tooi and Chikai as well as the the phrase “only the bad guys survive”. Should be a fun episode!

After the opening sequence we’re back at the Yasaka household, same as last episode. We’re shown even more accommodations for Haruka’s disability; ramps and his wheelchair. Sara’s on TV and she announces a fan meeting that Haruka’s excited to go. The meeting comes as a surprise for Kazuki who’s now in huge trouble, since it’s tomorrow and he has to come up with something to keep with his secret. Haruka can’t meet the actual Sara.

Next up Chikai’s up to no good and Tooi’s chilling/ playing around/ reminiscing with his gun while talking to him on the phone. Okay it’s not as chill as I’m making it out to be, there are heavy memories attached to that gun and Chikai’s a pretty bad guy to be talking to. It also turns out that Tooi’s living in the upstairs space of a Soba restaurant – how appropriate!

“A friend” comes to meet him. It’s Enta. First Enta goes on about how he called himself Tooi’s friend just to be able to get a hold of him, then he starts praising his family’s soba place, and finally he gets to the point and asks Tooi to give the plates to Kazuki.

Since Kazuki was the one to save Enta (from being lonely), now Enta wants to help Kazuki. I like that Enta actually wants to give the plates to Kazuki out of gratitude and not plain obsessive love. That way it actually helps him too.

Tooi gives us his PV speech. It’s fun to hear them in the actual show, although really weird to know what the character’s next five sentences will be.

There are lots of interesting shots over Asakusa. When I was there I mostly spent my time around the temple and river so I’m curious to look them up later.

Tooi’s angsting and then he meets Kazuki who jumps on him. It’s one of my favourite little scenes in the series so far. Kazuki asks Tooi to kidnap Sara. I had to do a double take there, but yeah, that’s actually the great plan Kazuki came up with. Tooi also needs to take pictures of Kazuki eating soba for Haruka and Tooi seems to get a little flustered when he looks at Kazuki’s weirdly seductive eating. He actually blushes here!

Then we get a flashback. When Tooi was 10 his parents died. His room is filled with soccer stuff, that’s an interesting connection he might have to Kazuki and Enta (that I was supposed to talk about, but never got around to). His brother is a jerk, but I suppose he also has his reasons? And he does help out in the end to his own detriment.

This Yurikamome group seems kinda odd and interesting. Why black headed gulls though? I need to look into this later.

Back to the present, Kazuki reveals his plan of Tooi locking up Sara’s manager in a bathroom and then kidnapping Sara. I’m sure Tooi’s capable enough to be able to pull it off and Kazuki’s a pretty convincing Sara, but there’s got to be hundreds of people around, no way things will go smoothly. Couldn’t he just stop Haruka from going and then meet him privately to make up for it?

Then Kazuki’s soba flies away, they realize there’ll be another zombie and the scene shifts over to the police headquarters where Reo and Mabu are about to dance. This week our zombie guy was arrested for making soba broth out of women’s bathwater. Then he got murdered. Serves him right I would say.

The boys meet up with Keppi and he turns them into kappa. Since Tooi’s family’s place was shown on TV, he’s the one connected to the zombie and it’s his time to take the lead.

I really like his music for his leak. All the boys have gotten really good tracks, I’m going to be listening to them all once the OST is released. 

I love that Tooi’s reaction is pretty much just “oh I knew this would be it”. I don’t have that much to say about his secret. I saw it coming/had it partially spoiled for me. I like Chikai and I like their relationship. It’s very brotherly.

Then Reo and Mabu have a very short scene, but it’s the highlight of the episode!! It’s the first time they’re talking to each other privately so I’m treasuring this moment.

Kazuki eating a cucumber in the background is hilarious. He’s weirdly calm while Enta’s freaking out.

The episode ends with another shocking reveal. Kazuki offers his plate to Tooi, perhaps since he could relate to Tooi and his brother a little bit? He also says that he hates Haruka. Umm wow rude?

Enta’s incredibly creepy again, this time for doing “the bridge” and walking around like that on all fours. Seriously I do not need a shot of him approaching me like that.

I guess next episode will be about Kazuki and Tooi kidnaping Sara, and Enta freaking out about everything. The next secret will probably be Kazuki’s reason to hate Haruka, although it’s slightly unfair and unbalanced how he’s the one revealing the most. Then again it’s his own fault for having so many dumb secrets to being with!

Those are some good words to end this on.

Sarazanmai 4th episode PV thoughts and observations

This week the PV is far less mysterious than the previous ones.

It starts with a crossdressing Kazuki throwing himself on Tooi.

There’s not that much to say here other than it’s a super cute scene! I guess I kinda ship them, but I also I just love seeing Kazuki have fun and smile for a change. He’s either simply teasing Tooi, or there might be some reason he needs to pretend to be more familiar with him. I’m still waiting for someone to come up to him thinking he’s Sara. Maybe he meets some crazy fan and Tooi is his excuse to get away from them? Sara’s supposed to hold a handshake event this episode and Kazuki seems to be planning something for it.

Then we see Enta politely ask Tooi to give the Plates of Hope to Kazuki. However there’s no way Tooi’s going to do that, he has his own wish to fulfill. 

Now that it’s been revealed Haruka can’t walk we get to see his wheelchair in the frame!

Then we see Chikai grab Tooi’s face in a kind of weird way when they were younger. Did Tooi say something he shouldn’t have?

It’s a move that Tooi copies. He’s really looking up to his brother huh?

I’m guessing this guy is the boss?

He had some sort of encounter with Tooi when he was just a small boy. Tiny Tooi’s so cute, I hope it wasn’t anything too bad, but who am I kidding? 

Next up it’s my beloved Reo and Mabu! They’re posing, because they’re fabulous like that, never mind it shouldn’t be possible for them to float around like this. Ah, with the water this must be on top of that taiko drum! Reo seems kinda happy and crazy, Mabu’s stern as always. I’m really looking forward to this scene!!!

Then there’s another shot of Tooi when he was younger, as if I’m not loving this episode way too much already. Chikai seems to console him, whatever horribleness he just had to go through. That’s kinda nice, I want them to have a strong bond and a good relationship.

This episode seems to include lots of things I’m really into. Tooi’s my favourite of the boys so I’m thrilled to have an episode that’s focused on him. I also really love backstories and seeing characters when they were younger. In addition to this I’m especially weak to stories about siblings and that’s what Tooi’s storyline is all about. Also tragedy. Plus then there’s some new scene with ReoMabu that I can’t wait to see! Compared to their scene last week, I think this might be when it’s just the two of them talking, so I’m hoping for it to reveal more about them. There’s also a short chapter in the novel that I love and can’t wait to see, that should be coming up next. However it seems like the anime isn’t following the same order as in the novel, so it might be missing from this episode.

Then I have to mention how excited I am for Nobuyuki Takeuchi being responsible for this episode!!! Penguindrum’s 9th episode, which is my favourite episode from the series and possibly my favourite episode of anything ever, was created almost solely by him. He has also worked on several Shaft shows, most notably Bakemonogatari, which has amazing visuals. It’s my personal favourite studio and style. 

The friendship bracelet

Anonymous asked me on tumblr:

so it’s interesting to note that the last shot in the ep 3 pv, kazuki’s leg that kicked the delinquents have a bracelet a bit different to the one that enta has on his box (it’s pink rather than green) so i kinda have to wonder if this is a flashback or not…

My reply:

There are different designs, but the one Kazuki is wearing when he kicks the bully is the same as the one in Enta’s box (green with red stripes). 

However the one we see Kazuki wear in the opening scene of the first episode looks different.

It’s also the one Enta’s holding on to in the episode 3 pv.

There’s also this shot in the episode 3 pv of what seems to be a third design (unless the colouring is playing tricks on us and it’s the second one). My guess is that it’s a flashback to their Golden Combo days and that was the first version of the bracelet. 

I wonder if any of these are Enta’s, since aren’t you supposed to get friendship bracelets in pairs? Like if that blue one is Enta’s maybe something happens to him and Kazuki starts wearing his bracelet? 

I think that the first scene is incredibly important and that it’ll turn out it’s a reference to the ending (similar to Penguindrum). Alternatively it’s a flashback. Maybe the blue bracelet was originally Kazuki’s but he threw it away or lost it and Enta retrieved it.

They actually highlight the bracelet while they show Kazuki running along Sumida, so it’s definitely important in the grand scheme of things and not just for Enta himself. 

I’m hoping that the bracelet situation in the next episode will help us make more sense of this. Right now my theory is that Enta dies or disappears. Or maybe they just start dating or rekindle their friendship or something and it’s Haruka who disappears since it’s his voice that Kazuki hears here?

Whatever it is, there’s something painful going on here!! Mark my words!

Thoughts after listening to Sarazanmai no Uta

Some slight Sarazanmai spoilers ahead!

So Kazuki sings about boxes, Enta about kisses and Tooi about soba (buckwheat noodles). I know these are also the first three chapter names of the novel and most likely what the first three zombies will be (actually I’ve seen people who went to the pre-screening mention the kiss-zombie, I know it’ll be there).

The meaning of kisses is easy to understand. Enta’s in love with Kazuki. It’s not going to be as simple as that though, however I can’t tell what sort of additional issue he’s having with it yet and there are far to many possibilities for me to try to narrow it down.

Soba is trickier to interpret. Since I think it’ll relate to Tooi’s relationship with his brother maybe he has a memory of them eating/making soba together, or something happening at a soba restaurant? As a fun fact “soba” also means “near” so you can make a bunch of puns with that and their names, since Tooi means “far” and Chikai means “close”.

As of for now I feel like Tooi is looking up to his brother and is trying to follow him, even if he’s still just a child and it’s not a suitable lifestyle for him. The gun in his box indicates that either one of them might’ve been involved in a more serious crime, or that they’re planning on committing one.

Sarazanmai Main PV analysis

Third time’s the charm. With Sarazanmai airing tomorrow I finally want to go through the main PV and give you my thoughts and impressions and observations from it.

The timing hasn’t been too bad since the official English subbed trailer came out yesterday when Crunchyroll announced they would add Sarazanmai to their simulcast for Spring 2019.

I don’t really have any authority to comment on the translation. It’s professionally made and it’s good. There are some translation differences to mine (I never translated the main PV, but they reuse a lot of the phrases I’ve translated in the past). For the most part I’ve been more literal (mainly so that I can retain as much original information as possible, even at the cost of it sounding chunkier).

Japanese is a very contextual language with room for many interpretations, especially when the full context is missing, so seeing differences in the translations are to be expected. The only difference I find eye-catching is the phrase “Suck out the greed” since they clearly use 欲望 desire/lust. Maybe the translator knows something about the upcoming episodes that I don’t? 

The PV starts with the same beautiful gloomy music from the Tsunagaru PV and Kazuki jogging/running in Asakusa. He’s wearing the matching bracelet he shares with Enta around his ankle. We specifically see shots of the red Azuma Bridge as well as Tokyo Skytree and Asahi Beer Hall in the background on the other side of the river. The stage is Asakusa alright.

Then there’s this wild spark in the middle of Kazuki’s melancholic narration about wanting to connect but not being able to.

Pink’s an unusual colour for sparks but plays on Ikuhara’s typical use of colours. It seems to be revealing a grid of some sort. This also feels very Ikuhara, he has a habit of combining the whimsical with the mechanical and technical. Think about the whole “ROCK OVER JAPAN” sequence for example.

The tone shifts, the upbeat ending theme “Stand By Me” by the peggies starts playing and Sara greets us cheerfully. She looks like an idol with her sparkling starry eyes and own TV program. The ア is everywhere. It seems to be used in her show a lot. There’s still no indication what exactly it stands for though.

This screenshot is pretty interesting. The text under “Fortune of today” says “lucky selfie divination”. Is Sara a fortune-teller? Are these her mysterious powers in action? The smaller text says “dish. I can’t see regular people. SARAtto report + Looking for the Prince. Characteristics are [ikevo?] a good smell and fair complexion”. Is that going to be Keppi or the mysterious figure from the last chapter of the manga? Or are they the same?

The focus shifts back to Kazuki. He’s talking about only needing three rules in his life, which could be good or a bad depending what those rules are. Okay let’s face it this is Ikuhara they’ll be bad. 

First he’s on his phone like in the earlier PV’s and then we see him with the kappazon cardboard box in his hands walking among other people. We get a quick glimpse of a weird golden kappa statue that makes the same kind of pose I assume the boys will do when they transform. What looks like a phone strap with Sara’s kappa-like creature swings by. It’s probably Kazuki’s and he’s a fan of Sara. There’s also a not-so-hidden ア that’s just on a tile on the pavement, showing us that they really are everywhere.

Next up we have Tooi. We’re shown a calendar (that I think is hanging on a classroom wall) with an overview of July and August (covering the summer vacation). Is that when Sarazanmai takes place? The illustrations for the calendar are of kappa. One highlights that kappa like/need water in their “sara” plates, the cavities on top of their heads. The other one depicts their love for sumo-wrestling. These are both typical kappa things we know from having studied the lore!

Tooi himself is along the river talking to his older brother Chikai. “Let’s get this over with. You and I aren’t very different”. There’s also one of the funniest reveals yet when we see Tooi’s weapon up close and it turns out to be a ruler. As a final touch there’s another ア to be seen right next to the brothers.

Then we get Enta’s presentation. At first he’s playing soccer by the river and then we see him holding on to the bracelet he shares with Kazuki. The in-between frame shows us a fish shop. What’s remarkable about it is that all the signs on it say “kiss”. Then we get a kappazon.co.jp box that flies away. Enta talks about having a strong bond that can’t be easily broken. Based on what we know it’s safe to assume he’s talking about Kazuki.

Then things get weirder when it’s Keppi’s time to appear on screen. He’s holding on to a cucumber, which is another thing that kappa love. He tells the boys that they’ve been turned into kappa and that they need to get the zombie shirikodama in order to turn back. We see the boys all slimy and gooey in their new kappa forms. Kazuki still has the box, so it might be something that happens during this walk of his that we’ve been seeing the whole time.

This is a very interesting frame. The pictograms behind the kappa boys look like ghosts. Are they supposed to be the boys’ souls or something like that? Or are they actual spirits wandering around? Story wise them being the boys’ makes more sense, but from an artistic viewpoint I think it’s weird to suddenly draw something that’s part of the main characters in the style that’s deliberately simplified and created for background characters. There’s also the “DO NOT ENTER” sign with the otter symbol and a cross over it. Clearly the otter is unwanted, that’s been confirmed by the Reo and Mabu’s keeponly1luv twitter account as well.

The PV continues with its interesting imagery. The next shot is of this circular shape with the words “no start”, “no end” and “no connection” getting revealed. We’ve heard these words before so they’ll be important.  They all tie together, but we’ll have to wait and see just how. It’s possible that they each apply to one of the three boys. Kazuki can’t connect, Enta doesn’t want to let go (end) and Tooi doesn’t want to uhh… get involved and start anything?? I’ll have to think about this more another time, or please send me your theories!

The background isn’t the same as it was for the spark earlier, but it’s the same style. I wonder if it’ll have anything to do with what the cops are up to because they’ll be introduced soon and they were the ones talking about no beginnings or endings.

The PV continues and there’s a small explosion hiding the boys in a cloud of black smoke while they let out a surprised scream.

Then there’s a pling, which I think resembles the sound an elevator makes when it reaches the right floor and opens its doors. The background is a metallic grey so it might as well be where the scene plays out. Reo and Mabu appear with their weird new catchphrase “Suck out the greed” (or desire!) and there’s some mechanical action that starts. Lights get turned on, gauges reach their max and a bunch of signs with the kanji 吸 “suu”, to suck or inhale appears.

I guess this is their machine for sucking out the greed? Or desire. I’ve pointed out the heart in the upper right corner before but it’s worth pointing out again. Earlier I wondered if this machine was somehow alive, but now I’m thinking that it might just stand for “desire”.

This is all controlled by the otters, the next cut shows us otters decals that are peeling. The otters seem to be controlling some circular objects, not unlike the construction we saw light up earlier.

Then there’s the “desire extraction” that covers all of Asakusa. The cops throw their hats. Celebrating their success? In an attempt to be dramatic? You decide.

Next up the opening there “Massara” by KANA-BOON starts playing and we see the three boys striking poses while in their kappa forms. I’m guessing it’s from the actual OP although it might be part of their transformation sequence.

Following this there’s a scene where the otter symbol all over Asakusa (or Sumida where Tokyo Skytree is located) burning red. It definitely looks like a bad infestation. There’s also a spiral with text reaching down from the heavens. The text is the same as we got in the first teaser PV’s and says “CHARGE” and “desire”. As something new there’s also ハコ which is the word for “box” written in katakana. I think this is a reference to the Box Zombie which is supposed to be the first zombie we’ll be introduced to. There are certainly boxes everywhere in the following shots while the zombie seems to have a lust for more cardboard.

Are the otters summoning the zombies? There’s definitely a connection between them.

Then we see Keppi run with a cart (or whatever it’s called) where the kappa boys sit. They seem pretty chill so I wonder if this is after their fight with the zombie? Next up we see one of these legendary shirikodama balls. It’s a ball with the kanji for butt on it. Then the three kappa boys are flying around, apparently connecting through the sarazanmai. They managed to connect in one way at least by holding on to each other’s hands.

I also find this next image interesting, it really plays up the “connection” part of Sarazanmai. We get the ア again and what looks like a mobile signal. It’s a very modern and a very literal interpretation. Ikuhara has mentioned the era of the internet and how easy it is to connect through the use of smartphones and apps several times when he’s talked about the inspirations behind Sarazanmai. Old vs. new has been another topic and this highlights that as well.

After this we see another shot of the Asakusa Sara TV program. The text is the same as previously but this time the image is of a traditionally drawn Japanese woman. Is this where the “old” is brought in?

Then this is another one of my favourite shots! It’s the Niimi Yoshokkiten kitchenware department store, that’s also the building where Reo and Mabu’s “Asakusa Sara Kouban” is located. Their police box/station is the red structure at the bottom of the building and I think we can see their silhouettes inside of it. What I really love about this image though is the otter that’s next to the giant chefs head on top. To be clear, the chef’s head is actually there in real life actual Asakusa while the otter is something the anime added there. I think this highlights the fact that Reo and Mabu are working under the otter (literally! – pun not intended).

The signs on the building are a bit difficult to decipher, but I see ウソ a lot which means lie. There’s also something about the world and food/eating? The text on the top that says “kawau” is probably in reference to “kawauso” which means otter.

As a side note I want to point out that the second teaser PV that featured the otter symbol had a narration about lies and otters. Could it be about Reo and Mabu? Who’s the one with the strong desire…

Right after that split second image we get this one. That’s an otter! Clearly controlling/ordering all the other otters around! Mabu makes a comment that someone tries to get in their way, which we can assume will be the three boys. Are they confirmed villains now? I feel like a lot of people aren’t buying it. With Ikuhara first impressions are often deceiving and characters can have good reasons for their seemingly horrible actions, so I wouldn’t count in it.

Next Asakusa Sara TV reports on flying boxes. The text that is show on screen is absolutely horrible to read and full with silly puns on Sara’s name and her using “dish” instead of “desu”. It’s cute as long as you don’t have to translate it yourself. The time here is 19:00 which makes me think that this PV covers the entire first episode and will end here with this (it was 7:55 at the start).

Reo and Mabu have their little quasi villain speech and then Keppi talks to the boys and says “you’re as dead as you are alive”. Does this have to do with the “turning into kappa” process and the “ghosts” I mentioned earlier? Are the boys’ actually half-alive, half-dead? Isn’t that what zombies are? Suddenly things are starting to make more sense!

There’s quite a lot going on visually. Keppi’s eyes look terrifying. They’re large, read, black and purple. He seems to clapping, so I’m guessing this happens after the boys have dealt with the zombie successfully. One of the ア signs falls down and is heavy enough to break the pavement. There’s a close-up of Kazuki’s face where he looks kind of frightened and surprised and then in classic Ikuhara fashion there’s a shot of hands trying to hold on to each other but not being able to do so. However, unlike in his previous works there are now three of them. It’s most likely for the three boys, although it could also be one boy using both of his hands.

Then there’s text on the screen that says “even if you connect”. Tooi fills in that he “won’t let you have it”, Enta says that he “doesn’t ask for anything else” while Kazuki “can’t bear to lose his connection”. Tooi’s just angsting in front of the lockers, Enta’s shown where he was practising football, but what’s interesting is that he has a kappazon box right next to him. It looks like the one Kazuki was carrying. Could it be the same? Could it have been for him? Kazuki’s chilling somewhere (at home?) out of frame with his phone in his hands. He has the Sara strap on it and a tiny otter icon appears on the screen.

Then the most mysterious thing in the PV happens with all these ア signs flying around and uhh… through Kazuki? The pink things look a little bit like buildings, are they perhaps reflections? The sparkles and the rainbow give this image the impression there’s something reflective. I really don’t have that much else to say although I’d love to be able to do so.

The PV ends with the three boys appearing as kappa yelling “sara” and “sarazanmai”. The final shot shows us the iconic look over Asakusa and Sumida with the tagline “Don’t let go. Desire is your life.” The ア’s are everywhere.